The most important home garden tips you probably don’t know


With tens of millions of home fruit and vegetable gardens in the U.S., what can home gardeners do this spring to maximize their return on investment? “Really healthy plants start with really healthy seedlings,” explains John Kempf, a lifelong Amish farmer. As founder and CEO of Middlefield, Ohio-based Advancing Eco Agriculture, Kempf specializes in optimizing plant health and soil biology to increase the yield, nutrient density and shelf life of crops. Go Short “Most seedlings today are grown for appearance rather than utility,” Kempf says. “Instead of buying the largest seedlings, get the ones with the shortest, sturdiest stems.” For … Continue reading

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4 US Cities Taking Sustainability Seriously


As climate and the subject of climate change heat up, it’s reassuring to learn that there are a few cities implementing serious sustainable solutions at the local level.  There has been plenty of talk over the years on climate change and the desperate need for sustainable living solutions. As a result, most cities have in one way or another made some attempts at reducing their carbon footprint. There are some cities, however, that have gone a little further and taken full initiative to set the standard for how a sustainable city should work. Portland, Oregon Portland’s commitment to becoming the greenest … Continue reading

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Why you need to ensure your next building project is environmentally friendly


Building a home is costly but so is maintaining one. Every day people look to cut costs on their energy bills by switching gas suppliers or putting their heating on a timer. They look for many ways to save the smallest penny but there is a different way that can save you lots of money. Build your house with the environment in mind and in turn you will save lots of money. Energy efficient building materials Burning excess energy is bad for the environment and raises the price of your bills. Below is a list of building materials that you … Continue reading

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Seasonal manatee speed zones in effect statewide


FWC News Now that weather and waters are warming, manatees are disbursing into their popular feeding and loafing areas. To ensure manatee safety, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement officers, along with federal and local law enforcement partners, will be increasing patrols in these areas. This effort coincides with seasonal manatee zones that went into effect April 1 and run through Nov. 15. The speed zones are intended to protect the state’s official marine mammal from collisions with boats. Warming weather increases boat traffic too, which is why the FWC also reminds operators of boats and personal … Continue reading

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100th Anniversary of Extension Services – Brevard Celebration and Plant Sale


Join Brevard County Extension at the Cocoa Ag Center on April 12 as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service. Extension allows us all  to benefit from the research and education of our land-grant universities. If you’ve learned how to produce crops more efficiently, choose healthier foods, conserve water, save money or start a butterfly garden, chances are you learned it from Extension. We’re proud of our 100 years of service to the people of Florida, and we look forward to providing solutions for your life for 100 more! Time: 9 a.m. to 2 … Continue reading

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New Pesticide Labels Will Better Protect Bees and Other Pollinators


WASHINGTON – In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.  “Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. The new labels will have a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray … Continue reading

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Pet Collar Pesticide Warning


Under a voluntary agreement, Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc. and Wellmark International have agreed to stop producing pet collars containing the pesticide propoxur. This decision was reached as a result of discussions about how to reduce children’s exposure to propoxur in pet collars.  Read the Press Release. The companies have agreed not to distribute these products after April 1, 2016. The remaining products will go through the channels of trade until the existing stock of pet collars has been sold. If you purchased a propoxur pet collar, read the label carefully and follow all directions on the label to protect … Continue reading

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Enchanted Forest Earth Day Festival March 26th


The Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program and the Friends of the Enchanted Forest invite the public to the annual Earth Day Festival at the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary Management and Education Center on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The activities will include Florida wildlife, bird and reptile exhibitors, Bat Belfrys with live Florida bats; live music, guided hikes, Florida Native Plant Society gardening info and native plant sales, environmental booths, artists painting on site. We will have children’s activities, crafts, and face painting. Musicians performing will be: 10:00am Sheryl Paige, 11:00am Sharon Osuna, 12:00noon Crystal Woman, … Continue reading

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EPA Environmental Tip of the Day


Happy Earth Month from EPA! Each day in April, we’ll send an environmental tip to everyone who subscribed to our list. This year, we’re focusing on how you can act on climate change. Today’s Tip: Change five lights Did you know that the average home has approximately 30 light fixtures and spends about 12% of its electricity bill on lighting? Replace your five most frequently used light fixtures or light bulbs with Energy Star qualified products, and you will prevent carbon pollution while saving $75 a year on energy bills. Lighting itself accounts for more of the energy you use … Continue reading

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How to Tell If Its Time to Replace Your AC Unit


Numbers don’t lie when it comes to air conditioning systems and the advancement of efficient engineering over the course of the last decade has shown great strides in providing homeowners with lower numbers. Lower costs of course! But not all low numbers are good when talking about A/C units, particularly when discussing ratings. SEER is short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and grades the efficiency performance of A/C units based on usage and ability. New units (purchased in the last 10 years) usually have higher SEER ratings than older units, lowering the amount homeowners pay each month in energy costs. … Continue reading

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U.S. Long-Term Environmental Goals to Protect the Future


According to the Ricoh Group, the advanced nations of the world need to reduce their impact on the environment a significant amount by 2050. In order to do so, long-term environmental goals must be established in three specific areas: resource conservation, pollution prevention, and energy conservation. If these long-term goals are met, people everywhere will be able to witness a better way of living instead of the destruction that the current path is leading to. The following are the long-term goals that the Ricoh Group has set and how they can be achieved. Resource Conservation There are two main goals … Continue reading

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What to Look for in a Green Home


Before you shop for a  home, determine the needs of your family and make a list of your “wants.” For each “want” that you list, consider the environmental drawbacks. As an example, a home with a high vaulted ceiling is beautiful, but more expensive to heat and cool. Those marble counters that you want may be imported from overseas, which means it took a lot of fuel to get to your home. A green home should offer room to grow and be able to adapt to changes in your family in the near and distant future. The landscaping on the … Continue reading

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5 Ways New Home Builders Go Green


Modern home builders agree that today’s hottest homes are green homes. As the market picks up for new homes, potential home buyers are looking at more than just the square footage and amenities. They’re interested in quality, craftsmanship and the features that new home builders incorporate into the dwelling to make it a financially and environmentally sound investment. Green Elements in New Homes Tight building envelope:  A tight building envelope helps to keep a home comfortable all year round by minimizing the amount of air that enters and leaves, which reduces energy costs and the strain on your heating and … Continue reading

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Reducing Pollution is Good for Business AND the Planet


When it comes to pollution, do you sometimes find yourself wondering why you should care at all about how much pollution your company creates? This is a common theme with business owners. After all, the goal of a company is to make money. It does not really matter what it takes for you to reach that goal. If the company is earning, that means more money for you, a higher value for your shareholders, and more money for private investors. Reducing pollution is simply not something that you spend a lot of time thinking about because you have to focus … Continue reading

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How a Landscaping Service Can Help with Efficient Irrigation


Any irrigation system can be optimized for efficiency and eco-friendliness. Let’s take a look at why efficient irrigation is important from an ecological perspective; then we’ll have the context needed to appreciate how a landscaping service can help increase irrigation efficiency. The Sustainability Factor: How Water Management is Eco-Friendly 1. Stormwater Runoff is a huge issue in environmental circles these days. Many cities’ storm water systems are decades old. Oftentimes, they were built to support a much smaller population, and combine sewer and storm water in one system. During big storms, water rushes down city streets, sometimes causing the sewer … Continue reading

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Dance to the Beat of a Different Drummer


I love this video that is making its way around Facebook and other social media sites. Watching the young, uninhibited dancer makes me wants to celebrate her joy and independence with her. She looks so much happier than the rest of the dancers. I sure hope that she can retain that freedom and joy throughout her lifetime.

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Closer to God


There was a time when I was closer to God. During that time, I woke up in a state of near bliss. All of my senses were clearer and more finely tuned. Every beautiful sight, every wonderful fragrance, every sensual touch wasn’t just like nourishment to my starving soul – they were pieces of my soul coming back together to make me whole. My thoughts were as clear as ice and focused on love and kindness and miracles. Every thought was like an epiphany. I understood……. everything. There is really no way to describe the feeling except nirvana. It was … Continue reading

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Hummingbirds: Nature’s Works of Art


My friend Ruth-Ann sent me this video because she knows I love hummingbirds. And although the scientific facts about the hummingbird tongue is pretty incredible, what I really loved are the words that are spoken by Paul Nelson, whose profession is listed as Philosopher of Biology (which sounds like a pretty incredible profession to me). As I sit here and watch a hummingbird AND butterfly AND bees sharing the same bush outside my windows I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Nelson….I just want to stand back and applaud. “From flower, to flower, to flower, to flower, this brilliant iridescent body…there is … Continue reading

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Did You Know October 21st is Reptile Awareness Day?


I’ve often mentioned that my husband and I treat much of the wildlife on our property like pets. Not only do we provide food, shelter and places for cover, primarily in the form of native habitat, but we often end up naming the “critters” and becoming quite attached to them. One creature that I have an especially strong attachment to is a gopher tortoise which we have named “Junior”. Junior was born on our property many years ago — around 2005, I believe. Gopher tortoises (which are a threatened species in Florida) are only 1 ½” – 2” at birth and grow … Continue reading

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Indian River Lagoon Needs Our Help


 The problems with the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County have been in our local newspaper a lot lately. The Indian River Lagoon, which consists of Mosquito Lagoon, the Indian River and the Banana River,  is North America’s most diverse estuary with more than 2,200 different species of animals and 2,100 species of plants. The lagoon also has one of the most diverse bird populations anywhere in America. Nearly 1/3 of the nation’s manatee population lives here or migrates through the Lagoon seasonally. However, the lagoon is suffering right now from environmental degradation and ongoing wildlife die-offs. And the majority … Continue reading

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