Friday, February 29, 2008

Why Juniper Trees Can Live On Less Water

An ability to avoid the plant equivalent of vapor lock and a favorable evolutionary history may explain the unusual drought resistance of junipers, some varieties of which are now spreading rapidly in water-starved regions of the western United States, a Duke University study has found.

"The take-home message is that junipers are the most drought-resistant group that has ever been studied," said Robert Jackson, a professor of global environmental change and biology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.

"We examined 14 species from the U.S. and Caribbean, and they're all relatively drought-resistant -- even ones in the mountains of Jamaica that get hundreds of inches of rain a year," he said.

"They've been expanding for about 100 years in some places, and drought plays a role in that," added Jackson, who is corresponding author of the new report published Feb. 27 in the American Journal of Botany's online edition. "For example, recent droughts have decimated pinyon pine populations in pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Southwestern U.S. but left the junipers relatively unscathed."

Many juniper species -- including several popularly known as cedars -- "are invading drier habitats and increasing in abundance where they already exist by surviving droughts that other conifers cannot," the report said.

The work was funded by the National Science Foundation, Duke University and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

To understand why junipers are so successful, Jackson's graduate student Cynthia Willson and Duke associate biology professor Paul Manos assessed structural and genetic features in the 14 species that can explain their special drought tolerance.

They found a key structural adaptation in junipers: resistance to what scientists call "cavitation" -- a tendency for bubbles to form in the water-conducting xylem tissues of plants.

Water is sucked through xylem tissues under a partial vacuum, "so it's almost like a rubber band being stretched out," explained Jackson. "The dryer the conditions, the greater the tension on that 'rubber band' and the more likely that it will snap. If it snaps, air bubbles can get into the xylem."

The scientists found that xylem tissues of juniper species tend to be reinforced with extra woody material to prevent rupture. Such rupturing can introduce bubble-forming air either through seepage from adjacent cavities or by coming out of solution from the water itself, Jackson said.
The scientists also determined that the more cavitation-resistant Juniper species have thicker but narrower leaves -- a trait known as low specific leaf area (SLA) -- and live primarily in the western United States.

"Plants in drier environments typically have lower SLA," said Willson, the study's first author, who having completed her Ph.D. at Duke is now a student at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "We found that junipers from the driest environments were more drought resistant and also had the lowest SLA."

Their research found that the most cavitation-resistant species is the California juniper, which grows in California's Mojave Desert, while the least resistant is the eastern red cedar -- the most widespread conifer in the relatively-moist eastern U.S.

While less drought-tolerant than other junipers, eastern red cedars still handle dry spells well and are in fact invading into Midwestern states including Nebraska, Jackson noted. Juniper species growing in wet parts of the Caribbean also benefit from drought tolerance because they "tend to grow in shallow, rocky soils that don't hold a lot of water," Jackson said.

In parts of the Southwest undergoing an extended drying period, junipers are edging out another hardy, water-thrifty conifer -- the pinyon pine. "They're both very drought- resistant, but the pinyons aren't as resistant as the junipers are," Jackson said.

The scientists also investigated how and where these tree types evolved their collective drought tolerance by analyzing each juniper species' DNA. That analysis found that junipers evolved into different species relatively recently, separating into eastern and western groups -- technically called "clades."

"The center of diversity for junipers is in arid regions of Mexico," said Willson. "The fact that many juniper species seem to be more drought-resistant than necessary for their current range suggests that a common ancestor of those two clades was also quite drought-resistant."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk Cascades Into Fernbank’s IMAX® Theatre

The producers of the blockbuster hit Everest will make a big splash with the new film Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk. The giant-screen film combines exhilarating river-rafting action, family fun and bonding, and the grandeur of the Grand Canyon to tell an engaging story of how ordinary people can make a difference for our planet. Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk, presented by Teva and proudly supported by Kohler Co., will open in the IMAX® Theatre at Fernbank Museum of Natural History on March 22, 2008 in celebration of World Water Day.

Taking audiences on this illuminating rafting trip along America’s most iconic river are two environmental heroes: world-renowned river advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and celebrated author, anthropologist and explorer Wade Davis, accompanied by their daughters for whom this journey will become a moving rite of passage. They are guided by Shana Watahomigie, the first Native American to become a National Park Ranger and river guide. With a stirring score featuring songs and music from Dave Matthews Band, this adventure explores the spiritual, artistic and life-sustaining powers of water—and makes crystal clear that each of us must do our part to better manage this crucial resource for the future.

“At current consumption levels, the Earth is running out of clean, fresh water so fast that the U.N. estimates 40% of the world could face life-threatening shortages by the year 2050,” said Susan Dunn, environmental educator at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. “And in consideration of Georgia’s current drought crisis, Fernbank is showing this film at a crucial time in hopes of motivating and inspiring visitors to conserve water now and long into the future.”

Fernbank’s environmental education team leads a series of programs to help participants find easy ways to conserve water, including a rain barrel workshop that demonstrates how to capture rainwater for later use in home gardening projects. Grand Canyon Adventure reveals why such small water conservation practices are so important to our Earth.

“Safe fresh water is a human right like clean air, yet more than one-fifth of the world’s people suffer without adequate clean water,” said Kennedy, who recalls going down the Colorado just a few decades ago with his own father and seeing wide, sandy banks and animals that have since vanished. “My hope is that Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk will remind the world that restoring our waterways and conserving fresh water are important, not just in developing nations but here at home.”

The vital urgency for people around the world to address the water crisis comes to the fore as the explorers make their way down the Colorado, a prime example of a mighty and hallowed river that has been altered by excess and inefficient use. The Colorado once flowed freely across 1,400 miles, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Today, however, the lower half of the Colorado no longer consistently reaches the sea, and the river is literally shrinking due to a severe drought cycle now facing the American Southwest. Researchers predict this so-called “mega-drought” could last into the next century, threatening to wreck havoc among the seven states that depend heavily on the river’s water.

With the earth’s population soaring, far too many people have found themselves without daily access to water. From the American West to Africa, aquifers are tapped out, waterways have been dammed into extinction and wetlands have turned to deserts. The result is that more than a staggering 1.5 billion people have been left thirsty, while 5 million people a year tragically die due to water-borne illnesses.

“In our film, the Colorado River becomes a metaphor for global water issues, revealing how interconnected our rivers, water supply and human actions really are,” says producer Greg MacGillivray. “A river trip is one of those amazing life events where you’re ripped out of your daily routine and inspired to see the world in new ways.”

Shot in four weeks almost entirely on the Colorado River, the challenging production involved the cooperation of three Indian nations, the National Park Service, Teva’s team of champion kayakers and more than a dozen experienced river guides. As the explorers float through the breath-taking canyons and crash through the raging rapids, they also trace the history of the river. They compare what they see on their trip with photos taken by Jack Hillers on explorer John Wesley Powell’s courageous second expedition down the river in 1872—and find the landscape dramatically changed. For the two fathers whose life work is so closely connected to water, the expedition is also an opportunity to pass the conservation torch to their daughters, whose generation must face the task of making sure we will all have a share in the earth’s fresh water resources.

Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk shows daily in the IMAX® Theatre at Fernbank Museum of Natural History from March 22 through July 18, 2008. IMAX® tickets are $13 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and $11 for children ages 12 and under. Value Pass tickets, which combine Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk with full Museum access, are $23 for adults, $21 for students and seniors, and $19 for children.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road in Atlanta. More information is available to visitors at fernbankmuseum.org. Tickets can be purchased in advance at 404.929.6400.
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Tiny worms are underground root destroyers

By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia

Most garden pests can be seen crawling and nibbling their way across plants. But tiny subterranean pests could be attacking your garden without you knowing it.

“Nematodes are microscopic non-segmented worms,” said Jim Crawford, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Jefferson County. “The ones we are concerned with live mostly in sandy soils and have a stylet or mouth-spear that resembles a hypodermic needle.”

Nematodes live in the soil and feed on plant roots preventing them from providing nutrients to the plant. Tomatoes, okra, cantaloupe, watermelon and squash are the most susceptible garden plants.

The most common nematode is the southern root-knot nematode, which causes roots to gall or swell. “These knots are very obvious,” Crawford said.

The stubby-root nematode “stubs off roots” so they appear short and thick, Crawford said.

No matter which nematode attacks, the resulting swollen roots cause the plant’s vascular system to shut off so the root doesn’t transport water and nutrients.

How do you know if your plants are under attack from nematodes? Look for “unthrift, stunted or deformed plants,” he said. Due to their lack of nutrients, nematode-infested plants will appear wilted even when they have plenty of moisture.

Homeowners can also have their garden soil tested to see if nematodes are present. “This is similar to the soil samples taken for fertility testing except this sample would be tested for the presence of nematodes,” he said.

If you have nematodes in your garden, the good news is they don’t move very fast or very far. “It’s been estimated that they can only move about three feet per year by themselves,” Crawford said. “They can, however, be moved with garden tillers or brought in with fill dirt or on infected transplants.”

Row-crop farmers are accustomed to fighting the tiny critters. They attack crops, stopping or reducing yields and, as a result, profits.

“Farmers can choose from a few products specifically formulated to kill nematodes,” said Crawford. “Unfortunately, home gardeners are unable to use these products.”

There are currently no chemical products labeled for use on nematodes found in home gardens, he said.

So, what can home gardeners do to control nematodes? One way to kill nematodes in your garden plot is to use the sun as your weapon.

“Solarization must be done in the summer months on fallow ground that will be a garden the next year,” Crawford said. “It involves spreading plastic over the ground and letting the sun’s heat kill the nematodes that live below.”

Crawford finds another control method “relatively effective” although it hasn’t been tested by UGA Extension.

“Adding chitin to the soil is a simple, legal, safe and affordable approach,” Crawford said. “It’s crushed marine shells, but to nematodes it’s razor-wire. When viewed under a microscope it looks very sharp and jagged.”

Available at most lawn and garden supply stores, chitin should be mixed into the top eight inches soil at a rate of one pound per two square feet of affected area. After harvest, remove all roots and till the soil well to dry out and kill any surviving nematodes.

“Homeowners shouldn’t expect this to solve their problems in heavily infested areas,” he said.

To prevent nematodes, UGA experts recommend rotating your garden plants each year.

“Try rotating the most susceptible plants, like tomatoes and okra, to a different place in the garden,” he said. “If you’re using transplants, select bigger ones since they’re not as likely to be attacked.”

Planting resistant varieties also helps. Nematode-resistant varieties are often designated as such by the acronym VFN on their labels. “Nematodes can’t reproduce on the roots of these plants thus controlling the population,” Crawford said.
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STEEN MOGENSEN EXHIBIT AT GWINNETT HISTORIC COURTHOUSE

Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation will host a photographic exhibit entitled “Antarctic Impressions” by Lawrenceville resident Steen V. Mogensen. The event will be featured at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse from Feb. 29 – May 19. An opening reception will be held on March 6, from 7-9 p.m. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free.

Mogensen is a trained electronics engineer, consulting to some of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. He has traveled the world extensively visiting more than 50 countries on six continents. The past three years he has supported a wildlife research team, studying Weddell seals in Antarctica and has spent a total of six months on “the Ice.”

Mogensen comments, “the work in Antarctica has offered me a unique opportunity to observe and document the beginning of life for the Weddell seal pups as well as some of the life cycle of the adult seals as they spend a few months on the ice surface to give birth.”
Mogensen resides in Lawrenceville with his family.

The Gwinnett Historic Courthouse is located at 185 W. Crogan St. in Lawrenceville. For more information call 770-417-2200 or visit www.gwinnettparks.com.
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wolves to be removed from species list

BILLINGS, Mont. - Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies will be removed from the endangered species list, following a 13-year restoration effort that helped the animal's population soar, federal officials said Thursday.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080221/ap_on_sc/wolf_delisting
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Mom holds a hummingbird

My parents live up at Lake Oconee. I'm always jealous of the swarms of hummingbirds Mom attracts to her porch. She has at least six or seven feeders on the porch and there are days when she has to refill them more than once.
Last winter she had some hummingbirds that didn't leave so she started doing some research.
She contacted a group that keeps up with the little hummers and asked a few questions.
Turns out she had a few of the Rufus hanging out. They captured one and banded it. Then went down to a neighbor's house and banded one there.
It sounded like an interesting process. The guy had a contraption that fit over a feeder. Of course, being the skittish creatures they are, once they set the thing up they had to wait patiently for it to venture out and into the trap.

They didn't gas it or do anything to knock it out, it just froze when caught. That's my Mom holding it. She said it stayed on her hand for a few minutes, then realized it was free and took off. No harm, it was back feeding in no time at all.
You can't see it, but there's a tiny little band around it's tiny little leg. Awww....
The first photo is the guy from whatever group he represents (guess I should have asked Mom for the name!). The other two photos are my Mom of course.
If I remember correctly she has two or three that hang out through the winter.
I know here in Fayette there are people who try to attract one or two wintering hummingbirds, but to date I haven't crossed path's with anyone who has actually been managed to succeed.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

An Atlanta BeltLine Site Demolition Goes Green

NF Note: Not Fayette County, but we were impressed with the idea of "green" demolition! We're not really at a point in Fayette County where a lot of our infrastructure is crumbling or in need of being torn down, but it does happen at times. Of course, most of the things being torn down in Fayette are so old they have already been pretty much eaten by termites .

The City of Atlanta has started the clearing of Boulevard Crossing Park as part of the initial phase of the Atlanta BeltLine Project. The construction site is not a typical site of mass debris where bulldozers with wrecking balls smash the sides of the building until it crumbles to the ground. Instead the contractors have carefully disassembled the walls, frames, beams and siding using an alternative process called a “green” demolition.

The main appeal of “green” demolition is that materials from the building that have been carefully disassembled will be reassembled for use at another location. At Boulevard Crossing, approximately 90% of the building’s components, which included the blocks, frame, beams, and siding will be recycled and reassembled for a recreation facility for teenage boys in Moultrie, GA.

Kissberg Construction, the City’s contractor, was instrumental in facilitating this type of demolition using the standards outlined in the Leadership in Energy in Environmental Designing (LEED) for recycling. The crew sorted and carefully packaged the materials and components in a tractor trailer for the trip to South Georgia.

“It is a significant effort on the part of City and our partners to minimize waste and conserve resources by recycling the building materials for use at other sites,” says City of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. “The ‘green’ demolition process provides us with a major reduction in disposal costs while allowing the City to provide a building for use as a refuge for teenage boys.”

Once the components arrive at the site in Moultrie, GA and are assembled, it will become the new youth center. Bishop Julian Carter from the Triumph Church and Kingdom of God was awarded the donation from the City’s contractor for his youth ministry initiative called Take Me As I Am Redevelopment Program.

The Boulevard Crossing acreage was assembled by the Trust for Public Land and purchased by the City for about $9 Million through the City’s Opportunity Bonds, administered by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.
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Friday, February 22, 2008

2008 edition of annual UGA Spring Garden Packet

Welcome to the 33rd annual Spring Garden Packet from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Written by 14 CAES faculty members and graduate and undergraduate students, these 27 feature articles are provided to help you give your readers the timely, valuable gardening information they want. Your UGA Cooperative Extension county agent (just call 1-800-ASK-UGA1) can help you localize these features. The stories are available on Georgia FACES at a georgiafaces.com.

This year’s edition is split into sections. First, you’ll find articles on fruits and vegetables, followed by general gardening, gold medal winners, garden pests and plant diseases.

Fruits and vegetables
1. Top 10 vegetables to try – Kristen Plank
2. Georgia oranges? – Sharon Omahen
3. Growing sweet potatoes – Terry Kelley
4. Put your harvest on the table – Plank
5. From garden to grub: Ratatouille – Plank

General gardening
6. Good gardening saves green – Matthew Chappell
7. Gardening success during drought – Plank
8. Alternatives to turf – Amanda Tedrow
9. Gardening ‘achoos’ – Peppers
10. Creating a garden with children – Plank
11. Growing gourds in Georgia – Kelley

Gold medal winners
12. Georgia's plant all-stars for 2008 – Plank
13. Comeback plant – Bodie Pennisi
14. Paperbush adds heavenly scent – Gary Wade
15. American Hornbeam adapts – Wade
16. Pride of Augusta great vine for Georgia – Wade
17. Cranesbill a ‘floral blockbuster’ - Pennisi

Garden pests
18. Using pesticides safely – Paul Guillebeau
19. The ultimate unwelcome guest – Elmer Gray
20. Tips to keep mosquitoes away – Guillebeau
21. Widow spiders and work gloves – Stephanie Schupska
22. Hornworms love tomatoes – Nancy Hinkle
23. The lowdown on chiggers – Gray

Plant diseases
24. Prevent some vegetable diseases – Brad Haire
25. Take-all root rot – Holly Thornton
26. Pick tomatoes resistant to virus – Kelley
27. UGA clinic diagnoses sick plants – Thornton

Here are all of the annual UGA garden packet articles for the past seven years:
2007 Garden Packet Articles
2006 Garden Packet Articles
2005 Garden Packet Articles
2004 Garden Packet Articles
2003 Garden Packet Articles
2002 Garden Packet Articles

(Stephanie Schupska was principle editor of the 2008 Spring Garden Packet and is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Vision Bear to speak in Peachtree City

The Fayette Art Center is hosting a free seminar with Vision Bear, a Mexicali and Mayan Indian belonging to the Amantecatl and Tlacatecolotl clans whose language is similar to the Apache.
Vision Bear is also a Tepatiani (visionary healer), artist and teacher.
He received the ancestral gifts from his great-grandfather, Don Gaitano Flores, which set his life on a journey of love and pain, of wonder and mystery.
He will be giving a free lecture at the Peachtree City Library (downstairs) on Thursday, Feb. 21st at 6:30 pm.
His presentation will be about "Ehecatl Art" which is a healing art created in unison with "that which can be felt but not seen".

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Turn Your Used and Unwanted Electronics into Cash

(ARA) – Electronics have become a mainstay of our American way of life. These days, it seems like just about every household has a computer or two, several television sets and DVD players, a game system, cell phones and more. Not to mention the stockpiles of old electronics, set aside when they became obsolete.

How many old cell phones, computers and monitors do you still have sitting around? How about your neighbor, and your neighbor’s neighbor? The statistics are staggering.

According to a study done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2005 Americans had between 1.9 and 2.2 million tons of used and unwanted electronics. An estimated 1.5 to 1.9 million tons of them ended up in landfills. Between 345,000 and 379,000 tons were responsibly disposed of at recycling facilities. The rest likely remain in people’s closets and garages today.

Recognizing the need to offer consumers a better end-of-life (EOL) solution for their old electronics, Young America Corporation, a company that handles customer fulfillment programs for retailers and manufacturers, recently commissioned a study to find out what it would take to get people to change their behavior and think about recycling first.

A total of 902 people who had either replaced electronics in the past 12 months or were planning to replace them within the next 12 months were surveyed in August 2007. While 69 percent of the participants were aware of the availability of electronics recycling programs, only two percent had actually participated in one.

When asked what kind of incentive it would take for them to recycle electronics, almost half of the respondents said they would recycle a cell phone for nothing in return. Just over half said they would recycle a desktop for $20 to $50 or a similar charitable donation, while most replacing a laptop were split between recycling for nothing and between $50 and $100.

In addition, 75 percent of those surveyed said they’d like the ability to check the value of the product to be recycled before making a decision. A strong majority also said they would feel more comfortable “cleaning” personal information off the device themselves rather than trusting the recycler, but would accept the offer of free online software that would help them get the job done.

In response to the survey results, Young America Corporation teamed up with Eco International, a company specializing in the disposition of e-Waste and The Wireless Source, one of the largest mobile phone recycling companies in the United States, to create MyBoneYard.com, a site billed the Simple, Safe and Smart way to recycle electronics.

The site is easy to use. All you have to do is log on to www.MyBoneYard.com and click on the link at the top of the page that says “Getting Started.” Then choose the type of device you want to dispose of -- a PC system with or without the monitor, a laptop, cell phone, smart phone or flat panel monitor. Next, use the pull down menus to provide information about your device, such as the manufacturer, model and its condition.

If the device is still being used today, you’ll likely be offered a reward for turning it in. Fill out the form that asks for your name and address and a pre-paid mailer will be sent to you. Once MyBoneYard.com receives the device, your reward will be put in the mail.

If the device is obsolete, meaning it has no salvage value, you’ll still be offered a free mailing label and free recycling, but instead of a monetary reward, you’ll get an entry into the site’s $2,500 sweepstakes.

“When you trade in a used car you get something back. It only makes sense that you should also expect to receive compensation for the used electronics you invested your hard earned money in. In most cases, they still have value when you’re done with them,” says Thomas Muhs, director of product development for Young America Corporation.

"MyBoneYard is simple, because it is easy for consumers to use; safe, because it protects both consumer data and the environment; and smart because consumers are doing what they are supposed to and getting rewarded for their efforts. What more do you need?" asks Bob Sullivan, president of The Wireless Source.

“There’s currently nothing else out there that collectively addresses the needs of the consumer and the industry,” adds John Matthews, CEO of Eco International.

Several major retailers are considering participating in the program in the near future, but you don’t have to wait for them to sign on to take part. Get rewarded for recycling your used or unwanted electronics today by logging on to www.MyBoneYard.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent
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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Revolutionary “Green” Clothes Dryer Technology to Launch at International Builders’ Show®

(BUSINESS WIRE)--At the 2008 International Builders’ Show (IBS)® Hydromatic Technologies Corporation will launch a new technology for clothes dryers that will reduce the appliance’s energy consumption up to 50 percent and cuts clothes-drying time by up to 41 percent.

As the second-most energy consuming appliance in the home, clothes dryers are not required to abide by energy standards. With Hydromatic’s technology, dryers will finally go “green,” and the company is poised to set energy standards for this high-consuming appliance three years ahead of the deadline set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Hydromatic’s revolutionary technology, named the Dryer Miser™, will be publicly displayed for the first time at the IBS convention, which takes place February 13-16, 2008 at the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center. The company, which is based in Orlando, Florida, will demonstrate how it uses a specially-engineered fluid to dry clothes using hydronic technology. By heating up a non-toxic fluid in a self-contained system, the dryer produces enough heat to dry clothes significantly faster than traditional dryers, resulting in less energy consumption and reduced energy costs for consumers.

An international patent is currently pending for Hydromatic’s technology, and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the internationally recognized source for product compliance, is scheduled to give approval of the product in April 2008. In addition, DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy declared that Hydromatic’s prototype is market-ready. Indeed, the company will make the Dryer Miser™ available to the public in Fall 2008 as an after-market kit that can be installed by service technicians. Discussions are currently being held with international appliance manufacturers to offer the technology as original equipment in new dryers in the near-future.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

Fayette Land Trust Protects More Greenspace Brent Scarbrough Completes Third Conservation Project

Even though development has slowed recently, the Southside of Metro Atlanta remains one of the fastest growing areas in the state, resulting in the loss of farms and wildlife habitat that many residents value. Thanks to a local land trust, now more than 1300 acres have been protected from development forever.
Southern Conservation Trust completed two conservation projects in December 2007 that permanently preserved over 200 acres in Fayette and Meriwether counties.
Brent Scarbrough, a well known local developer and utility contractor, finalized a Conservation Agreement on a 110 acre property for sale in South Fayette that helps protect water quality and wildlife habitat. The Conservation Agreement reduces the number of potential lots from seventeen to three and prohibits timber cutting, allowing the new landowners to enjoy their own nature preserve. In 2006, Scarbrough donated a 60 acre property that the Trust will manage as a reforestation demonstration site with the help of Scarbrough & Company and local volunteers.
Thomas Bogle and his family purchased their 130 acre farm near Greenville for a family retreat, a haven from busy lives in crowded North Metro Atlanta. They restored the early 1900’s home and planted an apple orchard and food plots for deer. The Bogles could develop their farm into 22 5-acre lots, forever destroying the rolling fields, ponds and pine forest. But protecting the land’s rural character for future generations was more important.
The Bogles protected their farm permanently with a Conservation Agreement that allows agriculture, sustainable timber harvesting and several vacation cabins, as long as natural resources are protected.

“It was a pleasure to work with the Bogles, who are as passionate about preserving an agricultural way of life as we are,” said Executive Director Abby Jordan.

In 2006, both the U.S. Congress and the Georgia legislature approved conservation incentive programs for those who donate land or a Conservation Agreement to a land trust. When a landowner restricts his property from development, the resulting loss of land value may be considered a charitable donation that can result in lower federal and state income and property taxes.

Said Jordan, “We hope the Scarbrough and Bogle donations encourage others to contact the Trust about protecting their land. The tax incentives can be very attractive, but most importantly, the landowners and the entire community will forever enjoy the farms and forests preserved for future generations.”

Southern Conservation Trust operates in the counties south of Metro Atlanta and the Upper Flint River basin. For more information on Conservation Agreements and the expanded tax benefits available to landowners, contact Southern Conservation Trust at (770) 486-7774 or info@sctlandtrust.org.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Health Benefits of Tea

Tea is a popular form of beverage made from the dried leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. Popularity of tea consumption worldwide is second only to water. About three billion kilograms of tea are produced each year. Tea is cultivated in some 30 countries worldwide and is consumed globally. Black tea is consumed predominantly in Western and some Asian countries and green tea is consumed predominantly in China, Japan, India, and a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

Tea originated in China 5000 years ago and was used as a medicine for various illnesses.
The tea was stored in the form of powder, leaves, and cakes. Traditional Chinese Medicine recommended drinking tea to healthy people as early as 200 BC. While people have been enjoying tea consumption more than 5000 years, the possible beneficial health effects of tea are being investigated only recently.

There are many types of tea, but they can be divided into two major groups: green tea and black tea. It is estimated that about 78% of tea produced worldwide is black tea while 20% is green tea, and 2% are oolong tea.

The health-beneficial chemical constituents are often collectively referred as flavonoids.
Initial epidemiological surveys have associated tea drinking with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cancer.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Many epidemiological studies have investigated the effects of tea consumption on cardiovascular disease. The results of several, but not all, of these studies are suggestive of a protective effect of black tea. These result showed that increase in tea consumption of three cups per day protected people from developing heart attacks by 11%.

One of the proposed mechanisms for the possible protective effect of tea against cardiovascular diseases is that tea polyphenols inhibit the oxidation of LDL, which is known to be involved in the development of atherosclerosis.

Another mechanism is hypocholesterolemic effect of tea providing another layer of protection from CVD. In animals fed diets high in fat and cholesterol, green tea, black tea and tea polyhenols prevented elevations in serum and liver lipids, decreased serum total cholesterol or atherogenic index, and increased fecal excretion of total lipids and cholesterol. When hamsters were fed a high fat diet, those drinking green tea or green tea polyphenols ha lower serum total cholesterol and higher fecal fat excretions than the control group.

Cancer

Health benefits of tea in cancer have been observed in epidemiologic studies. Studies show that a protective effect was associated between tea consumption and cancer of the colon, urinary bladder, stomach, esophagus, lung and pancreas. Most of the literature regarding tea consumption for prevention of cancer utilized green tea.

Polyphenols found in green tea have been shown to have potent antioxidant and antitumor effects. The most widely recognized properties of tea polyphenols are their antioxidant activities. Polyphenols bind to metal ions, preventing them from participating in peroxidase reactions. Green and black tea and isolated tea polyphenols have been shown to scavenge reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, reducing their damage to lipid membranes, proteins and nucleic acids in cell-free systems.

It should be noted that despite strong evidence suggesting a link between antioxidant activity an anticancer effects, regulatory organization have been cautious to allow any health claims linking intake of antioxidants to anticancer benefit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed a qualified health claim for antioxidant vitamins and cancer. The FDA concluded that despite the scientific evidence for anti-oxidant vitamins C and E may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, this evidence is limited and not conclusive.

Bone Density

A study of 1256 women in the U.K. reported that tea drinkers had significantly greater mean bone mineral density measurements independent of smoking status, the use of hormone therapy, coffee drinking, and whether milk was added to the tea. Authors concluded that drinking tea may help protect against osteoporosis in older women.

by John Kim, MD
www.georgiaintegrative.com
www.welljourney.com
Phone: 678.814.1333
Empowering patients for the healing of mind, body, & spirit

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Polar Bear Habitat Receives Record Number of Bids

By Monisha Bansal
CNSNews.com
Staff Writer
February 06, 2008
(Update: Royal Dutch Shell was the highest bidder for leases in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast. The federal Minerals Management Service will take about 90 days to review bids.)

(CNSNews.com) - The Minerals Management Service received a record number of bids for oil and gas exploration in the Chukchi Sea on Wednesday, land that is home to 20 percent of the world's polar bears.Environmental groups have challenged the sale. They say the Bush administration delayed classifying the polar bear as an endangered species until the sale could be completed. The official deadline for classification was Jan. 9, 2008, but the Fish and Wildlife Service has yet to make a decision.

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200802/NAT20080206c.html

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Invasive weed conference Feb. 22 in Tifton

University of Georgia

Invasive weeds threaten the health of Georgia’s natural areas and forests. Land managers, homeowners, gardeners, nurserymen, landscape professionals or anyone who wants to learn more about this growing problem should attend the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council annual conference Feb. 22 at the University of Georgia Tifton, Ga., Campus Conference Center.

Conference fee before Feb. 1 is $40 for GEPPC members and $50 for nonmembers. After Feb. 1, it’s $50 for members and $60 for nonmembers.

To register or to find out more, call (229) 386-3416. Or go to the Web site www.ugatiftonconference.org.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Chia Seeds Now Available At the Vitamin Shoppe

(PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Americans are learning that there's much more to chia seeds than sprouting terracotta pets. Chia seeds have been garnering quite a bit of media attention lately, and health-conscious consumers are wondering what all the hype is about.

In addition to being one the richest sources of heart-smart Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, chia is also a great source of protein, fiber, and essential minerals.

"Our customers have been asking about the health benefits of chia seeds, so we're carrying a number of chia products to meet the demand," said Rob Maru, Vitamin Shoppe Category Manager of Vitamins and Supplements.

Once a staple of the Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures, chia seeds are versatile and easy to incorporate into the diet, by sprinkling the seeds on foods or by mixing into beverages. Chia can also be substituted into any flax recipe without grinding.

Chia seeds are available at the more than 340 Vitamin Shoppe locations in the United States and online at www.vitaminshoppe.com.

Chia seeds have recently been featured on The CBS Saturday Early Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Joan Hamburg Show

Monday, February 04, 2008

UGA engineers work to turn chicken fat into fuel

That pack of skinless, boneless chicken breasts at the grocery store came from fully feathered birds. The fat that used to be on those birds isn’t appetizing to sell, but it’s a valuable commodity, too, say University of Georgia researchers.

Feathers, fat, oil, grease and other byproducts are all left over after a chicken has been processed. UGA engineers have discovered that the fat is an excellent fuel. After it has been refined at the processor, it can be used to fire boilers to heat water.

“A poultry processor could be washing and cleaning both birds and equipment with water heated by boilers, fed waste fat recovered from birds processed earlier that same day,” said Brian Kiepper, an engineer with UGA’s Engineering Outreach Service.

With the help of several poultry processors, Kiepper and other engineers and poultry scientists with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences developed a small self-contained, low-temperature fat extraction and purification unit that produces six gallons of fat fuel at a time.

The next step is a full-scale version that the processing plants can use to economically produce a fuel that “looks like corn oil,” Kiepper said.

In 2006, 1.3 billion chickens were slaughtered in Georgia, generating 9 billion gallons of highly concentrated fat, oil and grease wastewater. Instead of selling the chicken fat filtered from the wastewater to rendering plants for 3 cents per pound, the poultry industry could use it as an alternative to petroleum fuel and save $9 million a year.

Processors pay about $2 per gallon for petroleum fuel.

“Along with providing reduced fueling costs, this work could increase domestic energy security by displacing foreign petroleum with domestic poultry fat,” he said. “It takes advantage of Georgia’s own energy resources and, since this material is used in-house, it eliminates transportation costs.”

The project was born years ago when UGA engineers started working with the poultry industry to help processors bring their wastewater streams up to environmental regulatory standards.
“It starts with us going in and solving environmental problems, and it ends with applied research,” Kiepper said. “The waste stream is a direct reflection on how efficient a poultry processor is.”

From there, they started isolating byproducts. “What was first seen as a waste is now a product,” Kiepper said. “The whole purpose of outreach is to open our client’s eyes to the concept that all of these waste streams can become profitable revenue generators.”

By Stephanie Schupska
University of Georgia

Swarming birds

Here's a local video of migrating (?) birds. Seemed like a million birds converged in the yard. They swooped down almost as one to cover the neighbors yard, then would move back to the trees. There were always some that chose to sit out the movement, maybe they were the sentinels watching for trouble. Sometimes one group would clear the trees and move over to another section. At times it reminded me of a chorus group doing rounds. This section would move, then the other would move.

A couple of times they all stopped chirping completely. Just dead silence. I filmed for over five minutes, but it's not the kind of video you sit and watch for 6 or 7 minutes unless you're someone who studies bird habits... This is a shortened version obviously!

Flash Food Birds

I posted something about this on my Ramblin' Jan blog or the Fayette Life blog a while back, but it was so neat I thought I'd re-post the photos in Naturally Fayette as they "fit" better here!

As you can see the birds have decided they have the perfect place to call home.

Those deep, nicely rounded holes in the letters make a great sheltered place for a nest. Not to mention all the food that gets dropped on the ground!

I would imagine that quite a few folks getting gas probably toss a tidbit their way every once in a while.

I would also bet that the people who have to clean the sidewalks hate that chore. Imagine all the bird poop.

This is the Flash Food / Exxon station located in Fayetteville at the Hwy. 85 and 314 intersection. If you sign up for a free Flash Food card you get 2 cents off a gallon. Their gas is usually as cheap, or cheaper, than most so of course I shop there first!

One more thing, not sure if it's always the way I found it, but twice while getting gas there I've had to step into the restroom. They were clean. Yep, a gas station bathroom that was clean.

And no, I don't know the people or have any reason to give them a plug other than any time I get friendly service (always) and a good value, I'm gonna pass it on if I can.