Friday, March 25, 2011

Cooper Lighting Pays it Forward

Cooper Environmental Excellence Award

Cooper Lighting, Peachtree City, GA, has been awarded its company’s prestigious Environmental Excellence Award in recognition of innovative product design. The local facility has chosen to pay it forward by donating the $7,500 award grant to Southern Conservation Trust for much needed improvements to Line Creek Nature Area.

Cooper’s annual Environmental Excellence Awards are presented to Cooper facilities that best demonstrate significant, lasting and measurable excellence in such areas as process improvement, pollution prevention, and innovative product design and resource conservation. Cooper employees at these facilities drive environmental efforts and have proven that doing the right thing can lower costs, improve performance and create direct financial benefits for both the customer and Cooper. The scope of this award program is broad enough for all major environmental and conservation accomplishments of any Cooper operation to be eligible. Nominations can relate to a specific accomplishment or to a group of projects demonstrating continuous improvement. Cooper honors top performers on an annual basis with grants to local programs promoting environmental stewardship. Top performers have the freedom to select which community programs benefit from the grant.

The Cooper LED Innovation Center in Peachtree City, GA, identified energy saving measures that could be molded into innovative products that help customers reduce their environmental impact. Cooper Lighting designed and developed the new Halo LED H7 collection at the Cooper LED Innovation Center. This new lighting collection offers energy savings to customers by providing the same quantity and quality of light as traditional light sources while operating more efficiently. Cooper Lighting also designed the Halo LED modules to have a longer lifespan, which also minimizes relamping maintenance costs. The Halo LED H7 1200 series exceeds light output of a 90-watt PAR38 halogen lamp, a 120-watt BR40 incandescent lamp and a 32-watt compact fluorescent luminaire, while consuming less than 25 watts. These LED fixtures also provide 70% of their initial light output after 22 years of use. The new Halo LED H7 collection is just one of the innovative lighting solutions Cooper is creating at its new LED Innovation Center.

Southern Conservation Trust is a nonprofit land trust, based in Fayette County, which conserves land to enhance the quality of life in our communities, for today’s and future generations. Working closely with landowners, the Trust works to protect land in Metro Atlanta’s Southern Crescent and the Upper Flint River basin. The Trust’s mission includes preserving land and our “rural” character, protecting habitats and natural resources, and enhancing greenspace for education and passive recreation. Environmental education and fun outdoor events are also provided as part of the Trust’s ongoing efforts to encourage stewardship in our community.

The Trust now owns, manages, or holds conservation easements on more than 1300 acres throughout Fayette, Clayton, Meriwether, and rural South Fulton counties. The Trust currently has three popular public nature areas; Line Creek Nature Area and Flat Creek Nature Area in Peachtree City and Sams Lake Sanctuary in Fayetteville. The Trust’s fourth public preserve, Morgan Grove Nature Area is currently in development and will open to the public in late 2011. All public nature areas owned or managed by the Trust are free and open to the public from dawn to dusk.

“We are excited to have Cooper Lighting as a conservation partner,” says Pam Young, Trust Executive Director. “This grant allows the Trust to make needed improvements to Line Creek Nature Area, including a new driveway, stone edging for the parking lot, additional parking lot safety barriers, and erosion control with decorative landscaping at the entrance to the nature area.” Young adds, “With more than 23,000 annual visitors to Line Creek Nature Area there are always maintenance needs. This grant has provided the financial support for supplies, making it possible to complete these projects with the help of volunteers who contribute their time and effort to make the improvements.”

For more information about land preservation, supporting conservation efforts, or to volunteer visit our website, www.sctlandtrust.org, call 770-486-7774 or email info@sctlandtrust.org.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Now Open! New Fishing Pier Completed at Morgan Falls Dam

Anglers that frequent the Morgan Falls Dam portion of the Chattahoochee River should be excited about the completion of a new fishing pier. The pier, built by Georgia Power as a recreational improvement for Morgan Falls Dam, will provide great additional angler access below the dam according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.

“We are very pleased with the construction results,” says WRD Fisheries Management Region Supervisor Chris Martin. “This pier is in a great location, it provides increased angler access - including handicapped access - as well as giving anglers great places to get to the fish.”

The construction of the new pier began in October 2010 and concluded this past week. During construction, the boat ramp located at this area was unavailable. Since the pier is now complete, the entire area, including the boat ramp is now fully open for the public.

For more information on fishing in Georgia, visit www.georgiawildlife.com.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Georgia Income Tax Checkoff Helps Conserve Rare Animals, Plants

Georgia’s rare animals and plants need your help.

Conservation of this state’s nongame wildlife – from sea turtles to southeastern American kestrels – as well as native plants and natural habitats is supported largely by the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund. In turn, the fund depends on public contributions.

One main source of contributions is the Give Wildlife a Chance state income tax checkoff. Yet giving through the checkoff has declined sharply since 2005.

The $205,000 donated in fiscal year 2010 marked the least amount since the 1990s.

What’s at stake? The checkoff and the Wildlife Conservation Fund have played a role in Georgia’s wildest success stories, such as the rebound of bald eagles and the acquisition of thousands of acres of prime habitat along the Altamaha River. This past year, fund-supported projects included the first coast-wide census of American oystercatchers and Wilson’s plovers in 10 years, surveys that discovered rare amber and freckled darters in the Coosawattee River, and hands-on conservation that reached nearly 50,000 students at six regional education centers.

By using the Wildlife Conservation Fund to attract and match federal and private grants, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Conservation Section also gains about $1 for every 25 cents spent from the fund.

Nongame Conservation Assistant Chief Jon Ambrose has called the state income tax checkoff critical in “providing the match we need to get additional funding from other sources.”

More than 1,000 Georgia plant and animal species are species of conservation concern. This spring, make your mark to help them: Fill in any amount more than $1 on line 26 of the state’s long tax form (Form 500) or line 10 of the short form (Form 500EZ).

Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/node/338 for more information, or call Nongame Conservation Section offices in Social Circle (770-761-3035), Forsyth (478-994-1438) or Brunswick (912-264-7218). State income tax forms are available online at https://etax.dor.ga.gov/.

The Nongame Conservation Section receives no state appropriations for its mission to conserve nongame wildlife – native animals not legally hunted, fished for or trapped – and native plants and habitats. The sales of bald eagle and hummingbird license plates also benefit the agency and the Wildlife Conservation Fund. Details at www.georgiawildlife.com.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New software puts forest ecology in public hands

The U.S. Forest Service and its partners released this morning (March 10) the newest version of their free i-Tree software suite, designed to quantify the benefits of trees and assist communities in gaining support and funding for the trees in their parks, schoolyards and neighborhoods.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell unveiled the new software suite in a ceremony at the Fairmount Horticultural Center in Philadelphia.

i-Tree v.4 , made possible by a public-private partnership, provides urban planners, forest managers, environmental advocates and students a free tool to measure the ecological and economic value of the trees in their neighborhoods and cities.

The Forest Service partnered on the project with The Davey Tree Expert Company, the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Society of Municipal Arborists, the International Society of Arboriculture and Casey Trees. The Forest Service and its partners will offer free and easily accessible technical support for the i-Tree suite.

“Urban trees are the hardest working trees in America,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Urban trees’ roots are paved over, and they are assaulted by pollution and exhaust, but they keep working for us.”

Urban trees provide temperature control, clean water, clean air and mitigate climate change by sequestering tons of carbon, said Tidwell.

The i-Tree suite of tools has helped communities of all sizes gain funding for urban forest management and programs by quantifying the value of their trees and the environmental services trees provide.

One recent i-Tree study found that street trees in Minneapolis provided $25 million in benefits ranging from energy savings to increased property values. Urban planners in Chattanooga, Tenn., were able to show that for every dollar invested in their urban forests, the city received $12.18 in benefits. New York City used i-Tree to justify $220 million for planting trees during the next decade.

“Forest Service research and models on the benefits of urban trees are now in the hands of people who can make a difference in our communities,” said Paul Ries, director of Cooperative Forestry for the Forest Service. “The work of Forest Service researchers, the best in the world, is not just sitting on a shelf, but is now being widely applied in communities of all sizes, around the world, to help people understand and leverage the benefits of trees in their communities.”

Since the initial release of the i-Tree tools in August 2006, more than 100 communities, non-profit organizations, consultants and schools have used i-Tree to report on individual trees, parcels, neighborhoods, cities, and even entire states.

"I am proud to be part of a project that is doing so much good for our communities," said Dave Nowak, lead i-Tree researcher for the Forest Service Northern Research Station. " i-Tree will foster a better understanding of the importance of green space in our cities and neighborhoods, which is so important in a world where development and environmental change are stark realities."

The most important improvements in i-Tree v.4:

i-Tree will reach a broader audience in educating people on the value of trees. i-Tree Design is designed to be easily used by homeowners, garden centers, and in school classrooms. People can use i-Tree Design and its link to Google maps to see the impact of the trees in their yard, neighborhood and classrooms, and what benefits they can see by adding new trees. i-Tree Canopy and VUE with their links to Google maps now also make it much easier and less expensive for communities and managers to analyze the extent and values of their tree canopy, analyses that up to this point have been prohibitively expensive for many communities.

i-Tree will also expand its audience to other resource management professionals. i-Tree Hydro provides a more sophisticated tool for professionals involved in stormwater and water quality and quantity management. Hydro is a tool that can be applied immediately to help communities evaluate and address the impacts of their urban forests on stream flow and water quality that could be helpful in meeting state and national (EPA) clean water and stormwater regulations and standards.

With each new release of i-Tree, the tools become easier to use and more relevant to the users. i-Tree developers are continually addressing feedback from users and adjusting and improving the tools so that they are easier to use by a much broader audience. This will only help to increase its use and impact not only in the United States but around the world.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Electronic, Paint Recycling, Paper Shredding Event Mar 26

Get a jump on spring cleaning by being GREEN for secure disposal! Electronics & Paint Recycling, Paper Shredding Event Saturday March 26 at Hapeville Charter Career Academy at 6045 Buffington Road, Union City (9am-3pm). Hosted by Keep South Fulton Beautiful, www.ksfb.org. Electronics: Laptops, Computers, (Hard drives are securely wiped clean of all data.) Printers, Copiers, Scanners, Fax Machines, Power/Network Cables, Batteries (no automotive), Stereos, VCR’s, etc. (A $15 charge for TVs & a $10 charge for Computer Monitors for proper disposal of hazardous materials including lead, cash only.) Paint & Stains: $1/gallon (no aerosols). Paper shredding: $5/box. Help keep hazardous materials from our landfills!