Sunday, September 22, 2013

Environment presentation on the council agenda, plus a talk on organic lawncare

The September 23, 2013 city-council meeting will feature a presentation by contractor The Brendle Group, which the city tasked to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan and a greenhouse gas inventory.

This session is a follow-on to a July 29 public forum. Project background is online. In July, the Brendle group presented a number of high-return-on-investment steps, with reasonable financial cost, that the city could take to improve our community's environmental/energy profile. (Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of their presentation materials.) The Brendle Group had planned to refine their proposed strategy in response to July 29 public comments. 

I expect the city will move forward with selected environmental steps in the coming months and in enacting our FY15 budget, including hiring a Sustainability Coordinator, a step recommended by the city's former Task Force on Environmental Action.

Also of note on the environmental front --

The City of Takoma Park is hosting "Fall Lawn Renovations, Naturally: Everything You Need to Know for a Safe, Organic Landscape With Paul Tukey!" on Saturday, October 5th from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at the Department of Public Works, 31 Oswego Avenue, off Ritchie Avenue.

About the speaker: Paul Tukey is a journalist, author, ternationally recognized for his expertise in environmental issues related to landscape management and water quality. Mr. Tukey is lauded for his ability to turn a mundane subject - lawn care - into a rousing public discourse. Currently, Mr. Tukey is Chief Sustainability Ocer for Glenstone, a museum in Potomac, Maryland, where he will help create a "living classroom" about organic landscaping.

This event is part of the city's Safe Grow Zone education campaign. Regarding Safe Grow implementation, check out a short interview with Washington Adventist Hospital's Director of Facilities, "Hospital Says no to Pesticides for Turf Management."

An excerpt from the transcript --
"Q: What have you determined is the alternative to using insecticides or herbicides for your lawns and landscapes?

"A: We are still in the discovery process. For insecticides, having beneficials such as ladybugs and praying mantis, keep the non-beneficial insects, such as aphids and lace bugs, in control, and make for a good integrated pest management program. If needed, optional environmentally friendly products may include Neem oil, other horticultural oils and soaps. For herbicides, we are still reviewing. In landscaped areas, maintenance by hand, weed mats and mulching should be effective. Turf is still under review -- alternatives may include overseeding to provide competition for the weeds, higher cut height, etc."

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