When you work for Five Rivers MetroParks, it’s easy to forget most people celebrate Earth Day just once a year, so for today’s article, I wanted to show you, loyal reader, ways to live “green” every day.
- Get Educated!
- Pick a program, any program: When it comes to connecting people with the world around them, you’ll find no shortage of engaging instruction via Five Rivers MetroParks. There are lots of offerings to help you live a life more ecological, including organic gardening and landscaping, composting, recycling, wildlife basics and more. Here are a few coming up that will put you in the Earth Day spirit:
- Get Involved!
Volunteer with your favorite organization: Five Rivers MetroParks has a variety of volunteer options available to fit any skill level, area of interest and available time frame. We just wrapped up our annual Adopt-A-Park event, where we welcomed more than 2,000 volunteers to pick up litter in over 30 locations throughout Montgomery County. But there are lots of ongoing opportunities.
- If you’d like to gain specific skills, consider a service learning program. These give specialized classroom and hands-on training to volunteers, teaching them skills they can use to be volunteer team leaders at MetroParks or in their own community. Master Recyclers learn the details of reducing, reusing and recycling in this five-week course sponsored by Five Rivers MetroParks and Montgomery County Solid Waste District. Classes take place in early spring; call (937) 275-PARK (7275) if you’re interested in being placed on the waiting list for next year’s program.
- You can also volunteer to make the Miami Valley a little greener—literally! There are still a few slots available to sign up to be a Forest Foster Family. Fosters care for a flat of propagated seedlings for a period of time, then return the flat to a designated area for replanting. These seedlings were raised to replace ash tree devastated by the effects of the invasive emerald ash borer. Call (937) 275-PARK or register online to get involved.
o Make a difference: There are many simple ways you can make your neighborhood a better place. Grab a trash bag and take a walk around your block. Pick up any litter you encounter (donning a pair of gloves is advised). Bonus points for separating recyclable materials! Perhaps you could make a weekly habit of this. Imagine how much cleaner your neighborhood would be!
- Get Eco-Logical!
o Be green at home: Swap your incandescent light bulbs for a compact florescent. It uses less energy, which decreases overall consumption of fossil fuels, plus you can enjoy the perks of saving money on your bill, not to mention the fact that some companies offer homeowners terrific incentives for swapping more efficient appliances and other energy-consuming devices. You can also switch to recycled toilet paper or paper towels and eco-friendly household cleaning products. Visit A Greener You at the PNC 2nd Street Market and check out the wide variety.
Go local: Avoid incorporating invasive species into your garden or landscape. Invasive species, such as honeysuckle, purple loosestrife or lesser celandine, are aggressive, non-native plants that are harmful to local habitat, yet are often sold commercially. Plants might seem pretty innocuous, but invasive species can take over habitats, forcing out native plants and any creatures dependent on those plants as a source of food or shelter. So buy local and do your part to preserve the environment. Get native plants or non-invasive exotic species from two plants sales taking place the last weekend in April. The Wildflower and Native Plant Sale at Cox Arboretum MetroPark takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 30; and Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark’s Mayfair 2011 is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 30, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1.