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We need to go green

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    THE COURIERPAGE WEdnEsday, apRIl 22, 2009www.wcfcourier.comgo green

    A lush crop of kids books celebrate Earth DayBy LEANNE ITALIE

    associated press Writer

    Praise dirt and hail a recycling superhero in a lush crop of kid books for Earth Day.

    Michael Recycle (Worth-while Publishing, $15.99, ages 3-8) by Ellie Bethel and illustrated by Alexandra Colombo.

    In the whimsical town of Abber-doo-Rimey, the garbage was left to grow rotten and grimey. Until a freckle-faced, green-caped cru-sader with a metal colander for a hat drops from the sky head-first into a trash can. Young Michael Recycle lectures in this frenetic and richly colored picture book: Youve got to recycle! Youve got

    to act soon! Before all your trash reaches up to the moon! When residents learn their lesson and clean up, they throw a big party and decorate with green toilet paper, careful to roll it back up to use again later.

    The Butterfly Ball and the

    Grasshoppers Feast (Candle-wick Press, $22.99, all ages) by William Plomer and illustrated by Alan Aldridge.

    A richly colored reissue of a

    1973 British classic. Inspired by an 1807 poem from William Roscoe, Plomers verse is per-fectly wed to Aldridges detailed fantasy world of small animals and insects as they prepare to party. When the guests began to dance/Even those who had no wings/Flew around, as if in a dream,/On feet like enchanted things. Nature notes by Richard Fitter.

    The Adventures of a Plas-tic Bottle (Simon & Schuster, $3.99, ages 4 to 6) by Alison Inches and illustrated by Pete Whitehead.

    A very, very happy glob of crude oil keeps a diary of his journey through the manufactur-

    ing chain. He becomes a bottle of water then gets shredded, heated and extruded at a recycling plant to be reborn as synthetic fleece fit for an astronaut. An age-appro-priate glossary is included.

    Earth Day celebration: Planting a tree is an investment in the futureEditors Note: Today is Earth Day. Across the Cedar Valley, Iowa and the nation, schoolchildren will be going green by gathering on their school grounds or in parks and arboretums to plant trees. Homeowners can enhance their properties by doing the same.

    Reprinted from The Courier

    A tree is a nest egg for the future.

    Plant one, and it is an investment in your property. As it grows and matures, a healthy tree enhances the beauty of your landscape, provides a food source and pro-tection for wild-life and releases oxygen into the air through pho-tosynthesis. It may stand for a century or lon-ger, making it a gift for future generations.

    Planting a tree makes you part of the continuum, and it feels good to plant a tree and watch it grow. Theres no instant gratification some trees take a long time to mature but theres satisfaction in the process of planting and car-ing for a young tree, said Todd Derifield, Waterloo city forester.

    Experts point out that if a tree is planted correctly, it will grow twice as fast and live twice as long as one that is incorrectly planted. One of the most common mis-takes is planting too deep. Always plant the tree at the same depth as it was grown in the container or if the tree is balled and burlapped, the level it was planted in the field.

    Here is a step-by-step approach to tree planting:

    To select a location, site a tree based on its size at maturity. A tree commonly spreads its branches about the same distance as it is tall at maturity. Make sure the tree isnt crowded against structures and overhead utility lines. The

    city regulates trees that can be planted on the city-owned rights-of-way between the sidewalk and curb. Some trees are unsuitable for growth near streets, such as variet-ies that produce thorns or fruit or will obstruct visibility at inter-sections. Check with Derifield at Waterloo Leisure Services for per-mission to plant in this location.

    Call Iowa One Call at (800) 292-8989 before digging (its free). Underground utilities will be marked, helping you avoid unwanted repair bills or personal injury.

    Handle the tree by container or root ball, never the trunk. Dont let the root ball dry out.

    Planting:1. Dig a hole two to three times

    wider than the root ball and as deep. If your soil is really com-pacted or hard, dig a bigger hole. If the soil is too compacted, the tree will have a tough time sur-viving and penetrating the soil around them, Derifield notes.

    2. Do not add soil amendments.Partially backfill soil around the

    root ball, making sure the tree is firmly positioned and centered to prevent it from settling after plant-ing. Water. Finish filling the hole with soil; tamp down firmly, but dont compact the soil by stomp-ing it with your feet.

    3. Make a water reservoir of soil 2 to 4 inches high around the margin.

    4. Water well. Let the water soak in, then mulch 2 inches deep around the tree, making sure not to mulch close to the trunk. Keep soil moist, not soaked, by week-ly watering, unless there is rain. Taper off when the ground freezes and hardens. Regular watering is important for the first couple of years to encourage strong roots.

    5. Staking isnt recommended, Derifield said, unless the tree has a loose root ball or needs help to stand up properly while it roots.

    Definitely do not stake for more than one season. It must be done carefully and correctly to prevent damaging the tree.

    6. Derifield discourages pruning for the first three years. Leaves are food factories, and a typical tree that is transplanted can lose up to 90 percent of its root system. The theory used to be that you limb up to make up for lost roots, but I think it replenishes roots faster if you leave those branches in place for the first three years.

    GROWING THINGS

    Melody Parkeris a master

    gardener. Contact her at (319) 291-1429 or melody.parker@

    wcfcourier.com.

    Arbor FoundAtion Photo

    The red maple tree is a Midwestern classic, and as it matures, offers shade and plenty of fall color.

  • Wednesday, april 22, 2009 THe COUrier PAGE www.wcfcourier.com go green

    Plastic goes from trash to useful, fashionable bags McClatchy newspapers

    Plastic spills from bins and shelves throughout the basement of Paul Hempes home in Eden Prairie, Minn. piles of it, sort-ed by texture and size. Purple mesh bags that once held onions. Opaque, sticky shrink-wrap. These are the ingredients for plastic fab-ric or Plabric, a material created by the ZerOwBag company, which turns trash into fashionable bags.

    Hempe came up with the idea of recycling plastic bags when he was between jobs a year ago. He and friend Chad Campbell decided to go into business with the goal of creating products that would help raise environmental awareness and create a new home for plastic that is not currently recycled.

    Were excited about the opportu-

    nity to help people understand the problem of plastics in the environ-ment, Campbell said. We want to help people understand how big the problem is and what they can do to change their behavior.

    In the past seven months, Camp-bell and Hempe have produced and sold more than 400 of the vibrant, colorful and shiny bags, which range in price from $25 to $140 at zerowbags.com and a half-dozen stores throughout Minnesota.

    We did a little research and found that produce departments in grocery stores have a lot of plastic waste that really isnt being recycled yet, Hempe said. He has enough plastic waste collected from one grocery store to fill his basement storage room and half of his garage. Every material used is recycled, except for the thread

    used to sew together the bags.One of their most notable prod-

    ucts is the Green Baby diaper bag ($140), which comes with a cheeky changing mat covered in caution tape and marked with a circle indicating where to place the baby. ZerOw has a variety of style lines, including the Random Stripe, Metallic, Confetti and Des-ert Camo collections. The lines include handbags, large or small cosmetic bags and messenger bags. No two are alike.

    At the studio, each piece of plas-

    tic trash is cleaned, stacked and sorted by color for organization. Layers of different types of plastic are pinned and sewn together, then the prepared Plabric is run through a multineedle quilting machine. It is then ready to be made into vari-ous styles of bags.

    Any leftover material is used to create one-of-a-kind art pieces. Ill let people decided if its fine (art) or not, Hempe said with a laugh. But if customers like our mission, it makes it more special for them.

    MCT PHOTO

    The Random Stripe Signature Tote is a product of ZerOw Bags.

    Recycle dont pitch your old cellMcClatchy newspapers

    The best bets for getting rid of a cell phone may be handing it over to a recycling group, donating it or reselling it.

    Cell phones are made from pre-cious metals, copper and plas-tics. Recovering these materials through recycling or by passing it on to another person can help reduce processing of materials for new cell phones, and contribute to natural resource conservation.

    RecycleCell phone manufacturers,

    service providers and nonprofit groups often have programs to refurbish mobile devices or recy-cle their components. The EPA provides information about recy-cling at its Web site (www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/recycle/ecycling/donate.htm). In addition, the U.S. Postal Service offers a free Mail Back pilot program, which allows customers to recycle small electronics, such as PDAs, cell phones, digital cameras and music players, without paying for postage. Details are available at www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2008/pr08028.htm.

    DonateConsider giving the cell phone to

    an organization that collects used mobile devic