With Thanksgiving week upon us and the inevitability of the holidays certain, I will blog about a variety of things tangential to this time of year.
First, I am inspired by a tweet from the New York Times about raking versus mowing your fallen leaves. You can see the full article by clicking here. From an environmental perspective, there are a couple of “greener” ways of handling this perennial chore. If you have the time, energy, and space I suggest raking and composting your leaves as much as possible. Not only do you get the benefit of some “yardiovascular” exercise as I call it, but you also do not burn fossil fuels and you have the benefit of some compost for your vegetable garden in the spring. If you simply do not have the time, physical ability, or space for composting, mowing them into your lawn is a good alternative. Obviously, you do create some noise and carbon by running your mower, but you will not create a need to bag and have them collected. In addition, the chopped leaves will serve as food for your lawn come spring.
Speaking of composting, there are a few byproducts of this time of year to which I try to apply the “reduce, recycle, reuse” mantra. I just yesterday tossed my pumpkin remains into my compost pile after allowing my chickens to have at them. I added some of my chicken manure to the pile to round out the mix of leaves and vegetable matter – now I am hoping for a little rain; if not, I will empty one of my rain barrels onto the pile before things freeze too much more. I don’t want to burst my rain barrels! This is prime oyster eating time here in Maryland, and I enjoy these briny morsels from our own Chesapeake Bay. Once you have enjoyed your oysters this holiday season, instead of pitching the shells into the trash, consider adding them to your crush and run driveway. If you want to really help our Bay, you can find a place to recycle your shells which will help foster the growth of new oysters. Check the link here for details. You may be aware that oysters are one of the best filtration organisms in our Bay and contribute greatly to its health. More oysters mean cleaner water quite simply.
Giving Thanks – this year, I am particularly grateful and want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to lead Irvine as its new executive director. I also appreciate the support of our board of trustees and their exceptional generosity. Let me share with you just one example: we were in need of an important piece of equipment which was not budgeted. It was suggested that I ask the board if anyone was interested in giving us the funds for this purchase of $1600 – not a small amount of money. One of our most generous raised his hand without hesitation and said he would pledge $800 if someone else would match it on the spot. Immediately another trustee indicated that he would chip in the rest. I am thankful for their leadership.
I am also grateful for the opportunity to participate with another of our trustees, Dr. Zohara Hieronimus, on her radio program just last night. We discussed the advantages of exposing young children to nature and outdoor experiences in addition to the various program offerings here at Irvine. Thanks for having me, Zoh! You can check out more of her programs, books, and other content at this link here.
I was sorry to miss another opportunity to make cider but was thrilled that we were able to contribute to the Thanksgiving basket drive at Apples and Oranges Market which was started by another of our trustees, Michelle Speaks-March. You can see their webpage at http://www.applesandorangesmarket.com/ Michelle and her husband are doing the exceptionally important work of fighting the food desert phenomenon here in Baltimore. I am thankful for their work in our city.
Here in Baltimore, we plan on participating in “Giving Tuesday” as a follow up to Thanksgiving week next Tuesday, December 3rd. Please check out our page on the GiftCorps site here and consider contributing to our RaptorCam project which you can see in its beta phase here.
Be a part of “BmoreGivesMore” by helping us!
Finally, let me encourage you and your family members to visit us here at Irvine if you are near Owings Mills, Maryland over the Thanksgiving week. We are free and open to the public from 9Am to 5PM daily and closed Thanksgiving Day. Come and enjoy our fantastic exhibit hall, our 116 acres of forest, meadows, and wetlands, and walk our six miles of trails. I hope to bump into you out there!