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Tri-State offers activities for Earth Day and just 'being green'

Apr. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Come Monday, April 22, the world will celebrate Earth Day with more than 1 billion people in 192 countries mobilized in what is one of the world's largest days of civic observance.

First celebrated on April 22, 1970, Earth Day helped bring together more than 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement, according to the Earth Day website.

While that '70s activism led to the passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act, much work is still to be done as the world's population grows competing for finite resources.

Here are just a few ways to think globally and act locally on this day and in this time of thinking of our impact on the Earth as the Earth Day movement tries to pull people together to commit to "A Billion Acts of Green." Go online at www.act.earthday.org for more information.

'Adopt Your Block'

When Richard "Dick" Cobb retired and came back to Huntington after career of running arenas around the country, he knew that if Huntington was going to rock again it had better be clean -- and it wasn't.

Cobb started the Adopt-Your-Block program in 2006 with Jay Bowen and he still walks the streets of his Huntington neighborhood and asks you to do the same. More than 4,200 people have taken the pledge and have gotten a stick. Call Cobb at 304-523-7902 and you can pick up a Litter Gitter stick and take the "Litter Gitter" oath to keep your block clean of litter and cigarette butts and restore pride to your neighborhood.

Critical Mass

Started in San Francisco in 1992, Critical Mass made its way to Huntington in July 2009 thanks to former DJ and bicycle commuter Jesse Clark, who'd ridden in the Critical Masses in Brooklyn and Manhattan when he lived in New York City.

Now organized by bicycle commuter Joel Mullins,

Critical Mass is a free, monthly community bicycle ride that meets at 6:30 p.m. every third Friday of the month beginning near the Ritter Park fountain.

Come out and meet fellow cyclists as well as Huntington's longboarders like Dave Tolley all using wheel-power to get around the city.

Buy locally grown food

Started in July 2012, The Wild Ramp, located at Suite 13 at Heritage Station, 210 11th St., is a Mecca for finding fresh food from about 70 local farmers, all located within 250 miles of Huntington.

Since its opening, the market has put more than $100,000 back into the pockets of local farmers who provide the store with such products as: Meat, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, luna burgers, Mission Savvy ready-to-eat meals and juices, bottled water, ice cream, honey, jam, apple butter, beans, popcorn, barbecue sauces, salsa, coffee, tea, yarn, roving, soap, candles, flour, cornmeal, mixes, chips, pasta, pasta sauce, relish, mustard, ramp sauces, granola, baked goods, local artisan products, used cookbooks and more.

Call 304-523-RAMP or visit online at http://wildramp.wordpress.com/ to find out more about The Wild Ramp, which also features counters and art work by clay artists Noelle and Scott Horsfield.

Clean into spring

There's spring cleanups a plenty and you can help out as The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking for volunteers to help with the annual cleanup at East Lynn Lake set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4. Come out and help with trash pickup on the lake shore and in other public use areas. Meet at the East Lynn Lakeside Marina Area Boat Ramp. Volunteers should bring work shoes or boots and work gloves. Folks can also bring their personal boats to help as well. Call 304-849-2355, or stop by the Lake office located at the dam.

Over in Kentucky, Ashland Alliance U. S. 23 Cleanup has organized a sweep of trash along a 50-mile stretch of the Country Music Highway from South Shore to Catlettsburg from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 11.

For more information on how to volunteer your business, church or civic group contact Missy McCalvin, Boyd County volunteer coordinator or Paula Mayo, Greenup County volunteer coordinator at 606-324-5111 or by email at Missy McCalvin at missy@ashlandalliance.com or Paula Mayo at paula@ashlandalliance.com.

Take a wildflower walk

Whether you're tromping around Barboursville Park, Lake Vesuvius, Greenbo Lake State Resort Park or Huntington's Rotary or Ritter Park, you can see tons of wildflowers here on full display here in the next few weeks.

You can get a guided hike today, Sunday, April 21, as Carter Caves closes out its Wildflower Pilgrimage Weekend. There will be trips focusing on wildflowers, birds, ferns and tree identification, a canoe trip on Smoky Lake and more. Call the park at 1-800-325-0059 to register.

Ecycling in Ohio

DawgByte Computer Service, 12 Prichard St., Proctorville, Ohio, is hosting an Earth Day E-Cycling event from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, April 22, when you can recycle empty ink jet and laser toners.

They will also be collecting used cell phones, laptops, tablets and iPods. There's also E-cycling at the Goodwill Industrial Contracts Center, 525 W. 19th St., Huntington. You can bring cardboard from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday and in collaboration with Dell, Goodwill also provides residential customers a site for disposal of old computers. Goodwill's Dell Reconnect program recycles all computers and components, printers, scanners, and combined printer/scanner/fax machines. While the drop-off service is free, a slight charge is required for pick-up of computer or equipment lots. For more information, call 304-429-3261 or email contracts@goodwillhunting.org.

Sustainability Summit

Everything you ever wanted to know about sustainability efforts in Huntington you can learn at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, as the Chat 'n' Chew (in the Frederick Hotel lobby on 4th Avenue) hosts the Plan2025 Sustainability Summit.

Come out and discuss and collaborate on city-wide goals to create a more sustainable city and better quality of life such as supporting the local food economy, reducing waste and alternative transportation (buses, bikes and walking).

Any citizens who are interested in a more sustainable city are encouraged to attend and bring a group of friends. Questions can be directed to plan2025@cityofhuntington.com, or call 304-696-4438.

Get your garden growing

A great way to tread lightly is to plant your own garden whether it's fruits and veggies or herbs.

Local organic farmer Mary Ellen Dennison is teaching free classes on herb gardening at Boyd County Public Library on the second Monday of each month at the Main Branch, 1740 Central Ave., Ashland.

Upcoming classes, which start at 6 p.m., include: May 13: Harvesting & Maintaining and June 10: Cooking with Herbs. For more information on this or other programs, visit www.thebookplace.org.

A pedal-powered mission

Burrito Riders of Huntington, is a new non-profit group of volunteers who roll up burritos and ride around the city twice a month to hand out burritos to the homeless and the hungry.

They meet at Black Sheep Burrito & Brew, 1555 3rd Ave., Huntington, on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. The next ride is 8:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27.

If you can help either make burritos or would like to join the casual ride (that is OK for beginners), you can email Tim Adkins at Tim@burritoriders.org.

Go online at www.facebook.com/BurritoRidersWV and burritoriders.org/burrito-rider-info.

Shop secondhand

You can help save precious resources by shopping second hand at shops in Central City's renowned antiques district with such shops as Hattie and Nan's and The Velvet Owl, as well as at kids consignment shops and Heritage Station's Find and Designs.

Take that help a step further by shopping at second-hand stores run by non-profits including Goodwill and The Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 240 3rd Ave., Huntington. ReStore will be hosting a variety of activities in celebration of Earth Day from 9 a .m. to 6 p.m. Monday, April 22. Enjoy free tree seedlings (while they last) from the WV Division of Forestry, prize drawings, free T-shirts (for folks who donate on April 22), as well as an earth-friendly presentation with the "Queen of Green" Halcyon Moses for local students visiting from Grace Christian School.

To schedule a pick up or for questions regarding types of donations accepted, call the store at 304-781-1333.

Also, Dress for Success River Cities' will have a "Spring Forward to Success Sale." That runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at First United Methodist Church, 1124 5th Ave. That sale will feature used clothes for $3 and new clothes for $10.

Going vegetarian

Locally, there are plenty of movements afoot to introduce folks to vegetarianism, which reduces our carbon footprint, saves resources like fresh water and fossil fuels and in nearly any study, helps people be more healthy and live longer.

Since Spring of 2012, Marshall University's Sustainability Department, in conjunction with Sodexo Dining Services, have teamed up for a Meatless Monday, offering "meatless" meal selections from 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays at Harless Dining Hall and Towers Marketplace on the Huntington campus.

Off campus, restaurants from Nawab's, Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, River and Rail Bakery, and many other downtown restaurants have vegetarian and vegan offerings.

For those on the go, the Charleston-based Mission Savvy, 202 Hale St., is offering a range of vegan lunches and juices in Huntington at the Wild Ramp.

Go online at www.missionsavvy.com for more info about Mission Savvy, which operates a vegan food truck and cafe.

Recycling In Cabell County

Cabell County's drop off mixed-stream (you don't sort it) recycling program is easy to use and has been a great success with bins located around the county. Here's a look at where the bins are and what's accepted.

Bins are located at: Parking lot at Kroger, 19 West 7th Ave.; Big Sandy Superstore Arena (located in parking lot across 7th Street from arena); Cabell-Huntington Health Department (behind Mac-Reedo's), 703 7th Ave.; parking lot at Kroger, 2627 5th Avenue; parking lot at intersection of W.Va. 2 and Big Seven Mile Road in Lesage; Adams Trucking, 3700 U.S. 60 East, Barboursville; Perry Morris Square on U.S. 60, Milton.

Accepted items include: Glass, paper products such as newspapers, magazines, phone books, paperboard, cardboard, office paper, folders and junk mail; plastic bottles (no caps); cartons such as milk or orange juice; juice boxes; steel, tin and aluminum cans.

Not accepted are: plastics that are not bottles or jugs, plastic bags, medical syringes, Styrofoam, coat hangers, scrap metal.

Some Kentucky paddling

You don't have to go far to have a splendid canoe trip. Carter Caves State Resort Park is hosting several kayak and canoe trips this spring.

It is having a BYOK (Bring Your Own Kayak) float on May 11, doing a six-mile stretch of Tygart Creek, which cuts through one of Kentucky's most scenic limestone gorges.

You will be on the creek for at least 3.5 hours. The park provides the transportation shuttle from the Welcome Center and guides for your trip on the creek. Participants meet at the Welcome Center at 10 a.m. The cost is $25 per person. Limited space available; preregistration is required.

There will also be a Tygart Creek 'Regretta' Canoe Excursion on May 12, on that same stretch, but one in which the park will provide the canoes and transportation. The cost is $25 per person. Limited space available; preregistration is required. Participants meet at the Welcome Center at 9:30 a.m.

Call the park's recreation department to register at 1-800-325-0059. (Since the creek is very shallow, both trips can be canceled due to high or low water levels or extreme weather conditions).

Mapping the city routes

According to research published by Bikes Belong, most trips Americans make in cars are short, and the average American household spends $7,179 per year on owning and driving their cars? Did you know you can reduce road congestion, pollution, lose weight and save about $10 by bicycling to work?

Many folks in Huntington know that and are acting on it. If you're a bicycle commuter in Huntington , you're needed at a 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2 meeting at the Chat 'n' Chew public session to talk about creating a commuter bicycle map for the city.

The Chat 'n' Crew, a meeting organized by Create Huntington, is located at the Fredrick Building on 4th Avenue, between 9th and 10th streets.

At the meeting, organizers will show bike maps from other places to get ideas of best practices to base a Huntington map on. Help organizers mark up a map of Huntington with common bike routes that are good for various reasons (flat, not pot-holed, etc.) and plan a time to do a ride that takes groups of people around on those routes to make adjustments/try out these routes for accuracy.

Organizers hope to have a map done by Tour de PATH, which is being organized for later this summer. Find out more about the ever-growing Paul Ambrose Trail to Health (PATH) online at http://paulambrosetrail.org.

The cool of conservation

Conservation is always a great way to celebrate Earth Day all year long. Avita Andrews, Sierra magazine lifestyle editor recently shared such great ideas as turning off lights when you leave a room for 15 minutes or more, only cleaning clothes that are dirty, turning down thermostats to lower energy use as well as your bills, use a water filter instead of buying bottled water and using a reusable coffee mug instead of throw-away cups.

Margie Phillips, director of Marshall's Sustainability Department, suggests taking baby steps to change old habits to new. "Start by recycling, which is throughout Cabell County at various locations," she said. "Look at the energy consumption of your home or apartment. Switch to CFL or LED lighting, unplug electrical appliances when not in use, and consume less water by taking shorter showers or running the dishwasher only when full. Start a garden this spring, whether in a container in your backyard or larger like a raised bed. Ride a bicycle to work or for enjoyment. It is all in our choices, so choose to 'Be Green.'"

Putting in some trail work

Have a cool weekend by helping others down in the New River Gorge as ACE Adventure Resort is hosting its annual trail maintenance weekend on April 27-28.

In return for assistance, volunteers who register for the event are accommodated free-of-charge in cabins on Saturday and Sunday nights and are provided free rental bikes for evening rides.

The 1,500-acre ACE resort is located adjacent to the national parkland fewer than five miles north of the Bechtel National Scout Reserve, which will host its first national Boy Scout Jamboree following two years of unprecedented planning and construction.

Trail volunteers will be expected to work Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m., during which lunch will be provided, and Sunday 9 a.m.-noon.

For more information or to register for the program, call 1-800-787-3982 or visit aceraft.com.

Follow reporter Dave Lavender on Dave's Facebook page as well as his Twitter account, @DaveLavenderHD