Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Movie - "A Chemical Reaction"

The acclaimed full length documentary movie, "A Chemical Reaction" about the dangers and environmental impacts of lawn care chemicals and the anti pesticide movement will be viewed at the University of Maine on Thursday, November 12th in Room 100 of the Donald P. Corbett Business Building. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M. and screening will begin at 7:00 P.M. The screening is free but donations are encouraged.For more information about the movie and safe lawn care practices go to www.ChemicalReactionMovie.com or visit www.SafeLawns.org.

This film was directed by Maine director Brettt Plymale and produced by University of Maine grad Paul Tukey. Tukey is well known for his work as host on HGTV and founder of the the non-profit orginization, SafeLawns. He also founded the magazine, People, Places, and Plants.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

BASWG Presented Lane Construction with a Volunteer Service Award

On October 8, 2009 the Bangor Area Stormwater Group (BASWG) presented the Lane Construction Corporation with a volunteer service award for their generous donations in support of our Regional Stream Cleanups.

Each year BASWG coordinates the Annual Regional Stream Cleanup. This year was our 4th annual event and over 800 volunteers showed up with bags and buckets in hand to collect litter from the watersheds of our local streams and rivers, at the 10 events in Bangor, Brewer, Orono, Old Town, Hampden, Veazie, and Milford.

All in all, over 1,000 bags of trash were collected, totaling an estimated 8.2 tons! Some of the most interesting items found include an old pool table, a wheel chair, and foreign currency. However, most of the volume of trash collected was made of small every-day items such as cigarette butts, food wrappers, and disposable coffee cups.

Had it not been collected, all of this litter would have been carried into our local waterways in stormwater runoff, the water that runs over the surface of the ground during rain storms. At the Brewer Stream Cleanup volunteers learned that stormwater carries other pollutants to the stream as well, such as lawn care products and pet waste, and that we can reduce stormwater pollution year round by doing things like using less fertilizer on our lawns, and picking up our pets’ waste. Special appearances of Stormy the Stormwater Duck also reminded volunteers of this message, which was delivered in the Ducky Ads that aired on TV and radio this summer.

The event couldn’t have been what it was without its generous sponsors, including Lane Construction, NH Bragg, Bangor Daily News, Edwards Family Shop-N-Save, Casco Bay Energy, Union Street Athletics, and others.

Eugene Weldon, Environmental Coordinator at Lane Construction, discusses his company’s role as an event sponsor: “It is through community projects like these stream cleanups that we are able to share our concern for the environment and work together as a team to improve the quality & appearance of those communities. The Lane Construction Corporation is committed to safety and was pleased to provide 500 T-Shirts for these events. The t-shirts were bright orange to increase the visibility of our volunteers and we know how important it is to be visible when working in public areas. We are grateful to the Bangor Area Storm Water group for working with their members to coordinate these events regionally and to all of the volunteers who participated in these events that made them a success.”

The Bangor Area Storm Water Group is comprised of the cities/towns of Bangor, Brewer, Hampden, Milford, Old Town, and Veazie as well as the Bangor International Airport, Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, Eastern Maine Community College, Maine Air National Guard, University of Maine, University College of Bangor, Maine DEP, UMaine Cooperative Extension and the Penobscot County Soil and Water Conservation District, working together to make the Bangor Area a better place to live and work.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day Helps Keep Our Waters Clean

Saturday, October 3, 2009
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Proper disposal of household waste helps keep our waters clean. That is why 22 Bangor area communities collaborate one a year to offer the annual Bangor Regional Household Hazardous Waste Event. These communities realize that providing residents a place to take their hazardous waste helps keep it out of landfills and incinerators, as well as reducing the potential for illegal dumping in the woods, streams and air that surrounds our homes.

The City of Bangor Public Works Center located at 530 Maine Avenue, will host the event on Saturday, October 3, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event is free to most pre-registered residents of participating communities. The communities plus the non-profit organizations, Keep Bangor Beautiful, and Bangor Area Storm Water Group support the collection and disposal activities.

Residents who wish to drop off household hazardous waste on collection day should make a list of items they would like to bring to the collection event, and then visit their town office no later than Friday October 2, 2009 by noon to register in advance. Residents who have not pre-registered will be charged a $10 fee on the day of the event. No permits will be issued after 12:00 p.m. on Friday October 2nd.

Each resident will be allowed to bring up to 15 gallons of household hazardous waste and one computer monitor, one keyboard and one television per permit. Residents should contact their local town office for more information.

Participating Communities Include
Old Town
Penobscot Nation
Stockton Springs

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

You Can Be Storm Water Friendly and Have a Beautiful Lawn

Maine lakes and rivers are suffering as a result of too much phosphorus being washed in by melting snow and rain water. One source of phosphorus is lawn fertilizer. Did you know that your lawn probably doesn’t even need phosphorus? Over 90% of lawns tested in the past five years would not have become greener with additional phosphorus. That means your lawn shouldn’t require phosphorus to stay healthy. And why pay for something you don’t need?

Here are some tips on lake friendly lawn care.

  1. Have your soil tested first! You can obtain a soil testing kit from the Penobscot County SWCD. A soil test will tell you exactly what your lawn needs to be its best.
  2. If you must fertilize, use P-free and avoid over fertilizing. Follow the directions on the bag and calibrate your spreader accordingly. Watch for lawn response; if you are not happy with the results apply a second smaller dose. MORE DOES NOT MEAN BETTER. The best time to fertilize is September – the worst is right before spring green-up.
  3. For some people it may not be necessary to fertilize at all. If you leave grass clippings and your lawn is more than 10 years old there are enough nutrients in the soil to grow a healthy lawn. Younger lawns may need nitrogen; look for bags with 10-0-0 on the label.
  4. Phosphorus free fertilizer can be found in any hardware store. Look at the three numbers on the bag. The numbers indicate the percent of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. The middle number should be 0.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Students Spray Paint For Lawn Care

Milford, ME—The Penobscot County Soil and Water Conservation District in conjunction with the Bangor Area Storm Water Group (BASWG) and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will be spray painting a new message on the streets of Milford.
Students from Upward Bound will be visiting the neighborhoods in Milford on July 23rd and 27th to stencil, REDUCE YOUR USE OF LAWN CHEMICALS, DRAINS TO RIVER on pavement near storm drains to remind residents that stormwater flows unfiltered the Penobscot River. The stencil also depicts a Rubber Ducky, which has become the symbol of stormwater pollution sick the “Ducky Ad” aired on television in 2005. In addition to stenciling messages next to the storm drains, the students will be leaving door hangers at area houses to educate residents abut the project and stormwater pollution in general.
Stormwater is rain that does not soak into the ground, but rather flows over the surface of the ground into the nearest body of water. As the water travels, it collects pollution such as pesticides, fertilizers, yard clippings, pet waste, loose soil, gasoline and oil. Storm drains act like funnels, transporting the stormwater from our streets and driveways directly into local waterways.
Chris Brewer of the Penobscot County Soil & Water Conservation District explains that there are many things we can all do to reduce stormwater pollution: “We are encouraging home owners to reduce or eliminate the use of lawn pesticides and fertilizers, pick up their pet’s waste, keep their vehicles well-tuned, and plant vegetation over bare ground and around bodies of water. All of these things dramatically reduce the amount of pollution entering our waterways, and improve water quality.”
The BASWG is a comprised of seven municipalities and other entities, working together to meet permit requirements to make the Bangor Area a better place to live and work. For more information on BASWG and many stormwater friendly homeowner tips visit our website at http://www.baswg.org/

Upward Bound is a federally funded program which assists qualified students to improve their skills in high school and prepare to enter and succeed in college. Upward Bound provides academic support during the school year and an intense six-week residential summer experience at the University of Maine. For more information visit www2.umaine.edu/ub/.