Archive for the ‘Environmental Concern’ Category

What the World Does on Arbor Day

Friday, April 26th, 2013

We’re heading to Nebraska. Set your time machine to 1872, April 10th to be exact. We’re about to meet a fellow named J. Sterling Morton. On that particular day around 1-million trees were planted. Hope you packed a shovel.

That was the moment when Arbor Day was kind of invented in Nebraska City by J. Sterling. Since then the holiday’s actual date has changed. Why? Depends on the climate and the right time of the year when people plant stuff in the dirt.

Then in 1883, this guy named Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut took a trip to Japan, spreading the message. That began the true globalization of Arbor Day.

Let’s Go Forward to 2013.

Since the time of J. Sterling and Birdsey, we’ve decided to celebrate National Arbor Day on the last Friday in April. Some states differ, again based on the best tree planting times. It’s not just America that commemorates this holiday. Other countries do it too. Take a look at the a few of the other places that commemorate the custom in other parts of the world. We want to credit Wikipedia for this information:

  • Australia.
    National Schools Tree Day is held on the last Friday of July for schools and National Tree Day, the last Sunday in July throughout Australia. Many states have Arbor Day although only Victoria has Arbor Week, which was suggested by Premier Dick Hamer in the 1980s. Arbor Day has been observed in Australia since June 20th, 1889.
  • Cambodia.
    National Tree Planting Day is on June 1st. Cambodia celebrates an arbor day on every 9th of July.
  • Canada.
    In Canada, Maple Leaf Day falls on the last Wednesday in September during National Forest Week. The province of Ontario celebrates Arbor Week from the last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May.
  • China.
    In 1981, the fourth session of the Fifth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China adopted the Resolution on the Unfolding of a Nationwide Voluntary Tree-planting Campaign (phew). This resolution established Arbor Day and stipulated that every able-bodied citizen between the ages of 11 and 60 should plant three to five trees per year or do the equivalent amount of work in seedling, cultivation, tree tending or other services. The People’s Republic of China celebrates Arbor Day on March 12, a day founded by Lin Daoyang, continue to use following the date of Arbor Day for the Republic of China.
  • Egypt.
    Tree planting day, Arbor Day, is on January 15th.
  • Germany.
    Arbor Day (“Tag des Baumes”) is on April 25th. The first celebration was in 1952.
  • India.
    Van Mahotsav is an annual pan-Indian tree planting festival, occupying a week in the month of July. During this event millions of trees take root. It was initiated in 1950 by K. M. Munshi, the then Union Minister for Agriculture and Food to create an enthusiasm in the mind of the populace for the conservation of forests and planting of trees.
  • Israel.
    The Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat, the new year for trees, is on the 15th day of the month of Shvat, which usually falls in January or February. Originally based on the date used to calculate the age of fruit trees for tithing as mandated in Leviticus 19:23–25.
  • Japan.
    Japan celebrates a similarly themed Greenery Day, held on May 4. Although it has a similar theme to Arbor Day, its roots lay in celebration of the birthday of Emperor Hirohito.
  • Netherlands.
    In 1957, the National Committee Day of Planting Trees/Foundation of National Festival of Trees (Nationale Boomplantdag/Nationale Boomfeestdag) was created. On the third Wednesday in March each year (near the spring equinox), three quarters of Dutch schoolchildren aged 10/11 along with Dutch celebrities plant trees. Some municipalities however plant the things around September 21st because of the planting season. In 2007, the 50th anniversary was celebrated with special golden jubilee-activities.
  • New Zealand.
    New Zealand’s first Arbor Day planting was in Greytown in the Wairarapa on 3 July 1890. The first official celebration took place last year in Wellington, August 2012, with the planting of pohutukawa and Norfolk pines along Thorndon Esplanade. Born in 1855, Dr Leonard Cockayne (generally recognized as the greatest botanist who has lived, worked, and died in New Zealand) worked extensively on native plants throughout New Zealand and wrote many notable botanical texts. Even as early as the 1920s he held a vision for school students of New Zealand to be involved in planting native trees and plants in their school grounds. This vision bore fruit and schools in New Zealand have long planted native trees on Arbor Day. Since 1977, New Zealand has celebrated Arbor Day on June 5, which is also World Environment Day.
  • South Africa.
    Arbor Day was celebrated from 1945 until 2000 in South Africa, when the national government extended it to National Arbor Week, which lasts from the 1st through the 7th of September. Two trees, one common and one rare, are highlighted to increase public awareness of indigenous trees, while various “greening” activities are undertaken by schools, businesses and other organizations.
  • Venezuela.
    Venezuela recognizes “Día del Arbol” on the last Sunday of May.

So, you see, we’re not alone in the recognition. That’s why Everlasting Hardwoods urges you to plug-in a couple of trees today. It’s good for the environment because most trees take in carbon dioxide — which is what humans exhale — and turn it into oxygen. Let’s hope that one day we’ll be able to extend Arbor Day to Mars. They could use some O2.

Original Source:

Eco-Awareness and Your Fence

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

It’s nice that we’ve dedicated one twenty-four hour period — April 22nd — as Earth Day. Here at Everlasting Hardwoods, we celebrate eco-mindedness 365 days a year. While our hardwoods are at the pinnacle of sustainable stuff, we know people would like to know how to keep Mother Earth in mind when it comes to cleaning the fence you got installed  years ago.

But when you do it, harsh chemicals may not only damage the beauty of your “best neighbor” policy, what about all the greenery that’s grown around the barrier? Don’t want to injure years of growth. That’s why we’re taking this occasion to give you ways to polish-up your investment without harming the great outdoors you enjoy.

Throw Out the Old

Nobody’s going to grab a bucket, some soapy water and a hard bristled brush and do it by hand. Well, maybe a few who want to go green-extreme and has a lot of time.

A few folks may already have power washers. The ones that don’t, unless you plan to use it on a regular basis, just rent one for a day or two. When you’re done with the fence, touch-up the deck, too.

You don’t need one that can blow-out a couple thousand pounds of pressure. As a matter of fact, you can do whatever you want to for between 1200-to-1600 PSI. The high-powered units will remove paint. The lower setting will do the cleaning.

Non-Toxic, Eco-friendly Cleaners

You’re taking the pressure washer approach. The next question is: Can I do it simply with water? Obviously, that’s the one which won’t hurt the planet. There is, however an additive you might consider.

Called Oxygen Bleach, this stuff is extremely green. It’s nothing like the liquid you use when you’re doing the laundry. It comes in a powder.

What makes it so friendly? It’s prepared from soda ash and hydrogen peroxide. Mixing it with plain old H2O you’re not going the damage the structure or the greenery that surrounds your wooden fence.

Take it Easy

First timers have a tendency to crank the flow as high as they can. Bad. You’re going to rip-up the surface of the wood. Imagine when your fence dries, it suddenly looks fuzzy. That’s what happens when you go with the pressure.

Another issue is the tip of the pressure washer. Getting the working-end of the nozzle too close to the wood will have the same effect — ripping the exterior fibers of the surface to shreds. Test it out yourself before you dig-into the project. Find a piece of scrap lumber or an area that’s virtually unseen and set your pressure washer to 1200, keep the nozzle about one foot away from the surface. Give it a blast. You’ll find that it’s going to remove the dirt, stains, mildew and whatever plagues your fence without ratcheting it up to full tilt.

Earth Will Forgive You

You are either going to be using one of two types of energy with a pressure washer: Gas or electricity. The greenest way to do it is to get the whole family involved. Everyone gets a bucket with Oxygen Bleach, water and a hard-bristle hand brush. That’s the extreme.

If you’re saying, that’s not going to work, balance out the synthetic energy you’ll use with a pressure washer by forgoing a Sunday drive this week. Take out the bikes or better yet, go for a nice long walk. It takes away the guilt. Gives you some exercise.

After all, Earth Day means not only respecting the world we live on. It means making sure you’re healthy enough to enjoy it after you’ve cleaned your fence. A little exercise isn’t going to hurt you. Frankly, it adds years to your life, just like the years you’ve added to your wooden fence after a good eco-friendly cleaning.

Original Source:

The Symbols at the Bottom of the Page – What is NAWLA

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

It all started on a train headed to Bean town. A trio of guys were on the rails, headed to a meeting. Turns out they had something in common. They were all headed to the same place, a face-to-face with the same lout that owed them a bundle of money for lumber they sold the fellow.

One of the people dishing the straggler was John Clark of J.S.H. Clark & Co. of Newark, NJ. In a way, that’s when the now-named North America Wholesale Lumber Association came to life.

Back in the Big Apple

After the confrontation in Boston, Clark gathered a group of compatriots in April, 1893 at the Imperial Hotel in New York City. Fifteen different lumber wholesalers heard Clark’s spiel, one that suggested creating a group called the “Wholesaler Lumber Dealers Association.” The purpose was to share notes on not only how to collect from deadbeats but to create a “think tank.” An organization which would cover everything having to do with being a wholesale supplier of timber products.

It didn’t take long for word to travel. In less than a month, 24 companies hopped on board representing states like MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, PA and RI. Then in May of the same year, 50 members returned to the Imperial Hotel. That’s when the Association’s constitution was adopted and John Clark, since it was his idea, was elected the first President of the organization.

Flash Forward

In the 21st century, NAWLA has evolved into a group that represents its members through educational efforts that include publications, learning tools, networking events and industry information. The goal: To give its membership information and better understand current trends and opportunities.

The Environment and NAWLA

In 2002, NAWLA adopted an important document that spoke to environmental concerns of consumers and retailers alike. Considered to be a comprehensive “green” plan, parts of it read:

“NAWLA and its members salute all those who use sound environmental practices. We endorse the significant efforts being made within the forest products industry to assuage the public’s environmental concerns through the development and implementation of scientifically based forest product certification programs. We view the wise and prudent use of renewable resources as a cornerstone to the world’s long term building products needs, and support those firms and organizations that embrace these practices.”

But that’s not all. NAWLA embraced some strong language relating to those cutters who fall outside the boundaries of “green” forestry practices:

“Environmental destruction caused by illegal logging is wrong and creates negative perceptions of the forest products industry in general. To ensure against any form of illegal logging, NAWLA’s members have the responsibility to support high forest management standards and the commitment to use forest management and manufacturing practices that meet environmental, social and economic objectives. NAWLA and its members promote implementation of and compliance with constructive logging laws in all global timber-producing regions. NAWLA defines illegal logging as any violation of the laws and regulations of those regions. In regions where these laws are not in place, NAWLA supports the establishment of those laws and regulations that protect legal and sustainable trade in forest products.”

So, when you see the NAWLA symbol at the bottom of our webpage, you can be assured that all products sold under our roof follow the tenets drawn by the Association with which we are proud to be a member.

Sure wish we had a seat on that train in 1893. It’s always an honor to be around at the birth of a great idea.

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Trouble Ahead for the White Ash

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Frank Zappa once wrote a song called “Trouble Every Day.” Here’s the salient excerpt from that tune:

So I’m watchin’ and I’m waitin’
Hopin’ for the best
Even think I’ll go to prayin’
Every time I hear ‘em sayin’
That there’s no way to delay
That trouble comin’ every day
No way to delay
That trouble comin’ every day

Trouble, oh we got trouble, right here in River City. This menace comes in the form of the emerald ash borer. Take West Virginia for instance.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

This beast has been threatening white ash trees for years. But our story begins a summer-or-so back. Some say, the emerald ash borer in the state’s southern Calhoun and Roane Counties has the potential of making that species of tree on the steps of total extinction.

The bug came to our continent from Asia around two decades ago. It decimated the white ash in Michigan back in 2002. The beetle devastated a little Michigan city of its ash trees, killing well-over 2-thousand of them and costing the place 2-million bucks to dispose of the dead and dying trees. Factor that up-to a nationwide scale and you’re talking billions of dollars.

Then in 2007, it showed-up on the radar in Fayette County, West Virginia.

And since the insect can fly and has no natural predators, it stands to reason that that the worst is yet to come.

How Bad Are We Talking About?

Even with the millions-upon-millions of dough spent to eliminate the monster, so far nearly 30-million trees have caught the bug. To add insult to injury, the emerald ash borer also feasts on green ash – and practically every other breed in the ash family. As of this writing, the insect has blanketed about 2/3rds of the U.S.

Another factor of concern is whether native western ashes like Oregon and Arizona ash may become victims as well.

Spotting the EAB

This little fellow is green – emerald green, which is where it gets its name.

You’ll first spot the EAB in late spring. They only live around 3-weeks. The ladies of the group lay their eggs in the wrinkles of the bark. Once the critters hatch, the larvae munches into the inner bark. You’ll know you have a problem if you X-ray the outer shell of the tree and see tunnels shaped like the letter “S.” In this inner sanctum of the tree, the invasion screws-up the way that nutrients and water travel through the living structure.

By the time you figure-out that the tree is plague-ridden, game over. Regardless, save the kids and call your county Agricultural Extension office as soon as possible.

Sure, they fly from state to state, but when things start to go south, you’ll first discover that ash along the Interstate highway system is going blotto. Why? Bad actors are transporting the wood illegally. The bug is simply hitching a ride aboard the flat bed truck.

We conclude with another slap of lyrics from Frank. Same song. New verse:

Well I’m about to get sick
From watchin’ my TV
Been checkin’ out the news
Until my eyeballs fail to see
I mean to say that every day
Is just another rotten mess
And when it’s gonna change, my friend
Is anybody’s guess!