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Green Living

Here’s a sneak peek

      Has your Chesapeake Bay license plate stopped sparking joy? Have its heron, crab and grasses against a field of blue lost their power to remind you, and your fellow motorists, to Treasure the Chesapeake? Is it just too familiar?

Do seeds like salt and vinegar? 

      A good science project can be conducted within a month’s time if you start with seeds. Such studies do not require much space or special light conditions. Seeds are readily available, inexpensive and will provide the diversity you need to make comparisons. For many studies, quart canning jars with screw lids, paper towels, water, salt or vinegar and measuring tools are all you need to study how seeds germinate in different conditions.

Ideas, research and preparation

      It’s about that time of year when parents come to me seeking ideas for their child’s science project. Most of the time, they are desperate because their children procrastinated in announcing they had to turn in a project idea yesterday.        Here’s what I tell them:

Our roads have sweated through a real workout, and it shows

       Cutting salt use on roads 30 percent without compromising motorist safety.    That’s the target state, city and county road crews were shooting at.         So what’s with all the large amounts of residual salt on our roadways? How does that square with the salt-reduction program?        Two factors contribute to salt left on the roads: Very cold temperatures, and small snowfalls.

Here’s how to water and repot them

     Orchids are so popular nowadays that they are being offered for sale not only in garden centers but also in drug stores and grocery stores as well as big box stores.          As houseplants, they have the advantage of producing flowers over a long period of time. They tolerate shade and perform well even when abused. They are also light to ship.

It takes six to 10 years of attention to get it right

     The most common species of conifers used as Christmas trees are white pine, Scots pine, Douglas fir, balsam fir, Frazier fir, concolor fir, Canaan fir, Colorado spruce and white spruce. Norway spruce are not recommended because they shed needles rapidly if allowed to dry out once. In more southern states, Virginia pine, white cedar and red cedar and often used.       Most growers purchase seedlings from nurseries that specialize in growing these species from seed.

Artist John W. ‘Bud’ Taylor inspired an ethic of land preservation

     Mayo resident John W. ‘Bud’ Taylor told us (https://tinyurl.com/BW-Taylor-99) that for him, being outdoors wasn’t exactly a drive. “It’s more a refreshment, like recharging your batteries,” he said. It turns out that it was actually Bud, who passed away at the age of 86 on Oct. 28, who was recharging our collective drive all these years to treasure and protect the Bay landscapes. 

Volkswagen’s dirty deeds could mean cleaner school buses in Maryland

     Now that school is open, drivers have plenty of behind-the-bus time to consider whether these yellow icons are ready for a makeover.      Would you rather idle behind a diesel bus or an electric one?       If your answer is electric, you’ve got an intuitive grip on the Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign.

Graduates learn Bay stewardship

     Is this fall your semester to go back to school to train as a Master Watershed Steward?      The Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy is looking for a few good men and women to join its 10th certification class. Training, beginning in October, includes class time and field sessions in managing stormwater and restoring waterways.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools opens solar farm

     Schools in Anne Arundel County welcomed back students this week with a lesson in renewable energy.      Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the fifth largest district in Maryland with approximately 82,000 students, has gone solar.       A 1.4-megawatt ground-mount array, developed and constructed by Standard Solar, now sits on six acres of school system-owned land at the Fort Smallwood complex in Pasadena.