10-21-2016-2-28-32-pmIt is October and time to prepare for fall festivities. Decorations, candy, costumes, and party supplies may be on your shopping list.

Before we all rush out to purchase these holiday supplies, let’s take a few minutes to think about doing some things a bit differently this year. There are so many things we have done for years not realizing the impact they have on our environment and sometimes even our health.

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Here are some tips to help you celebrate more environmentally-friendly fall festivities:

• Be sure your trick-or-treaters carry reusable shopping bags or even pillowcases instead of plastic bags or containers that are discarded after they are used. Reusable bags are stronger and will hold lots more treats!

• Make your own costume from natural materials you have around the house, or swap costumes with other families. You can also find great deals on used costumes at resale shops. Leave the new, throw-away costumes on the rack.

• Know what is in your Halloween face paint. Some of these paints can contain metals and other toxic materials. Look for organic, non-toxic face paints or search the web to find recipes for making your own.

• Make fall or Halloween decorations for your yard from recycled materials. There are so many easy and fun ideas on the web. Make it a family project. Buying decorations from the store is easy, but making them with your children makes memories.

• Give treats that are healthier than standard candy, or avoid candy completely. That sounds ghoulish, but “better” can still be fun. Consider giving colorful pencils, boxes of crayons, or the Halloween coupons available at local restaurants.

• Walk the trick-or-treat trail with your children rather than follow them in your car. It is healthier for you and for the environment. If you are visiting another neighborhood, park your car and walk.

• Bake pies or roast pumpkin seeds using pumpkins after the holidays have passed.

• Keep Halloween clean by teaching your children to keep candy wrappers in their bags for proper disposal once they return home. Take an extra bag along and pick up litter along the way. You might want to reward your children with an extra treat if they find and pick up litter.

• Use reusable plates and utensils for your holiday parties to reduce waste.

Continue to think green throughout the year by taking reusable bags to the grocery store, walking whenever you can, avoiding “throw-away” items, recycling as much as possible, and keeping litter in its place.

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Together, we can make our piece of the world a better place.
By: Lynne Hart

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10-7-2016-12-06-22-pmAthens is such a wonderful city to call home. It is also a wonderful place to visit. I know this because I was a visitor first before becoming a resident. I also have family that come to visit, and always take a bit of Athens back home with them.

What makes Athens and Limestone County such an inviting place? It’s the people who live here, of course! Athens opens its arms wide to welcome visitors from near and far, and the warmth is tangible.

It takes good people, volunteers, and many hours of time to produce the quality of life that is available here. It is a quality that attracts visitors to come and see what it is that we love about the South.

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Every time you turn around, there is something going on in Athens and Limestone County! It surprises me to hear anyone say “there’s nothing to do in Athens.” WHAT? There is barely a weekend that goes by that isn’t offering something to do, see, or hear.

There is so much going on that it’s often hard to keep track of it all! KALB hopes that we have created a solution.

Last Spring, we had our first Paws For The Environment Pet Photo Contest. Twelve winners were selected by the top number of paid votes received by each dog. Those dogs earned a place in KALB’s first Paws For The Environment 2017 Calendar.

So what makes this calendar so special?

Our calendar is unique. It was designed to be a useful tool. Here are some of what our calendar includes:

• Pictures of some of the cutest dogs in the Athens-Limestone area! Included with each picture is a story of how these dogs met and won the hearts of their humans.
• Many local annual events are already included and highlighted on the calendar, so you won’t miss them.
• Two pages of valuable coupons to local restaurants and businesses are included.
• You will find useful information about your local, non-profit recycling center.
• Of course, we’ve included information about KALB and some service we provide that you may not have known about.
• On the inside back cover, you will find a list of important telephone number for city, county, and other services and organizations that you will have at your fingertips.

Proceeds from calendar sales support projects and programs of Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful. Fundraisers are a necessity to raise nearly $40,000 of our $70,000 budget for the fiscal year. Our budget is small, and we run a tight ship. That $70,000 includes salaries, utilities, office supplies, insurances, projects, programs, and more. We are proud of our fiscal responsibility with your support and donations.

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Where to Purchase Calendars

Calendars are $15 each and will be available at the Fiddlers Convention at the KALB tent. They are also available at the KALB office at 125 East St. across from the duck pond. You may also see them at other locations around Athens.

Anyone who lives, works, or plays in Athens will appreciate all that this unique calendar offers. Please consider them for Christmas gifts for your family, friends, co-workers, or employees.
For more information, call or email the KALB office. We are here to serve.
By: Lynne Hart

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9-16-2016-9-34-02-amThis is the 16th year for KALB’s Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby fundraiser! The 2016 derby will be held on October 8th, 4:00 p.m., at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens.

Our first duck race in 2001 promised a cash grand prize. The event and our sponsor base have grown and this year we offer the Limestone Farmers Cooperative $1,000 Grand Prize plus 30 additional valuable prizes! All prizes have been donated, so all proceeds from duck adoptions go directly to support the KALB organization.

This race is lots of fun for those who come to watch it; however, you do not have to be present to win. For KALB, this fundraiser is necessary to obtain the funds which allow us to offer quality education, projects and programs.

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How the Race Works

For a $5 donation to KALB, a specially-designed rubber racing duck will be placed in our Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby in your name.

For a $25 donation, you will receive a Papa Murphy’s Quack Pack which includes 6 ducks and a coupon for 50% off your entire order at any Papa Murphy’s Pizza.

The ducks will be raced in up to 4 heats (depending on number of ducks adopted). The winners of each heat will be raced in the Championship Race to determine the winners of the Limestone Farmers Cooperative $1,000 Grand Prize and all other listed prizes. The order in which the ducks come through the duck trap determines the prize won. The total number of winning ducks will be determined by the number of prizes on race day.

KALB Touches Everyone in Limestone County

KALB programs touch every resident in Limestone County in one way or another. We provide environmental education programs in city, county, and private school classrooms; support other organizations with clean and green outdoor events; oversee the Adopt-A-Spot program; provide recycling opportunities; host the annual Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO and Elk River Cleanup; and so much more.
We encourage you to visit our website to learn more about the KALB organization, our programs, and the many volunteer opportunities we offer.

How to Adopt Ducks

Ducks can be adopted at the following locations:
• KALB office at 125 East Street in Athens
• Old Time Fiddlers Convention at Athens State University on Friday October 7th and until 1:00 p.m. Saturday October 8th (KALB tent is next to Information Tent)
• Use the QR Code on this page for information or to adopt ducks online

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By: Lynne Hart

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9-2-2016 2-18-57 PMIt doesn’t matter how you get to the finish line, we’ll be waiting for you!

This 5K is perfect for seasoned runners as well as beginners. The course is mildly challenging, and will take runners through the tree-lined streets and past antebellum homes in the Athens Historic Districts as well as around the Courthouse Square. Start and finish points will be at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens, otherwise known as the Duck Pond.

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Lots of refreshments and an awards presentation will take place in and around the historic Athens Visitors Center, which was built in 1906 and served as the Athens Utilities Building. Cash prizes and trophies in several age categories will be awarded. Two lucky ducks will go home with our cash drawing or a certificate for free Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream monthly for a year!

Thanks to our many generous sponsors, every dollar received from race registrations goes directly to support the work of Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful. Your participation will support programs that engage our community in litter abatement, recycling, beautification, and other activities with a goal of protecting our environment. Activities include the Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO, classroom presentations available to all city, county, and private schools, Adopt-A-Spot, our Annual Elk River Cleanup, Clean and Green Events such as the Fiddlers Convention coming up, and so much more.

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Registration Information

Pre-registration is $20. Late and race day registration will be $25. Fun run registration is $10. Online information and registration is available at www.RaceRoster.com. Registration forms can also be printed from our website and mailed in. Mailed registrations must be postmarked no later than one week prior to the race. Register early to guarantee your t-shirt size.

Packet Pickup and Registration will be available as follows:
• Thursday, 9/15/16 from 4-7 p.m. at Fleet Feet Sports in Huntsville.
• Friday, 9/16/16 from 4-7 p.m. at the KALB office located at 125 East Street in Athens.
• Race Day, 9/17/16 beginning at 6:45 a.m. at the KALB office.

9-2-2016 2-19-42 PMNot Running? Volunteer!
It takes a lot of people to make any fundraiser a successful event. If you’d like to help direct runners along the race route, take photos along the course or at the finish line, help serve food, or just cheer on the runners to encourage them along the way, we need you! Give us a call or send us an email and let us know you’re available.

We Have Amazing Community Support
KALB could not exist without the generosity of our sponsors. A huge thank you to our major sponsors which include Fleet Feet Sports, Limestone Farmer’s Cooperative, Eastside Pharmacy, American Leakless Company, Distinctive Landscaping, Eddy J. Burks, CPA, Morell Engineering, First National Bank, Alabama Farm Credit, Pepsi, Bojangles, EFI Automotive, Reseda Nursery, The News Courier, and Snap-On.

9-2-2016 2-20-05 PMWe also greatly appreciate Wilmer & Lee, Attorneys at Law, We Chunk Junk, Village Veterinary Clinic, Railroad Bazaar, Onyx Aerospace, Athens-Limestone Hospital, Maggie Moo’s, Brian C. T. Jones, District Attorney, and Athens Now.

Come on out and join us for a good time…whether you run, walk, waddle, or volunteer, you will be part something good!
By: Lynne Hart

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8-19-2016 9-08-57 AMBeing in the business of helping people understand the importance of caring for our world, we often hear the words “dominion” and “stewardship” brought up as referenced in the Bible. It seems there are differing opinions as to what these words mean as we apply them to our responsibility in caring for Planet Earth.

Scripture tells us that God is the creator of all things. He created the heavens and the earth, the waters and all creatures within, the birds of the air, the land and all that dwell upon it. Since the beginning of time, everything needed by man has been provided. Everything we need, and everything we’ve discovered or will discover in the future has been here since God created the world. As the creator, God is also the owner.

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Once man was created, God showed Adam all the creations of heaven and earth and gave man dominion over them all. What does that mean? The definition of dominion is “the power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority.” Wow! That sounds like we have complete control and can do whatever we want to do! Animals, plants, the air we breathe, the water we drink, are all under our authority! So if we choose to use them for our pleasure without care, we have that authority, right?

Parents have authority over their children; however, we would never say that parents have the right to treat their children any way they please, would we? Authority comes with great responsibility.

Then there is that second word – stewardship. Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something trusted to one’s care. If we believe that God is the creator of all things, then stewardship includes the careful and responsible management of this earth and all that dwells upon it.

When we treat our environment with selfish entitlement, we are acting as if we are the owner. An owner is responsible to himself. A steward, on the other hand, is responsible to the owner. If we believe that God is the owner of all things, then we will answer to God for our care of all He has entrusted to us. If we spoil it, waste it, trash it, harm it, or pollute it, we are failing in our responsibilities as good stewards and will answer for our actions or inactions.

It has also been said that “God will make the earth new, so it doesn’t matter what we do.” I have a pretty easy-going personality, but that statements really upsets me! Only God knows for how many more years this planet must sustain life. How selfish it is to feel free to trash it at the expense of future generations!

It is good stewardship to be aware of what harms our environment and to do what we can to avoid those things. It is also good stewardship to be aware of what helps the environment and to do those things to make our lives better.

A few simple examples would be to recycle all we can to protect our natural resources for future generations. Recycling also provides jobs right here in this community. We can learn to properly handle garden and other chemicals to protect our land and water from poisons. We should care for wildlife by doing no unnecessary harm or plant gardens that attract and feed butterflies and birds. We have taken so much of their habitat; it would be kind to provide a bit in return. We also have a responsibility to protect those domesticated animals we have invited to share our lives.

Let’s learn and understand how littering can injure and kill wildlife, poison our water supply, and pollute the oceans. We can learn more about the importance of trees and all they do to provide clean air, pollution control, fresh fruits and nuts, homes for wildlife, cooling of the earth, and so much more. Knowledge is key to knowing how to protect them. Maybe we could plant a garden to raise fresh, healthy food for our families, or to help feed those less fortunate.

We may not be able to do it all, but we should all do what we can.

I believe God will smile as each good steward passes on this respect for His creations by teaching others, especially our children, to do the same.
By: Lynne Hart

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8-5-2016 11-24-38 AMAPPRECIATION: (noun) gratitude, thankful recognition

KALB recently hosted an Appreciation Breakfast for our volunteer Commission and Board members, faithful friends, and financial supporters.

Our purpose was to make sure each person present recognizes the value we place on their partnership, and understands exactly what the return is on their time, in-kind, financial, and other support. Success is not always measured in dollars. We measure our success on what is accomplished with the dollars we are given. That success can only happen with community volunteer support.
When KALB measures our success using THAT yardstick, we are rich indeed!

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Leigh Patterson, KALB office manager, and I talk frequently about how much we appreciate and love our volunteers. The KALB Commission consists of volunteer board members who oversee the organization. These men and women are the foundation that keeps KALB on solid ground. Volunteer board members also make things happen through our Athens-Limestone Beautification Board and the Athens-Limestone Recycling Board.

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Even with these wonderful board members, there is so much more KALB accomplishes with community volunteer help. Here are some numbers from our last fiscal year that make us proud:

965 = Number of Volunteers
5,002 = Total Volunteer Hours
$100,000+ = Value of Volunteers in Dollars (using nationally-accepted value determined by Independent Sector)
18,000 lbs. = Trash Removed from Roadsides and River
3,217 lbs. = Recycled Materials Sorted from Trash

So, what do KALB volunteers do? EVERYTHING!

8-5-2016 11-25-22 AMOur fiscal year begins in October and we hit the ground running! It takes close to 100 volunteers to provide Clean and Green Event services to the Old Time Fiddlers Convention. You will find KALB volunteers handing out litter bags at the gates, picking up litter, providing opportunities for guests and vendors, and providing final cleanup the Sunday after the event.

Each year, in a cooperative effort with Limestone County 4H, KALB staff and volunteers visit every 5th and 6th grade classroom in Limestone County and Athens City schools. This allows KALB to reach nearly 1,500 students in 68 classrooms with a message of environmental stewardship. We also provide presentations for all age groups from preschool to adult in a variety of setting.
Sixty volunteers arrived early one April morning ready and willing to help clean up the Elk River. This year’s cleanup was another huge success, thanks to the men, women, and children who cared enough to make a difference where they could.

8-5-2016 11-25-31 AMOur Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO took place on April 30th. We could not have pulled it off without a large number of volunteers, some of whom were willing to stay from set up to tear down. They must truly believe in what the event hopes to accomplish, which is helping our community members of every age understand how their personal actions affect the local environment through exhibits, games, and hands-on activities.

There are so many more projects and activities within the KALB organization that offer volunteer opportunities, including our seedling giveaway, roadside cleanups, Adopt-A-Spot, Clean Campus program, our fundraisers, and more.

KALB volunteers come from all walks of life, come in all shapes and sizes, and range from youth to seniors. There is a place for everyone in the KALB organization. Come and discover how you can get involved. We promise you will be appreciated.

When you work with wonderful people, work does not feel like work at all.
By: Lynne Hart

7-16-2016 9-53-10 AM

7-16-2016 9-52-48 AMI’ve lived in Athens for 17 years, and it was most difficult for me to adjust to the hot, humid summers. I had to learn a whole new way of gardening after just about everything I planted failed to survive my southern brown thumb.

Over the years, my position has brought me into contact with people and websites that shed a great deal of light on where I was going wrong. I remained in my Northeast Ohio garden mode in my thinking, and that didn’t work here. Summers in Cleveland are not so hot, and humidity levels are lower. There is not nearly the amount of clay in the soils of northeast Ohio as we find here. So, I had to do some research to learn what would and would not grow in my new home city.

I have written articles on the importance of choosing native plants for landscaping, much of which I have applied with great success. Recently, I was introduced to another type of landscaping that takes into consideration the amount of water available, or lack of water. It is called xeriscaping.

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Xeriscaping is a method of using landscaping and horticultural strategies that minimize water use. This method can help property owners reduce their water use by one-third, which is very helpful in drought-prone areas such as the Tennessee Valley!

According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, plant selection in a xeriscaped garden may vary from area to area, but there are 7 basic principles that can be applied anywhere.

• Group plants by similar water use, as well as appearance.
• If sites are dry, choose as many plants with low water requirements as possible, such as some of the ornamental grasses, barberries, Chinese hollies, and junipers.
• Reduce the amount of what is officially referred to as “turfgrass” or lawn area. Turfgrass is the largest water user in landscaping. Use it only where necessary, or consider some of the newer, drought-resistant types.
• Use plenty of organic material (peat moss, pinebark, compost) in preparing the soil.
• Use about 4 inches (no more) of mulch (wood chips, shredded bark). Mulch reduces water use by slowing evaporation, and it adds organic matter to the soil as well as helps prevent erosion.
• Use efficient watering systems. For example, use a sprinkler that will target the areas that require water, and do not overspray onto rocky or paved areas.)
• Prune, fertilize, and divide plants regularly.
Before you begin, you will want to assess your garden site. By looking at the property, you may find ways of using water-saving landscape techniques. Look for dry or rocky areas, as well as areas where water might pool. You also want to note the amount of sun each area receives.
Once you have assessed the area, select plants and shrubs that do well in those conditions, and group them together. Plant selection will be one of the most important factors in whether or not your garden will survive long term. Here are more tips:
• Use only plant varieties that are well adapted to your locality and soil conditions. The wrong variety of plant may require greater amounts of fertilizer and water just to stay alive. Check with your local nursery, garden department, or Extension Service for suggestions. You can also research native plant varieties online.
• Group plants with similar water needs together. For example, group the vegetables requiring more water together in the garden to make the most of your watering.
• Choose moisture-loving plants for wet, poorly drained sites and drought-tolerant plants for dry, sunny areas.
• Select and plant drought-tolerant varieties that require minimal amounts of water.

Trees
Trees are also vulnerable to our weather conditions. When making your selection, be sure to choose species that do well in this area. Some good selections would include oaks, ginkgo, hackberry, southern magnolia, Chinese pistache, American holly, golden-rain tree, and pines.

Turfgrass
In most of our neighborhoods, the lawn (turfgrass) is the most prominent vegetation. A beautifully manicured, green lawn can be the pride and joy of any homeowner. Turfgrass will withstand a rough and tumble game of football, absorb heat, and control erosion.

Turfgrass will also quickly suffer under drought conditions, and will consume more water than most all other plants. Therefore, the question that should be asked is “Do I have too much grass?”. Look at your property critically. Are there shady areas where grass is not doing well? Do you have grass growing among and around your shrubs? Do you have large patches of grass just because you can’t think of anything else to do with your property?

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Consider replacing turfgrass in areas which are difficult to maintain with organic mulch or ground cover. This will reduce the work involved, and will reduce the need for heavy watering.
Be sure to care for the turfgrass you do have properly. Check with your local Extension Office for information on proper fertilizer and lime application.
Rain Barrels

Adding rain barrels to your landscaping will also help conserve water. Our friend, Rhonda Britton, from Water Wheels is an expert on this topic. Look for a more in depth article on this topic in a future issue.
Happy Xeriscaping!
By: Lynne Hart

7-1-2016 2-09-26 PMThere is so much talk about regarding mosquitoes these days, especially with the threat of the Zika virus. Currently, all cases of Zika in the U.S. have been acquired during travel outside of the country; however, concern over disease-carrying (vector) mosquitoes has increased.

According to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, there are about 60 different species of mosquitoes in Alabama. Some carry disease (vectors), some are nuisance species (bloodsuckers, but not vectors), and some are beneficial species. The beneficial mosquitoes actually feed on the “bad” mosquito larvae helping reduce their numbers.
To most of us, a mosquito is a mosquito, period. So how can we control mosquitoes around out home? The Extension Office offers these tips:
• Get rid of anything on your property that will hold water, such as tires, tin cans, bottles, tubs, etc.
• Clean roof gutters and drain flat roofs.
• Stock ornamental pools with mosquito-larvae-eating fish.
• Change the water in birdbaths, fountains, and troughs at least twice a week.
• Use plants that attract other insects such as dragonflies and certain aquatic beetles that feed on mosquito larvae.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and empty them when not regularly used.
• Drain standing water and turn over unused wading pools and other containers that collect rainwater.
• Cover rain barrels with window screen to keep mosquitoes out.

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Chemical-Free Answer

Pesticides can be harmful to mosquitoes’ predators as well as the mosquitoes. There is one chemical-free method of defense against pesky mosquitoes: bats. I know some of you immediately thought about rabies and tangled hair!

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The truth is, bats are gentle creatures. If you leave them alone and let them fill their bellies with the bugs that bug you, they won’t be interested in you at all. If a bat ever does look like it’s aiming for your head, you probably have a bug flying near you that it wants for dinner. Scientists have tried to get bats to get into human hair without any success.

Bats groom daily and are very clean. Less than half of 1% of all bats actually have rabies. You are more likely to contract rabies from an unvaccinated dog or cat. However, that certainly doesn’t mean you should handle them. As with any wild animal, you must use caution and common sense.

Bats are incredible creatures and one of the most beneficial animals around! One small brown bat can feast on up to 1,200 insects in one summer night – 8,400 in one week and 36,000 in one month! Can you imagine what a family of bats could do to help reduce mosquitoes on your property?

Farmers love bats! They will feast on the insects that can cause damage to crops which helps reduce the cost of insecticides.

The next time you see a bat flying across the evening sky, remember those 1,200 mosquitoes that will be history by morning. Try to see them in a more positive light. Bats truly are misunderstood creatures.

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By: Lynne Hart

7-1-2016 2-09-57 PM

6-18-2016 10-57-42 AMIn an April issue of Athens Now, our Clean and Green article asked if you were smarter than our local 5th graders. We now have our answer!

Congratulations to Marcy Hamilton and Kathleen Cutting, who each answered all of the quiz questions correctly! Marcy’s name was drawn for the prize package, but Kathleen will receive a gift as well.

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Several people took the quiz and came close, but did not end up in the winner’s circle. That’s ok, because the purpose of this quiz was to get you thinking about the topics. Our winners may be just that smart, or they may have taken advantage of the ability to look up the answers. Either way, we now know what you DO know and what you may NOT know.

Here are the questions and the correct answers from the quiz:

1. If you leave litter under the bleacher seat at a sporting event, is that littering even though someone may be paid to come and clean up?
The answer is YES. It is never someone else’s job to clean up after us. We should all take responsibility for our own trash. 100% of respondents answered correctly.

2. How many times can glass bottles and jars be recycled without losing quality?
Glass can be recycled ENDLESSLY without losing quality. That is why I personally try to purchase items in glass containers rather than plastic. Plastic can be toxic and never goes away. 98% of respondents answered correctly.

3. What percentage of all plastic created makes its way to the ocean?
10% of all plastic EVER MADE makes its way to the ocean — 10% from the very first plastic item created to the last one created today. It is so very important to recycle every plastic bottle and jar so the materials can be reused in new products. 31% of respondents answered correctly.

4. If you find a sick or injured bird, is it ok to take it home to nurse back to health?
It is not ok, particularly if the bird is a raptor. These birds will imprint on the caregiver very quickly and then rely on humans for providing food, causing them to live out their lives in captivity. These birds will never be able to survive in the wild. If you find an injured bird, visit https://www.awrc.org/ and look for the “Found an Animal?” section of the page and follow the instructions. 93% of respondents answered correctly.

5. Approximately 40 species of snakes live in Alabama. How many of them are venomous?
There are 6 venomous snakes: Water Moccasin (or Cottonmouth), Copperhead, Coral Snake, Timber Rattler, Eastern Diamondback Rattler, and Pigmy Rattler. 62% of respondents answered correctly.

6. How many trees are saved from being destroyed for every ton of paper recycled?
17 trees are spared from being cut down for every ton of paper recycled. Our city and county schools recycled nearly 130 tons of paper products during this past school year. That is 2,210 trees spared in one year by our school systems alone! 60% of respondents answered correctly.

7. Once an aluminum can is recycled, how long will it take for it to become a fresh, new can on a store shelf?
In just 6 short weeks, a recycled aluminum can will be processed, formed, and back on the store shelves. 64% of respondents answered correctly.

8. Which of the following statements are true about native plants? You may choose multiple answers. A) They provide the right food for native insects, birds, and wildlife. B) They are adapted to the local environment and require less care. C) They will not attract non-native insects and wildlife which could disrupt the balance of the ecosystem. D) They will not become invasive and choke out your garden.
All 4 answers are correct! Two invasive plants, Kudzu and Chinese Privet, were both brought in from China – one for erosion control and one as an ornamental shrub. Both have become extremely invasive and troublesome. 90% selected answers A and B, but only 45% of respondents selected all four.

9. What very important pollinator is suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder?
Honey bees have been affected by this disorder, causing serious concern. Honey bees are one of our most important pollinators which we rely upon for our food production. 100% of respondents answered correctly.

10. Name three things that trees provide that make them vitally important to humans and our environment.
We received a variety of correct answers. Trees are literally the lungs of the earth, providing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air and water. Trees also provide food, shelter, help prevent soil erosion, and cool the earth by absorbing the sun’s heat. We also rely on trees for fuel and building materials.

Thanks to all who participated and congratulations to our winners! Watch for more quizzes and information by following us on Facebook!
By: Lynne Hart

6-18-2016 10-58-05 AM

6-7-2016 8-53-01 AMKeep Athens-Limestone Beautiful promotes a healthy environment. Part of creating a healthy environment is to promote healthy living. Our Duck & Run 5K and Fun Run not only raises funds for KALB projects and programs, it also promotes healthy activity.

I’d like to introduce you to our Duck & Run 5K and Fun Run Race Coordinator. Eric Patterson has been running for 9 years, and is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the sport of running. More 5Ks than we can count have seen Eric pass the finish line. He finished the 2011 Boston Marathon, several 50K races, a 50-mile run, including finishing a 26.2 mile marathon in less than 3 hours.

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Eric and his wife, Leigh (our office manager), have been coordinating our Duck & Run event for 7 years. They took over from Tanjie Schrimsher, who created the event and started it on the road to success in 2004.

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The 2016 Duck & Run will be held on Saturday, September 17th. Runners will gather and start the race at Big Spring Memorial Park (the duck pond) in Athens. The race takes runners through historic neighborhoods and around the Courthouse Square, then back to Big Spring Memorial Park.
This race is a fundraiser for Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful. We are a free-standing 501(c)3 nonprofit and must raise almost half of our annual budget through fundraisers, memberships, donations, and sponsorships.

6-7-2016 8-53-30 AMStill on the Couch?

That’s OK! If running a 5K is on your bucket list, there is a program just for you. Eric leads a 5K Training Program through the City of Athens Parks and Recreation Department to help beginners work up to participation in a 5K (3.1 mile) race. Eric is a native of Limestone County, a member of the Fleet Feet Racing Team, and a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) certified running coach.
“Many people try to train on their own,” Eric Patterson said. “Some are successful. However, training with a group increases accountability and increases the chance that you will stick to it and meet your goals.” No previous running experience is necessary, but please check with your physician prior to starting any exercise program.

A Success Story

Our own Leigh Patterson was diagnosed with diabetes about 6 months ago. Leigh began making lifestyle changes, including participating in her husband’s running program. “I changed my diet, but that alone was not enough,” said Leigh. “I started training with Eric’s 5K group, and in 10 weeks I literally came from the couch to finishing a 5K. I could not have done this without the constant encouragement of the group. I would have quit on my own.” Not only did she complete the 5K, but she has lost weight and her blood sugars are back under control.

Registration – 5K Training Program

Registration is currently open through June 30th. Kickoff meeting is July 7th and training will begin July 11th. Register for this training program through the City of Athens Parks and Recreation Department at 256-233-8740. For more information about the program, contact Eric Patterson at ericdpatterson@yahoo.com.

Registration for Duck & Run 5K and Fun Run
Registration is now open. Early registration is $20. Late and race day registration is $25. KALB members can receive a $5 discount when showing their current membership card. Visit www.KALBCares.com and click on the EVENTS tab for information and registration for this race.
By: Lynne Hart

6-7-2016 8-53-51 AM