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Features (Green Living)

Roadside buffers trap pollution in their roots

It’s not too early for planting trees — especially when you’ve got the digging power of the Maryland State Highway Administration. They’re busy planting roadside buffers of 8,700 trees in Anne Arundel County. Deciduous and evergreen in mixed rows, those trees will improve the health of the Chesapeake watershed by capturing pollution-producing nitrogen and phosphorus in their root systems.
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Smithsonian Environmental Research ­Center in for the long haul

If you’ve ever planted a tree in your back yard, you’ve experienced the thrill of watching it grow from a ­knobby sapling into a towering oak or weeping willow. Multiply that by 20,000, and you’ll have some idea what Smithsonian ecologist John Parker is doing in his experimental forest in Edgewater.
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The Bay’s 19 riverkeepers are part of a worldwide force of 275

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

–Dr. Seuss: The Lorax


 

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Is there a smarter way to package our takeout?

Let’s talk lunch.     
    As a child, each day I carried to school a packed lunch in a metal Holly Hobbie lunch box, later replaced by Wonder Woman.
    As an adult, I sometimes remember to pack a lunch from home. But more often than not, lunch is carryout.
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Celebrated Chesapeake writer and advocate Tom Horton on the state of our beloved estuary

Excerpted from a talk at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s 50th anniversary lecture series (Editor’s note: Horton’s words have been rearranged in the shape of this story)

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Solar, wind and energy-efficient upgrades on the way

Sandy Point State Park is a fine place to soak up the sun. Soon those rays will be turning into energy.
    The Board of Public Works approved a $535,870 contract with Baltimore-based Bithenergy to evaluate, design and install park upgrades, reducing total energy consumption by an estimated 45 percent.
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Citizen scientists can reverse the decline

Too many species to count are losing their habitat as native plant communities disappear because of human land management changes and occupation by invasive species. Hundreds of native insects, including many solitary native bees and other critical pollinators, have already vanished.
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Latest push to save honeybees

Plants pretreated for insect resistance with neonicotinoids will no longer be on the shelves at Ace Hardware. That’s good news for any bees in the area. A relatively new class of pesticides, neonicotinoids have come under scrutiny as a possible cause of the collapse of honeybee colonies. The chemical pesticide targets an insect’s nervous system, causing paralysis. Bees are apparently as susceptible as pesky bugs.
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Big strides toward a healthier planet

48 Days of Blue made waves. By the time the National Aquarium campaign to protect the environment (started on Earth Day) concluded on June 8, World Oceans Day, it had proved that small changes can help to protect the oceans that cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface.
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On water and land, our wakes stretch ­farther than we can see

In Edgewater, at Camp Letts, on a tiny peninsula that juts into the Rhode River, erosion could down a might oak. The tree has done yeoman’s work by keeping the soil in place. But even now, as a living shoreline restoration project undertaken by the West/Rhode Riverkeeper seeks to halt the degradation, the soil is sinking between the roots and falling into the river.
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