Homelessness Workshop Opens a Larger Dialogue

Editors Note:    Although this story is local to northern California, the issues are so widespread and important, they’re relevant to just about every community. Perhaps there’s useful information that can benefit yours.

Homeless man

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, in 2014. 578,424 people were homeless in our country. Almost 136,000 of those were children under 18.

Some cities have taken on homelessness and are being successful. Over the past five years, Fresno has reduced homelessness by 50 percent. Over the past 10 years, Salt Lake City has seen homelessness drop sigsignificantly. It recently announced it had successfully ended chronic veteran homelessness as well.

Redding (California) Councilwoman Kristen Schreder is passionate about finding real solutions to homelessness. On Thursday, July 16th, around 60 participants attended a workshop she hosted to brainstorm ideas that could provide answers and a clear path towards reducing our homeless population. Continue reading

Earthstone,Turtle Bay Exploration Park’s New Outdoor Exhibit: A Massive Sculptural Art Piece

Editor:  The following article is focused on a northern California event but as it combines art, music and the environment, perhaps it’s something you readers will appreciate. Enjoy!

Earthstone - a remarkable newly installed sculpture by artist Colleen Barry

Earthstone – a remarkable newly installed outdoor sculpture by artist Colleen Barry. Photo by Debra Atlas

Outdoor art is nothing new for Redding (California). Just look around at Caldwell Park or in front of the United Methodist Church.

Art can capture our imaginations and inspire us, although we’re often too busy for this to happen. But Turtle Bay Exploration Park is hoping folks around Redding – plus those who visit – will make the time for such worthy important things.

On a very hot Saturday, June 13, Turtle Bay launched its newest outdoor sculpture, Earthstone. Created by well-known Redding artist Colleen Barry, Earthstone sits in a circle with stones around the circle on a hillock, across from the Australian gardens, surrounded by new greenery and young trees, toward the eastern side of the McConnell Arboretum gardens.

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Lassen National Park – 100 Years of Changing Landscape

lassen pre 1915 crop 1a

Lassen Peak prior to its devastating eruption in 1915. Photo by B.F. Loomis, courtesy of National Park Service

The Cascade Mountains stretch from southern British Columbia, Canada, all the way into northern California. Part of the famed Ring of Fire – a string of volcanoes and mountains running throughout the Pacific Ocean – the southern Cascades contain hundreds of small to medium-sized volcanoes. This includes more than 30 volcanoes that make up California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park.

This week marks the 100th anniversary of one of Lassen’s most powerful volcanic eruptions.

To learn more about the explosive history of this remarkable national park and view rarely seen pictures that were taken during a major volcanic eruption, click here.

2 California towns have recycled water filling stations for commercial use

Recycled water fill stations are popping up around northern California. Will other states follow their lead?

Recycled water fill stations are popping up around northern California. Will other states follow their lead?

California is still experiencing a severe drought, even with the large amounts of rainfall seen across the state over the past few weeks. Shortfalls of water will become more apparent as the weather heats up in the spring.

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Champion Coast Redwood Cloned Trees Available for Rehoming

One of California's giant coastal redwoods  that's been cloned to save its genetic diversity, photo by Debra Atlas

One of northern California’s giant coastal redwoods that’s been cloned to save its genetic diversity, photo by Debra Atlas

As the drought continues, with little sign of breaking, wildfires are claiming much of our beautiful forested land. And these trees will need replacing, whether by the Forest Service or by landowners on private land.

Those of you familiar with earlier posts know about the Archangel Ancient Tree Project and David Milarch, its irrepressible co-founder. For those of you who don’t, Milarch has made it his life mission to save and clone the oldest giant “Champion” trees so that their genetic diversity will be saved for posterity and use these clones to help reforest countries around the world. Having recently met Milarch and having the chance to see some of these tall giants still alive was a fantastic experience. There will definitely be more to write about what I saw and learned over the coming months!

For right now, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive​, a registered non-profit based in Michigan, has a unique opportunity available for those who need to replace burned out trees – or those who wish to expand existing forest land. Milarch’s organization currently has quantities of ​2nd generation Champion coast redwood clones available for planting groves in appropriate areas in “living libraries” to assist ​with migration of the species. These are the largest living organisms on earth and they help offset CO2 emissions​ ​while providing a multitude of other essential ecosystem services.

Milarch says they have approximately 10,000 trees available for those who can use and will care for them. To learn more about these magnificent trees and see how to get them for your property, contact Milarch at (231) 378-4400 or online.

California towns could face steep fines for overwatering

Lake Mendocino, one of northern California's iconic blue lakes, now largely a dry lakebed due to drought

Lake Mendocino, one of northern California’s iconic blue lakes, now is now

As the heat continues in California, the drought deepens. The conversations and worries about water rationing abound. Many of us have cut back voluntarily, allowing lawns to go brown.

In our 3rd year of severe drought, California regulators are now proposing stringent new conservation measures to limit outdoor water use, including fines of up to $500 a day for using a hose without a shut-off nozzle.

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8 foods for which the California drought will create consumer sticker shock

Shasta Lake hit hard by the drought

Shasta Lake hit hard by the drought

The drought isn’t lightening up, even with the increase in rain California has seen in the last several months. Living in northern California, I drive regularly past one of our best sources of water – Lake Shasta. This year, water levels are seriously down, though it does look better than it did in February where the lake’s tributaries looked like mere slim creeks.Still water conservation and the effects of this continuing drought will cause ripples across our day-to-day. I came across a great article outlining some of the foods we normally take for granted that we can expect to see significant price hikes in over the coming months. Continue reading

Northern California Innovators Vie for Angel Investment

Sierra Innovation Challenge 2014

Companies are finding they need to expand their innovation efforts to meet consumer demand for greener products and services. And angel investors are eagerly seeking to invest in these kinds of companies.

These two forces collided on April 2nd at the 3rd annual Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge.

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Man-made nesting boxes help local wood ducks thrive in northern California

Colorful wood ducks have come back from the brink of extinction thanks to our help photo by Dawn Beattie, flickr

Colorful wood ducks have come back from the brink of extinction thanks to our help. photo by Dawn Beattie, flickr

Throughout the local waterways of northern California – from the ACID canal to the Sacramento River – you’ll see ducks. North American Wood Ducks to be exact.

The only North American waterfowl that breed twice in the same season. over the years these colorful birds have faced hard times. With over hunting and loss of habitat, they came close to extinction in the early 20th century. An act of Congress – the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which ended unregulated hunting – and a 1937 program by the U.S. Biological Survey (now the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) to build artificial nesting structures have helped spur them to a dramatic recovery.

To learn more about these fascinating and colorful birds – with unique habits in the bird world – see http://bit.ly/ObeKd5..

The Challenge of Finding GMO-free Pet Food

Editor’s Note:  I write for a variety of online venues. Although the references in this article are for a website based in northern California,  I think you’ll agree that the issue are bigger than geography.

Photo by Margarita Perisco, courtesy of flickr

Photo by Margarita Perisco, courtesy of flickr

As someone committed to living a green lifestyle, it’s natural for me to want my dog to be on the green journey with me. I’ve ditched containers with BPA and chemical-filled pet products and I use top quality “green” laundry detergent. But when it comes to finding pet food or dog treats that are GMO-free, that’s a bigger challenge.

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