<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Green News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/green http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:16:32 -0500 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:16:32 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Local Gardens Have 'Best Restroom' in US]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 12:26:53 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Longwood+Gardens+Restroom1.jpg

Looking for the best public restroom in the country? Look no further than Chester County's Longwood Gardens.

The Kennett Square, Pennsylvania attraction flushed the competition in Cintas’ "America’s Best Restroom Contest."  Cintas present the award for the best public restroom of 2014 to Longwood's eco-friendly "green wall" restroom.

Longwood, the most-visited public garden in the country, is known for its restrooms which are part of the largest eco-friendly Green Wall in America. Inside, natural light streams in through translucent glass, minimizing the need for light fixtures.

Cintas’s Senior Marketing Manager John Engel presented the best loo award to Longwood’s Chief Marketing Officer Marnie Conley.

"We’re excited to announce Longwood Gardens as the 2014 Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom," said Engel. "The team at Longwood has proven it understands the value of a restroom that’s creative and memorable for guests."

The competition stresses the important link between clean restrooms and customer retention, said Engel.

The nationwide contest received submissions and thousands of online votes for bathrooms in restaurants, retail complexes, running trails, and a children’s toy stores. Ohio-based Cintas — which provides business services like bathroom-design — picked 10 finalists based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements.

Bowl Plaza in Lucas, Kansas took second place while The Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis, Missouri took third. The top three finalists all receive a thorough restroom "Deep Clean" valued at $500. Longwood was also awarded a $2,500 to be used toward Cintas services like cleaning supplies.

The significance of the award wasn't lost on Longwood.

"We are so pleased to receive the America’s Best Restroom award," said Conley. “Longwood Gardens is about beautiful horticulture, being a good steward to our environment, and providing an extraordinary experience for our more than one million guests each year."



Photo Credit: Longwood Gardens]]>
<![CDATA[Philadelphia Hits Historic Recycling Rates]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 20:35:24 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000008645235_1200x675_357643843736.jpg The Philadelphia Streets Department announced historic recycling rates in the city.]]> <![CDATA[What Caused Schuylkill River Sheen?]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 11:50:19 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Schuylkill+River+Oily+Sheen.JPG

What caused that colorful oily sheen floating on the Schuylkill River Wednesday?

The U.S. Coast Guard claimed it was caused by runoff from a water main break along 28th Street in the Grays Ferry section of the city.

The Philadelphia Water Department, however, disputed that claim.

"The Water Department has investigated and determined that the sheen on the Schuylkill River yesterday was not related to the water main break at 28th and Dickinson," said Water Department spokesman John Digiulio.

The sheen appeared up river from where the water main ruptured. Photos of the slick were also posted to social media hours before the break was discovered.

The oily, rainbow-colored, mass was visible from the Schuylkill River Path throughout the day Wednesday.

Pictures were posted to social networks starting Wednesday morning and by the afternoon, the sheen was visible from NBC10’s Comcast Center camera as it floated around Locust Street.

After NBC10 alerted Mayor Michael Nutter’s office to the possible slick, the city called the Coast Guard and asked them to investigate. The Coast Guard controls the waters below the Fairmount Dam.

The Coast Guard confirmed Thursday that they responded and found runoff debris. They cleared the mess from the water by Thursday afternoon.

"The water department is not aware of what caused this oily sheen, however, we will work with the other agencies involved to investigate this to see if a source can be identified," said Digiulio.

The Coast Guard wasn't aware of any threat to the public from the bright-colored event.

The Region 3 office of the federal Environmental Protection Agency didn't receive any information about the event causing any health hazards, said EPA spokesman David Sternberg.

 



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Oily Sheen Floats Down Schuylkill River]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 07:58:46 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Schuylkill+River+Oily+Sheen.JPG

What was the oily sheen floating down the Schuylkill River Wednesday?

That’s what NBC10 asked of city and federal officials after being alerted to the oily, rainbow-colored, mass visible from the Schuylkill River Path throughout the day Wednesday.

Photos hit social media starting Wednesday morning and by Wednesday afternoon the sheen was visible from NBC10’s Comcast Tower camera as it floated past Locust Street.

NBC10 called Mayor Michael Nutter’s office as well as federal officials as we tried to figure out what caused the sheen.

After becoming alerted to the possible slick, mayor’s office spokesman Mark McDonald said that the city had alerted the United States Coast Guard of the event since it occurred in Coast Guard controlled waters below the Fairmount Dam. McDonald said the city’s Office of Emergency Management would also look into the event.

The Coast Guard confirmed late Wednesday afternoon that they would be sending a crew to investigate the event.

The Region 3 office of the federal Environmental Protection Agency also became aware of the oily-like slick and would be investigating, according to spokesman David Sternberg.

None of the agencies gave a timetable on when they might find out what caused the sheen and where it came from.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Philly Starts Curbside Leaf Collection]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:14:27 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Barnes+Red+Leaves+Generic.jpg

Philadelphia’s Streets Department began collecting fall leaves from the city’s curbs Monday.

The annual collection service will last six weeks.

But there are regulations to follow to ensure the leaves are picked up on the designated days for each neighborhood.

Rake ‘em, don’t bag ‘em!

The streets department will only collect leaves that are neatly raked to the curb or in biodegradable paper bags. This reduces contamination so the leaves can be recycled. Additionally, residents are urged to avoid mixing trash into the bagged leaves since they won’t be usable.

The city carefully selected areas that receive a significant amount of leaf buildup. People who wish to recycle or remove their leaves, but are not in an area selected for the collection program, can head to any one of four sanitation centers to drop off their bagged leaves or one of 22 locations spread out throughout the city on Saturdays starting Nov. 10 (excluding the Saturday following Veterans Day and Thanksgiving) until Dec. 13.

Leaves can be reused for composting, although Philadelphia will not be hosting any composting workshops this fall. Philadelphia will publish updates on their plans with autumn’s leaf recycling program as they continue to collect the foliage.

Pro tip:

Composting leaves is not easy since they are highly acidic. It's hard to know how leaves will react while they decompose. It's easier for the streets department to collect the leaves for recycling than try to re-purpose the leaves at  home.

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<![CDATA[Philly's 1st Natural Gas Station Opens]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:17:31 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/198*120/Natural+Gas+Station+Pump.JPG

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett celebrated the opening Tuesday of the first compressed natural gas fueling station in Philadelphia.

The CNG station, located at 2901W Abbottsford Ave. near the Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. Route 1) in the city's East Falls neighborhood features full service natural gas fueling as well as a convenience store and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Corbett joined officials from Ball Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based VNG Co. to tout the station as supplying clean-burning natural gas.

“Pennsylvania has the second-largest energy field in the world, and cities from Pittsburgh to Williamsport to Towanda to Philadelphia are benefiting from our game-changing energy resources,” Corbett said. “The convenience of a local CNG fueling station makes it possible for local governments, organizations, companies and residents to make the switch to this cleaner and affordable alternative fuel. By harnessing natural gas, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and putting Pennsylvania at the forefront of American energy independence.

A $253,000 Alternative Clean Energy Grant and a $169,000 loan from the commonwealth helped pay for the station. The Corbett Administration said that VNG matched more than $422,000 to make the station a reality.

Corbett's administration has put a big emphasis on fracking natural gas in the Keystone State. Corbett said that over his tenure the state has gone from importing 75 percent of its natural gas to exporting more than the state uses.

VNG plans to build similar stations around the country.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Long Stretch of Sunshine Good for Crops in New Jersey]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:42:30 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/nj+rain+bumper+crops.jpg The mix of cool nights and warm, sunny days is perfect for growing fruits and vegetables -- and this summer's weather has been good to the crops in New Jersey. Brian Thompson reports]]> <![CDATA[Local Oil Spill Bigger Problem Than Expected]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 06:20:15 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Cause-of-Mystery-Oil-Spill-.jpg The Washington Township oil spill is more than twice as large as first estimated.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Eco-Goats Are Hired to Chomp Cemetery Weeds]]> Thu, 12 Jun 2014 04:18:58 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/eco_goats_cemetery_02.JPG

Dozens of goats have been hired to help make West Laurel Hill Cemetery more eco-friendly this week.

The bill for 40 goats for about five days of grazing is $5,000. That's $25 per day per goat. Well, the money isn't what the goats love, it's the green. 

"They are a riot. We have to clear a lot of areas and did not want lawnmowers and machines that use gas to do that," said Priyank Setty of West Laurel Hill. 

The "eco-goats" are working to whip the green burial section known as Nature's Sancturary into shape in Bala Cynwyd. The forty mouths spend 18 hours per day grazing the weeds that have settled in. Their job at West Laurel Hill is to devour about an acre of growth mostly on a hill.

"Goats will come through and mop up the problem vegetation," said owner Bill Knox of Sustainable Resource Management. "They also improve the soil as they go by dropping fertilizer on the ground. We work on goat time, when they are done, they are done."

The goal is to remove invasive weeds and vegetation such as the Japanese knot weed. The goats consume a fourth of their body weight in grazing each day, according to Knox. The goats are a cross section of breeds and live on a 50-acre property in Davidonville, Md. They are on the road a majority of the growing season, which is May to October.

The West Laurel Hill Cemetery is a 187-acre arboretum and outdoor sculpture garden. Removing the invasive vegetation will help the landscape evolve naturally over time.

The animals have becoming an attraction for runners and passersbys, but they should not be pet. 

"The goats work whenever they feel like it. They form cliques and stick together, and move around together," said Setty who observed them making noise.

Not a bad weeklong job as the goats take breaks and call it quitting time when they want to.

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<![CDATA["Find Your Path" to Parks & Rec]]> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:47:38 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Fairmount+Park+Trail+Generic+Trail+Generic+Park.JPG

“Find Your Path”

That’s the new slogan for Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation Department.

Parks & Rec officials will join Mayor Michael Nutter Wednesday to announce the new brand campaign.

Before the official announcement, the department released a nearly 5-minute long video featuring people of all types of backgrounds and ages enjoying Philly’s green spaces, playgrounds and gyms.

The highly-stylized video features views of games, parks, ice rinks, pools and even beauty shots of Forbidden Drive in Fairmount Park and Fitler Square in Center City.

What do you think of the message? Does this new campaign help you “find your path” to your parks and rec centers?



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department/YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Cold Winter Helping Summer Crops]]> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 08:20:36 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/peppers+crops.JPG Our region's cold winter has some positive effects. NBC10's Christine Maddela reports from Cherry Hill, N.J. on how summer crops are benefitting from our snowy winter.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Styrofoam Ban in Philly?]]> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 06:00:12 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/styrofoam+ban+proposal.jpg Philadelphia recycling leaders are all for banning styrofoam in the city due to its harmful environmental impact. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports in the Northeast with the details.]]> <![CDATA[Solar Urban Farm Stand]]> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 07:23:25 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/212*120/Greensgrow+Farms.JPG A solar farm stand will help power Greensgrow Farms on Cumberland Street in Kennsington.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Deep Freeze Leaves Plants in Danger]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:34:54 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/JYKcKYAMWpCtZQhfFJoa-2-1229516509000.jpg NBC10's Christine Maddela is in Glenside, Pa. with some tips on how to protect your plants when temperatures drop.

Photo Credit: David Perkins]]>
<![CDATA[More Natural Lawns in NJ?]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 05:58:22 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/front+lawn+bill.jpg

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make it easier for homeowners to plant natural wildlife in their yards and avoid local nuisance laws, which could mean less cookie-cutter grass lawns throughout the state.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, a Republican, is planning to introduce a bill that would establish a statewide certification system to exempt naturally planted yards from local nuisance laws.
The idea would be to turn more suburban lawns into miniature nature preserves. The New Jersey Audubon says the process would require homeowners to meet certain standards.
Bramnick's wife, Patricia Brentano, has been encouraging her neighbors to dig up their grass and replace patches of it with more natural plantings.
"We don't wear all the same things, we don't look the same, why do we want our yards to be exactly the same as everybody else on the street?" she said.
But many towns have nuisance laws that are aimed at overgrown lawns, so Bramnick wants the state system to help environmentally-conscious homeowners get around them.
"It's actually a defense to the local officer who would give you a summons," he said.
For some homeowners with conventional lawns, the idea is a concern.
"What limits the amount of jungle you could create in front of your house?" said Peter Pitre.  

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<![CDATA[Edible Garden to Open at SF Stadium]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:15:15 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/238*120/13-1121+OVERALL+RENDER.JPG

San Francisco Giants fans who feel their pizza toppings are missing something will soon have a new, creative and organic solution to dress up their snack: They can run to an edible garden at AT&T Park to pick fresh basil, chives and maybe even a mushroom or two to pile on top of their cheesy slice.

"The Garden," being built behind center field, is expected to open in mid-May.

"The whole garden is going to produce a very diverse edible bounty of foods," Giants Senior Vice President of Communications Staci Slaughter said in a statement. "We are also very excited about it because not only will this be another fan amenity on game days, it's really going to be a year-round destination for our fans, for special events, but most importantly, for many of our community programs that focus on childhood obesity."

The Garden will feature organic vegetables and herbs and will serve as a showcase for sustainability and wellness in the heart of AT&T Park, according to the Giants. Fans can even enjoy a picnic at The Garden or watch the game through knotholes in the center-field wall.

The Garden will not be open just on game days. It will also serve as an outdoor classroom where Bay Area students can take field trips to learn about sustainability, urban farming, and healthy eating.

"We are going to be able to do cooking classes, and other really fun field trips for kids in the Bay Area," Slaughter said.

The Giants will play their first regular season game at AT&T Park on April 8 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Here are some renderings of The Garden:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the construction site of The Garden as of March 26.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Giants]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Salmon Get Truck Convoy Assist]]> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 09:18:41 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/182*120/0325-salmon-tube.jpg

The tanker trucks arrive in a convoy of three at the banks of the Sacramento Delta, near the small river town of Rio Vista. The vehicles then back up to the river’s edge, ready to spew their contents into one of California’s most vital waterways.

A long white plastic tube is already tethered to the dock, waiting to link-up with the truck. The tube turns dark as the truck’s contents spill through it into the river. Suddenly the water churns as the delivery comes to life -- thousands of tiny, darting salmon smolt begin their journey to the ocean.

With California in the grip of a vicious drought, state and federal fishery managers have begun to truck infant salmon to the Delta, bypassing 275 miles of their normal migration from the Coleman federal fish hatchery in Redding.

“We’re trying to give them a jump start to get them past problem areas upstream,” said Stafford Lehr with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The drought has left water levels in the state’s tributaries low and warm, which stresses the tiny salmon. The lack of rain is also forcing state water managers to prematurely open some gates in the Delta, which would divert the migrating fish into other parts of the Delta. That left fishery managers with few alternatives.

“If these fish migrated normally down through the river system, there’s a strong likelihood a lot of them would be drawn into the interior and south Delta," Lehr said. “We know that their chances of survival out to the ocean and adulthood are highly limited.”

Fishery managers expect to haul 30 million hatchery fish to the river over the next 10 weeks, equaling another 240 truckloads.

“If we were to release them at Coleman and they were all to perish on the trip,” said Bob Clark of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “we could be forced with no commercial or recreational fish in 2016.”

The potential collapse of the state's salmon fishing is a major concern for an industry still reeling from the closure of the 2008 salmon season, following low fish returns. The closure cost hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars to the state.

“This will affect 2016, 2017 which may have been a closed season,” said Victor Gonella, of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, who applaud the use of trucks to haul the fish down river. “There may not have been any fish.”

But scientists warn trucking the fish down river will make it nearly impossible for adult fish to find their way back to the place of their birth in a few years.

“The science bears out, when you truck fish you have higher straying rates,” said Howard Brown of N.O.A.A. “After the fish go out to the ocean and they return back to spawn, they’re a little lost. They don’t know exactly where to go back.”

But Brown said the drought has left state officials with no other alternative, other than to truck.

Clark said fishery managers are researching alternative methods of moving the salmon safely down river, including using nets on barges to haul them the entire length of their river migration, allowing them to mentally map their route – a process known as imprinting.

But with the drought bearing down, and alternatives years away, the tanker trucks continue to file into Rio Vista – offering a shortcut for thousands of needy travelers.



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Stunning Historic Photos of Air Pollution ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 11:36:12 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/air-pollution-AP7004221649_7.jpg Click to see some fascinating images of air pollution throughout the US from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Toad Detour is All About Survival]]> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 12:27:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/toad1_detour1.jpg

A real-life version of the video game Frogger is taking place on the roads surrounding the Upper Roxborough Reservoir in Philadelphia as thousands of toads make the annual migration to the water, to mate.

And the most dangerous predator they face along the way is on four wheels.

Cars driven down Port Royal Avenue and Hagys Mill Road in Roxborough threaten to kill the migrating toads every spring. That is why a team of volunteers with The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education comes to the rescue each year with The Toad Detour.

The Toad Detour sets up barricades around the reservoir to keep cars from running over the creatures. That means that the volunteers must stand by the barricades and explain to any drivers what the detour is all about. 

"We don’t want to prevent anyone from going to church," explained Claire Morgan, who coordinates the volunteers. The hope is that drivers are okay with the slight inconvenience for the sake of nature. If that's not enough incentive, maybe it helps to remember that toads do their part at reducing the fly and mosquitoes populations.

Morgan held a volunteer orientation on Saturday at The Schuylkill Center, which included a family-friendly presentation about the toads’ migration habits during the spring and early summer months.

The Schuylkill Center has a permit to put up the barricades from March 1st until June 30th, however, they wait to start The Toad Detour until they actually witness toads starting to make their way to the water.

Morgan said, "they move at their own pace," so while they are in the middle of crossing the street they now don't have to deal with being run over while the barricades are up.

The barricades are usually in place only between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. This time allows for thousands of toads to safely migrate each year. After 9 p.m., there is less danger because fewer cars are on the road. 

American toads, the most common in this area, migrate to a body of water to mate and breed. They have been making the trek to the Upper Roxborough Reservoir for years.

Morgan played the very high pitch mating call of the male toads for the volunteers to hear during her presentation. It sounded a lot different than the deep croaking and ribbit sounds people normally associate with toads and frogs.

After the adult toads have mated, they eventually go back across the street to their original habitats. Several weeks later, toadlets as big as a dime make their journey back across the street, joining their parents.

Part of the excitement each year is the challenge of counting the toads. Volunteers get a bucket and a tally sheet that they use to tally the number of toadlets they find, both alive and dead.

Toads can lay anywhere between 4,000 and 20,000 eggs.

"That’s a lot of tadpoles," said Morgan.

She explained to the prospective volunteers and Toad Detour veterans that some of the best counters are children and sometimes they are as young as four years old. They have an advantage because they're closer to the ground.

The toads will make their first commute at night when the temperature is above 50 degrees, and the ground is a little moist. When they do emerge, The Toad Detour volunteers will be ready. Volunteers sign up for shifts ahead of time. However, The Toad Detour’s facebook page alerts volunteers to any toad activity spotted around the Schuylkill Center’s grounds. 

All ages are encouraged to volunteer to protect the toads and even a few Girl Scout Troops have already signed up to help the cause. People and organizations interested in volunteering can find out more at The Schuylkill Center website and the Toad Detour facebook page.



Photo Credit: Chelsea Lacey-Mabe]]>