It's Easy Being Green: A Sustainable Living Expo / Sunday, September 27, 12:30-5:30 PM

It's Easy Being Green is a day-long learning, local buying, and eating celebration of living a life that’s better for the planet and not so hard on the wallet. From supporting efforts to reduce your carbon footprint to learning homesteading skills for living a more hands-on, DIY life, It's Easy Being Green has you covered!

Join us on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, from 12:30-5:30 PM. The library is open from 12:00-6:00PM. FREE Parking on Sundays too!

The Expo features:

A Keynote presentation, "Plants, Pollinators, and Why They Matter," plus 11 learning sessions on a variety of topics including bike commuting, rain & container gardening, permaculture, fermentation, and more.

Over 20 vendors selling upcycled, recycled, handmade wares including jewelry, clothes, bath products, artwork, wool and other fibers. Plus vendors selling mushroom growing kits, outdoor animal keeping supplies, fermented products, and shrubs (drinking vinegars). Vendors include The Brinery, McClary Brothers Drinking Vinegars, Ann Arbor Seed Company, Happy Fuzzy Yarn, Divine Iguana, Lead Head Glass, among others.

Opportunities to chat with representatives from area organizations such as Recycle Ann Arbor, Project Grow, Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers, Sic Transit, Natural Area Preservation, Slow Food Huron Valley, Agrarian Adventure, Leslie Science & Nature Center, Ecology Center, and other green neighbors.

Outdoor food vendors including The Shimmy Shack (vegetarian/vegan), Mani Strada (the new venture from the Mani Osteria & Isalita purveyors) and Go! Ice Cream.

Learning Sessions Schedule:

12:30-1:15

Keynote: Plants, Pollinators, and Why They Matter with Joseph Tychonievich, Greensparrow Gardens

1:30-2:15

Family Bike Commuting with Michael Firn of Sic Transit Cycles
Container Gardening with Growing Hope

2:30-3:15

Rain Gardens with Jesse Tack of Abundant MI Permaculture and Whole Culture Repair
Mending Workshop with Karen LePage of Gentle Clothing
Bee Keeping with Jamie Berlin of Ypsi Melissa

3:30-4:15

Permaculture with the People’s Food Co-Op
Keeping Animals with Harnois Farms

4:30-5:15

Intro to Canning with Cynthia Hodges
Vermiculture with Starr Valley Farms
Fermentation 101 with The Brinery

Gardening with Kids

It's Spring! It's National Gardening Month! It's even almost Earth Day! Perfect time for the whole family to start or nurture a garden together! Gardening with kids is a fun, engaging activity that encourages learning and exploration, building quality relationships, and creating something rewarding. Check out these books for ideas about gardening with youngsters, from toddlers on up:

Gardening Lab for Kids: Fun and easy projects - plant seeds, plan your garden, and make things for your garden (tool totes, rain gauges, stepping stones, terrariums, and way way more!). A beautiful layout and page design makes this an extra good choice for inspiration.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Ever heard of a sunflower house? And what's a pizza patch?? A bean tunnel sounds fun! This highly recommended book will help the family create inspiring, kid-friendly garden spaces and special projects! Illustrated with colorful drawings by the author.

Fairy Garden Handbook: Fairy gardens are a big hit with all ages these days. Why not get a wee one to help make one?! Those little imaginations can run wild with these fairy garden projects and tips. Beautiful photos accompany the text.

The Family Kitchen Garden: A practical guide to growing a garden with the whole family. This book is full of the info adults need to make a successful kitchen garden, while also including guidance on choosing plants, tools, and tasks that make sense for kiddos. Perfectly balanced for creating a functional garden that includes the whole family in a meaningful way.

Ready Set Grow!: Each simple, fun, and colorful spread features a different project, plant, or tip for the garden. Very easy to follow along step-by-step.

Grow It, Cook It: Bright photos for each step of growing edible plants, and then cooking with them, will engage youngsters who are ready to try something new. Recipes include cute tomato eggplant towers, mini pumpkin pies, scrumptious chocolate mint mousse, and more.

Sustainable Landscaping with Landscaping Expert Drew Lathin

Tuesday March 24, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Drew Lathin is the General Manager of Creating Sustainable Landscapes and a sustainable landscapes consultant who creates ecologically restorative urban and suburban landscapes. As an outspoken critic of conventional landscaping practices which destroy habitat, result in species extinction, and threaten the biodiversity upon which life depends, Drew utilizes native plants in his beautifully installed landscapes that support wildlife, and reduce or eliminate resource inputs such as pesticides and supplemental water. He will speak on these subjects and offer suggestions and tips for how you too, can utilize native plants and biodiversity to create sustainable landscapes of any scale on your own property.

Fleeting Beauty, Enduring Value: the Peony Garden at the Nichols Arboretum

Tuesday May 19, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

The U-M Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden presents a stunning spring display, with over 270 historic cultivated varieties (cultivars) from the nineteenth and early twentieth century representing the best American, Canadian, and European peonies of the era. These fragrant spring beauties are arranged in 27 beds with each full bed containing 30 peonies. When filled to capacity the garden holds nearly 800 peonies and up to 10,000 flowers at peak bloom.

Dr. David C. Michener, Associate Curator at the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, will discuss the beautiful Nichols Arboretum Peony Garden and give an update on the current work in the Garden in preparation for its centennial in 2022.

Stories in the Garden

Saturday May 16, 2015: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Downtown Library Garden

This event is intended for preschool - grades 3.

Enjoy garden-themed stories read by teen volunteers and AADL staff.

We’ll have story stations in the Garden, the Youth Area, and other surprise locations.

Visit every station to hear a story and get stamps and stickers!

Newspaper Pots & Seed Starts!

Saturday April 11, 2015: 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for youth (grade K and up), teens and adults.

Make a biodegradable newspaper pot and start your seeds!

You will use a handful of different seeds (bean, basil, squash ...), newspaper and dirt - and we have everything you need!

Permaculture: Practical solutions for self-reliance

One of our newer magazine subscriptions at the library is to Permaculture: Practical solutions for self-reliance. This magazine is a "bestselling international green-environmental magazine (with) inspiring articles written by leading experts alongside the readers' own tips and solutions," their website states. More from the website: "Published quarterly, this pioneering magazine is full of money-saving ideas for your home, garden and community. It features thought provoking articles on organic gardening; food and drink; renewable technology and green building; education, health and economics; transition towns and ecovillages; personal and community development; and sustainable agriculture and agro-forestry." Permaculture magazine also runs reviews of new books, DVDs, tools, courses, and access to contacts. Sounds like a good one!

Cool Summer Drinks

When you think of a cool, refreshing drink that you'd like to have on a hot, summer day you think of lemonade, right? Or maybe iced tea.

But there is a lesser known, fizzy drink great for summer known as kombucha. It sort of tastes like a cross between carbonated water and tea. You can even add juice to it. There is another side benefit to drinking kombucha: It's fermented! You make it be starting with some tea that has loads of sugar in it. After adding a probiotic yeast and bacterial colony (known as a SCOBY mother) and letting it sit for several days to weeks, the probiotics break down the sugar into acids so that by the time you drink it, it's very low in sugar. With every cup you get loads of healthy bacteria and B-complex vitamins. Talk about healthy! There is a book that shows you how to make it at home here and here.

It’s summer so a lot of Ann Arborites are growing a vegetable garden. I know I am! But what if your garden is doing so well that you have armfuls of veggies that you don't know what to do with? A great way to get some awesome nutrition or to use up extra veggies and dark leafy greens is to make smoothies or juices. For a great smoothie all you need is a blender and a knife to cut up the toughest pieces. "But won't that taste icky?" I can hear you say. Fear not! The sweet fruit you add makes the bitter taste of vegetables like kale hardly detectable. Try it and I bet you'll be a smoothie addict in no time.

Preparing Gardens For Winter With Kathy Squiers, Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Horticulturalist

Wednesday September 10, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Kathy Squiers, County Parks Horticulturalist, will share what her fall garden tasks may include to prepare plants and gardens for winter. The why, when and how of her methods will be explained with anecdotes and photos, along with opportunities for you to share what works for you! This event is co-sponsored by AADL and the Ann Arbor Garden Club and presented by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.

An artist trained as a scientist, Kathy Squiers` has been tending gardens for over 30 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Planning and Design from the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, with two years of work on a Master of Landscape Architecture. Her concentrations and interests are in Botany, Plant Biology and Resource Ecology Management.

May is Gardening for Wildlife Month

Isn't it great to see the daffodils and tulips finally blooming? And the bunnies bouncing around? And to hear the multitude of birds singing and chirping in the trees? I don't know about you, but I'm ecstatic that spring is finally here!

If you want to fully embrace spring, there's no better way than by celebrating Gardening for Wildlife Month! Make your yard a welcoming place for urban or rural fauna (depending on where you live). We've got books in our catalog on how to make your yard attractive to various wildlife species. Try the following titles:

Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife
The National Wildlife Federation's Guide to Gardening for Wildlife
Your Backyard Wildlife Garden: How to Attract and Identify Wildlife in Your Yard
Attracting Backyard Wildlife : A Guide for Nature-Lovers

Good luck on creating your backyard wildlife wonderland!

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