Monthly Archives: February 2011

Greenfox Newsletter

Welcome to the February issue of the Greenfox Newsletter. In this edition, learn about some of the exciting projects underway in the Greenfox clubs and classes.  From field trips to science experiments, students of all ages are engaging with the environment and sustainability efforts in new and inspiring ways.  Read on to learn more!

On February 9, Prospect Hill Academy’s Greenfox5 Club took a trip to local favorite Taza Chocolate to see a sustainable business in action. Nineteen students toured the Somerville factory, learning about all the ways that Taza strives to be green throughout the chocolate-making process. We saw bags and bags of organic cacao beans that Taza sources from Latin America or the Caribbean (rather than from Africa or Indonesia) to keep their food miles down. We also heard about some of the green ways that Taza handles their waste products, such as their donation of cacao shells to local partner Groundwork Somerville to be used as mulch. While sampling lots of chocolate, we found out what a winnowing machine was and got to see Taza’s very own, repurposed from a chocolate factory in the Dominican Republic.
Renewable Energy in Action
Students in the Greenfox5 After School Programs across the Cambridge Public School District have been focusing on energy this month.  Through hands-on, experiential projects, students explored various renewable energy sources.  They built pinwheels to test wind power, looked at the many ways that the sun provides us with energy, and calculated their own carbon footprints.

Through these and other activities, students began to understand renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and the impact their actions have on the environment.  Applying what they learned, students discovered ways that these energy sources could be used in and around their schools.  The activities aimed to broaden students’ understanding of energy and inspire environmental leadership through creative, fun, and hands-on learning.

Here at Greenfox, we are continuing to work hard to reach students and cultivate in them a connection with and respect for the natural world.  We strive to develop future leaders who see the interconnectedness of our daily actions and their impact on the environment. In addition to classes and clubs, Greenfox offers workshops and presentations for students and faculty at schools and other educational or environmental organizations.  If you or your school are interested in the workshops or presentations we offer, please visit our website or contact us for more information.
We hope you enjoyed reading our newsletter. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and please visit our website to see how you can get involved. As always, thank you for your continuing support!

All the best,

Ashlee

What Gardeners are Saying about the Fiskars Momentum

We found this survey by the National Home Garden Club and wanted to share it with you.

Fiskar Momentum Reel Mower

What Gardeners are saying….

This is not your “Leave It To Beaver” style mower. This is an updated, ergonomic, green (ok, orange) machine.

-National Home Gardening Club tester

Tested & Recommended by the National Home Gardening Club.
The National Home Gardening Club is a community of  gardeners from across the country – with more than 600,000 paid members.  Recommended products are featured in Gardening How-To magazine.
All testers were current reel mower users.

  • 100% of testers would recommend the Fiskars Momentum to fellow Club members
  • 100% felt the Momentum was easier to push than their current reel mower
  • 100% felt the Momentum had a better handle design
  • 95% felt the Momentum was more durable & had a higher blade quality
  • 94% felt the Momentum had a better cut height adjustment system
  • 90% felt the Momentum was better at cutting long grass
  • 90% felt the Momentum was better at side edging & not leaving uncut strips
  • 90% felt the Momentum had a better cut quality & appearance
  • 84% felt the Momentum had a better range of cut height
  • 74% felt the Momentum was better at turning & aligning
  • 79% felt the Momentum had better cutting power
  • 79% felt the Momentum was better at dealing with grass clippings
  • (Survey conducted by The National Home Gardening Club  in Spring / Summer 2010)

Testimonial for the Recharge Electric Riding Mower

A Customer’s Testimonial: I rated the Recharge Electric Riding Mower at five stars because it delivered all that it promised. From day-one, the company courteously answered all my pre-purchase questions, walked me through shipping – assembly- and operations, including tips to use the mower more effectively.

With a Push Mower: Using my push mower, my suburban lawn used to take me almost three hours to do, and that with my wife’s help. (I’m retired, i.e., well over 21.) Now, with the Recharge Mower,  I do it by myself in about one hour. After about eight mowings already, I am quite satisfied. Operationally, the twin blades cut well, and the bagger is superb. The power is more than adequate, both in chomping grass and rises in terrain with rider and full load of grass. I also tested the charging capacity. I did a couple of double-runs on one recharge, for a total of about two and three-quarters of an hour. It can do the promised three hour running time per charge.

2011 Recharge Electric Riding Mower

Refreshing: It was refreshing, considering the cost of the machine, to have so many safeguards to protect the mower itself, as well as the obvious safety to operator and other wee critters nearby. For me, it is more agile that a conventional tractor-type. I appreciate not having bio-hazards in the garage, no odors, and almost nothing in maintenance. With an estimated 25-30 recharges per mowing season, I would anticipate a long, long time before needing to replace the battery pack.

Normal Suburban Sized Lawn: If you have a normal suburban-sized lawn, and a noisy conventional gas riding mower does not excite you, I could recommend the Recharge Electric riding mower without reservation.

The Things You Can Compost! Yes, you can!

We found this neat list from Treehugger. This list provides a great start to composting. The list gives you lots of ideas of the many, many items that are just right for your composting efforts. The composting process benefits from materials being broken up into pieces about the size of a golf ball. But if that is a problem, no worries, compost happens. Don’t throw this stuff away, use it for making compost.

From the Kitchen

Coffee grounds and filters
Tea bags
Used paper napkins
Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
Plain cooked pasta
Plain cooked rice
Stale bread
Paper towel rolls
Stale saltine crackers
Cereal
Used paper plates (as long as they don’t have a waxy coating)
Cellophane bags (be sure it’s really Cellophane and not just clear plastic—there’s a difference.)
Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which can be toxic to plants)
Old herbs and spices
Stale pretzels
Pizza crusts
Cereal boxes (tear them into smaller pieces first)
Wine corks
Moldy cheese
Melted ice cream
Old jelly, jam, or preserves
Stale beer and wine
Paper egg cartons
Toothpicks
Bamboo skewers
Paper cupcake or muffin cups

From the Bathroom

Used facial tissues
Hair from your hairbrush
Toilet paper rolls
Old loofahs
Nail clippings
Urine
100% Cotton cotton balls
Cotton swabs made from 100% cotton and cardboard (not plastic) sticks

Personal Items

It might be a good idea to bury these items in your pile. Just sayin’.

Cardboard tampon applicators
Latex condoms

From the Laundry Room

Dryer lint
Old/stained cotton clothing—rip or cut it into smaller pieces
Old wool clothing—rip or cut it into smaller pieces

From the Office

Bills and other documents you’ve shredded
Envelopes (minus the plastic window)
Pencil shavings
Sticky notes
Business cards (as long as they’re not glossy)
Receipts

Around the House

Contents of your vacuum cleaner bag or canister
Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
Subscription cards from magazines
Leaves trimmed from houseplants
Dead houseplants and their soil
Flowers from floral arrangements
Natural potpourri
Used matches
Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pit

Party and Holiday Supplies

Wrapping paper rolls
Paper table cloths
Crepe paper streamers
Latex balloons
Raffia
Excelsior
Jack o’ Lanterns
Those hay bales you used as part of your outdoor fall decor
Natural holiday wreaths
Your Christmas tree. Chop it up with some pruners first (or use a wood chipper, if you have one…)
Evergreen garlands

New and Improved Rolypig!

Fur from the dog or cat brush
Droppings and bedding from your rabbit/gerbil/hamsters, etc.
Newspaper/droppings from the bottom of the bird cage
Feathers
Alfalfa hay or pellets (usually fed to rabbits)
Rawhide dog chews
Fish food
Dry dog or cat food

Brill Accu Battery Maintenance

New Shipment: Having just received what could be the last order of New Accu Batteries we thought offering suggestions on how to maintain the Accu Batteries would be a good idea.

Accu Battery Maintainence: When you first receive the Accu Battery, charge it for 24 hours. Use the battery until it is depleted – probably about 15-20 minutes of run time. Charge battery for 24 hours and use again until depleted – probably about 25 minutes of run time. Charge battery for 24 hours and use again until depleted – should be about 35 – 40 minutes which is the full charge.

Going Forward: Going forward always fully deplete battery before charging. Always charge for 24 hours. When storing battery for winter, fully deplete battery and then charge for 24 hours. In the spring use battery until fully depleted and then charge for 24 hours and it will be up to full power.

Enjoy Using Your Brill Tools!

Dry Your Clothes Green

We came across this article and thought we would share it with  you. Enjoy!

Clothes dryers can save you time, but a 45-minute cycle uses about 3.3 kilowatt-hours of electricity or 17,000 Btu (0.17 therm) of natural gas. With the average U.S. household doing 400 loads of laundry per year, this consumption quickly adds up. Here are a few tips to help lower your energy use, global warming pollution, and utility bills.

Give clothes some fresh air. A clothesline or drying rack uses no fossil fuels, lessens wear and tear on fabrics, and can be employed year-round (clothes actually freeze-dry if left outside in winter).

Dry smart. When you do use the dryer, do the following before you hit “start”:

  • Get the water out. The more you can extract from clothes, the less drying time they’ll need. Most Energy Star-rated washers have high-speed spin cycles (or a second spin cycle option) to maximize water extraction. Or consider an energy-efficient portable spin dryer, which extracts enough water from clothes to reduce drying time by 30 minutes.
  • Check the clock. At times of peak electricity use, utilities tap into the dirtiest energy sources to meet demand. Reduce your laundry’s emissions by running the dryer later at night or in the middle of the day. (This can also save you money if your utility uses peak-time pricing.)
  • Clean the lint trap after every load. In addition to posing a fire hazard, lint buildup obstructs air flow, cutting efficiency up to 30 percent.
  • Separate by weight. Items made from lightweight fabrics (e.g., t-shirts, sheets) dry faster—and use less energy—when separated from heavier items (e.g., towels, jeans).
  • Dry back-to-back loads. The residual heat from the previous cycle gives you a head start on the next cycle, allowing you to use less energy overall.
  • Use the cool-down setting. For the last cycle, let clothes finish drying with residual heat.

Buy smart. Today’s dryers all consume similar amounts of energy, so they are not rated by Energy Star and are not required to bear the yellow EnergyGuide label. But there are ways to save energy and money with your next dryer:

  • Go with gas. Gas dryers heat more quickly, drying clothes faster. They also generate less global warming pollution: 2.60 pounds per cycle versus 5.94 pounds for an electric model (based on the national energy mix, almost half of which is coal). Over a dryer’s 18-year lifetime, that can add up to nearly 30,000 pounds of avoided emissions. Gas dryers cost more up front, but can be cheaper over their lifetime if electricity prices are higher than gas in your area and your home already has a gas line.
  • Choose a moisture-sensing model. Many dryers can shut themselves off when clothes are actually dry (rather than when the timer ends). These models cost more up front, but will save you 10 to 15 percent on operating costs and emissions.

New Recharge Lithium Battery Powered Mower

New Recharge Lithium Battery Mower: This spring we will begin selling the new mower by the Recharge Company. We had great success with their riding electric mower last year. This year they have added a walk behind push rotary mower which is powered with a lithium battery.

Lithium Battery: The Lithium Battery will power the mower for 35 minutes. The battery will take 3 hours to fully recharge. You may purchase an extra battery to extend the run time to 70 minutes.