Every six months, in November and May, with Kathleen Santora at the helm, GreenTown Los Altos pulls together a team of people to orchestrate one of our most rewarding events: the ReCycle Bike Drive.
It’s really simple. You have a bike you don’t need, use, want or are looking to give away but don’t know where to go. The ReCycle Bike Drive is the place. We’ll tune it up and find someone who will appreciate it, more than you realize. In fact, we can pretty much guarantee you will make someone smile.
At the last ReCycle Bike drive, we collected >50 bikes and gave them to students in our local community, particularly at Los Altos High School and Castro Elementary. All the students were grateful for the generous donation, as you can see from the notes they wrote. Sunday, May 4 is our next ReCycle Bike Drive where we collect bikes, spruce them up, do an inspection, and fix any issues before giving the bike to a deserving student. Over the past 2 years we have collected almost 200 bikes.
Need more motivation to give? Below are thank you noted written by some owners of last year’s bike drive. If you gave, this is for you. If you haven’t, it feels so good, you’ll want to help collect the bikes (OK, we’re projecting, but we can always use the help!).
Think you have the next great 5 minute video idea? Now’s your chance to strut your stuff, Greenlight Film and Fashion Festival call for entries: deadline Fri. March 28.
Greenlight 2014 offers a fun new challenge for filmmakers. Your 5-minute or shorter video must address one of the following topics using comedy, animation, drama, fiction, documentary, clay-mation, stop-motion or a combination of film genres and techniques.
Entry categories are: middle school, high school and open (all others).
$1000 in prizes will be awarded.
Films or video submittals must be 5 minutes or shorter, or a 5-minute excerpt of a longer film. Potential film producers must choose from 1 of the designated environmental topics listed:
1. Role models
2. Lessons from the past
3. Changing climate change
4. Be the inspiration
5. Environmental justice
6. Pick a law
7. Pollution and health
8. Who is exposed?
For more details about submitting your short film or video, visit midpenmedia.org/greenlight-2014. All film entries will be judged by a panel of experts in various related fields. Finalists will be announced at the festival in Cubberley Community Theater.
Make something new from something old! Reuse is one way to reduce waste which conserves resources. The purpose of the eco-fashion show is to promote the idea of reuse: take used clothing or any used materials and making them into a new, wearable fashion. Re-fashion is gaining in popularity as more people adopt a more sustainable lifestyle by reducing waste, reusing and recycling.
How to participate in the GREENLIGHT Fashion Festival:
1. Take a photo of the materials you will use in your re-fashion design. Remember, your eco-fashion must be made of at least 80% of used materials.
2. Create your new fashion. You, or someone you may choose, will be modeling the fashion on stage during the awards ceremony.
3. Take a photo of your finished fashion.
4. Submit your photos by going to Midpenmedia.org/greenlight and click on Submit.
For fashion show questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (650) 329-2434.
The Film Festival will be broadcast live on local TV stations. Locals, friends and family members are welcome to attend the Festival. It will be held on April 24, 2014, 7:00 – 8:30pm. Admission is free!
Do research, be creative, have fun and enter the 2014 Greenlight Film and Fashion Festival!
Santa Clara County’s Master Gardeners offered up fast and easy tips for conserving water and with the drought upon us, well, we think you may want to see what you can do to help the problem for us all:
1. Prioritize Your Plants: first, determine which plants are most susceptible to water stress. High on your watering list should be plants that are valuable in terms of replacement cost, prominence in the landscape and enjoyment.
- High Priority- trees and shrubs (especially those that are young and planted in an exposed site). Large, mature shade trees and shrubs can be left alone unless the drought is severe and the trees begin to wilt, or the root systems have been recently disturbed.
- Medium to high priority- perennials, fruit and nut trees, small fruits and vegetables; turf that is less than one-year old.
- Low priority- annual flower and herb plants, ornamental grasses, established turf. These are relatively inexpensive and easily replaced. It may be difficult to keep large beds of annuals adequately watered during a drought
2. Apply 3-4” of mulch around plants to keep weeds down, conserve soil moisture and moderate soil temperatures. Make sure the mulch is 3-4” away from the trunk/stem of the plant to prevent rot. Mulching minimizes evaporation of water from the soil surface, reducing irrigation need by around 50%.
3. Control weeds around shrubs, vegetables and flowers. Weeds can out-compete cultivated garden plants for water and nutrients.
4. If purchasing new plants, research those that are low water users. All plants require water to become established (CA Natives included) but there are some that are bigger water guzzlers than others.
5. When possible, add organic matter (compost) to your soil. This will improve the water-holding capacity during dry weather and promote good drainage during wet weather.
6. Irrigate early in the morning. Less water loss occurs from evaporation and wind drift in the morning because of cooler temperatures and less wind.
7. Use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks and steps. Using a hose to push around a few leaves and scraps of paper can waste hundreds of gallons of water.
8. Don’t fertilize or, if you do, do so with a low nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilization stimulates growth and increases water needs.
9. The type of soil you have largely determines how often you should water: Clay soils may only need to be watered once during a given period while sandy soils may need two or three waterings during the same time.
10. Avoid runoff and puddling by spacing out, or cycling, irrigations. Let the sprinklers run for 10 minutes then shut them off for 10 minutes, allowing the water to absorb into the ground.
Another good source for tips can be found on a Los Altos Patch post, citing Sheri Osaka’s 10 tips to save gallons of water.
Do what you can. Every drop saved is one we can all tap into later.
by Kit Gordon
The best way out of this drought is not a rain dance but a change of behavior. Get a landscape rebate by switching your lawn to low water plants. Or just let your lawn brown and replant a beautiful biodiversity garden with California native plants next fall. Grow your own fruits and vegetables with a reuse system. Attend our June 4, 7pm greywater seminar at the Los Altos Library to get all the facts about greywater systems. The Santa Clara Valley Water District will pay you $100 to install a laundry to landscape system.
Get out and enjoy the rain! Just think, if you only had installed that rain catchment system… GreenTown will host a rain catchment seminar in Fall 2014.
Questions? Contact Kit Gordon
Four years ago, a group of GreenTown Los Altos volunteers started canvassing local restaurants to join the GreenTown Co-op in order to offer the more environmentally friendly compostables for take outs and left overs. The idea met with limited success for a variety of reasons. Mainly, most business owners did not want to change their current practice. GreenTown’s team realized that until there was a town ban on Expanded Polystyrene (Styrofoam), the task of changing behavior would be a tough uphill battle.
Flash forward to Jan 14, 2014
On Jan. 14, 2014 the Los Altos City Council voted to ban EPS from restaurants, retail shops, and events starting July 4, 2014. The second fourth of July where the Council has shown its forward thinking by enacting policies supporting “freedom” from old school, environmental killing, products.
The approval of the EPS Ban marks a great change in behavior within Los Altos. Already 2/3 of the restaurants do not use EPS in their business operations and the other third just have 1 or 2 products that need to be changed to a compostable product, 6 of the 9 retail establishments sell EPS material on the store shelves and none of them foresee an issue with removing these products. Most vendors at events have anticipated the ban and already have compostable replacements lined up.
Within a short period of time, our town is changing behavior regarding environmental issues. To think single use plastic bags and expanded poly styrene are soon to be relics of the past, opens up a new world of creating sustainable behavior for a better earth. A change everyone connected with GreenTown Los Altos is happy to see.