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Category Archives: Forest

Fall Building Maintenance Tips – Prepare for the Cold Weather to Come

It’s been a long, hot summer for most of the country, but as the calendar gradually turns to September, fall is almost here and before you know it, the cold winter weather will be here, too.  Here are a few things you can do as a building Owner or Director of Facilities to ensure you and your buildings are ready for the change in seasons:

  • Perform Roof Inspections – Get your ladder and check out the roofs around your campus – or hire a qualified roofing contractor to inspect your low-sloped built-up and membrane roofs as well as the higher sloped shingled roofs.  Look for areas of loose shingles, especially around the building eaves where ice dams can form during winter, which allow moisture to enter under the shingles.  In addition, check flashings at vertical wall intersections, chimneys, and plumbing vent boots to confirm there are no holes or other damage that can allow water to enter the building during heavy rain or snow.  Adequate roof maintenance not only reduces leaks, but extends the life of your roofing systems.  It is important to check low-sloped roofs weekly during the leaf falling season to ensure that roof drains are not clogged with leaves and debris.  Higher sloped shingled roofs should be checked at the end of the season to ensure that gutters, valleys, and other areas are not clogged with leaves and debris as well.
  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts – Ensure all gutters and downspouts are clear from debris so that they adequately drain water away.  This continues to be important as the season progresses and leaves begin to fall.  Consider pruning overhanging trees at this time to keep the leaves and debris off the roof.  Clogged gutters can cause water to back up, which will damage the roof and the trim around the roof and soffits, as well as siding.  During cold winter weather, standing and backed-up water in gutters can freeze and cause ice dams that will damage your roof and sheathing, and lead to leaks.  Downspouts should discharge into underground storm drain leaders or empty onto splash blocks that adequately divert the water away from the exterior of the building.
  • Inspect All Exterior Doors and Windows – Check to make sure that caulking is still flexible and is sealing any gaps between window/door frames and exterior walls.  This ensures the warm air stays inside the building during the winter and seals the exterior building envelope from water penetration and leaks.  For added energy savings, check the weather stripping at all exterior door frames to make sure it’s still in place and serving its intended purpose.
  • Check Exterior Faucets and Service Irrigation System – Install frost-proof exterior hose bib faucets or drain older non-frost-proof faucets to keep them from freezing and breaking during the winter.  This is also a good time to have the underground irrigation system serviced and prepared for winter by a qualified irrigation contractor.
  • Exterior Site Concrete  and Asphalt Pavement – Perform regular sealing of exterior cracks in sidewalks and paved areas during the fall.  Water that freezes inside these cracks can cause the concrete to spall and deteriorate, leading to more costly repairs later.  The water penetration can also cause the subgrade to soften, leading to settlement and potholes.  It is critical to ensure that all expansion joints are adequately sealed with a high-quality joint sealer to prevent water from getting below the pavement surface and softening the structural base course materials.  Routine and periodic sealing of the asphalt pavement with a liquid asphalt sealer will help seal small hairline cracks in the asphalt pavement, which also protects the structural base course from softening and degradation due to water intrusion.
  • Tune Up Your Heating System – Inspect all the furnaces and heat pumps to ensure they are clean and operating properly with clean filters.  Clogged and dirty filters cause the heating system to waste energy while heating the building to your desired set point temperatures.  Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they are operational.  Clean chimneys to ensure they are clear and not clogged with soot and other debris, which can cause gases to build up inside your buildings.  A qualified HVAC contractor will not only perform a visual inspection of your heating system, but will also remove covers and check filters, check blowers, ensure flues are clear and operating properly, and perform other safety checks that will assure a safe and warm environment for your residents this winter.
  • Check Attics – Check the insulation in your attics to confirm it’s the proper thickness and is distributed evenly.  Lack of proper attic insulation is a major cause of heat loss in a building, which will increase your heating costs.  You should also check to see that all vents are operating properly and there is no insulation blocking the continuous soffit vents around the attic perimeter.  This is also a good time to ensure that fire sprinkler lines located in unheated attics are adequately insulated to prevent freezing and breaking of these lines.
 

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The Finishing Touch

After working for so long, I had finally taken the next step; I had moved my small company into our very own offices.  My wife was sick of our home being used as our base of operations, couldn’t blame her really, I had originally forecast the use of the room would be for no more than a year, but it had actually taken closer to three. The day of the move had been awful. Even though the offices were fully set up, the actual transfer of the information vital to us had been a nightmare. We had been forced to stop operations for two full days, as the software engineer we had employed had been unable to transfer our data in one single move. On the third day we had been able to open our doors, in our newly acquired offices and face the world.

The Public

When I had made the decision to move into premises, it had been made with the knowledge that the company was bringing in enough money to pay for it. The work coming in via the telephones had been steadily increasing, but the members of the public seemed to be somewhat hesitant. They would come in, have a look around but then leave without using our services. If anything the income generated from the public had actually dropped.

Aesthetics

The offices were already painted, prior to our acquisition by our landlord, and the beige carpet wasn’t that old, but one of our customers had explained how the waiting room felt dull and flat. I needed inspiration.  Many companies had made our town their home, some hugely successful, others more modest and I needed to discover their secrets. I visited several of these and the difference in aesthetics and therefore atmosphere was obvious. The companies who had an interesting first point of contact had appeared to be more successful. The public access area also had to be engaging. You really could feel the difference between dull earth colours and a bright vibrant theme. If you are forced to make customers wait, then at least occupy them. I had seen enough, I knew what I needed to do.

Solution

My company is primarily focused on days out. We would arrange for large numbers of people to visit castles, the seaside or safari parks. Our offices now though were generating almost 20% of our business. The dull brown carpet had gone; a new bright blue one now covered our public area floor. The usual green leafy plant had been replaced with a large circular fish tank, although a little expensive to have maintained it did keep those kiddies happy. A smart and articulate older lady had been position in the area itself, our fourth employee, as first point of contact. The secret weapon though still draws the attention of our patrons. Everywhere we travel to, we take photos. Images of the mountain peaks, castle walls and cheeky monkeys now hang in our public area. More than photos, being just flat images behind glass frames, our displays actually engage our viewers. They are mounted on canvas. It brings the image itself to life, gives it something more than just a photo, and they are priced reasonably enough to replace with new images regularly.

Take advantage of my own experience. If you have customers and need to liven up their waiting area, why not consider having your own photos on canvas, it made all of the difference for us.

 

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Transport: A Dirty Business

So, you’ve turned your office into an eco-friendly haven, ensuring that you’ve taken all the necessary steps to become a more sustainable business, but it feels like there’s something you’ve forgotten… transport!

Business transport has a huge impact on the environment, the various types of shipping and transportation used by businesses increase greenhouse gases, CO2 emissions and oil pollution. Shipping aggregator, uShip, reported that, in Germany alone, 45.5 tonnes of Carbon and Greenhouse Gas emissions are produced by delivery vans and trucks.
What can we do as a business to offset this pollution?

The first step to making your business transportation climate neutral is working out how much CO2/Greenhouse gases your company produces through transportation. When you know how much carbon your business is responsible for producing you can look into options to offset this amount.
Many businesses are investing in climate-neutral projects to offset their usage, and many foundations that fund carbon-neutral projects crying out for sponsorship. Your investment will fund solar collectors, wind farms and other projects across the world.

Take a minute to think about your transportation options. What do you use? Have you ever thought about shipping via rail or water instead of by road? This small change could significantly reduce your emissions.

When shipping to local businesses, choose a local shipping company to reduce the amount of time delivery trucks will be on the road, subsequently reducing emissions.

Your employees can help too!
Suggest a car-pooling system and if you are using delivery trucks advise your drivers on the most environmentally friendly driving methods.

This post was written on behalf of the shipping aggregator, uShip. uShip recently announced that were offering 100% climate neutral transport across Germany, and Mainland Europe and also offer a ’man with a van’ service.

 

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Marijuana Must Be Legalized

The opinion and story of a Colorado Attorney:  

It is 5:00 a.m. on a cold dark Colorado morning. Twenty-five SWAT team officers, clad in black helmets, body armor, wielding assault weapons, large clear shields, and heavy iron battering rams, surround a quiet residential home, shatter the front door, and throw flash-bang grenades and tear gas inside.

The team of 25 militarized cops stream into the house, screaming obscenities, shattering the terrified childrens’ sleep and jarring the scared parents awake. The SWAT team then literally destroys the home and the furniture within, slashing couches, overturning bookcases, throwing possessions all over the floor, carting the crying children off to Social Services or foster care, and throwing the parents to the ground at gunpoint, handcuffing them painfully before carting them off to the police station.

The SWAT team then locates its target: a couple dozen three-foot high cannabis plants in a modest indoor basement garden, and a pound or so of dried plant matter, some lights, some fertilizer, and a few books on how to grow marijuana.

This is not an extreme example. This scene literally happens every day in America, a nation that loudly professes that it is a “free” country, but that leads the globe in per capita incarceration of its own people, a rate that exceeds those of human rights leaders such as North Korea, China, and Iran, due mostly to the war on drugs.

And this scene embodies America’s war on marijuana. A government this large, this powerful, this intrusive, this belligerent, is necessary to fight this modern-day prohibition against a simple herb that approximately half of the American adult population has consumed at some point in their lives. There are so many reasons this must change:

1. Money

The war on marijuana costs us money. The direct costs to local, state, and federal governments are staggering and exceed a trillion dollars. Police, prosecutors, probation officers, judges, courts, jailers, prison guards, and defense lawyers form a massive prison-industrial complex that distracts limited resources away from our failing economy and other more important priorities. The indirect costs to the economy, though more difficult to quantify, are probably higher in the form of people removed from their families and their jobs, the opportunity costs of distracted police and jammed courts too busy to adjudicate important criminal and civil cases. We also lose out on the benefits of industrial hemp, which has no recreational effect but which could be an extremely useful crop for American farmers and industry.

And all of this money has been wasted — accomplishing, like so many other heavy-handed government programs, the precise opposite result of that which was intended. Even the U.S. government’s drug czar (it is appropriate that this government position is named after an imperial Russian tyrant), Gil Kerlikowski, admits that the 40-year experiment with drug prohibition has been an abject failure.

Decades of drug prohibition has not accomplished a single of its goals. Albert Einstein’s definitionof insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” As our governments at all levels pour more lawyers, guns, and money into this militarized marijuana prohibition, people still obtain it — easily — and supply and demand is totally uninterrupted on a macro scale; one dealer falls, another pops up. Under Einstein’s definition, our government is literally insane.

2. Freedom

The war on marijuana is alien to the principles of a free nation founded on the principles of limited government and personal responsibility. The negative impact of marijuana prohibition laws far outstrip the negative impact of the substance itself, which is one of the few things on Earth that has no practical lethal dose, it is basically harmless.

Humans in all cultures have used the cannabis plant since the dawn of history for medicinal, spiritual, industrial, and recreational purposes; only in the 20th century did it occur to any government to prohibit it. Thomas Jefferson and other founders grew cannabis on their plantations. The Declaration of Independence is written on hemp paper. Even Genesis 1:29confirms that God gave man every seed-bearing plant on the Earth. God giveth, government taketh.

The history of American marijuana prohibition and “reefer madness” shows that its practical and legal basis is a house of cards. An outgrowth of alcohol prohibition which arose in roughly the same era, marijuana prohibition was born out of racially-charged fears of Mexicans and blacks.

For the American government to prohibit the cannabis plant, that government must declare war on its own principles. Such a prohibition then contributes to overall erosion in the general population’s respect for the rule of law, because the aggressive enforcement of this law touches so many people and makes the law itself — not just marijuana laws, but all laws and law enforcement officials — a joke.

The body armor-clad government stormtroopers are necessary to prosecute the war on marijuana. That level of expensive and intrusive force is necessary if cannabis, widely used and widely accepted, is to be prohibited from our private homes and lives. But perhaps the best brief against prohibition is the fact that marijuana is widely available to prisoners in America’s prisons and jails. Prisons and jails are the most tightly regulated, highly government-controlled locations in the world. If the government cannot keep marijuana outside of these places, can anyone seriously argue prohibition is enforceable in the general population?

3. Safety

The war on marijuana, like alcohol prohibition before it, creates and fuels the criminal underclass, organized crime, and domestic and foreign drug cartels. It is basic Economics 101: where there is a demand, a supply will be created to meet it, period. Human demand for marijuana, like alcohol, has lasted thousands of years, and will never go away. Leading economists like Milton Friedman have long seen the drug war as an economically-bankrupt policy.

If marijuana were legalized and taxed, violent drug cartels would lose the principal source of their income. Marijuana ought to be treated like a more dangerous substance: alcohol, available at the corner liquor store, and taxed and regulated. How many Mexican drug cartels smuggle beer over the border? Ban it, and you would see many. Create a regulated legal market for it, and the drug cartels are not involved.

4. Children

It is literally easier for American schoolchildren to obtain marijuana than beer.

That is because the government has created the black market in marijuana, making it more accessible to children. There is no black market in beer. It is relatively cheap and easy to obtain, for adults, but difficult for children. Prohibition increases childrens’ attraction to marijuana; the “forbidden fruit” is always sweeter.

For all of these reasons and many more, Americans have now passed the critical 50 percentthreshold in support for legalization of marijuana. (These polls typically understate support, as many Americans are understandably reluctant to admit to using or supporting marijuana to an anonymous telephone surveyor.) Even conservative televangelist Pat Robertson recentlyacknowledged that marijuana ought to be legal.

It is long past time for politicians at all levels to end this bankrupt policy of Prohibition, and stop breaking down the doors of Americans who only want to possess a harmless plant in the comfort of their own homes.

 

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The Story of Paper: From the Tree to Your Desk

Do you ever find yourself staring at objects, or turning an item in your hand, squinting at it and feeling some kind of bafflement as to how an object came to be what it is? If so, then this story might be one for you.

For years, the human race has relied on physical paper copies to transmit their stories, memories, facts, histories, messages and more across time and space. But what about the story of paper itself? Who’s telling that? Everybody knows paper is trees, but how does this happen?

Here is my account of the life of a piece of paper:

A tree’s body:

The story of paper must begin with the tree trunk. Each trunk has its own outer layer of bark to protect it from nasty little threats in the world: It is the tree’s armour, naturally formed to shield it from harmful forces like wind, rain, climbing children and grazing insects.

Hiding just inside the bark is thin Cambium, which holds the key to the cells which become the bark and inner wood:

Attribution due to Peter Linehan under Creative Commons License 2.0

Sapwood is a tree’s lifeblood; it flows through the parts of the tree’s body just as our own blood does. It ensures the tree’s nourishment and healthy existence.

And finally, the aptly named Heartwood is the innermost part of a tree’s trunk. It isn’t living but it’s the tree’s strength, stability and core.

Attribution due to Aleksi Steinberg under Creative Commons License 2.0

All this material is formed of fibres, tiny little friendly cellulose strands stuck together by way of a natural adhesive called lignin.

And this is where our part in the story of paper begins, as it is through our separating and rearranging these very same fibres that brings paper into existence

Early steps:

First of all, chop chop, the tree’s body gets cut down.

Attribution due to Beatrice Murch under Creative Commons License 2.0

The logs are then taken to a paper manufacturing company, where they’re bathed, soaked and cleaned before being transformed into good little chips of wood.

The little chips are arranged according to size and moved on for pulping.

And what is pulping I hear you ask?

During this stage, individual wood fibres within the chips are broken apart and separated: It is essentially a making soft of the previously tough and hard substance to produce a malleable, mushy and watery product.

Some other ingredients are also usually thrown in around this point, things like starch, China clay, talc and calcium carbonate which contribute to the strength and brightness of the young paper.

 

Moving on the mush

The created mush that we now have is pretty much 99% water at this point, somehow, this all needs to be squeezed out. First, the papermakers spray the stock onto a wire, which is actually a wide, long screen, not a wire.

The water drips out the bottom and meanwhile, the little fibres are caught on the top side of this wire where they start becoming friends and bond to form a very thin mat.  This bed of fibres at the top of the wire is then squeezed for all it’s got between press rollers that take out yet more of its water.

The Final Steps:

Even after of all this squeezing and wrenching, the mushy stuff is still 60% water.

Let commence the dry end of the paper story: Huge metal cylinders are filled with steam and the stubbornly wet mat passes through these gigantic hot rollers.

This process of heating and drying the wet sheet gradually forces the fibres closer and closer together to transform the mush into the glossy magazines and A4 sheets of paper we see all around us. Voila!

Ok, wait this isn’t quite the end of the story.

The fledgling paper is made ready for the world:

The paper makers use a machine called the Calendar which is not a calendar. It refers to big, massive and heavy iron rollers that press the drying paper smooth, all uniform in thickness.

Sometimes, depending on our piece of paper’s function in the world, it is coated with a substance such as clay which makes it glossy and easy to print on.

And this is how a matted bed of tree fibres comes to serve us as paper in a countless number of ways in the human world.

Paper Problems

I love paper and would never want to ban it from existence, I love writing on it, drawing, folding, making paper aeroplanes, you name it… But we should also be aware of some downsides that are a result of this story.

Pulp and paper mills are actually among the worst polluters to air, water and land and I don’t want to state the obvious, but it also uses up a vast quantity of trees.

Still, trees are renewable so that’s not the end of the world as some might have you believe: Most of the time tree farms operate by a cut one down, plant one new policy which is…good. What this policy doesn’t resolve is the natural diversity and population of an unharmed forest habitat where animals can live how they are used to and want to.

So, the point is, to be aware of other solutions and rally around ways to keep the stories of paper going but in the most ethical way possible. Recycling efforts help massively and so far count for recovering about 43% of all paper used. We should definitely support the paper mills that use only recycled waste as their primary source of raw material.

There are also alternative natural products that can actually stand in for wood, especially when combined with recycled paper: Wheat, oat, barley and left over crop stalks.

Maybe it’s time got more of the paper glory?

Sometimes it’s good just to know these things and get the word out. This is why companies like Whitepages are to be commended: With the growing number of people that would prefer to just find the correct online directory site and hit ‘search’ for the contact information they need rather than trail through a book too heavy for them to lift with one hand, Whitepages has recognized the declining need for default print copies of every phone directory.

Their solution is to operate an Opt-in delivery program, so if you REALLY want one, don’t worry, you can get one.

But Whitepage’s philosophy seems to be pretty much just right: It’s not about halting the paper story; it’s about managing it, and not creating thousands more unnecessary individual paper stories.

Amalia Dempsey is a dedicated fan of paper, interested in writing and the world. She supports White Pages, an online telephone directory and address finder, and their quest to ban unnecessary print copies of long directories.

 

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5 Great Promotional Merchandise Ideas

Eco friendly promotional merchandising is the best idea in the current times. The fact that there are climatic changes like the global warming make the situation even worse. By using this option not only will people get to know of your corporate product but also they get to know that you are environmentally friendly. In an error where people are informed of the important e of taking care of the environment this is the best way to go.

Professional Carrier Bags:
When it comes to give away the first thing that comes into your mind is the professional carrier bags. It is imperative that you consider an environmentally friendly option rather than the normal plastic bags. It is a well-known fact that a lot of petroleum product is used in the plastic industry every day. This can be fatal to aquatic life and even suffocate plants and terrestrial animals. Choosing an eco-friendly option like the other corporations is a good way to start.

Printed Company Apparels:
Printed apparels are given away as a form of promotion by many companies. Choosing ecofriendly ones is something that can make a whole lot of difference. The difference with the other normal t shirts is razor thin made can be hard for person to discover. However, what you know is they are made from organic cotton making them special.

Giveaway Pens:
Eco friendly pens are another option that you cannot afford to do without. Not only are they functional but they also stand out from the rest. This makes them unique in a big way and whoever gets them will appreciate. It is very rare to have someone giving you a wooden pen. It is a good promotional tool that can be used.

Solar Chargers:

Many times there is usually the problem where your phone goes off due to power when you are conducting your business. This can really be frustrating if you are thinking of making an important call. Moreover you are going to notice that this is a good excuse of employees not to answer their bosses call. If you can supply them with a portable solar charger this will be a thing of the past. Not only is it going to assist in the normal running of the business but also it is going to increase the efficiency of the business.

USB Flash Drives:

In a digital era, information is passed electronically. One of the most popular ways to carry our information with us is on a USB flash drive. This is so common that school supply lists include flash drives. By promoting your logo on low cost drives and handing them out, you can assure your brand is seen every day.

Why choose promotional Merchandising?
Promotional merchandising is a good marketing strategy that can be used to make the difference. Most companies however will prefer to spend heavily on advertisements and hiring celebrities to get this job done. What they do not know is they would have spent much less by using this option rather than the other marketing strategy. Moreover the results from such marketing strategies is simply amazing when compares with other options.

There is a lot of information about marketing if you go online. A good research will reveal a lot of solution to assist you in solving your problem. One important consideration that you must always keep in mind is to make sure you have good knowledge of the product you are dealing with. This puts you in a better position to be able to know what the clients expect.

A satisfied customer is the best advertisement and for this reason you need to make sure that you take good care of the clients. Despite using other promotional skills it is important that when you finally attract some prospective clients you satisfy their needs. As you may know the most important visitor to your business is the customer. This is a unique visitor since you depend on them rather than them depending on you.

Click here to find out how you can get logos for your business that get noticed. Avery Petersen, a small business consultant, recommends Logo Mojo to his clients for fast and reliable logo designs.

 

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What’s the Deal with the Northern Lights?

You see them displayed in Christmas movies as a phenomenon of the North Pole. But the Aurora Borealis, as they are scientifically referred to, are actually visible from areas of the earth much farther south than the north pole. If you want to enjoy the beauty and wonder that is the Northern Lights, here are a few interesting things you should know:

  1. The name Aurora comes from the name of the Roman goddess of dawn.
  2. An Aurora in northern latitudes are called aurora borealis (northern lights). An Aurora in the southern latitudes are called aurora australis (southern lights).
  3. The plural of aurora is aurorae.
  4. An aurora occurs when highly charged particles from space collide with atoms in the earth’s atmosphere. This makes the atoms excited, meaning they start moving at a rapid pace. The way they release this energy is to accelerate along the earth’s magnetic fields, which will emit the energy in the form of light.
  5. Solar flares are the most common occurrence that induces an aurora in the atmosphere.
  6. Solar wind is constantly blowing past the earth, contained in this wind are particles that agitate the atoms in our atmosphere. When the sun flares, the wind become stronger so aurorae are most likely to occur then
  7. Norther and southern aurorae mimic each other.
  8. From a distance, the aurora will appear as a greenish glow or even a faint red. From a closer location, the light can appear as a vivid green color.
  9. The green color is due to the emission of oxygen as the atoms begin to slow down from their excited state.
  10. Blue colors come from nitrogen atoms gaining an electron (becoming excited) and red colors occur when the nitrogen atom slows back down to it’s normal state.
  11. Often they look like a curtain of light in the sky that can change shape every few seconds, or even hold their shape. They can also emit it a simple reddish or greenish glow in the sky, without any movement at all.
  12. Aurorae can occur on other planets.
  13. The sun has an 11-year sunspot cycle during which sunspot activity first increases than decreases. Aurorae are most commonly seen at the peak of that cycle and during the three years afterwards because of the increased strength of solar wind produced. The last solar cycle started in January 2008. The max of this cycle is expected to hit in 2011 and 2012.
  14. Pictures taken by space ships of the aurora are even more amazing than what you can see from earth. NASA’s website has a good array of options.

About the Author

Natalie Clive is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers is a useful website that can help students find the best online universities where they can earn a college degree. Individuals with a college degree are more likely to have a higher quality of life.

 

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5 Things You Can Do To Make Wild Animals Hate You (That You Never Knew Were Cruel)

Most people love wild animals, especially when they visit your yard and let you have a flash of the wild from the comfort of your porch.

Unfortunately, a lot of the things that we do can end up hurting animals, even though we have the very best of intentions. Check out these five ways that you are being cruel when you try to be kind.

Feed Them (and Then Stop)

While feeding wild animals might seem like the best thing you can do to keep them happy and healthy, you need to remember that you are taking on a big responsibility. The animals may come to rely on you as a source of food, meaning that if you stop feeding them, they may have nowhere else to turn. This is especially harmful if the increased food supply has led to them having more babies than normal.

Use a Humane Trap (At the Wrong Time of Year)

Humane traps, such as those used in skunk relocation, are certainly a kind way to deal with nuisance animals, but only if you make sure not to use them during breeding seasons. If you time it wrong you could end up trapping a nursing mother. Even if you release her without moving her, the time that she spent in the trap and away from her babies could be a death sentence if they are very young. If you’re going to try skunk relocation, learn how to trap a skunk humanely first.

‘Rescue’ a Baby (When it Was Perfectly Fine)

Baby birds are piteous little creatures, and the sight of one out of its nest tugs at the heartstrings. The problem is, they often don’t need rescuing.

Baby birds leave the nest when they are learning to fly, and their parents continue to feed them while they are on the ground. When you ‘rescue’ the baby, all you are doing is moving it away from where the parents are coming to feed it. If the area is dangerous it is fine to move the bird onto a wall or under a bush, but otherwise, if the bird has feathers leave it alone. Birds that are obviously young can be put back in the nest if you can find it.

Feed Them (The Wrong Food)

Even if you only feed wild animals a small amount very occasionally, you can cause big problems if you feed them the wrong food. For example, bread and milk is definitely not suitable for hedgehogs and can make them quite sick. If you are going to feed wild animals make sure that you are leaving out something that will agree with their digestion.

Own a Cat (and Let it Outside)

Cats are hunters. It isn’t their fault, but it is in their nature. Cats kill countless birds, rodents and other small animals every day and have been implicated in the decline of songbird populations. At the very least, make sure your cat has a bell on its collar to give the animals the chance to get away.

Now that you know the effects of these practices, you can make sure that the effect that you have on your wild visitors is the one that you intended from the start.

Your next step should probably be learning more about skunk relocation or how to keep rabbits out of the garden humanely and safely, now that you know about wild animals. Post written by guest blogger Mike Ishman.

 

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How to Increase Recycling In Your Town

Recycling impacts many aspects of your community and the world at large. It is well known that recycling diverts waste that accumulates in landfills, saves valuable natural resources and reduces greenhouse emissions. Recycling has much farther-reaching influence that is seldom spoken of. Recycling is less expensive than traditional waste collection, incineration and land filling. The more you recycle, the more cost effective the system becomes. Cities and some large companies have reduced bills for waste removal by millions of dollars by recycling. Recycling creates jobs at a rate of four to one over trash collection. Over one million private sector jobs are directly attributable to recycling. For every job created collecting recyclable materials, 26 more are created in processing and re-manufacturing them.

Many people do not recycle, even with the overwhelming benefits that it achieves. Lack of education, access and motivation are all factors that lead to alarming statistics. Up to 70 percent of the trash that people throw away could be recycled. 50 percent of recyclable waste found in landfills is plastic drinking containers. The average American is creating over 1,600 pounds of trash annually. What can you do to motivate people to recycle in your community?

Create a committee. Find others who actively recycle to help you spread the word throughout your community. Post fliers in public libraries, grocery stores, schools and recreation centers. Go door-to-door with information about how cooperative recycling stands to impact your neighbors. Make a stall or booth at fairs and festivals. Take out a small advertisement in the local paper or community access cable channel. Connect with your local borough or municipality to coordinate efforts and even procure public recycling units in your area.

Make recycling fun. Host a shredding event to encourage paper recycling. Invite the rival football team’s community to a recycling competition, and throw a party for the victor using recycled party supplies. Set goals for recycling in your neighborhood and post the progress on an easily visible banner or sign. Use your newspaper or cable access space to recognize outstanding recyclers in the community. Connect with schools and teachers to teach children about recycling. Make a community recycling page on a networking website. Occasionally “spy” on public recycling locations and hand out stickers or candies to people you catch in the act.

Broaden your scope. Encourage neighbors to recycle items other than paper, plastics and glass. Unused books, clothing and electronics can be donated, refurbished or recycled. Electronic waste accounts for over three million tons of waste annually, and most electronics are 100 percent recyclable. Operational electronics can be refurbished and donated to schools, military families and libraries. Broken electronic parts can be sorted down into metallic, plastic and glass components and recycled to manufacture new materials. Clothing can be given to independent charities to clothe the needy, and books can be donated to educational organizations such as Book Aid. Compact disks, batteries and corks can also be recycled. Organize regular collections of odd recyclable items in advance to give neighbors the chance to collect them.

Post contributed by Holly Adams, a writer for Coupon Croc. Grab a Littlewoods discount voucher and save on the best eco-friendly appliances and green products online.

 

Top Tips for a Great Team Building Away Day

Team building is a useful way for businesses to get their employees together and achieve a number of business goals, as well as having a bit of fun at the same time. There are numerous ways in which team building can work, from a simple brainstorming session in the pub to a full on day out in professionally run venue, this type of activity can be very beneficial for both morale and the business in general. In this article we outline some top tips that can make these days run as smoothly as possible.

Find the right venue

For some purposes a car park might suffice, however many of the most effective team building days happen when the right venue is chosen. To make it an “away day” feel like just that, it’s a good idea to pick a venue that is out of the office but not so far that attendees will feel like they’re going to spend all day travelling.  The best venues will have a reception area where bags can be left and people can relax in comfort, flexible meeting rooms, and other outdoor spaces for some of the more fun or abstract team building activities, as well as free flowing refreshments on offer throughout the venue. Very often venues with all the top notch facilities will be on the outskirts of big cities or housed in some of the most attractive buildings in the country – this means they really offer an ideal location for productive team building.

Get the right balance of activities

Team building days should be fun but they are also useful if a business is hoping to get a message across or after lots of new staff members have joined in order that everyone can get to know everyone else. Therefore it is important to get a good mix of activities for the away day. These can range from the gently competitive such as a school-style sports day or go-karting to more collaborative activities such as assembling a huge art installation that highlights your company‘s corporate values. Other worthwhile activities include simple ice breaking games for those who may take a little while to get into it and even days where it appears there’s very little to do with work but collaboration is very important such as cookery workshops.

Supercharge your brand

Several conference venues have in recent years taken the innovative step of creating branded space for a business that is using its facilities. This can be a real benefit for a team away day because it really gives the event a professional air and can make attendees feel like they are part of something significant. The best conference providers will be able to customise the required space with everything from brand logos adorning the walls to whether solid oak floors or carpets are required in the business “hub”. Many businesses have found that creating this type of bespoke space is ideal for embellishing an atmosphere of quality – especially in regards to training and team building as it shows employees that their workplace is prepared to go that extra yard.

Obviously there several other ways in which team building activities can be done, however it is certainly an aspect of business that should not be avoided – in the very least it can be a fun day out for everyone.

Jonathan has been away on many training days and in many meeting rooms with a variety of companies. He has found training away days very useful and a good morale booster.

 

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