Winter Wildlife: The Feisty Red Fox


While posting green tips for the holidays would seem like a relevant post this time of year, here is something a little different to make us smile and remind us that we share this planet with some pretty incredible creatures.

The red fox, whose population is widely distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, is known to jump through many feet of snow to locate its prey.  This jumping, called mousing, is quite delightful to watch as the red fox leaps high into the air and plummets into the snow, snout-first.  The red fox’s hunting ability has been attributed to its keen sense of hearing, but scientists suggest that the foxes also use the Earth’s magnetic fields to pinpoint its prey.

Say what you will about foxes, this video is pretty darn entertaining.

 

Thanks to Mother Nature Network and the Discovery Channel for the information!

Red Foxes Hunting Secrets Revealed!

“Animals of the North” Presentation, THIS THURSDAY!!


Looking for something to do this Thursday evening?  Come on down to Paterson for the “Animals of the North: What Will Global Climate Change Mean for Them?” presentation with Susan Morse.

Please join us for this special event!

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Time: 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Location: BCC Campus, Paterson Field House

Admission: $5 general/free with valid student ID

Event is sponsored by: Berkshire Community College Green Team, MCLA Department of Environmental Studies, Bard College at Simon’s Rock Sustainability Studies, Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), Berkshire Wildlife Trackers, Project Native,  Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, Housatonic Valley Association, The Nature Conservancy, The Trustees of Reservations, Green Berkshires, and Greenagers.

Mark Your Calendars! Wildlife Photography & Climate Change Presentation on December 5th!


On Thursday, December 5th, BCC is proud to cosponsor the “Animals of the North: What Will Global Climate Change Mean For Them?‘ presentation with Susan Morse, wildlife photographer and natural history expert.  This slide show presentation is designed to inform viewers of the present (and future) impact of climate change on northern species through Susan’s incredible photography.  The goal of this presentation is to inspire participants of all ages to conserve natural resources, reconsider our dependence on fossil fuels, and create a better future for all of Earth’s inhabitants.   Please join us for this special event!

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Time: 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Location: BCC Campus, Paterson Field House

Admission: $5 general/free with valid student ID

Event is sponsored by: Berkshire Community College Green Team, MCLA Department of Environmental Studies, Bard College at Simon’s Rock Sustainability Studies, Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), Berkshire Wildlife Trackers, Project Native,  Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, Housatonic Valley Association, The Nature Conservancy, The Trustees of Reservations, Green Berkshires, and Greenagers.

Tip o’ the Week: Show Us Your Mug! A Travel Mug, That Is!


Not-so-fun fact: 16 billion paper cups are used for coffee EVERY YEAR 

(Do me favor, please: read this post in your best game-show host/infomercial voice.  It makes it much more fun!)   

Would you like to save over 6.5 million trees?  How about 4 billion gallons of water?  What about powering nearly 54,000 homes for a year?  It can be done!  And it’s simple!  Switch to reusable mugs!  Yes, that’s right, you heard it here first!

Did you know that paper beverage cups are laminated with a plastic resin that not only prevents the paper from absorbing liquids and leaking, but also prevents them from being recycled?  Thaaaaaat’s right!  Paper cups are NOT recyclable!  

Would you like to have more cash in your pocket?  Of course you do!  Many coffee shops, including our own café, offer a discount to customers that bring their own mug.  Some places will charge you for only a small beverage regardless of mug size (many thanks to Kevin and the café staff for that!) and others will give you a flat discount, like the 10¢ Starbucks policy.  If you buy one Starbucks coffee every day using your own mug, that’s a savings of almost $40 per year!  And who wouldn’t want to have an extra $40 at the end of the year?  I know I would!

So, whether you are in your office or on the road, you can save money and the environment by switching from paper cups to reusable mugs.  Happy Caffeinating!

Thanks to the Nature Conservancy and the Daily Green for the information!

http://www.nature.org/greenliving/gogreen/everydayenvironmentalist/reusable-coffee-mugs.xml

http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/reusable-coffee-mug-0718#slide-19

Volunteers Needed! Help Clean Up the Tierney Conservation Area!


Please join the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and the City of Pittsfield in cleaning up the Tierney Conservation Area on November 3, 2013.

Be sure to wear old clothes and sturdy shoes as you will get dirty!  I would also recommend bringing some water (in a reusable bottle, of course!)

Date: Sunday, November 3, 2013

Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Tierney Conservation Area, Jason St, Pittsfield, MA (just north of the railroad bridge)

Note: Cleanup will be cancelled in the event of heavy rains and thunderstorms

I’d highly recommend signing up for a cleanup if you are interested in conservation, improving our communities and wild spaces, or just looking to have fun in the out-of-doors.  I’ve done a few of these cleanups with BEAT and they are a BLAST!

To sign up for the cleanup, or if you have any questions, please contact Jane at BEAT jane@thebeatnews.org or 413-230-7321.  You can also contact me (Roz) via email: rbroch@berkshirecc.edu with any questions or suggestions.

Hope to see you there!

Tip o’ the Week: Greening Your Computer Usage


If you know that you are going to be away from your computer for more than 20 minutes, please turn off your monitor.  And please, please, PLEASE turn off your monitors at the end of the day and on Friday.  It’s easier than turning off a light switch!  Seriously, there’s no excuse for your monitor to be on over the weekend or overnight…unless you live in your office…and never move away from your computer…which is cause for concern…because that’s gross.

If you are going to be away from your computer for more than 2 hours, please shut it down.  The amount of energy used to turn on a computer is far less than leaving it to idle for more than 2 hours.

If you forget to turn off your monitor or computer, you can change your computer’s power settings to consume less energy.  The power settings can be found by clicking on the Start icon and selecting Control Panel.  Select Power Options.  If you are concerned with changing settings, please contact our friendly IT department.

For additional green tips, stay tuned!

Thanks to the Department of Energy for these tips!

Earn Service Learning Hours THIS Saturday!


**EARN 4 SERVICE-LEARNING HOURS THIS SATURDAY!**

Lend a hand to the lands!  September 29th (this Saturday!) marks the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day—the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands.  The BCC Green Team, in collaboration with the BCC Service Learning Office and the Berkshire National Resources Council, has organized an event to clear and build trails at the Mahanna Cobble Reserve in Lenox, MA.

What: Trail Work for National Public Lands Day

When: Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Mahanna Cobble Reserve, 144 West Mountain Road, Lenox, MA

  • Please bring your own water and food
  • Wear long pants and sturdy shoes
  • Tools and gloves will be provided!
  • The work is light, but the terrain is steep – plan accordingly!

Email Mary Parkman, mparkman@berkshirecc.edu, by Wednesday, Sept. 25th to reserve your spot.

**RESERVE YOUR SPOT BY WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25**

Directions and Parking:

Carpooling is appreciated and encouraged (the parking is limited and carpooling is GREEN).  West Mountain Road is on the right just south of Arizona Pizza on Route 7.  144 West Mountain Road is about 0.7 miles from Rt. 7; please park on the shoulder of the driveway near the gate.

A Wee Bit o’ Back Story:

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands.  NPLD brings together over 175,000 individual and organizational volunteers to help restore the country’s public lands.  These public lands are places that we use for outdoor recreation, education, and enjoyment.  These lands include national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, marine sanctuaries, lakes, reservoirs, and more!

Last year, NLPD volunteers at over 2,200 sites across the country did the following: collected 23,000 pounds of invasive plants; built and maintained over 1,500 miles of trails; planted 100,000 trees, shrubs, and other native plants; and removed approximately 500 tons of trash.  This work, done in one day, contributed an estimated $18 million in services.

For more information, visit http://www.publiclandsday.org/

NPLD 20th Anniversary

Every Day Is Earth Day


April 22nd marks the 43rd annual Earth Day, where millions of people worldwide come together to promote environmental issues and inspire activism on behalf of the earth and its inhabitants.  Some people use this day to host festivals or clean up river beds or start a recycling program.  Others pass around petitions to curb climate change or protect endangered species.  There is no “right way” to observe Earth Day.  And while big events and gestures are important, I like to think that every day is—and should be—Earth Day.

Being green is easier and cheaper than you think!  It isn’t about buying the newest and “greenest” stuff, but rather about adapting our lives to be more sustainable.  The smallest changes to our everyday habits can have a massive impact on the planet.  Still need a little more encouragement?  Many of the tips I have included in this post are beneficial not only to the environment, but also to your communities, your health, and your wallet.

  • Consider human-powered transportation (like walking or riding a bike) when possible.  Even taking the stairs instead of the elevator saves energy.  Carpooling and consolidating errands will also help reduce pollution.
  • One of the simplest and healthiest actions you can take for the environment is to reduce your consumption of meat and animal products.  Afraid to take the vegetarian/vegan plunge?  Try eating a few meatless meals every week.
  • Grabbing a cup of coffee or tea?  Bringing your own travel mug not only helps reduce waste, but many places (including our own cafeteria) won’t charge you full price.
  • Use reusable containers when bringing your lunch to work or school.  Plastic sandwich bags can be washed and reused many times, too.
  • Like many people trying to live a little greener, you may have started buying from the bulk bins.  But don’t waste your money on expensive canisters, reuse those tomato sauce and jelly jars!  Just be sure they are washed and dried before refilling them.
  • With summer just around the corner, many local farmers’ markets are beginning to open.  Buying locally grown foods will not only help the environment, but will also help your community’s farmers and growers.
  • Have some unused space in your yard?  On your counter?  Consider growing some of your favorite foods.  Most herbs can easily be grown in pots and kept in a sunny window.  Afraid to start plants from seed?  Many farmers’ markets also sell plants!
  • Want to leave a legacy?  Plant a tree!  A tree cleans the air, holds the soil in place, and can even cool your house.
  • Please don’t litter!  Plastic wrappers and other trash can wreak havoc on an ecosystem; 6-pack rings and even wads of gum can maim and kill wildlife.
  • Once your electronics are charged, unplug your charger from the outlet.  The charger will continue to use (and waste) electricity.
  • REDUCE!  REUSE!  RECYCLE!
  • And lastly (and thank you for making it this far), get involved!  There are many local, national, and international organizations that are working to protect our environment.  If there is a cause that interests you, do a little research.  You’d be amazed at some of the work being done in the world today.

And here is a YouTube clip from a 90s cartoon that really inspired me to be an environmentalist: Captain Planet and the Planeteers!   For a really catchy theme song, listen to the closing credits.

Captain Planet Opening/Closing Credit

World Water Day


A new blogger has joined our ranks – Roslyn Broch!  Take it away Roz:

World Water Day logo 2013

 In order to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources, the United Nations (UN) declared March 22, 1993, to be the first World Water Day.  Since that inaugural celebration, each year has been designated a theme to raise aware awareness of various water-related issues.  These issues range from water security to sanitation to the cultural importance of water.   This year’s theme is water cooperation, a foundation for peace and sustainable development.  For more information on this year’s theme and events happening around the globe, visit the UN’s website for World Water Day 2013.

As this year’s World Water Day approaches, it is an excellent time to think about the importance of freshwater in our everyday lives and what we can do to protect our ever-dwindling resources for future generations.  So on March 22, 2013, please remember that even the smallest changes to our habits can save thousands of gallons of freshwater from going to waste.

Here are three quick and easy ways to reduce your water consumption this year:

  1. Run your washing machine and dishwater only when they are full.  It can save 1,000 gallons of water per month
  2. Shorten your shower by just a few minutes and you’ll save over 150 gallons per month
  3. Turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth can save 25 gallons per month

For more water-saving and green tips, check out these websites:

http://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/

http://content.sierraclub.org/green-tips

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/water-conservation-tips/

For more information on the UN’s water agenda, visit www.unwater.org

http://youtu.be/aGvkqzXt7mM

http://www.unwater.org/fileadmin/user_upload/watercooperation2013/doc/2013_infographic.pdf

21st After Two Weeks


After two weeks, BCC is 21st out of 228 colleges and universities.  Our current recycling rate is 56% which is up from last year’s rate, but our goal, as part of the Zero Waste initiative, is to get to 60% this year, so every bit of help is appreciated.  (In 2010 we had a 45% rate – we can do this).

Click here to see how we stack up against other schools: http://recyclemaniacs.org/scoreboard/current-results/competition-division.  Its always fun to see that we are crushing Tufts, Boston College, Cornell, Amherst, Harvard… :-)

To review what can and cannot be recycled, please see the recycling link.  http://blogs.berkshirecc.edu/bccgreenteam/recycling/