Tips On How To Live Sustainably

Hello! Emily here again. In our lives, I know that it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. Quite frankly, the world we live in has taught us that it doesn’t matter what we use or how we use it. A lot of people I know waste valuable resources without a second thought. I want to educate people about some ways to live sustainability. But first, what is living sustainability? Sustainable living is living a lifestyle that causes the least about of environmental harm and uses the least amount of resources possible for one to survive. Since I’ve been trying to change how I live to help make this earth greener, here are some tips to live more sustainability!

  1. Recycle. There is so much wasted products just because people either do not recycle or do not know how to properly recycle. Here’s a quick list of things that can always be recycled; Aluminum cans, steel cans, newspaper, magazines and slick inserts, corrugated cardboard, paper and paperboard, plastics, and glass. Look up specifics for your local area.
  2. Reuse. In our everyday lives, there are products that can be used multiples times. You can reuse plastic bags, twist ties, envelopes, newspaper, cardboard, bubble wrap, jars, paper, etc. There are so many items that one can find a new use for, such as recyclable arts and crafts. The possibilities are endless.

Reuse

  1. Use plastic take-out containers instead of buying Tupperware. There bound to be some nights where you just don’t want to cook. One those nights you order take out, keep the plastic containers! You can wash them and reuse them to store your leftovers in. Not only does this save the environment, this also saves you money.

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  1. Buy a reusable water bottle instead of using plastic water bottles. This saves so much plastic. Plastic is non degradable, which means it never goes away. You can even buy a reusable water bottle with a filter in it if you want to drink filtered water.

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  1. Ride your bike or walk somewhere instead of driving. Maybe even public transportation! About 75% of carbon monoxide pollution in the U.S. is from cars. Try to reduce that!
  2. Unplug your appliances after use. Even if you are not using the appliance, electricity is still running through it when it’s plugged in. Reduce the waste of electricity and always unplug your appliances if you’re not using them.
  3. Don’t constantly have your heat or air conditioning running. If you’re leaving your house, turn off the heat or air conditioning. You can open your windows on a cooler day in the summer and bundle up more in the winer. Also, Set your thermostat to 68° F in the winter and 71° F in the summer.
  4. Use LED light bulbs instead of fluorescent light bulbs. LED bulbs prevent electricity waste when compared to fluorescent light bulbs.

Lightbulb

  1. Line dry your cloths instead of drying them in a drier. Why use electricity when you can use the resources outside to do the same thing? The heat and wind from outdoors can just as easily dry your cloths like a drier.
  2. Take shorter showers and don’t let the water run when you’re brushing your teeth. An average household uses about 300 gallons of water a day. By reducing the water used, there will be less water wasted in our everyday lives.

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  1. Print on both sides of the paper! This reduces paper waste! In the U.S., each person uses about 749 pounds of paper in a year. Always use both sides of the paper.
  2. Buy locally rather than from grocery stores. If you buy locally, you can discuss how your food was grown. See if they used pesticides or non organics products. Most industry grocery stores are packed full of GMOs and other harmful chemicals.

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  1. Try growing your own food. One way to appreciate the food you eat even more is by growing it. You watch your hard work blossom into something so great and makes you want to continue to do better.
  2. Resell or donate things you don’t want. There are millions of cloths manufactured each day around the world while cloths that people don’t want are just being thrown out. Some people can’t afford new clothing while others are wasting it. This gives people with less money opportunity for new clothing.
  3. Think about composting! If you are really interested in this, follow this web link here to easily learn the how-to’s of composting! http://www.bbg.org/gardening/composting?gclid=CKuphYbsj8YCFQuFaQod1hsAcA

Compost

  1. Use environmentally friendly cleaning alternatives instead of harmful chemical products. Water and vinegar mixed together is a great alternative to harmful cleaning product. One cup of water to one cup of white vinegar is a great window and floor cleaning alternative.
  2. Donate food before it goes bad. Don’t let food go to waste! 1 in 6 Americans are starving everyday. If you have a party or get together with a large amount of food leftover afterwards, donate it to your local shelter or volunteer center. They will be more than happy to take the food to feed the homeless.

Donate

  1. Email documents instead of delivering hardcopies. Easily reduces paper waste. If a hardcopy is not needed, someone can just open the document on his or her computer to read and trees are saved in the process.
  2. Don’t eat meat once a week. Raising cattle puts a lot of strain on the environment. If you don’t eat meat at least once a week, one less animal will have to be slaughtered and replaced!
  3. Pass this message on! If you were educated on living sustainability while reading this, why not pass it on to educate someone else? One of the leading reasons for people not living a more sustainable life is because people just simply do not know how to. So help the earth and pass on some of these tips!

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Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy some simple tips to make this earth a greener place to live! Until next time.

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Sensory Garden at 13th and Union

by Aly Hutter

Before: Before

If there is one thing that makes me truly happy it would be the enthusiasm children have- While working with the 13th and Union elementary school we had the opportunity to plant a sensory garden. When I first saw the plot full of weeds I was beaming with excitement that I would turn this lonely little garden into a learning experience for many, many years. With a few ideas brewing, Ellen and I began planning. We believed a sensory garden would be a very good learning experience for the children because we would be able to use plants that would not only be appealing to look at but that would also serve as a learning experience about planting, gardening, senses and pollination for the children. Our goal was to make the garden a place that sparked excitement and allowed for learning outside of the classroom.
With the garden plans in the work we realized that there would be a slight struggle to find plants that would be easy maintain and that liked shade due to the large trees outside of the school near the garden. After many hours researching shade perennials that would also serve to invoke at least one aspect of the five senses was a challenge but worth every minute as our list of plants grew on my note pad! Ferns, Hydrangeas, Purple & cinnamon basil, Bee balm, Heavenly blue lithodora, 2 butterfly bushes, Spotted dead nettle (pink & purple), Japanese forest grass, Irish moss (Sagina subulata) and astilbe were all planted. All of these plants are perennials except for the basil. We purchased seeds of basil to be grown by the principal and planted into the garden each year!
Meeting the care givers of the 13th and Union sensory garden was very exciting – on their last full day of first grade we gave the grade very big news as we handed them the responsibility of this garden- with eager hands in the air,  many agreed that they would help their teachers take care of the garden and would keep an eye to make sure the garden was enjoyed, respected, and left to attract bees, birds, butterflies. I am very excited to see how the second graders enjoy the garden as it continue to grow.
The garden was planted with the touch and taste plants toward the front so the children would not have to step in the garden bed to feel the silvery-soft purple and pink spotted dead nettle and the carpet-like Irish moss (Sagina subulata). They will be able to smell the bee balm and taste the purple and cinnamon basil leaves with ease. The ferns and Japanese forest grass were placed on opposite sides in hope that wind blowing through the garden would create noise. The butterfly bushes and other flowering plants are a beautiful addition for sight and will attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators that will serve as a perfect experiential lesson for the students on pollinators and their importance.

After:

After

Now, the garden is all finished and soon to be a blooming forest of sensory, interactive plants for students and community alike to enjoy.

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Meet This Year’s Interns: Ellen Underwood

Hey Folks! You may or may not remember me (and my blog posts) from last year, but I’m Ellen Underwood (pictured middle), a returning intern and this year’s Garden Manager! I am an Environmental Science and Spanish major starting my second season in the garden. I am very excited to be managing the garden this summer because my career interest is in urban permaculture, making this a perfect experiential learning opportunity!

In addition to the garden internship, I will be the sustainability intern for Aramark this upcoming school year and during the next two years I will be working on putting a sustainable garden in at Goggle Works. Currently I work at a 1 acre farm in Mertztown, the Albright Gingrich Library, and Albright’s science building greenhouse. I am also president of the Albright Arts Magazine and a member of E.C.O. club. In my free time (what little of it I get!) I enjoy attending local music shows, reading, writing, rock climbing, hanging out in coffee shops, slack-lining, hiking, and camping.

So far, the garden has been incredible opportunity for myself and my fellow interns to learn from experts in the field of gardening and environmentalism. We have had the ability to jump right into planting, picking, and maintaining the garden while seeking help and guidance along the way as inevitable issues (and successes!) arise. But not only do we get experience with growing, we also get some super valuable business training. By running the garden stand every week, we learn all about presentation, advertising, networking, pricing, understanding customer needs, and the value of being prepared.

The Albright Garden experience is a great one so we hope you will join us during this 2015 season on our little blog to hear all about our garden tales, and see what I’m sure will be a plethora of pictures to accompany them.

In the meantime, Happy Gardening and Keep it Green!

With Love,

Ellen

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Meet this Season’s Interns: Emily Phillips

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Hi everyone! My name is Emily Phillips and I will be working as an intern until August 17th. Even as a little girl, I was surrounded by nature. Every second I could spare, I played outside until I was forced to come indoors by my parents. I discovered all different kinds of nature. Whether it was trees, flowers, or plants, they made me very curious. Once I grew a bit older, I began to garden with my dad. I loved watching our hard work grow into something so great. Yet, I learned in high school that normal agriculture is not the best for its environment. I never heard of a sustainable garden until I came to Albright in the summer before my first semester. When I was shown the garden that summer though, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. My goal is to add something to this garden that can benefit it even more while also being able to take the information that I learn and relate it back to my community to educate them.

As you can tell, I am very concerned about the environment and the living things that it sustains. My major at Albright is Environmental Science with a focus in Animal Behaviors studies. Now, my journey at Albright started a little differently. As a freshmen here, I was an Environmental Science major with a Pre-Veterinary studies tract. I knew I wanted to work with animals but as my freshmen year slowly came to a close, I realized something important concerning my future; I did not want to spend eight more years of my life at another university, especially when I wasn’t in love with the idea of cutting animals open and watching them die. Now, the upside to this profession is that one gets to help a lot of animals in their lifetime. Yet, there was something missing. As I evaluated what I wanted to do in life, it suddenly came to me. I realized how much I admired my high school environmental science teacher and how he made me fall in love with specifically the ecology section of the environmental science class. Now, who really educated me more in this field was my advisor, Dr. David Osgood. With his knowledge, I learned that I wanted to be a research ecologist. I want to become either a population or community ecologist so I can study the behaviors of animals. My goal one day is to be able to contribute helpful research back to people so they can learn something from my work.

Even though science is a big part of my life, I still have hobbies as well. A part from being involved with the campus’ environmental outreach club (E.C.O), I also have a spot on Albright’s Track and Field team. Running has been important in my life since I was seven. The first time I set foot on a track, I was on cloud nine. I’ve done everything from running mild distances to jumping to even throwing, but I’ve found my place in the short distances. People doubted me as a sprinter because of the size I am but my times always seemed to crush their doubts. Over the years, running isn’t just a sport or pastime to me anymore. It’s come to be something that is a stress reliever, which at this point in my life is more fun than hard work. To me, running is my favorite way to express myself without using any words. When I’m running, I don’t have to explain my logic or myself. On the track, I can only keep improving. Now, that’s enough about me. I’ll leave you all with one of my favorite quotes.

“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes

and expectations.”

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Meet This Season’s Interns: Alyson Hutter

Gardener from the Garden State

Aly blog 2 Aly blog

Hello all! I’m Aly! I’m an environmental science and marine aquatics major hoping to go to graduate school and study inter tidal zones in South America. I am a traveler and beach lover who grew up exploring the beaches of South Jersey where I grew up enjoying life in island time. I am a flower child at heart and love all things on earth which leads me here to the garden.

As summer approaches and the semester has come to an end, Ellen and I have started to organize our To-do list and prepare to jump feet first into the summer of gardening and teaching. I am excited to continue to learn from Ellen, Dr. Jennings, the other interns and the many community members who will impact my experience of bettering my garden skills while also teaching the future generations the importance of garden and the blessing a garden can give you. I am very eager to learn more about traveling through the life of the plant from seedling to produce while learning that some things will be eaten by pest and other will draw species in such as the bees. The bee family is very important to the garden and I enjoy watching them, but from afar because unfortunately I am highly allergic.

Growing up in the Garden State, there was always a farmers market in town and you always knew the people selling you the fruits, vegetable and homemade jams. I am excited to now be the producer of food as well as the receiver. I feel it is important to see both sides of the table as you buy and sell food that was tended to with love and care.

Already the growth in the garden has made me feel like a proud mother, watching the seeds sprout and caring for the well-being of the plants has kept me sane during the final weeks of the semester and I am sure they will be completely worth it while I am spending my summer watching them grow up. I have grown to enjoy the happiness the garden brings me. I am very excited that Ellen and I will be spreading that happiness to the first graders at 13th and Union in the upcoming weeks (which I will write more about once that project is completed!).

“Leave nothing but footprints take nothing but pictures, Kill nothing but time”

xo Aly

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Permablitz 2015!

Permablitz 2015

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Today marked the official initiation of the garden into this years growing season!

Our 2015 “Permablitz” was a great success with all the talented and hardworking volunteers that traded a Sunday sleeping in for a grueling yet therapeutic day in the garden. What was only a few hours ago misshapen plots and mats of weeds is now a masterpiece. We began by tearing out the ever encroaching bermuda grass and clovers that have slowly taken over the garden…and if that didn’t tire everyone out then shoveling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, after wheelbarrow of compost and mulch definitely did. But the result – a beautifully prepared garden, community connection, and some brownies and clementines to celebrate our impressive work.

We also installed our rain barrels, built new composters, and most importantly shared the joy of gardening with a bunch of joyous little kids.

Check out these photos from our fun day!

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What’s in an Heirloom?!

heirloom2

In the industrialized food system that dominates our food market there has been a serious reduction in the diversity of the produce we eat. Hybrids and genetically modified varieties have been created to make commercial production easier, create more uniform crops, increase yields, resist disease, and have a more dependable crop.  While in some ways these are good for large scale food production, the preservation and cultivation of heirlooms has come from the desire to maintain valuable biodiversity among crops, which is threatened by industrial methods …and some just find the taste superior! But what really is an heirloom?
You’re used to seeing the perfectly round and rosy red tomatoes in the store, but heirlooms tend to be a whole different story. Sure there are typical red varieties, but heirlooms can come in a breathtaking range of colors, shapes, sizes, and designs. Heirlooms are varieties that were being grown before WWII and were open pollinated. This means pollination, instead of being controlled, was done by insects, birds, wind, etc. This created very diverse seeds and plants that were well adapted to area they were bred in. These seeds have been passed down by families, travelers, and there are even some commercially bred heirloom varieties.

One of the most popular stories about heirloom varieties is the mortgage lifter tomato (which we have in the garden!) In the 1930’s, Marshall Cletis Byles, a man with nearly no experience with growing tomatoes, created a breed that allowed him to pay off his mortgage in 6 years. He cross pollinated a variety of tomatoes including German Johnson, Beefsteak, an unknown Italian variety, and an unknown English variety. For six years he cross pollinated the strongest seedlings of these cross pollinated varieties, and thus the Mortgage Lifter was born. His goal was to create a tomato that could feed families – they are big and meaty with few seeds, the plants produce many tomatoes, and have disease resistant qualities. Come try them out at our next stand!

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