Prince's Rainforest Project

Another contender has entered the arena in defense of the rainforests: the Prince's Rainforest Project founded by Prince Charles. The Prince hopes to raise awareness of the effects of the massive loss of rainforests and form an online community to respond to the issue. To start off the project they created a ninety second video with Prince Charles' sons, Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Robin Williams, Pele, the Dalai Lama, and more. The video features the celebrities and important persons speaking with CGI frogs--it sounds strange and it is, but the CGI is impressive and the video entertaining and informative.

To view the video or learn more about the project head to Prince's Rainforest Project. And if you want to learn more about the rainforests head to the library and check out our selection.

Making Dirt

When I grew up, my family had a vegetable garden behind our house and we kept a compost bin for all of our food trash. After I got my own place, I felt guilty for throwing food into the trash, but the bins that I saw in stores were kind of pricey. So, when this past weekend turned out to be so warm and sunny, I went into the backyard and dug a pit for a compost heap. There are lots of variations on the compost bin, and all of them are very easy to do. Whether you are a gardener or just want to cut down on your trash output, here are some books to check out.
The Compost Heap
Backyard Composting: Your Complete Guide to Recycling Yard Clippings
The Complete Compost Gardening Guide

But be sure to remember one thing that I forgot; if you dig a hole near a tree, you’re going to run into roots. Oops.

State of the Air 2009

Air PollutionAir Pollution

Ever wondered about the air quality here in Washtenaw County? Well, the American Lung Association has recently released their air quality assessments for 2009 on their State of the Air website. You can click on the US map on the main page to access a county-by-county list of air quality--statistics have been divided so that you can view county information about particle pollution and high-ozone days. Click on the "Groups at Risk tab" once you've chosen a state to access the number of asthma cases, emphysema, and other respiratory illnesses by county. For tips on how to improve the air quality of your work or living space, try How to grow fresh air: 50 houseplants that purify your home or office. For a bit of the recent historical perspective, take a look Pollution in the air: Problems, policies and priorities.

Earth Day in Ann Arbor

earth dayearth day

Wednesday, April 22, is Earth Day in Tree Town. Catch the Recycled Materials Art Show at the ReUse Center or drink a toast to Project Grow at Arbor Brewing Company.

The Leslie Science and Nature Center will celebrate Earth Day on Sunday, April 26, with educational displays, hands-on activities, live animal presentations, storytelling and sing-alongs. Join the All Species Parade dressed as your favorite endangered plant or animal. Call 997-1553 or visit the Leslie Science Center's website for more information.

Earth Hour

Earth HourEarth Hour

What are you doing Saturday between 8:30 and 9:30 pm? You could be participating in Earth Hour March 28 2009.
This international event is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund and was started in Australia. It is asked that non-essential lights, appliances and electronics be turned off from 8:30pm-9:30pm.
Last year over 400 cities and 35 countries patricipated. Find out how different countries celebrate Earth Hour!
Earth Hour was started to raise awareness of climate change.
If you are interested in ways you can save energy or be more sustainable, check out these books from the catalog: How to Reduce Your Carbon Footpritnt, Easy green living: the ultimate guide to simple, eco-friendly choices for you and your home, Green by design : creating a home for sustainable living

Weigh in on shopping bags

Plastic Shopping Bags

The city of Ann Arbor is considering taking steps to reduce the number of disposable bags used by local businesses. Some cities already have a ban on plastic shopping bags or impose fees for all disposable bags. City officials are trying to determine what steps, if any, it can take to increase reuse of bags in Ann Arbor, and they are asking for your help. By participating in a brief survey you can voice your opinions as this policy gets crafted. There are separate surveys for consumers and business owners to take.

Preserving the land

At their annual banquet, the Washtenaw Land Trust officially changed their name to the Legacy Land Conservacy to reflect the group's reach beyond the county. The trust was organized to help landowners who wanted to preserve all or parts of their land by creating conservation easements. In addition to the name change, the Conservancy has formed a "Forever Fund" which will be used, if necessary, to protect the land if ownership is legally challenged. To learn more about the Conservancy and the work they do, call 734-302-5263 or visit them at the The New Center, "Non-Profit Enterprise at Work" at 1100 N. Main St.

The Library has several good books on land trusts including Conservancy: The Land Trust Movement in America by Richard Brewer.

Keeping an eye on the ‘nesting boxes’ at the Pittsfield

bird housebird house

My son, Bill, led the construction and installation of a dozen “nesting boxes” for birds and bats on the east side of the Pittsfield branch last summer as one of the requirements to become an Eagle Scout. Library director Josie Parker supported the project as a reflection of the AADL’s commitment to capitalize on environmental principles...to operate more in harmony with the ecosystem. I'm keeping an eye on the project now that Bill’s off at college, and with spring coming, I hope other library patrons would post a comment if they see birds (or bats) actually occupying the boxes.

Transition Towns

PowerOf CommunityPowerOf Community

Last year Boulder, Colorodo was named the first Transition Town in the United States. The movement asks an entire community to address the concern, “how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil and Climate Change?” in the deepest way possible. At the end of this month Ann Arbor will host the first Transition Town Training session in the Midwest, which will be lead by Michael Brownlee and Lynette Marie Hanthorn of Transition Boulder County. For information on the training, registration and fees, see here. To understand the ins and outs of Transitioning, check out The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local self-reliance by Rob Hopkins. (Crazy Wisdom Bookstore is offering a 10% discount on this title for the month of January.) To see how a large community is handling things, check out the wonderful film The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. (Film’s website here.)

Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count

Washtenaw Audubon SocietyWashtenaw Audubon Society

Looking for a break from the holiday hustle and bustle? Try a more relaxing weekend this Saturday, December 20th by joining up with the Washtenaw Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. Each year for over a century the Audubon Society has organized local groups of birdwatchers to compile a list of all the birds spotted across the continent. The results help researchers track bird populations and identify habitats at risk. You can be a part of this international effort (and hone your bird identification skills) by signing up with the local chapter of the National Audubon Society.

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