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Green Living

Grasonville environmental center schools grown-ups

So you want to learn more about life in Chesapeake Country, but you’re just a bit intimidated by lengthy Master Naturalist classes with lots of study time and volunteer hours?     The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville has the answer you didn’t know you were looking for.

Anne Arundel County offers just the right raw ingredients

Anne Arundel County has more horses than any other county in the nation. It follows that we also have more horse manure. Some of that horse manure occupies precious landfill space or is dumped near streams, thus contributing to Bay pollution.

Better options for bagging leaves become the rule

Be sure to ask Santa for compostable paper bags or a new bin for your yard waste in 2017. Beginning in January, neither Annapolis nor Anne Arundel County will accept plastic bags in its curbside pickup of grass clippings, leaves, Christmas trees and other yard waste.     The new regulations mean putting yard waste in a bin (but not your yellow one for recyclables), biodegradable paper bags or in a secure bundle tied with twine. Mark reusable containers with an X. In the city of Annapolis, you can request a 32-gallon green recycling cart for your yard waste.

Get a fast start with my Gouin brew

This is a great time to activate the compost pile. The fallen leaves are rich in nutrients and organic matter. Mother Nature has been using leaves as natural mulch since the beginning of time.     I begin with my leaf blower, blowing as many leaves as possible under the branches of the shrubs to mulch them over winter.

Visit the Annapolis Green House for gifts, ideas, recycling

Not every gift you’ll read about in Bay Weekly this week wants wrapping. But the gifts you do wrap can look pretty without generating a ton of waste in the form of boxes, bows, ribbon and tissue paper. The eco-organization Annapolis Green has set up shop as the Annapolis Green House at 92 Maryland Avenue and is-wrapping gifts using unique, innovative packaging in recycled, fun materials that would otherwise go to waste. Think burlap, fabric, blueprints and more — plus all the wrapping materials you’ve recycled from years past.

Treat yellow-green leaves with ­compost or fertilizer

If your hollies are heavily loaded with berries this fall, most likely the foliage will turn yellow-green, downgrading the contrast with the red berries. It takes a lot of energy and nutrients for plants to produce fruit. This is especially true if the branches are heavily laden with large clusters. Heavy-fruiting hollies generally appear chlorotic. This problem can be corrected by applying a nitrogen-rich mulch such as lobster compost, chicken manure compost or lawn fertilizer between the trunk of the plant and the drip line.

Every half-shell you save makes a home for 10 baby oysters

Oysters don’t like to live alone. “They are very social,” says Oyster Recovery Partnership executive director Stephan Abel.     They also like to be close to their families. Oysters grow up together, indeed bonded together, on reefs constructed by generations before them. With the destruction of reefs through centuries of all-out harvesting, new generations of oysters depend on us to supply new reefs of old shell for them to grow on.

Beekeepers political activism rewarded

Buzzing through the halls of the Maryland Statehouse during the 2016 legislative session were some distinctive lobbyists: beekeepers, dressed in full regalia, advocating for a Maryland ban on home use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

Solar array earns St. Margaret’s Church Silver-Plus LEED certification

Ninety-eight solar panels now top the roof of St. Margaret’s Church formation building, already LEED silver-certified for environmental friendliness. St. Margaret’s, a congregation more than 300 years old, is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and located on the Broadneck peninsula.     “Our vestry board supported the idea that the new building be as environmentally responsible as possible,” said the Rev. Peter W. Mayer, Rector at St. Margaret’s.

Through torrents and drought, rain gardens look good and do good for the environment, too

After a wet spring when rain was abundant in Chesapeake Country, we are now in the midst of a heat wave with chance blasts of short-lived rainfall.     Most of the water that fell for 15 days straight from April 27 through May 11 washed unimpeded into our rivers, flooding streets and carrying whatever was in its path into the Bay. The luckiest raindrops were caught by thirsty native plants and flowers and held in a rain garden just long enough to send that water into the soil below, clean and filtered from pollutants.