The Shenanoah Valley has a very
fragile ecosystem and we
all need to become aware of this fact!
Access to a secure, safe and sufficient
source of fresh water is a fundamental requirement for
the survival, well-being and socio-economic development
of all humanity. Why do we continue to act as if fresh
water were a perpetually abundant resource?
Christopher Murray is an accomplished singer/songwriter
and a veteran of the acoustic music scene. Raised in the
heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Scott grew up
absorbing its rich story-telling tradition and
Appalachian music legacy. His first album "The Old
Man Dreams," a collection of original material, was
a regional success. more info
pollution comes from thousands of sources, including
siltation, nutrients, bacteria, oxygen-depleting
substances, metals, pesticides, herbicides, toxic
chemicals and other habitat-altering materials. We may
all be unwitting contributors to pollution through the application of
lawn pesticides, fertilizer runoff, the improper disposal
of household chemicals, failing septic systems, or
unprotected high concentrations of animal manure. We need to be aware of how
valuable our water supply is and how to better conserve
The greatest environmental
challenge today is to address the numberless sources of
water contamination. Billions of dollars have been
spent in an attempt to clean our waters; and yet,
convincing Virginians not to dispose of used motor oil
down the drain or by pouring it on the ground or to pump
out their septic tanks regularly remains a daunting task. From wellhead protection to
saving our bay, the result is the same. We all profit
from pollution prevention.
* One gallon of used oil that is disposed into water
impacts 50 people's drinking water for one year.
* In Virginia folks who change their own oil dispose enough oil
on the ground to match the Exxon Valdez every four years. Four million gallon of used oil
each year are unaccounted for by Virginia do-it-yourselfers.
Six million oil filters are lost in the Commonwealth (each
containing 6-8 ounces of used oil) and one million
gallons of antifreeze.
We all need
to help involved to stop this from happening!
see people dumping used motor oil on the ground tell them
bring used motor oil to be recycled at Advance Auto
or Auto Zone
* Used oil
can be recovered and either burned as a fuel (140,000 BTU
per gallons) or re-refined back into a new lubricant.
Used oil just gets dirty but never wears out.
* There are
roughly around 150 used oil collection centers including
several auto supply chains who will recycle your used oil.
Did you know.....
If you recycle just two gallons of used oil it can
generate enough electricity to run the average household
for almost 24 hours.
The Friends of the North Fork
Shenandoah River is a
volunteer, non-profit, scientific organization dedicated
to the preservation and protection of the Shenandoah
River watershed and its tributaries. 540-459-8550
Conservation Matters Blogby Rob Arner Many people
dream of one day owning a place in the country. However
this could turn into a nightmare if you know little or
nothing about the private well and wastewater system in
your purchase. Is the water adequate or of poor quality?
How will you dispose of your wastewater safely? Unlike
city dwellers, rural homeowners are usually responsible
for their water and wastewater systems.
believe Appalachia's future lies in celebrating and
safeguarding the region's beautiful mountains and rich
culture, rather than repeating the boom-and-bust cycles
of the past that led to a degraded environment and
endemic poverty. Appalachian Voices is dedicated to
protecting and restoring the ecological integrity,
economic vitality, and cultural heritage of the central
and southern Appalachian Mountains. www.appalachianvoices.org
The Composter of Our Country By Rob Arner
Everyone knows that George Washington was the father of
our country, but how many people can claim to know that
he was one of our nation's first dedicated composters. As
archaeological excavations at Mount Vernon have revealed,
Washington was a pioneer of progressive farming, who
constantly experimented on how to make the soil at his
estate more fertile. Archaeologists at Mount Vernon have
conducted extensive investigations of what the first
president called his "stercorary" or dung
repository, located near the estate's stables.
Washington was extremely specific in what he wanted built,
and in May 1787 wrote to his farm manager detailing the
building's construction. "When you go about the
repository [sic] for the compost," he wrote, "at
the mouth of the drain by the stable, if the bottom
should not be of good clay, put the clay there and ram it
well before you pave it, to prevent the liquid manure
from sinking, and thereby being lost, this should also be
done on the new sides, which are to be walled up."
He also directed that the manure pit have masonry sides
and paved bottom lined with cobblestones. The building
was long and narrow and open all around with a shingled
roof supported by posts set on a brick foundation.
By 1794, tobacco crops at Mount Vernon had so depleted
the soil of its nutrients, that Washington noted in his
diary, "Unless some such practice prevails, my
fields will be growing worse every year, until the crops
will not defray the expense of the culture of them."
He thus explored many ways of composting. He tried adding
manure, river and creek mud, fish heads and plaster of
paris to the farm's soil. And in the repository, he had
manure mixed with other organic materials and applied as
fertilizer to the gardens, orchards and fields. So far,
the Mount Vernon dung repository is the only structure of
its type documented to exist in colonial America. In
addition, preliminary research in England has yet to
produce any similar structures dating to the 18th century,
although open-air dung heaps and roofed sheds used in
composting seem to have been relatively common there by
the 19th century. Today, less than half a mile from the
site of the dung repository is a new educational project
devoted to portraying the way Mount Vernon was farmed in
the 18th century. Known as "George Washington:
Pioneer Farmer," this interactive exhibit shows how
Washington experimented with crop rotation and with
different crops, fertilizers and soil amendments.
Washington placed a high priority on careful management
of the land and its resources. He not only experimented
with organic materials and animal manure but also
rejected such farming practices of his day as shallow
plowing, which led to erosion of the topsoil. He
characterized the practice as "misguided,
destructive and wasteful." Maybe there were others
composting in America before George Washington. Whether
he was the first to have a dedicated building for the
process may never be known. It is known, however, that he
was the first to pioneer sustainable farming to preserve
Mount Vernon. Contact Rob at: email@example.com
Valley's online guide to small business, arts, non-profits,
events in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
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