Try Composting

Do-it-yourself soil! Composting is a simple and satisfying way to give back to the environment and to cut down on your garbage collection bill. Here’s how to do it:

BIN. Construct a bin for your compost. There’s no right or wrong bin, but a lid might be beneficial for those with frisky raccoons, opossums, or close neighbors. Bins also help regulate moisture and temperature.

BALANCING. Fill bin with a balanced mixture of “green stuff” (carbon) and “brown stuff” (nitrogen). This activates the heat process and encourages aerobic (air dependent) bacteria growth. You’ll want a working balance between the two.

     *Brown stuff is high in carbon and serves as the fiber for your compost and also allows for more porosity in your heap (make sure your organisms can breath!). You should aim for 2/3 carbon and 1/3 nitrogen.

     *Green stuff provides materials for making enzymes and should be used in moderation. If your compost takes on a sour or vinegary odor, add more carbon and turn it for aeration.

WATER. Your heap should be about as damp as a cloth that has been wrung out. If your pile gets too wet it may not be able to breath. If it’s too dry, add some good ‘ol H2O.

TEMPERATURE. An indication of microbial activity is all in the temperature. Your aim is to have a steaming hot heap of compost. If your pile is not steaming the microbial activity has slowed, add more nitrogen.

AIR. Turn your compost pile about once or twice a week for proper aeration. You can do this by sifting through it with a pitchfork, dumping it out and putting it back in the bin, or simply turning it with a handle if you have a store-bought compost bin. 

HARVESTING. Spread your new compost into your garden. CAUTION – fresh compost can rob the soil of nitrogen as it continues to break down. It’s best to wait a few weeks before planting anything in it. 

TIPS:

*Break up large clumps. These clumps can start to decompose anaerobically (not air dependent), which is slow and smelly. You want your compost to decompose aerobically (air dependent), which is faster and sweet smelling.

*Avoid pesticide and/or herbicide-treated material. 

*If your compost heap is smelly add carbon, turn it, and break up clumps. Add lime or saw dust to the top to mask odor.

*DO NOT add bones, meat, oil/fat, synthetic fibers, plastic, disposable diapers, diseased plants, glossy paper, coal/coke ash, cat litter, dairy, carnivorous/omnivorous manure, bread, or nuts. These items can become slimy and slow decomposition. It’s best to just toss these into your garden or under a tree (away from a road). Your back yard critters will discover them quickly. 

*DO USE fruit, veggies, eggshells, leaves, lawn clippings, small branches, straw/hay, pine needles (use sparingly due to high acidity), flowers, wood ash, coffee grounds (and filter), tea bags (with filter), newspaper, shredded paper (no colored inks), cardboard, dryer lint.

For more information check out http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.htmlImage

Celebrate National Outdoors Month!

Celebrate Natonal Outdoors Month!

“The United States is blessed with a wealth of natural diversity that remains at the heart of who we are as a people. … Our natural surroundings animate the American spirit, fuel discovery and innovation, and offer unparalleled opportunities for recreation and learning. During Great Outdoors Month, we celebrate the land entrusted to us by our forebears and resolve to pass it on safely to future generations.”
-President Barack Obama

What better way to participate in National Outdoors Month with friends and family than at PPL’s environmental preserves?  Our preserves offer camping facilities, miles of hiking trails, boating, picnic areas, geocaching and much more for your outdoor adventures. See you there!

 

Pike-Wayne Earth Day Festival: Free family-friendly fun!

Earth Day_Ben Every year around Earth Day, Pike and Wayne County based conservation organizations get together with the same goal in mind: Celebrate Earth Day with the community. For several months prior to the event, the planning committee meets to determine what new activities will be offered to the public. All of the planning ends with one big celebration. This year’s event is almost here!

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On Saturday, April 20, the PPL Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and packed full of hands-on activities, craft projects, games and much more. We’re highlighting the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act that has saved many species like red wolves and bald eagles with a species celebration. Visitors are encouraged to come wearing a mask or

costume that represents their favorite native or endangered flora and fauna. We’ll have a “Costume Cave” set-up that day for crafting simple representations of a variety of species. Whether you come prepared or transform while you’re here, visit the “Costume Cave” to find facts about your species or add to your costume.  Think eco-friendly by using recycled or natural materials… and have fun!

Do some spring cleaning before you come and bring your old t-shirts and tennis shoes! Cub Scout Pack #229 will help your memories live on by transforming your  favorite shirts into reusable bags. Tennis shoes can be recycled with Girl Scout Troop #50151. They’ll show you the process of how Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program works and collect your old tennis shoes to be recycled.

Other activities include:

  • Bird walks
  • Puppet shows
  • Face painting
  • Food and maple products for sale
  • Help build an eagle’s nest
  • Seedling giveaways and take-home wildflower plantings
  • Stream and lake water study using microscopes
  • Energy bicycle

For more information and directions, visit www.pikewayneearthday.wordpress.com or call (570) 253-7001.

Better yet, come out on Saturday, April 20 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to see what all the buzz is about!

Join the E-power® Army of Savers

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Existing programs, rebates in place through May; new savings incentives start June 1

If you could hand out the kilowatt-hours of electricity saved by PPL Electric Utilities customers through the end of 2012 with the help of the company’s E-power® programs, each person in the United States would get four.

If they were miles, they would circle Earth more than 52,000 times.

As of the end of 2012, PPL Electric Utilities customers who’ve used E-power programs or services since they debuted in 2009 have reached a collective annual electric savings of 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours. They’ve received more than $112 million in rebates and incentives.

Current E-power programs are in effect through May and will be replaced by a new edition of programs, currently under review by the state Public Utility Commission, which are scheduled to begin in June and be in place for the next three years.

 “Customers who haven’t taken advantage of these opportunities should give them a look,” said Thomas C. Stathos, director of Customer Programs and Services for the utility. “Current rebates and incentives, some of which are retroactive to July 1, 2009, will expire when the new slate of E-power programs starts in June 2013.”

For more information on current programs, visit http://www.pplelectric.com and select “Rebate and Incentive Programs” under Save Energy & Money. To view what programs, services and incentives the utility is proposing for the next phase of its E-power programs, check out the Act 129 Phase II plan by selecting “For Act 129 Stakeholders,” also under Save Energy & Money.

“The beauty of energy efficiency is that it’s not a once-and-done exercise. Making changes now — like investing in more energy-efficient appliances, replacing inefficient lighting, and more — provides savings for years to come,” Stathos said.

PPL Electric Utilities has a long history of helping its customers become more energy efficient, a legacy that predates Act 129, Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency and conservation law.

“We’ve always been customer-centered,” Stathos said. “Energy efficiency and conservation has been and continues to be part of who we are. It’s something we believe in and something we want to help customers achieve.”

PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation that provides electricity delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania, consistently ranks among the best companies for customer service in the United States. More information is available at www.pplelectric.com.

Calling all bird lovers

Osprey and chick at the PPL Lake Wallenpaupack Preserve.

Osprey and chick at the PPL Lake Wallenpaupack Preserve.

Did you know that PPL’s environmental preserves have been directly involved in efforts to raise awareness of birds and their habitat, and to restore peregrine falcons, bald eagles, ospreys and other bird species to Pennsylvania? Through a “Bird Town” alliance with the Audubon Society, PPL works to raise awareness of birds and their habitats through education, awareness and training activities.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

Here is a chance for all bird lovers to become engaged.  The National Audubon Society is seeking participants for The Great Backyard Bird Count,   an annual four-day event from Feb. 15-18 that engages bird watchers in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.

Anyone interested in volunteering to take part in this event can grab their binoculars and sign up here: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/howto.html.  Volunteers provide important information on the status and trends of our bird populations.

To learn more about PPL’s commitment to birds of prey throughout Pennsylvania, we invite you to read and follow our blog.

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