Friday, October 31, 2014

8 New Ways to Carve a Pumpkin

8 New Ways to Carve a Pumpkin

These aren't your run-of-the-mill jack-o'-lanterns.



If you've been cutting two triangle eyes and a jagged mouth into every pumpkin you've carved since you were a kid, it might be time to upgrade your routine. These clever bloggers treated their gourds like blank canvases  and the result is a spectrum of pumpkin art that ranges from pretty to creepy.
1. Fairytale House

This adorable abode, which even has mini window boxes, looks like the perfect whimsical spot for a fairy or Hobbit.
Get the tutorial at Finding Home »

2. Scar Face

Part Frankenstein, part baseball, this jack-o-lantern's eerie stiching is tempered by his smiling face.
Get the tutorial at Dream a Little Bigger »

3. Chevron Style

Etch your favorite basic pattern (stripes and polka dots work well, too) into the surface of a pumpkin for a sublte take on carving.
Get the tutorial at Wit & Whistle »

4. Peekaboo Planters

These "jack-o-planterns" help you decorate for Halloween and show off fall foliage without cluttering your porch.
Get the tutorial at Garden Therapy »

5. Squash Snail

We admire this blogger's out-of-box thinking: Flipped on its side and paired with stout butternut squash, a pumpkin is this slimey creature's traveling home.
Get the tutorial at Secret Agent Josephine »

6. Autumn Monogram

Show off your holiday spirit and family pride by carving your initial into a gourd.
Get the tutorial at The Wonder Forest »

7. Polka Dot

Power drills aren't just for home renovations. Use one to bore holes in cute patterns into a pair of pumpkins.
Get the tutorial at Cheryl Style »

8. Cheery Tiers 

Colorful beads and toothpicks take this pretty pumpkin to a whole new level.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Extend your garden's life

Extension Master Gardener Randy Cox helps assemble a tunnel at Sacred Heart Catholic School.
Extension Master Gardener Randy Cox helps assemble a tunnel at Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Would you like to keep your gardens growing throughout the year? Of course. Most of us want to, but we either don’t know how to do it or we do not want to pay for additional upkeep.
If cost is the main concern, we can always use some season extension techniques. In this article, I am going to show you how easy and affordable it can be to extend your growing season.

For the past two years, Cooperative Extension has been working with Millbridge Elementary School on their school gardens. Most of the time, our Extension Master Gardeners are helping teach the classes but every now and then, I get to help out. This year, I have been able to work closer with Laura Lindley’s fifth-grade class. Since one part of the fifth-grade curriculum focuses on weather, I thought the class could do a scientific experiment.
The class planted two raised beds with the exact same plants (carrots, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce and parsnips) in each. In one of the beds, we decided to build a low tunnel. Low tunnels are just one tool that can be used in season extension.
Other season extension items are high tunnels, cold frames, greenhouses and row covers, to name a few.
If you are a homeowner, building a low tunnel for your raised beds is fairly simple. Here is a list of materials I used: One roll of 4 mil plastic (measure your raised bed to make sure the roll will cover the entire bed), 61/2-inch by 24-inch steel rebar (length depends on the depth of your bed), three 3/4-inch-by-10 feet PVC pipe and zip ties.
I bought everything for $30. The raised beds at Millbridge are about 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and about 12 inches deep.
I put rebar at each of the ends and two in the middle. I also cut the PVC pipe down to about 7 feet.
I put the PVC pipe on one rebar and then bent the pipe to fit the rebar pipe directly across, forming a semi-circle. I did this three times. Once I had the pipe in place, the students helped me cover the bed with plastic. Then, we secured the plastic with the zip ties.
To secure the loose plastic on the ends, you can use heavy lumber, rocks, etc. to reduce wind blowing through the tunnel.
Lindley’s class will have to check and water the low tunnel bed more frequently since rain cannot penetrate the plastic covering.
The tunnel will act as a magnifying glass and increase the temperature within the tunnel. In theory, the bed with the tunnel should outperform the bed without a tunnel and produce vegetables longer than the bed that is exposed to the elements.
This is just one way to extend your season, it is also one of the easiest. If you would like to learn more about season extension or gardening in general, contact your local Cooperative Extension agent.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Frankenstein Goody Bucket

By Maggie Wehri

No need for the plastic bucket or elaborate bag this year — this homemade goody bucket will have your trick-or-treaters screaming with reuse delight!
So many Halloween decorations seem oh so tempting this time of year, but maybe this could be the season in which you take a step back and get creative making decorative items with materials already in your home. Discovering creative ways to make what we see on the shelves is not always an easy task, which is why we have the perfect Halloween craft for the trick-or-treaters at home.

On the big day, we all need a nice goody bag to put our treats in. It’s so easy to buy a plastic pumpkin or bag from the store. Instead of buying a few extra items you may not necessarily need, utilize the ice cream bucket the family polished off at the dinner table last night (go ahead and rinse it out real well before you get started). Get out your felt (or other choice of fabric), scissors and glue. Now, get those creative juices flowing. Your goody bucket can resemble a mummy, a pumpkin, a witch, a ghost or any other Halloween character, but for this example we’re going to pick Frankenstein.


First, consider that the bucket is easiest to use later with a handle attached to it, however, other reusable containers could also work for this craft. Perhaps cut the top off your milk jug or take the opportunity to patch up a leaky container. Either way, all of these are great options for your goody bucket.

Second, lie out the green felt (in this case) and roll out the container in the felt to measure out exactly how much you need. Trim around leaving a half-inch to 1-inch overlap that will fold over the bottom and top. Glue the felt all around the container and secure the overlap inside of the bucket.

To create Frankenstein’s hair, lay the black felt on the work surface and carefully align with the top of the container. Measure as you did with the green felt, leaving a little extra, and trim excess. Before attaching the black felt, trim one end in a grass-like cut to fashion the hair and then glue in place. Finally, cut out patterns for eyebrows, eyes (or glue on your favorite googly eyes), nose and mouth in appropriate colors and glue those in the appropriate areas.

Now, before taking your goody bucket out for a spin around your neighborhood haunts, don’t forget to let it dry well. It’s the perfect time to show off your cool new craft, and you can have piece of mind knowing you didn’t purchase another plastic item that will only be used a time or two. This Halloween, join the crafty crowd and figure out new ways to make your spooky holiday a little greener.
- See more at:

How to Recycle Jars

By Sophia Bennett

Glass can be recycled over and over again, and virtually every city and town has access to recycling options.
The humble glass jar holds all kinds of delicious products in your kitchen: sandwich spreads, jams and jellies, spaghetti sauce, pickles and much more. You can feel good about buying foods packaged in glass jars, as they don't leach chemicals into food, and they are one of the most recyclable products out there.

Most communities accept glass jars at the curb or at local recycling centers. Even if they do not, reuse ideas abound, so you should have no trouble keeping your glass jars out of landfills and incinerators.

How jars get recycled

Glass, which is made of naturally occurring materials such as sand and limestone, can be recycled endlessly. Once glass is collected at your curb or at your local recycling center, it heads to a recycling plant to be crushed into small pieces called cullet. The cullet is then put in a furnace and combined with small amounts of the materials needed to create new glass. The furnace heats up to between 2,600º and 2,800ºF depending on the makeup of glass. Once the glass is hot enough to liquefy, it can be formed into new vessels.
In addition to making new jars, manufacturers can use recycled glass for products such as tile, beads, fiberglass, television screens and roadbed underlay (in place of gravel).

Manmade glass has been around for thousands of years. Humans first became intrigued by seeing glass in obsidian and other natural forms. The Egyptians and Mesopotamians learned to heat elements and form glass into basic shapes around 3,500 B.C., and vessels around 1,500 B.C. Recycling glass is a much more recent discovery, of course, but it is a good thing people figured out how to do it.

Why should I recycle jars?

Turning old glass jars into new ones represents a big win for the environment. New glass can be made with up to 70% cullet, so using recycled glass means less mining for new materials. It also means less energy (cullet melts at a lower temperature than brand-new materials); a longer life for glass furnaces; and reduced carbon emissions. Every 6 tons of glass that gets recycled saves 1 ton of carbon from being released into the atmosphere.
Not everyone has gotten the word about the benefits of glass recycling, however. Only 28% of the glass Americans buy gets recycled, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports, which means manufacturers are always on the lookout for clean, high-quality cullet. Returning your glass jars to a recycling center helps them find it.

Recycling glass is good for the economy, too. The Container Recycling Institute, a nonprofit that encourages consumers to recycle various types of packaging, reports that recycling just 1,000 tons of glass creates eight jobs.

How to reuse jars

Glass jars, especially canning jars and jars with unusual shapes, are very trendy right now and have plenty of reuse options. If you do not want to use jars for drinking glasses or vases, donate them to a thrift store so crafters or home canners can claim them.
The blog By Stephanie Lynn has 50 cute ideas for repurposing glass jars, including using them to hold photographs and make terrariums for plants.

Another popular way to reuse jars is to serve food in them. Desserts like these delicious no-bake cheesecakes from Women’s Day look pretty in small jars. It is possible to bake brownies, cakes and pies in jars; check out this cherry-pie-in-a-jar recipe from The Cooking Channel. Martha Stewart devoted a show to ideas about serving whole meals various in canning jars. Her recipes for salads, dips, main dishes and sangria may inspire a picnic.
- See more at:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

N.C. coastal agency approves terminal groin structure for Village of Bald Head Island

RALEIGH – The N.C. Division of Coastal Management this week issued a Coastal Area Management Act, or CAMA, Major Permit to the Village of Bald Head Island to allow the construction of a terminal groin structure up to 1,900 feet long at the Point between South Beach and West Beach.
The permit was issued pursuant to Session Law 2011-387. The law amended the N.C. Coastal Area Management Act to allow permitting of up to four terminal groins at North Carolina ocean inlets to protect structures and infrastructure from erosion.
A terminal groin is a long, low structure, typically made of rock or concrete, which extends out into the ocean at the end of an island, and is intended to trap sand and prevent beach erosion.
A copy of the permit is available on the division’s website at

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ten Ways to Repurpose Worn-Out Shoes

By Falesha Wojitysiak

Got the old shoe blues? These 10 reuse ideas will keep your eco-stylish and eye-catching.
How many shoes have you tossed out or donated in the last year? If you have children, it’s safe to say that figure is pretty high. Here is a list of 10 different ways to repurpose and recycle those worn-out shoes. Thank you for keeping them out of a landfill.

1. Redesign them
shoes-1.png Sometimes we toss out a pair of shoes because we are tired of looking at them. They sit in their little corner of the shoe rack, gather dust and mock our past fashion choices. Instead of throwing away perfectly good shoes and money, why not redesign them into something fun and funky to wear? Grab those canvas shoes and a couple of fabric markers and go to town!
2. Denim sandals
shoes-2.png This project is great because you are not only salvaging a pair of old sandals, but also a pair of jeans! If you are adept with a sewing machine, this project won’t be too difficult. Why not play with the color by dyeing the straps before you sew them in? You could also use a fine-tipped fabric pen to ink designs on the straps.
3. Gladiator sandals
shoes-3.png Here is another sweet project that reclaims more clothing waste. For these gladiator sandals, simply grab an old pair of flip-flops and a T-shirt. Don’t have a T-shirt in the color you want that isn’t junk-able yet? Hit up your local charity thrift shop, and be stylish while contributing to the cause. These sandals deserve to be made in a multitude of colors.
4. Espadrilles
shoes-4.png Those chunky, platform flip-flops hiding in the back of the closet have not been worn in quite some time. So, let’s make something cute and classy with them. The best part is that these babies require absolutely no sewing experience to put together. Fabric pens would be another way to jazz these up a notch, or you could even add a strip of coordinating ribbon across the top.
5. Flower planters
shoes-5.png If you are looking to add something unique and colorful to your garden this coming spring, why not grab some of those old dress shoes and start planting? The ability to rearrange your plants with very little effort makes this project a win. Coordinate the flower to the shoe, spray-paint the shoe a different color or experiment with different shoe styles until you find what works best for your garden.
6. Heel planters
shoes-6.png This is one of the most imaginative repurposing ideas of platform high heels I’ve seen thus far. If you have some of these hiding in a box, time to pull them out. Maybe your tastes have outgrown the nightclub scene, or you are no longer dating that guy that was 6 inches taller than you. Regardless, here is a way to make a very portable planter.
7. Snow-chained running shoes
shoes-7.png Give those old sneakers new life by making them the best for running on icy days. By adding some small hex-head screws to the bottom using only a screwdriver, you can now walk a little more confidently in the winter. The cost of screws are but pennies, and the money saved on cleated runners can be better spent on warmer running clothes.
8. Baby shoe pin cushion
shoes-8.png If you are looking for the perfect gift for Grandma this year, look no further. Why only put those adorable baby shoes away for sentimentality when you can make something that is not only functional, but also sure to be cherished? This will also make a great present to tell that crafty loved one in your life that you are expecting!
9. Mosaic
shoes-9.png Shoe lovers in your life can, ironically, be hard to shop for. Shoes in general are out, unless you know their size in a particular brand. Crafting something from an old shoe is a way to repurpose an item that would otherwise be tossed. It will also create something beautiful that can be passed down for generations to come.
10. Dress them up
shoes-10.png If your level of craftiness prevents you from feeling comfortable tackling a big project, no worries. Here is the project for you. Simply dress up a pair of sandals you already own with a few well-placed charms. Your local craft store should have a wide variety of them, and assembling simply requires hot glue.
Instead of gluing the charms directly on the shoes themselves, try gluing them onto old broaches. This allows you to switch them out whenever the mood strikes.

All images used are copyrighted and used with permission of the photographers/artists.
- See more at:

Friday, October 24, 2014

North Carolina corn maze shaped like Extension centennial logo

North Carolina corn maze shaped like Extension centennial logo

  • Guests who go to Gross Farms in Lee County, NC, can make their way through a 15-acre corn maze cut in the shape of Extension’s centennial logo.
EXTENSION CENTENNIAL LOGA etched into corn maze at Gross Farms in North Carolina.
Photo by Gross Farms
Guests who go to Gross Farms in Lee County, NC, can make their way through a 15-acre corn maze cut in the shape of Extension’s centennial logo.
Farm owner John and Tina Gross anticipate that about 10,000 visitors will come to the farm during the fall, when the corn maze and pumpkin patch are popular attractions. When the Grosses heard about Extension’s centennial, they wanted to honor the occasion by using the centennial logo in the farm’s corn maze.
Gross Farms is a North Carolina Century Farm, having been in John’s family for more than 100 years. The farm raises mainly row crops, but agritourism has been a part of the farm for more than 14 years.
In 2000, like many operations, Gross Farms was trying to diversify by introducing a we-pick, you-pick strawberry patch. The strawberries were successful, so in 2002 the Gross family decided to offer a corn maze and pumpkin patch (we-pick/you-pick) for the first time.
This year, while pondering what shape the corn maze should take, John and Tina learned about Extension’s centennial and asked Lee County Extension Director Susan Condlin about incorporating the centennial logo. Gross said she and her husband value the service Gross Farms receives from Condlin and other Lee County Extension professionals like Bill Stone and Kim Tungate.
The Grosses consulted the firm that cuts the corn maze, Maze Play, which was able to place the logo design in the corn field. Mazes like the one at Gross Farms are cut using tractors with Global Positioning System technology.
“We wanted to raise awareness about Cooperative Extension,” Gross said. “A lot of non-farm people don’t realize that Extension is here for them too.”
To help bring Extension’s message to corn maze visitors, Condlin said that Lee County’s Extension staff will offer an information booth at the site several Saturdays during the corn maze season. Look for Extension on October 4, 11, 18, and 25, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Gross, who has four children, believes it is important to introduce youth to agriculture through real farm experiences in order to grow the next generation of farmers. “To introduce kids to agriculture, you have to get them involved. They have to see it and touch it,” she said.
“If children have no hands-on experience with agriculture, they won’t even know that ag could be a passion for them.”

Halloween Reuse Idea: Egg Carton Pumpkins

By Maggie Wehri

These fun recycled Halloween decorations are the perfect way to reduce and reuse without compromising the festivities.
It’s official: All of our favorite stores are displaying their selections of the best Halloween gear. From the ready-to-go costumes to the cute decorations for your mantel, it can all be yours. But, instead of purchasing yet another product you may not need this Halloween, let’s take a look at how to create your own one-of-a-kind goodies: homemade egg carton pumpkins.

Start with a common household item, an egg carton. After making the last of the eggs for breakfast, save the carton and gather a few other items you may have around the house. Grab some orange craft paint, black or yellow craft paint (or black marker), a green twist tie or piece of chenille stem, a few sheets of newspaper, scissors, craft glue, candy (or rice or beans) and maybe a little construction paper.

Image via

First, cut out the cups of the egg carton and trim the edges to make this clean and tidy. Then, spread the newspaper out on your work surface and paint the cups orange. Make sure to let these totally dry before turning them over. Next, flip the cups over and fill one of the halves with your choice of rice, beans, candy or a similar item that adds weight and stability to the pumpkin. Apply glue to rims and place empty halves on top. If the paint needs a touchup, go over the area before continuing to the next step.

Next, use tip of scissors or a pencil to make a small hole in the top of the pumpkin. Select the chenille stem or the twist tie to use as the pumpkin’s stem. Dip this end into a little glue and insert into the hole at the top of the pumpkin. Finally, paint a face of your choosing on your little recycled pumpkin.

Use your little creation for a Halloween get-together or as a treat to someone special. Sure, the temptation is there to pick something from the store, but stop and think, do you really the extra item? Reuse your cardboard or Styrofoam egg carton to make your Halloween a little more creative and environmentally responsible.
- See more at:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dirtball Green Jeans: How an Insult Led to Recycled Denim


By April Stearns

A North Carolina-based recycled apparel company got a unique start, and now churns out some of the comfiest, most sustainable jeans available.
The leaves are changing, which means autumn fashion trends are suddenly a hot topic. Shoppers may be looking for sweaters, scarves and, of course, a comfortable pair of jeans to brace for the colder weather. An eco-friendly jeans option are Dirtball Fashion’s recycled jeans.

North Carolina-based Dirtball Fashion creates American-made apparel products such as T-shirts, pants, shorts, hats, sweatshirts and socks. The company practices sustainability with its 100% recycled products. It also works to reduce carbon emissions by employing American workers and reducing shipping distances.

Dirtball was created in 2008 by former professional racecar driver Joe Fox, who was inspired when an ex-girlfriend called his good friend a “dirtball” during a breakup. The aforementioned friend jokingly started printing the name on hats and distributing them to Fox and other friends. After realizing they were very popular conversation pieces, Fox decided to build what started as a bar insult into a domestic, environmentally conscious apparel brand.

What exactly are Dirtball’s products recycled out of? Cotton, polyester and plastic water bottles. Billions of plastic bottles go into U.S. landfills each year, but Dirtball uses a fantastic technique to reduce the materials that harm the environment by reusing the bottles. Growing cotton uses plenty of valuable fresh water, and when Dirtball was founded, the South was in the midst of a terrible drought. Fox said he wanted to help create a solution rather than add to the problem. These recycled products save gallons of fresh water that would otherwise be dedicated to cotton crops.

According to Fox, for every 100,000 T-shirts Dirtball sells, the company keeps 700,000 water bottles out of landfills and 400 tons of carbon emissions out of the air. Dirtball also saves 500 barrels of oil and five manufacturing jobs (North Carolina had a diminishing economy in 2008). Best of all: This is only what the company accomplishes with its T-shirt production.

Dirtball’s new product, “green” jeans, are comfortable, high-quality jeans for men. Despite the name, the jeans do not actually come in the color green. They are available in regular (blue), rigid, khaki and enzymed at $100 a pair.

What is green about the jeans, however, is their environmentally friendly qualities that follow the traditions of Dirtball’s other products. Each pair is made up of about 70% recycled cotton and 30% recycled polyester. The company states these jeans will last “100% longer than your average pair.”

The jeans are constructed in sizes 28 to 38 with inseams ranging from 30 to 36. The features include a chain-stitched waistband, lock-stitch cuff, two-needle fell stitch on the inner seam and two-needle safety and top stitch on the outer seam. Each pair contains between eight and 10 recycled water bottles. All of the jeans’ facets are built in North Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.

If you’re looking for comfort and sustainable style this fall, this is definitely the pair of jeans to check out.
- See more at:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Coastal reserves to hold local advisory committee meetings, public meetings this fall


RALEIGH – The N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve will conduct public meetings and local advisory committee meetings this fall to receive comments on the required five-year update of the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve’s management plan.
The public meetings are an opportunity for members of the local community to learn about the purpose of the reserve and the management plan update, and provide comments through structured small group conversations on current and emerging topics, program implementation (research, education, training, and stewardship), and community involvement. There will also be an opportunity to provide general comments at the end of the meetings.
The local advisory committee meetings will provide a forum for committee members to share their thoughts on current and emerging topics, program implementation, partnerships and community involvement through facilitated conversations. Local advisory committees are groups of local residents, partners and leaders who provide reserve staff with guidance and feedback on reserve management. The meetings are open to the public.
The following includes the schedule of local advisory committee meetings:
· The Zeke’s Island Local Advisory Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Oct. 28 in the classroom of the Fort Fisher Recreation Area, 1000 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach.
· The Masonboro Island Local Advisory Committee will meet at 4 p.m. Oct. 28 at the UNCW Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin Moss Lane, Wilmington.
· The Rachel Carson Local Advisory Committee will meet at 3 p.m. Oct. 30 at the NOAA Administration Building, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort.
· The Currituck Banks Local Advisory Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 4, at the Wildlife Resources Commission Center for Wildlife Education, Currituck Heritage Park, N.C. Highway 12, Corolla.
The following includes a list of public meetings on management of the coastal reserves:
· The Zeke’s Island and Masonboro Island joint public meeting will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 27 at the UNCW Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin Moss Lane, Wilmington.
· The Rachel Carson public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 29 at the NOAA Administration Building, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort.
· The Currituck Banks public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary, 300 Audubon Drive, Corolla.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration requires National Estuarine Research Reserves, or NERRs, to update their management plans every five years. The updated management plan for the NCNERR will cover the period from 2016-2021. More information about the reserve program and the management plan update are available at the reserve program’s website,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission's Science Panel meeting cancelled

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission's Science Panel meeting cancelled

RALEIGH – A meeting of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel, originally scheduled for Oct. 24 in New Bern, has been cancelled.
The panel plans to hold its next meeting in mid-November.

Raising Awareness for Litter Prevention at the N.C. State Fair

Raising Awareness for Litter Prevention at the N.C. State Fair

RALEIGH – This week marks the opening of the 2014 North Carolina State Fair and holding with tradition, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Roadside Environmental Unit will once again host a booth. From Oct. 16-26, the REU booth will hand out materials to educate visitors about its many programs including Adopt-A-Highway, Swat-A-Litterbug, NCDOT’s Wildflower Program, Scenic Byways, Rest Areas and more. This year, the booth’s focus will be emphasizing litter prevention programs.
Located at the Flower Show, near the Village of Yesteryear, the REU booth showcases some notable displays that inform the public about the environmental importance of the unit and its projects along the nearly 79,000 miles of state-maintained highways. Fairgoers are encouraged to stop by and learn about the state’s litter prevention initiatives.
A variety of free items are available to visitors, including highway maps, stickers and education materials, in addition to other promotional items awarded in recognition of donations to the NCDOT Litter Prevention Program.
“The Adopt-A-Highway program saves North Carolinians money,” said Mike Causey, the Adopt-A-Highway and Outreach Coordinator for NCDOT’s Office of Beautification. “We want to thank all of our volunteers for their litter prevention and cleanup efforts which directly benefit their respective communities and the state. Their roadside cleanup efforts beautify our highways and give a better first impression to visitors and tourists.”
Visit the Roadside Environmental Unit’s website for more information on its litter prevention programs.


Wildflowers made possible by the efforts of the Roadside Environmental Unit.
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Monday, October 20, 2014

NC Cooperative Ext.NC Cooperative Ext.  
1st step to having successful or is having soil nutrients & pH checked. And now's the time to do it:

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Friday, October 17, 2014

NC Coastla Resouces Commission to meet


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Release: Immediate
Date: 2014-10-14
Contact: Michele Walker
Phone: 919-707-8604

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission will meet Oct. 22-23 in Wilmington

RALEIGH – The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission, or CRC, plans to include discussions of inlet management, land use planning, and the N.C. Coastal Reserve Program at a meeting next week in Wilmington.
The CRC will meet Oct. 22-23 at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 22 and 9 a.m. Oct. 23. The meeting is open to the public.
Items on the CRC’s agenda include:
· Petition for Rulemaking– The CRC will consider a petition for rulemaking to allow second stories on piers and docking facilities.
· Inlet Management Study– Coastal management staff will present a draft report on the CRC’s inlet management study priorities, along with suggestions for alternatives to the commission’s static vegetation line rule, draft rule language for a new State Port Inlet Management Area of Environmental Concern, and a dredging window study update.
· Variances –The CRC will hear five requests for variances from its rules.
· Land Use Planning– Coastal management staff will present proposed amendments to the CRC’s land use planning rules.
· Coastal Issues Panel Discussion– A panel of experts will discuss issues of concern for coastal communities.
· Rule DevelopmentCoastal management staff will present fiscal analyses for proposed rule amendments to15A NCAC 7K .0208, which would amendadjacent property owner notification requirements to streamline exemptions for single-family residences in the Estuarine Shoreline Area of Environmental Concern;15A NCAC 7K .0213, which would exempt single family residences from Coastal Area Management Act permit requirements within the High Hazard Flood Area of Environmental Concern; and 15A NCAC 7H .0304(2), High Hazard Flood AEC.
· N.C. Coastal Reserve Program– The commission will hear an overview of the N.C. Coastal Reserve Program.
· Public Input and Comment –Members of the public may comment on CRC issues at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 23.
A full meeting agenda is posted on the N.C. Division of Coastal Management’s website at
The Coastal Resources Commission establishes policies for the N.C. Coastal Management program and adopts rules and policies regarding coastal development within areas of environmental concern.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Third Eye Threads’ Cozy Recycled Apparel

By Maggie Wehri

Using recycled plastic bottles and recycled cotton, Third Eye Threads' line of eco-friendly hoodies are perfect for the impending cool weather.
As difficult as it is for some of us to admit, autumn has arrived. The leaves are turning earthy reds and yellows while the chillier days are finally upon us. While shopping for the season’s latest trends, perhaps a few vintage-inspired eco-friendly items may be something to consider adding to your wardrobe.

For the yogis and surfers of the world, Third Eye Threads’ duds are must haves. Creating handmade active wear that delights and honors meditative spirits, this Californian business is not just concerned with the bottom line. Third Eye Threads began its grassroots efforts in 2000 when it was founded by Anusara yoga instructor Chad Satlow. This entire clothing line features socially responsible and environmentally friendly designs produced in the U.S.

Third-Eye-Threads.pngMaybe not all of our male readers are yogis or surfers, which makes Third Eye Threads’ eco-hoodies a perfect solution for those guys in between. The Green Outside Coal Inside Eco-Hoodie ($89) shows off the flower of life symbol on front and back signifying all beings living as one with the universe. Not to mention, this cuddly hoodie is made entirely from recycled water bottles. And, if you’re not into sweatshirts, Third Eye Threads offers an array of long-sleeve shirts (and T-shirts as well if the fall weather hasn’t quite hit you yet).

Now, for the ladies, Third Eye Threads makes a similar hoodie just for you. Its Save the Planet Hoodie ($89; right) is two-toned with a heather grey exterior and rich aqua interior. What you have to love about this product is that it’s made from 100% recycled materials — 70% recycled cotton and 30% recycled polyester. Whether you are making a quick trip to the store or heading out for an early morning jog, this sweatshirt functions in a variety of ways just like you.

And, of course, we can’t forget the little ones at home. Third Eye Threads has you covered with an array of sweatshirts and long sleeves for the special little guy or gal in your life. The Flower of Life Hoodie ($49) is available in red and gray made using eco-friendly inks imported from Switzerland. Also, this particular hoodies is hand printed sublimations meaning this print is light and durable which won’t wear down overtime.

As you start your fall shopping, don’t forget to check out Third Eye Threads and support this sustainable company. Approaching its 15th year of business, Third Eye Threads offers the perfect autumn gifts for all the important people in your life.

To get started on your fall wardrobe, visit
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stella Neptune: Fashionable, Functional and Sustainable


By April Stearns

Since 2006, Stella Neptune has been upcycling cashmere sweaters and creating recycled iron-on patches to spruce up imperfect clothes.

Autumn is here, which means it will be cold weather season before you know it. I, for one, will miss the days of swimsuits, shorts and sandals as I buy clothes to prepare for the change in temperature. On the other hand, there are many stylish and eco-friendly fashions to look forward to purchasing. That includes the upcycled cashmere sweaters and other accessories from Stella Neptune.

Founded in 2006, Stella Neptune is a brand designed by Eva Kisevalter. Before creating her clothing line, Kisevalter named herself Stella Neptune when she would go to work as a DJ, spinning her own actual records on turntables. When she realized her DJ career was not enough, she decided to combine her love for thrift shopping and pop graphics into a career itself.

According to Stella Neptune’s website, Kisevalter’s inspiration for working with recycled clothing stems from her genuine interest in finding great materials without feeling guilty about creating waste. All of her materials are sourced and designed in Los Angeles, where the company operates. Stella Neptune’s products have become a hit around the region, popping up on television shows such as Desperate Housewives and even being seen on the red carpet at Tinseltown events.

Stella Neptune sells quite a few different cashmere sweater designs, most of which are a muted color and feature a graphic of an animal, person or butterfly on them. One sweater, titled “Mr. Chuck,” includes a squirrel on the front holding a burlap bag with the word “recycle” written all over. Most of the sweaters carry a playful design such as this, and, best of all, each is 100% recycled.

The company also produces sweaters and skirts for kids, burlap bags, elbow patches and cashmere patches. The elbow and cashmere patches are great accessories to add to sweaters, hats, scarves or more to cover possible holes or other imperfections.

Although they also come shaped as flowers, Band-Aids and more, many of the cashmere patches are, ironically, fashioned as moths, which as babies are known to chew on clothing in order to receive keratin. They are able to munch on organic fibers, including cashmere and many other sweater fabrics. When building the company, Kisevalter was interested in a solution for the problem of moths destroying cashmere sweaters (along with her desire to have a sustainable business, of course). With these patches, consumers can easily create a completely unique sweater or other article of clothing just for themselves.

For those who have cashmere sweaters with too many holes to be repaired, Kisevalter also provides other options. In 2010, she went on The Martha Stewart Show to show how to make a recycled skirt from a hole-ridden cashmere sweater.

Stella Neptune’s cashmere sweaters range from $50 to $90, and the patches and other accessories cost around $20 each. Items can be returned unworn within 10 days for a full refund, or can be returned after 10 days for store credit.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kamik and its Amazingly Eco-Friendly Boots

By Wendy Gabriel

Kamik's durable, all-weather boots feature recycled components and are made using 100% recyclable EcoLogic Rubber.
I really like to wear boots — all boots for all weather, which comes in handy when you live in the climate I live in. Now, I’ve finally found a company that makes boots for all weather and strives to do it in a sustainable fashion. Kamik, a Canadian footwear company, makes products that are “built to last and priced right.” Needless to say, I’m in love.

“It's Called The Great Outdoors Not The Great Landfill”—
Kamik-Naomi-boot.jpgKamik not only makes wonderful boots, but the company also loves the outdoors and has been working hard to sustain it. Realizing that sustainability does not just encompass what a company makes but also how it makes those products, Kamik completely changed the way it manufactured footwear 20 years ago. The company improved the quality of its footwear, which was good for business and even better for the environment.
Kamik make its liners and linings from recycled water bottles. The boot soles are 100% recyclable. In 2013, Kamik launched and introduced EcoLogic Rubber, a plant-based, 100% recyclable rubber, into its existing product lines. Across the company, employees are continually working to source and develop new material that is not only better for the environment, but also better for their customers. All this leads to really adorable, sustainable boots. Need I say more?

Today, Kamik’s injection-molding plants use hydro-generated power, not fossil fuels, and its machines are cooled with recycled rainwater. According to Kamik’s website, recycling rainwater alone saves the company the equivalent of 15 Olympic-sized pools every year. Kamik also recycles 100% of its boot scraps and use them to make new boots. And, all of this is done under high-quality, low-energy lights that save the company 157,161 kWh of energy every year.

In 2009, Kamik created its Green Team, which is a group of executives and employees whose mission is to find more sustainable ways to make and market Kamik’s products. Oh, but there is one more thing: They launched a Kamik Recycling Program back in 2008. Kamik believes that recycling is one of the easiest ways the company as a whole can remain environmentally friendly. Here are some of the details:

When your Kamik product has outlasted its usefulness, check to make sure it is on the recyclable list, (visit here to make sure). Then, wipe the product clean and send it to Kamik.

Attn: Recycling Program
33 Catamount Dr.
Milton, VT 05468

For more information on Kamik, visit
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Monday, October 13, 2014

NC Environmental Education Grants!

Don't let these opportunities pass you by! Our grants list is updated regularly so check back often for new opportunities. There are a variety of grant programs listed that support EE projects and programs, various conservation efforts, community development, school and community outdoor classrooms and more.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

EE Webinars

Check out upcoming and archived webinar series for environmental educators. Topics include school recycling programs, teaching outdoors, farm-to-school programs, and more!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Meet North Carolina's Newest Certified Environmental Educators!

The N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program as welcomed several new certified educators in the last few months. Visit our Certified Educators blog to meet some of them and learn how EE Certification has benefited them and their communities. See

Friday, October 10, 2014

Twelve Amazing Repurposed Planters

By Falesha Wojitysiak

In the home or in the garden, make the most eye-catching planters using these simple reuse ideas.
Sometimes our green thumbs do not seem as vibrant as they once were. Change that by adding some spice to your gardening with the following cunning concepts for planter. Happy planting!

1. Succulent seashells
planters-1.png You know those shells that are gathering dust on your shelf? You know, the ones you brought home from vacation? Why not turn them into miniature gardens you can put on your refrigerator? These succulent gardens are mostly self-sustaining, so there is not a lot of work required for upkeep. These simply have a magnet affixed behind the shells, and did I mention they are adorable?
2. Rawr
Image: stringnthing
To make sure you have the coolest desk in the office, go back and look through those old toys you were planning on tossing. With a generic dinosaur spray-painted hot pink and exacto knife, you can have this bad boy brightening up your desk first thing Monday morning. Even better, order it from stringnthing and spend the weekend recovering from the past work week.
3. Log planter
planters-3.png If you are looking for the ultimate in eco-friendly, this is your planter! With some gentle axing, and a little drilling at the bottom for drainage, this planter will be set for years. Besides, if the worst happens and your planter gets damaged, all you’ll need to do is simply hollow out another one. Experiment with different lengths and wood types. White birch would look striking with brightly colored flowers.
4. Pallet herb garden
Image: The Brew
Pallets are all the rage right now. One of the reasons is not only their availability, but also their versatility. By making just a few modifications to your small pallet you can grow your own herbs, sprouts and small types of lettuce right in your very own kitchen.
You might try taking this idea to the back of the house and plant some strawberries, green beans or gourds. Mix it all together and paint a picture with your green thumb, you modern-day Picasso, you.

5. Pop the cork
Image: Upcycle That
Like any good wine drinker, you have a place to save your corks. Maybe you saved them because they were pretty, or because the bottle it once belonged to marked a special occasion. Whatever the reason, here is a project that allows you to display your corks while giving them significant use at the same time. By planting succulents and attaching the corks to your refrigerator with a magnet, you can add a splash of color to your kitchen far from the standard children’s artwork.
6. Green grills
planters-6.png When the time comes to upgrade that grill, don’t just toss the old one out. Let those rust holes in the bottom serve a new purpose by spray-painting the entire grill and converting it into a super cool flowerbed! One of the best features about this piece, besides being an obvious conversation starter, is its portability. Fill it and move it at your whimsy, or as the weather dictates.
7. Strumming along
planters-7.png Sometimes, in rock ‘n’ roll, accidents happen. For instance, when you get so caught up in the moment that you accidentally smash your guitar after a particularly great gig. Bring that smashed guitar to new life and make something functional out of it. Peace lilies would be a great way to mourn your guitar’s passing. Just a thought!
8. Ornament terrariums
planters-8.png How does one simultaneously recycle Christmas bulbs, and become the coolest parent ever on show-and-tell day? With two little words: ornament terrariums. These bad boys are virtually self-sustaining, and look absolutely amazing. If you want to be the most awesome person in the office, whip up some of these and pass them out in December as an alternative to poinsettias.
9. Converted dresser
planters-9.png Old dressers on the side of the road can be converted into garden space. Live in an apartment? Place one on your patio and plant your own lettuce, onions, broccoli or other veggies. The great thing about this project is that the more beat up the dresser, the more rustic the look. You don’t have to repair or stain anything to accomplish the aura you want.
10. Dresser redux
planters-10.png If the dresser idea appeals to you but you would prefer a smaller, trendier approach, why not go this angle? By painting a smaller dresser or end table in bright colors and planting coordinating flowers, you can create the appearance you desire. All that’s needed (besides flowers, of course) is some leftover paint and a piece of furniture otherwise destined for the curb.
11. Swinging from the chandeliers
Image: DIY Show Off
Nothing says “fancy” quite like a chandelier. Turning one of them into a flower planter offers so many possibilities. You could go rustic or elegant to begin with. Experiment with small ivy or climbing flowers. Paint the cups in a coordinating color. This is the perfect project to spruce up a boring porch, that’s for sure. Whatever you do, make it as unique as you are.
12. Copper cans
Image: Homey oh my!
If there is a better way to recycle a soup can, I’m all ears. Grab you a couple of empty soup cans from the recycling bin, scrub off the label and glue, and then spray-paint them a copper tone to make them pop. Once the paint has dried, merely place a few holes in the bottom of each can and you’re ready to plant. Don’t forget about the chalkboard sticker signs! You can purchase them from the dollar store and they really add to the appeal.
All images used are copyrighted and used with permission of the photographers/artists.
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Home Electronics Disposal