Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stuff for Saturday

Saturday, 8am to noon, is the first installment at Edna Rowe Elementary School in Dallas. We hope you can join us as we begin this project, a truly awe-inspiring experience so far.

If you are unable to join us or would rather go on a bird walk, Wild Bird Center in Plano is hosting a tour of Denison Dam this Saturday. Meet up at their store for a prompt 7:30am departure. Your guide will be Mike Moore, a local bird expert. We're sorry to have to miss this trip...For more information about the walk contact Mike directly:
Wild Bird Center
3000 Custer Road, Suite 190
Plano, Texas 75075

Other Green-Minded Services

Check out these websites:

Social(K), profit with principle -- http://socialk.com/
GoodSearch.com, you search we give -- http://www.goodsearch.com/
ThinkHost webhosting services -- http://www.thinkhost.com/
Simple, cool tshirts -- http://www.organicthereforeiam.com/

Friday, January 26, 2007

2007, the Year of Living Green

Yesterday we attended City of Plano's kick-off event for their Live Green in Plano campaign. Check their website at www.livegreeninplano.com for information about the upcoming expo on May 5th, as well as links to resources about sustainability and leading a greener life. Take their pledge to live more sustainably and you will be entered to win two 'carbon-neutral' airline tickets!

I pledged to make three greener choices in 2007: change all light bulbs in our home/office to CFLs; reduce my shower by one minute per day; and I can't remember the third one. LOL. A long time ago David and I learned to reduce our wastefulness; we find second and third uses for everything, especially used household items and clothing; the rest we recycle; we purchase sustainable products (e.g. bamboo or organic cotton clothing, organic produce, etc.) We clean with baking soda and distilled vinegar, Orange TKO and Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid. Our home/office is powered by Green Mountain Energy; for Christmas David's mother bought for us renewable energy credits from NativeEnergy! (She also purchased a tree to be planted in our name, gave us an REI membership, a Sierra Club membership and a bunch of camping gear.) We truly believe that we all can be a little greener in every facet of our lives.

Ready to shop with your conscience? Locally we have Green Living on Abrams in Dallas. Visit their website at www.green-living.com or give a call: 214-821-8444. Kate and Michael and their staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to meet.

Online, visit www.coopamerica.org for other green-minded businesses around the country. Every business is carefully screened for their commitment to providing products and/or services that are "approved for people and planet." (Green Living and we are members.) Green clothing, green investments, etc. This collection of socially responsible businesses has become the strongest, most supportive business network we've joined. You can join as a consumer and receive a copy of National Green Pages, a comprehensive "phone book" of approved businesses!

Now that 10 CEOs of the top corporations have committed to 'greening up', Living Green will become more mainstream. More products and services will be more readily available. Watch carefully: if we're lucky, we just might witness an enormous -- epic, even -- cultural shift in America.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Be The Change -- Your Opportunity to Do Something GREAT

I know we have a growing readership of community-minded folks. So I'm using this venue to recruit volunteers for a worthwhile project we've helped design. Last fall we created a design for Edna Rowe Elementary School in Dallas that celebrates native plants and wildlife of the Blackland Prairie. The project features outdoor learning areas that will allow students and their families to learn about and instill pride in our local community. From the principal to the teachers to the parents and students, and even community volunteers, this project has been met with abundant enthusiasm. Let's keep it going...

Phase One of the installation will begin Saturday, February 3rd, 8a-noon at Edna Rowe Elementary School in Dallas. It's located at 4918 Hovenkamp Drive, 75227, near I-30 and Jim Miller Road. We will begin building the labyrinth during this first phase and could use a lot of extra hands. The second half of Phase One will be implemented the following Saturday, February 10th, 8a-noon. The labyrinth should be finished on this day.

Come see positive changes taking place in real time! And maybe learn a little about native plants and community-focused projects. If you think you might be available to help move pieces of stone, shovel decomposed granite, or just generally play outdoors, please let me know at your earliest convenience. Together, we truly can make a difference.

Friday, January 19, 2007

In Motion, Despite the Cold

Whew, our first week of 2007 has come to a close. We've had rain, sleet, snow, sunny cold days. Even so, we're already meeting with new clients; it's only January and already our schedule is beginning to fill up...

Also this week we've begun meeting for upcoming presentations and events. Today I met with Collin College's Earth/International Day planning committee to continue preparing for the event on Wednesday, April 18th. (Mark your calendars now!) More details will be posted in February...watch for lots of exciting activities and information related to this and several other cool events.

Stay warm and dry, or at least try.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Kicking off 2007

Happy New Year! We ended 2006 by planning for 2007; we are thrilled about all the opportunities coming our way. Thank you! We also took a camping trip to Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi -- returned just last night! Temperatures were in the 60s and 70s...doesn't that sound good right now?

Bird Island Basin is our favorite place to camp. Laguna Madre is calmer than the Gulf, therefore much better for kayaking. It's also one of the best spots in North America for windsurfing. We haven't tried that sport yet but we always enjoy watching. Speaking of watching...birding is quite popular there, as well. Myriad species nest, breed or migrate through this area, hence the name. We observed twenty-six species during a birding tour (sponsored by the park and FREE) with George and Mary, park volunteers. Reddish egret, both brown and white pelican, sandhill crane, and even a peregrine falcon, among others, delighted our tour group. Another day, we joined one of the rangers for a beach walk. Folsom joined us for this activity but had to remain in the truck during the birding tour. He's too eager to introduce himself to creatures of all types and sizes! We explored the beach with Ranger Botts and found remnants of Spider Crab, Sea Whip, and Pen Clam. The ranger pointed out tracks made by various birds as well as indications that Kangaroo Rat and Pocket Gopher were around. For the rest of our trip, Folsom 'hunted' for crab and gopher -- what a terror, er, terrier. ;-)

Plant-wise, everything is either tan or yellow-blooming this time of year. Various species of Bluestem (some Schizachryium, some Andropogon), a couple of Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata) and mostly Camphor Weed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) create the winter coastal palette. Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) makes a cameo, sometimes. Despite the lack of diversity in colors, the landscape is lovely even now...

2006 will perhaps be remembered as the Year of the Drought. Our limited water supply is not a new development but severe drought has made more apparent the urgency to change. Change the way we perceive natural resources, our access and dependence on them. Like the continuing war in Iraq has impressed upon Americans (particularly) our need to shift to renewable fuels, the drought has taught us the value of converting our landscapes to water-conserving plants and techniques. Demand for our services has increased and allowed us to focus on our primary goal: to facilitate positive changes in our community.

We have found we achieve this goal best by way of customized design and consultation services, speaking engagements and writing projects. Tomorrow (January 16th) we will resume meeting with new clients; already we have several appointments scheduled and more to confirm. We have confirmed at least five presentations for spring. I am writing a monthly article for Home Magazine; we are collaborating on additional writing projects which are in-progress and will be announced soon. Gratefully, we are able to reach and teach more people ways to make positive changes in their community through gardening and landscaping.

We do not plant, mow or maintain our projects anymore. Fortunately we have a handful of competent, reliable contractors who implement our plans exactly as we would, making the experience pleasant for our design and consultation clients. Seamless.

Best wishes for a terrific 2007. Please check back frequently for plant info, greenspeak, events and updates about our goings-on.