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8 springtime things to do for Mother Nature

I love spring. Spring is a time of rebirth. Here in Franklin County we get to see the mountain laurel burst into bloom with the greenest green you’ve ever seen, and I really love it. The winter was cold, wet and nasty, so it’s fun to turn our attention to the warmer temps, our gardens and our yards.

It’s fun to reconnect with good old Mother Nature.

That’s the funny thing about Mother Nature; she’s always with us – winter, spring summer and fall. She’s so ubiquitous: She’s inside us, she’s outside us, she’s all around us, and because of that, we mostly tend to take her for granted.

Here are a few things you can do this spring to keep her as healthy as possible. The more we do to help the environment stay healthy, the more we can enjoy the magic she brings each and every spring!

1. RECYCLE THOSE BOXES AND CANS

Sprinkled throughout Franklin County are big green roll-off containers. You can drop off your paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum and steel for recycling!

The SSWA, sponsors of the rolls-offs, tells me we do a very good job of getting only good recyclables into the big bins with very little garbage mixed in. They are regularly full, which means we’re creating less pollution, making less waste, creating “feed-stock” for the industry – all that recycled stuff gets turned into new stuff we can buy – creating jobs and keeping all that “good stuff” out of the landfill.

Recycling is how nature works. Recycling is smart.

2. SAVE THE BEES

I sometimes don’t pay attention to labels. I’d used a popular name brand herbicide to kill the weeds around my shed and on my walkway. Then one day after using it, I got dizzy and felt super weird. I read the label. There is a ton of bad stuff in this popular weed killer. It’s bad for birds, bees, bugs, pets and much more. Yeah – it’s bad on weeds, but it’s worse on other stuff in our environment, including our pets.

So I went looking for a substitute. I found it. It works, too.

You can make your own weed killer. It will kill the weeds but only the weeds.

Everything we can do to push less harm into the world, the better.

Sure, you’ll probably need to use this once in the spring and then probably again in mid-summer, but that beats killing off all the pollinators. Try it. I do it every year now. I’ve included the “recipe” for you.

3. NEVER THROW AWAY A BATTERY

Changing out your batteries this spring? Great idea – but this is important: Please, never ever throw a battery in the trash.

Seriously. Batteries are filled with toxic metals and chemicals like acid, cadmium, lead and much more. Batteries are super helpful in our lives, but they are extremely harmful to Mother Nature. If you throw them away, they don’t actually go “away.” There is no away in nature.

Batteries that are thrown away end up in a landfill. There is a very real risk that batteries dumped into a landfill can end up in our drinking water. They do not belong in a landfill or even in your trash can, for that matter.

So, set your used-up batteries aside in a cardboard box, and then when you get a small collection, recycle them. Batteries Plus Bulbs in Florence will recycle them for you. It’s free.

Your Mother will thank you; so will your drinking water.

4. REPLACE WITH RECHARGEABLES

While you’re changing out those batteries, pick up some rechargeable batteries.

Disposable batteries are useful in running our electronics, but they are super wasteful. Every time you use up a disposable, you’re creating more pollution and more waste Mother Nature must deal with.

Rechargeable batteries are a much better choice. They save you money. They create less pollution. They create less waste.

The rechargeable batteries will cost a bit more, and yes, you will have to purchase a charger – but the advantages to using rechargeables are huge.

For one, you’ll be able to use these same batteries over and over and over. I have some that have been charged literally hundreds of times. Most batteries can be recharged 50100 times. That means you’ll be buying 50 to 100 fewer batteries.

That also means you’ll be preventing all that pollution from making it into nature.

5. RECYCLE THAT MOTOR OIL

The weather is finally better, so you can “drop the top” on that convertible or open the family car windows and take a nice long Sunday drive to see the beautiful countryside. Before you hit the backroads of Franklin County, however, check your oil.

Does your favorite ride need an oil change? Yes? Are you a DIY person? Do yourself and Mother Nature a favor: Don’t dump that used motor oil on the ground.

Franklin County soil is rich and resilient, but it cannot handle toxic motor oil.

So don’t dump it. Put the used motor oil in the same container your replacement oil came in and then just drop it off at the local Auto Zone auto parts place. That’s right! They’ll recycle it for free.

AutoZone reportedly recycles 8.5 million gallons of used oil each year and this is really, really a great thing for Mother Nature.

6. BUY RECYCLED STUFF

I plant a garden almost every year. Some years I’m into fruit trees; some years, it’s sweet potatoes; some years it’s whatever looks good at Stidham Feed and Seed or Green’s True Value Hardware.

Keeping the critters away can be a challenge. So I purchased a plastic owl with a swivel head last year. Most critters really, really don’t want to be eaten, so they’re wary of owls.

This owl is made of recycled plastic milk bottles. What? Yes – it’s made of post-consumer recycled HDPE plastic bottles.

Any time you purchase items made of recycled materials, you’re supporting recycling and supporting the natural world. Buy stuff made of recycled plastic.

7. COMPOST

Consider setting up a compost bin for your garden. Save your non-meat kitchen scraps – vegetable stems, peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds and more – and dump them into a large outdoor container.

I use a bathtub. No, really – I do. It’s a fantastic compost bin.

Add dry leaves to this. Mix and turn every few months.

When spring or summer rolls around, Mother Nature will have done her magic, and you’ll have a very rich soil/compost/peat mix to add to your garden.

Composting keeps this waste out of the landfill and helps fertilize your garden. Win-win.

8. PLANT WILD FLOWERS

Do you have a small patch of yard that just sits there? You don’t really enjoy mowing it? It’s just yard. Consider planting a wildflower garden there.

Wildflowers have so many benefits. They are beautiful. They add to the biodiversity of Franklin County, which is super good, and by simply planting wildflowers, you can create a beautiful, colorful and magical space that will attract pollinators – bees and butterflies.

Wildflowers are amazingly good at attracting butterflies and bees. Most vegetables, fruits and nuts require pollination to make our food.

It’s easy to forget that everything in our environment exists as one closed-loop-system. We are a part of that system – and as huge as the Earth is, we can have an effect on it.

This doesn’t seem logical, but it’s absolutely true. We’re both a part of it, and we can affect it – by creating pollution or overusing resources.

We can have a positive effect, or we can have a negative effect.

If we do things that work against nature, like creating pollution or wasting natural resources, it will come back to affect us. If we do things that work with nature, it supports the health of the system that supports us right back.

Nature is literally our lifesupport system. Win-win.

So, as we start to dive into our spring adventures, here are some tips on helping keep Mother Nature in good health – and, if we’re understanding it correctly, keep us in good health too.

Remember: Good choices work WITH nature. Poor choices work AGAINST nature.

Rockin’ Eco Hero Steve Trash tours the planet teaching children about their connection to nature through magic, music and comedy. He has his own PBS children’s science show called STEVE TRASH SCIENCE. He lives with his wife and dogs in beautiful downtown Frog Pond.


Weed Be-Gone

Try this pollinator-friendly weed-killer to be kind to the environment.

1 gallon vinegar

2 cups epsom salt

1/4 cup Dawn dish soap (the blue original)

1-gallon pump sprayer

  • Mix ingredients in sprayer. Shake to combine.
  • Spray generously on weeds in the morning, after the dew has evaporated.
  • You will need to saturate the weeds completely.
  • Weeds should begin dying quickly. They will be dead in a day or so.
  • This mixture is not harmful to animals.

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