Cover Crops and Crop Rotation class this Saturday

SATURDAY AUGUST 16 from 10-11 a.m. in the Briggs Ave. garden, Durham Master Gardener Leanna Murphy Dono will be leading a class on “Cover Crops and Crop Rotation” to help gardeners learn about planting fall/winter cover crops (like clovers and legumes) that help soil recover nutrients, improve soil structure and prevent weeds when not planted in vegetable crops.  If it’s raining at class time, we’ll meet at the Extension Office instead.

During the class, we’ll examine some cover crops growing in the garden now (many thanks to Marsha Booker-Hibbs who helped Leanna plant and turn under some cover crops in July), and we’ll look at how they are turned over/break down.  You’ll learn about the benefits of planting buckwheat, rye, crimson clover, cow peas and more and the timing of planting in the rotation (spring vs. summer.)

All the Briggs Avenue Community Garden plot owners who attend will be able to put in a cover crop for a hands-on planting demo.

This class is free and open to the public (including Master Gardeners for continuing education credit and Briggs plot owners); please call Pana at 919-560-0525 or email: prjones2@ncsu.edu  to pre-register.

Adopt A Tree

You can take ownership of a street tree! Keep Durham Beautiful partners with City of Durham Department of General Services, Urban Forestry Division  to share the cost of purchase and planting street trees and urban shade trees in other public spaces like parks and greenways. Residents or community groups who adopt a street tree pay for roughly half the wholesale cost of the tree ($50 for ball and burlap trees or $10 for bare-root trees) and the City of Durham covers the other half as well as planting the tree.

What you do

  1. You fill out our Adopt-A-Tree Request Form (pdf) or our online form requesting a street or park tree along with your donation of $50 to Keep Durham Beautiful. You may request a specific location and have input into the tree type in some cases. Species are selected from proven survivors which can tolerate a range of challenging site conditions, and are matched to the site. Although we cannot guarantee that we can honor your request, you will have an opportunity to withdraw or change your request.
  2. You water the tree once a week during periods without rain for one year to establish the tree.

What we do

  1. We work with you to determine a suitable location and tree type for your adoption.
  2. We purchase and plant the tree for you, and you may have the opportunity to assist with planting.
  3. Depending on location, we may provide mulch and/or temporary supplies such as staking supplies, trunk protection or gator bag for watering ease.
  4. City staff will select, locate, plant and maintain the tree in perpetuity.

What we all get

This innovative program facilitates replanting of dead, damaged or missing trees, and enhances the tree canopy for all to enjoy.

Planting trees and other plants has many benefits:

  • filters pollution from the air
  • helps recycle water (slow water down and filters it before reaching streams and lakes)
  • prevents soil loss (keeps soil out of the streams)
  • create shade (less energy needed for cooling)
  • gives shelter from wind and rain
  • provides shelter and food for wildlife
  • provides an interesting, soothing learning environment for people
  • builds community and sense of well-being

For more information on the benefits of trees in our community, visit our Beautification page.

How to Get Started

Contact the Urban Forestry Manager Alex Johnson (Alexander.Johnson@durhamnc.gov or 919-560-4197) with your questions.

  1. Download (pdf) and mail our Urban Tree Request Form with a check payable to “Keep Durham Beautiful” OR
  2. Complete the electronic form  and pay by credit card with secure online payment option

Durham Reminds Residents to Mow Lawns

Summer and rain are guaranteed to grow your lawn. While it’s a chore that many don’t enjoy, the City of Durham is reminding property owners to regularly mow their lawns.

According to the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, since April 1st, code enforcement officers have responded to more than 900 complaints of too tall grass, resulting in unsightly neighborhoods and numerous citations that could cost property owners at least $250 in fines. “Our code enforcement officers are swamped right now with complaints about tall grass and we really need our property owners to take the time to mow their lawns so our officers can focus on other issues that impact our quality of life,” said Director Constance Stancil. “We don’t want to issue notices of violation or levy fines. We simply want folks to embrace their neighborhoods by regularly mowing their lawns, and if possible, help out their elderly or disabled neighbors to keep their lawns mowed as well.”

To help remind property owners to mow their lawns this growing season, the department is kicking off an educational campaign by posting reminders to community list serves, on Durham Television Network, on the City’s social media channels, and advertising on several channels with Time Warner Cable.

According to Stancil, too tall grass is more than just an aesthetic issue…it’s a health issue too. “Weeds and undergrowth over 12 inches tall provide a harborage for rodents, vermin, mosquitoes and other pests,” Stancil said. “This increases the hazards of disease, injury or fire as well as creates hazards to the health, safety and welfare of your yard and your neighborhood.”

For more information about the City’s weed, junk and debris ordinance or the responsibilities of property owners, visit http://bit.ly/1oH6jaM.

Durham Hosts “Get Your Grass Off Gas” June 21

An Opportunity to Purchase Deeply-Discounted Electric Yard Equipment

With mowing season underway, area residents have an opportunity to trade in their old gas-guzzling mowers and other yard equipment and take advantage of steep discounts on cleaner and greener electric versions.

The 4th Annual “Get Your Grass Off Gas” event will be held in the parking lot at the corner of East Main Street and Queen Street on Saturday, June 21, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event will be held rain or shine.

Hosted by the Durham City-County Sustainability Office, this event provides residents with the opportunity to purchase discounted electric yard and garden equipment to help get polluting gasoline-powered equipment “off the grass” and into the recycling bin. Discounts will range from 17 to 35 percent depending on the model. Available equipment includes lawnmowers, trimmers, edgers, blowers, vacuums, and loppers. Residents who do not have older equipment to trade in can still purchase electric models at the events, but with a smaller discount.

For more information on mower models and prices, and to pre-register to reserve specific mowers, visit http://www.GreenerDurham.net. Pre-registration is not required; however, event organizers cannot guarantee a particular model will be available without pre-registration.

All gas-powered equipment brought in to be recycled must be drained of fluids before being dropped off. Used motor oil can be dropped off at the City of Durham’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center, located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

For more information about this event, contact Sustainability Specialist Megan Carroll at (919) 560-7993 or by email at mcarroll@dconc.gov.

Durham’s Water Into Trees Program Makes Donating Easy

Donations Now Accepted at www.DurhamNC.gov/WaterIntoTrees  

Tree lovers in Durham now have a new and easy way to support the City of Durham’s efforts to plant more trees…straight from their keyboards.

The City’s “Water Into Trees” program is now offering an online site to make it easy for residents to plant trees in Durham. Through this new online form, residents can elect to make a tax-deductible donation with each residential water bill payment or a one-time contribution. These funds are then used by the City’s Urban Forestry Division to purchase additional trees for streets, parks and green spaces.

According to Urban Forestry Manager Alexander Johnson, most of Durham’s neighborhood street trees were planted over 70 years ago, and are projected to require removal at an increasing rate over time. “As trees are lost to old age and declining health, their replacement is contingent upon outside funding and active neighborhood participation,” Johnson said. “Residents can help by making a tax-deductible donation to the program online. It’s a great way to ensure our community continues to enjoy the benefits of trees, which provide clean water and air, cooler temperatures, noise buffering, healthy places for outdoor activities and exercise, energy conservation, a greater sense of place and community, and increased property values.”

Donations can now be made at http://www.DurhamNC.gov/WaterIntoTrees. Making it easy for residents to donate toward tree plantings through this program is an example of how the City is expanding its attention on Durham’s trees. Last year, the City and County launched Trees Across Durham, which is a broad-based partnership dedicated to making Durham a healthier and greener community now and in the future through the planting and protection of trees; the education of tree care-takers and the general public about how to maintain healthy trees; and the measurement and communication of the benefits trees provide to the environment and community. For more information about Trees Across Durham, visit http://tinyurl.com/DurhamTrees.

For more information about the “Water Into Trees” program, or to request a paper donation form, contact Johnson at (919) 560-4197 ext. 21275 or by email at Alexander.Johnson@DurhamNC.gov.

Durham Offers Recycling Plant Tour May 16

Only 18 Spots Available on Bus Tour; Participants Must RSVP by May 15

Register now to reserve your spot for a behind-the-scenes look at what happens once your recyclables are collected.

The City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department is offering a free bus tour to the Sonoco Recycling Facility in Raleigh on Friday, May 16. The bus tour will depart at 9 a.m. from the City’s Solid Waste Management Department, located at 1833 Camden Avenue, and return to Durham around noon. Participants will receive a guided tour of Sonoco Recycling’s state-of-the-art facility followed by a question-and-answer session with City staff and Sonoco representatives.

Only 18 seats are available on the bus tour and participants must be 12 years of age or older. Children under the age of 18 must also be accompanied by an adult and all participants must sign a waiver, arrive in closed-toe shoes, and wear safety glasses and vests that will be provided by Sonoco Recycling.

To reserve a seat on the bus tour, contact Waste Reduction Coordinator Larrisha McGill with the City’s Solid Waste Management Department by Thursday, May 15 by email at Larrisha.McGill@DurhamNC.gov. Participants should provide their name, phone number, and an email address.

For more information, contact McGill at (919) 560-4186, ext. 32227 or by email at Larrisha.McGill@DurhamNC.gov. To learn more about recycling in Durham, visit http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/swmd/Pages/recycling_guidelines.aspx.

HAPPY EARTH DAY! Come celebrate Sunday April 27!

2014 Earth Day Festival
(Rain or Shine | Free Admission) 
Sunday, April 27 (Noon – 5 p.m.)
Durham Central Park
502 Foster St.

“Go Green” at Durham’s Earth Day Festival. Participants will enjoy “green” activities and demos; learn about many green practices and products at the Sustainability Expo and Earth Art Market; and enjoy great music, food and much more!

Plan your trip to Earth Day! Do your part and walk, skate, bike, ride the bus, or carpool to Earth Day.

Members of Durham’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission will host a valet bicycle parking service near the corner of Foster and Hunt streets – ride in and check your bicycle for free! Get your bike safety checked and learn how to change a flat as well.

New this year at Earth Day!
TROSA Store
Ecycling/Recycling Yard – recycle household items for FREE or donate old clothes!
Farmer’s Lane – FREE vendor space still available (contact Amber Walker at 919-560-4355 or Amber.Walker@durhamnc.gov for details)

Earth Day Activities
Live music and entertainment
Earth Art Market sponsored by the Triangle Ecycling, Planet Aid and Moore Recycling Associates Inc.
Eco-Lounge
Sustainability Expo

Visit www.DurhamEarthDay.org or call 919-560-4355 for more details!

Durham Offers Recycling Plant Tour April 11

Only 18 Spots Available on Bus Tour; Participants Must RSVP by April 10

Have you ever wondered what happens after the City of Durham picks up your curbside recycling cart? Thanks to another tour arrangement, you now have chance to find out.

For a behind-the-scenes look at what happens once your recyclables are collected, the City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department is offering a free bus tour to the Sonoco Recycling Facility in Raleigh on Friday, April 11. The bus tour will depart at 9 a.m. from the City’s Solid Waste Management Department, located at 1833 Camden Avenue, and return to Durham around noon. Participants will receive a guided tour of Sonoco Recycling’s state-of-the-art facility followed by a question-and-answer session with City staff and Sonoco representatives.

Only 18 seats are available on the bus tour and participants must be 12 years of age or older. Children under the age of 18 must also be accompanied by an adult and all participants must sign a waiver, arrive in closed-toe shoes, and wear safety glasses and vests that will be provided by Sonoco Recycling.

To reserve a seat on the bus tour, contact Waste Reduction Coordinator Larrisha McGill with the City’s Solid Waste Management Department by Thursday, April 10 by email at Larrisha.McGill@DurhamNC.gov. Participants should provide their name, phone number, and an email address.

To learn more about recycling in Durham, visit http://durhamnc.gov/ich/op/swmd/Pages/recycling_guidelines.aspx.

Durham E-Waste Recycling & Shredding Event April 26

Free & Convenient Event Kicks Off Earth Day Weekend

Durham residents and businesses waiting for the next free opportunity to recycle electronic waste, shred confidential documents, and get a jump start on celebrating Earth Day should plan to attend the E-Waste Recycling and Paper Shredding Event in late April.

The event, which will kick-off festivities for the 2014 Durham Earth Day Festival, will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Durham County Memorial Stadium, located at 750 Stadium Dr. Event staff will be on hand to unload old electronics and paper.

The event, co-sponsored by the City of Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department, Sonoco Recycling, Shimar Recycling, Synergy Recycling and Durham County Government, will accept nearly all electronic devices with a cord, including:

  • Computers, laptops, keyboards, mice, printers, monitors, speakers, copiers, scanners, circuit boards, hard drives, computer parts, etc.
  • Televisions, stereo equipment, tape players, receivers, amplifiers, record players, etc.
  • Kitchen electronics, such as microwaves, mixers, blenders, choppers, etc.
  • Telephones, cell phones, and fax machines
  • Hair dryers, curling irons, alarm clocks and vacuum cleaner
  • Power tools, cordless tools, etc.
  • Electronic toys, such as keyboards and video game systems
  • This event will not accept large appliances, refrigerators, air conditioners, or any other appliances that contain Freon.

Confidential paper shredding will also be provided on site. Requirements for shredding include:

  • Paper may contain paper clips and staples; however, hanging file folders will not be accepted.
  • Only paper should be brought for shredding. CDs, DVDs, and other non-paper items will not be accepted.
  • All paper should be loose and not in binders or other binding items made of non-paper.
  • Residents may be present to observe their confidential document shredding if the amount to be shredded can fit into one 96-gallon roll cart (approximately 240 pounds of material or approximately eight small, banker boxes of material).
  • Participants with larger quantities will have items placed in boxes to be shredded off-site at Shimar Recycling’s secure facility.

Durham residents who can’t make this event can still safely and conveniently recycle their old electronics at the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center (Transfer Station), located at 2115 E. Club Blvd. The facility is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

For information about items accepted at this event or the City’s recycling facilities, contact Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200 or visit http://DurhamNC.gov/ich/op/swmd/Pages/wr_transfer.aspx.

For information about the 2014 Durham Earth Day Festival, set for Sunday, April 27 from noon to 5 p.m. at Durham Central Park, visit http://www.DurhamEarthDay.org or call (919) 560-4355.

 

Creek Week is in Progress – Join our Final Celebration this Saturday!

March 15-22, 2014: Join Us!

Creek Week Vision: Durham residents enjoy, feel connected to, and protect local waterways.

Creek Week Mission: Creek Week provides opportunities for Durham residents to discover and explore local streams and lakes through educational programs and recreational activities and to do their part to protect waterways through volunteer projects.

There are many more educational and cleanup opportunities scheduled over the next 5 days and the weather will become beautiful later this week! Find a way to join us at www.durhamcreekweek.org!

Best trash? Win a prize!

Participating in a stream cleanup? Want to win an awesome gift certificate from Bull City Burger and Brewing, Pompieri Pizza, or Intrepid Life Coffee and Spirits? Snap a picture of the unique/best/most interesting piece of trash that you found during a cleanup! To enter the contest, you must:

  • Take a picture of your “entry.”
  • Share your picture on Twitter and Facebook!
    • Tweet the picture, tagging @DurhamStormH20 and #CreekWeek14 AND/OR go to City of Durham, NC Government – Stormwater Services on Facebook then post a picture of your entry with the hashtag #CreekWeek14 to our event page “Creek Week Photo Contest.” Make sure your privacy settings allow us to see your posts on Twitter! Deadline to enter is 3/31/14.

You’re Invited to the final celebration!

  • Want to win a rain barrel? Then join us for a final Creek Week celebration at Fullsteam, 5 p.m. on Saturday, 3/22/14. We will celebrate the successes of Creek Week ’14, marvel at Dispose A. Bull, and draw a name for one free rain barrel. Must be present to win. See you there!