Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Meeting Notes

Thirteen BV Green Team members braved the wind, snow and frigid temperatures to attend February's monthly meeting held on the 9th. The evening began with a PowerPoint update to city representatives Dwight Clark (Council at Large) and Dan Galli (Director of Public Service), reviewing our history and current initiatives.

The initiative to Super Charge the Effort to Reduce Waste was discussed. Some ideas included:

1. Dwight indicated that his committee would be looking at the option of automated trash pick up for 2011--many neighboring communities have adopted this. Recycle Bank was one program mentioned that gives residents "recycled credits" which rewards households for expanded recycling.

2. Dan is interested in involvement from the Green Team to assist in expanding recycling in city buildings--what is the best way to set up recycling for paper, including confidential documents, etc.

3. The Mayor is looking into grants to fund a number of bins for a pilot program to recycle in public places. The actual containers that the green team and the Service Center were considering cost approximately $100 each with additional instructions added through a label which the Green Team has requested as part of the teams grant submission to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District (CCSWD) for informing residents of bin content by landfill vs. recycling stickers.

4. The BVGT has submitted a grant application to the CCSWD that would fund an awareness postcard promoting recycling to all Bay residents and create landfill vs. recycling labels for the bins in public spaces.

5. The Service Center is looking at establishing a rain garden, per Dan. This is something that the Green Team could assist with. More on this in the future.

The community garden was also discussed. A meeting between the city and the school board to discuss the community garden was held in February with some decisions needed around the insurance, water and funding for start-up costs, including approximately $1500 for crucial deer fencing.

A special thanks to February's guest speaker. Dan Norris spoke to the Green Team on the topic of Organic Lawn and Landscape Care. (See the Feb 17 posting on this site for a recap).

Join us at our next meeting Tuesday, March 9th @ City Hall beginning at 6:30. Make a difference and get involved!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review: Sustainability Symposium 2010

This day-long event at Cleveland Botanical Garden on Saturday, February 6th, focused on sustainability for gardeners, or for anyone managing outdoor spaces.
The keynote speaker was Joe Lamp’l, “Greening Your Garden While Protecting the Planet”. He is author of The Green Gardener’s Guide/ Simple Significant Actions to Protect and Preserve our Planet. He has been featured on television and is working on a new show, “Growing a Greener World”, that is to debut May 15th (not sure if we will receive it in our area). His main points were:
  • Ways to eliminate water waste/drip irrigation the most efficient
  • Reducing, or eliminating, use of chemicals on lawns and gardens plants
  • Mulching safety and efficiently (look for mulches certified by Mulch & Soil Council)
  • Selecting the right plant for the right place/avoid monocultures/eradicate invasive alien plants
  • Understanding the tiny proportion of "bad bugs" vs. "good bugs" and safe management of insect pests
  • Controlling weeds with corn gluten/layered newspapers excellent weed barrier
  • Protecting air quality/hand tools best, electric tools sometimes needed, gas tools worst
David Beach of GreenCityBlueLake, was the next presenter. I liked the way he addressed global warming. He described “Settled Science” as changes that almost all scientists would agree upon; there have been changes in climate that are not disputed. He posed “Unsettled Science” as what not all would agree upon, like: how fast changes will take place, just what will change in any particular place, exactly what the human costs may be, the best ways to respond, and what policies will have best effect without unacceptable harm to economy and society. He emphasized that there are a lot of “No Regret Strategies” that will have many other benefits for people and the planet; he shared the “Funny Times” strip attached: “What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?”. He predicted that climate change in our area will probably mean that heat tolerance will become more important than cold tolerance in the plants that will grow here. The kinds of plants that grow in natural areas will gradually evolve to different species. David stressed that it will be important to advocate policy changes at all governmental levels.

Victoria Mills, Doan Brook Watershed, reaffirmed what had been said by the first two speakers, but gave a very local flavor to her presentation by featuring ten area residents and what these individuals had each done for more sustainable gardening. I recognized Beau Daane’s name as someone many Green Team members know; his wood pile and gardening for pollinators were key for him. One gardener from Cleveland Heights has 139 varieties of native plants!

Brad Masi, The New Agrarian Center in Oberlin, outlined how “Permaculture” renews natural resources and enriches local ecosystems. He contrasted the “Extractive Landscape” against the “Regenerative Landscape”. He described how successful design can create sustainable systems.

Charles Behnke, OSU Extension (retired), focused on working well with the soils we have in our area. He stressed how working the soil when wet destroys the aggregates of our soils, altering the structure negatively.

Shawn Belt, Green Corps Farm Manager, CBG, gave a primer on raising plants from seed, saying “sustainability begins with your wallet”.

I heard much to reinforce what I’ve learned over the past decade and learned some new things too, so I would recommend next year’s symposium to anyone wanting to work with land and plants in more sustainable ways.

Cornelia Ryan

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Organic Lawn Care Follow Up

Homeowner's across Northeast Ohio love to work in their yards and gardens. Many of us may not realize that the widely advertised products we use to fertilize or treat for insects and weeds have consequences that reach beyond our yards.

Traditional chemical fertilizers can run off or leach into ground water causing pollution in streams, rivers and creeks which all end up in Lake Erie. Water quality is a big issue given the fact that northeast Ohioans live near 20% of the world's fresh water supply. Fortunately there are organic products and practices for your lawn and landscape. For instance look for organic lawn fertilizers that contain natural weed control made from corn. This and other organic fertilizers are not water soluble like their chemical counterparts and therefore don't cause pollution. Natural weed killers made from vinegar and clove oil can replace traditional herbicides that have shown have links to increased cancer rates in dogs and non-Hodgkins-lymphoma in people.

Even something as common as garlic can act as a natural deer and insect repellent without exposing anyone to any harmful chemicals. Compost tea made from water and a good quality compost can be made into a spray for your plants that will help control diseases and insects. So the next time you reach for a chemical fertilizer or pesticide ask yourself is there a better alternative or is it really necessary.

Recap from our February guest speaker, Dan Norris, available speaker to local groups interested in organics

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Consumer's Guide to Compact Florescent Light Bulbs

With a federal mandate in place to phase out the sale of incandescent light bulbs in the US by 2014, you may want to know more about one of your energy efficient alternatives, the compact florescent light bulb (CFL). Here are some useful facts that will help you make a smooth transition to more efficient lighting.
Environmental Impact
- 20% of the average American household's energy bill is for lighting. That's why replacing energy hungry incandescent lights with energy effiecient CFL's makes sense for both your wallet and the environment. Although the initial upfront financial cost for the CFL's are slightly more, over the bulb's lifespan, its total financial cost to the consumer is significantly less than incandescent (where total financial cost = its purchase price + cost of energy consumed). That's because CFL's last up to 10 times longer and use up to 75% less electricity than the traditional incandescent light bulb.
Usage and Limitations - CFL's provide the most energy savings and last the longest when used in fixtures that are regularly illuminated for 15 minutes or more. The federal government's Energy Star guidelines suggest using CFL's in open fixtures that allow airflow, such as table and floor lamps, hanging lamps, wall sconces, and outdoor fixtures.
There are some limitations when using CFL's. Using the bulbs in enclosed fixtures or vibrating fixtures, such as fans, will shorten their lifespan. Also, the bulb’s light output is decreased by cold temperatures. Lastly, specially marked CFL's are required for use with dimmers.
Light Quality - One of the common complaints about CFL's is the quality of the light that they produce. Choosing the right bulb can mitigate this concern. Most people are looking to replace the traditional incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb that closely mimics the incandescent’s color of light. For the best results, follow these simple tips:
  • Check the bulb's kelvin (K) rating listed on the package or bulb base. Bulbs with a lower K rating (2,700-3,000K) offer a soft, warm light similar to an incandescent and are suitable for living rooms, bedrooms, etc. These bulbs may be identified as "soft white". Incandescent lights typical have a rating of 2,700K .
  • Bulbs with a higher K rating (3,500-6,500K) offer a cooler, white or bluish-white light that may be identified as "bright white" or "daylight". You may want to choose this type of bulb for task lighting.
  • Remember that CFL's can take from 30 seconds to 3 minutes to reach their full lighting potential after you turn the lamp on.
Mercury and Recycling - Mercury in CFL's is a concern for some consumers, but the concern should not prevent you from utilizing them. CFL's contain a small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. This amount is usually less than 5 milligrams per bulb. While no mercury is released when the bulb is intact or in use, mercury can be released if the bulb’s glass is broken. Therefore, avoid using CFL's in lamps that may be knocked over by pets or children. Also, avoid disposing of CFL's in your regular trash. They should be recycled (see more about this below).
Some critics of CFL's will suggest that because they contain mercury, they are actually worse for the environment. This simply is not true. Electricity use, through the burning of fossil fuels, is the main source of mercury release into the environment. The power production required to light an incandescent bulb releases significantly more mercury into the air than the power production required to light a CFL bulb. Even if the CFL bulb is sent to a landfill and its mercury is released, the bulb’s overall mercury footprint is still less than the mercury footprint of using an incandescent bulb for the same amount of time
Because CFL's contain a small amount of mercury, to obtain their maximum environmental benefit, they should be recycled. This will prevent the unnecessary release of mercury into the environment. All Home Depots offer CFL recycling (usually next to the return counter). To find other businesses and municipalities that offer CFL recycling, visit

by Pat McGannon

Sources for this article:

  1. EPA at
  2. Tennesse Valley Authority

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Speaker Series - Organic Lawn & Landscape Care

The Bay Village Green Team is pleased to have guest speaker, Dan Norris, presenting information on Organic Lawn and Landscape Care at the monthly meeting February 9th. A member of the Westlake Watershed group and also a certified turfgrass professional and a licensed lawn applicator, Dan has worked with Good Nature Organic Lawn Care for nine years and has given presentations to various groups including the National Wildlife Federation and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Additionally, he has written articles for Earth Watch Ohio, NE Ohio Sierra Club newsletter, Balanced Living and the Cleveland Canine Magazine. Topics Dan will be covering include natural fertilizers, natural weed/pest and insect controls and what effect chemicals have on the environment. Dan will wrap-up his presentation with an update on the Westlake Watershed group and their efforts to educate local residents about going green and protecting water quality. So if you have ever thought about using organic fertilizers or had questions on natural weed controls, this is your chance to ask the expert during the Q&A session following his presentation.

Also, Bay Village's new Service Director, Dan Galli and Council at Large official, Dwight Clark will be attending our meeting (beginning @ 6:30, 2nd floor conference room at city hall) to discuss opportunities to green our community in 2010 and beyond. If you've never been to a Green Team meeting, this would be the one to check-out and bring a friend too.

See you Tuesday!