Blackstone River Watershed Association
TIP OF THE MONTH
Keurig K-cups - Mitigating the guilt
This month’s tip comes from the Editor who
feels compelled to admit a dirty little secret to his readers.
I own and operate a Keurig Coffeemaker.
For those unfamiliar with this technological marvel, the machine
uses coffee (and other beverages) packaged for individual consumption
in a single serving K-cup, a ½ oz environmental disaster. Due to it’s
construction, this packaging cannot be recycled. Now, to be fair,
most “gourmet” coffee packaging (anything that doesn’t come in a metal
or plastic can) isn’t recyclable because it usually consists of layers
of different materials laminated together. This doesn’t minimize the
shame and guilt and sleepless nights that result each time one of these
little demons slips from my hands into the trash.
For those who share this shameful occupation, I have one tip that may,
in a small way, mitigate the guilt. The K-cup is a near-perfect seed
starting vessel. Any amateur gardener who starts seeds is constantly
on the lookout for containers. I’ve tried everything that could possibly
hold soil. In my opinion, the K-cup is a winner.
Cutting around the inside rim with a utility knife and removing the
cover (possibly recyclable) reveals coffee grounds sitting on a
suspended miniature basket type coffee filter. The coffee machine
already punctured the bottom for drainage. Clean out the grounds
(into the compost, of course). No need to be thorough as they won’t
hurt anything. Let the container dry completely. Fill with your choice
of planting medium (I like Vermont Compost Company Fort Vee) and add seeds.
I lightly top watered the containers. I was very pleased with the result.
Larger plants may need to be transplanted into a larger container.
For this, I use homemade newspaper pots.
I still lose sleep over this and other environmental transgressions
but at least my plants seem happy & healthy.
The Lake Isle Of Innisfree
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
William Butler Yeats
April is National Poetry Month. Share a favorite nature-themed poem
with friends and family. And feel free to share it with us as well.
35th Annual BRWA Canoe and Kayak Race
Blackstone River Watershed Association will hold its 35th Annual Canoe
and Kayak race on Saturday, May 21, 2011. This 12 mile event will
start in South Grafton, MA across from the Fisherville Mill at 53 Main
Street (Rt 122A). The race will end at the RiverBend Farm Visitor
Center in Uxbridge, MA. Points for the NECKRA and the NE Downriver
Championship will be awarded.
After the race there will be food, music, an award ceremony as well as
other family activities. For more information or to participate as a
racer or volunteer please visit the
or contact Rosemary Longo-Nutt at
Trees, Paddlers and
Wildlife -Ecology of Trees & Our Waterways
The Blackstone River Watershed Association, the Blackstone River Watershed
Council/Friends of the Blackstone and the John H. Chaffee Blackstone
River Valley Heritage Corridor Commission are hosting a workshop entitled
Trees, Paddlers and Wildlife -Ecology of Trees & Our Waterways on Thursday,
May 5th at 6:30 PM at the Blackstone Public Library. The Appalachian
Mountain Club and the Mass. Division of Ecological Restoration/Riverways
Program will present the workshop on what should be done about large
branches and trees lying in a river. Should they be removed, pruned,
relocated, or left undisturbed—and how do you know? What are the
safety considerations? What is the appropriate balance between the
competing desires of canoeists, kayakers, and other boaters, the
interests of property owners concerned about flood drainage and a ‘tidy’
appearance, and the needs of fish, mammals, amphibians, insects and
birds for adequate food, nesting, and cover? What is “large woody debris”
in rivers, and how does it improve water quality and control flooding
downstream? Join us for answers to these questions as well as to learn
about native species that are suitable for planting in riparian areas.
There will be ample time for questions and discussion with Russ Cohen
of Riverways and Mike Gildesgame of AMC. The Blackstone Library is at
86 Main Street (Route 122), Blackstone, MA.
For more information on this topic go to
Record Turnout for Riverbank Cleanup!
A record 120 volunteers participated in the
BRWA sponsored Earth Day Cleanup on April 16, 2011. The event was part
of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
5th Annual Park Serve Day and Alternatives Unlimited, Inc. Clean and Green Day.
Over 275 bags of trash were collected along the banks of the Mumford
River in Uxbridge and Northbridge, the Blackstone River in Grafton, the
Mill River in Blackstone and Mendon, Fox Brook in Blackstone and at
the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park in Uxbridge.
The volunteers included groups from Blackstone-Millville Regional
High School, the Church of the Nazarene in Uxbridge, Uxbridge Boy Scout
Troop 7, Douglas Cub Scout Pack 134, Mendon Brownies, Northbridge Girl
Scouts, Starbucks of Auburn, the Bancroft School in Worcester, Assumption School
in Millbury, Alternatives, Inc., Whitin Middle School in Uxbridge,
BRWA members and other individuals interested in improving water quality.
Following the cleanup, volunteers gathered at River Bend Farm Visitor
Center, enjoyed pizza and refreshments provided by BRWA. The clean-up was followed by
a Clean & Green Fair presented by Alternatives, Inc and the BRWA.
Clean and Green Fair - A Good Time for All
BRWA and Alternatives Unlimited co-hosted a Clean and Green Fair on
April 16, in conjunction with the Earth Day clean up activities that
were organized at River Bend Farm. Alternatives, an agency located
in Whitinsville that strives to enhance community connections for
persons with disabilities, has a strong commitment to protecting
the environment. .
The Fair featured several educational displays and hands-on activities
for children and attracted nearly 200 visitors. BRWA’s booth presented
a display of the Association’s activities and a collection of outreach
materials that promote actions that can protect rivers and streams.
The organization also provided demonstrations of eco-friendly practices
that homeowners can easily implement, including composting food scraps
and yard waste and diverting stormwater to prevent water pollution and
replenish the water table. Kids could plant flowers, vegetables and herbs
to grow at home at Alternatives’ table. The agency also provided
information on their Terracycling program that recycles juice packs
in a local school. Another interesting table was hosted by students
from Assumption school who shared their award winning project on vernal pools.
Visitors also received perennial seedlings donated by the Blackstone Valley Gardeners.
MA Environmental Programs Cut Again
The Massachusetts House Committee on Ways & Means released its Fiscal
Year 2012 budget proposal. Proposed cuts to environmental programs
include the Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP), Conservation
and Recreation (DCR) and Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological
Restoration/Riverways. The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species
Program (NHESP) is without state funding for the third year in a row.
If approved these cuts will likely lead to further degradation of
and reduction in the number of recreational sites, a decreased ability
to protect, maintain and develop critical natural resources and much
less protection for wildlife and rare species.
Overall, environmental program budgets have been slashed by nearly 25%
over the last 2 years. Environmental spending is ½ of 1 percent of
the total state budget. We spend less than ½ the national average
on parks and recreation.
The budget will be debated next week including several proposed
amendments that would restore, in part, some of the funding to
environmental programs. Readers are urged to visit the sites listed
below for more information on the budget proposal, amendments,
the state of environmental programs in Massachusetts and, most
importantly, what they can do to help. Our elected state officials
have a constitutional obligation to uphold our rights to “clean air
and water, freedom from excessive and unnecessary noise, and the natural,
scenic, historic, and esthetic qualities of their environment”.
Perhaps they need us to remind them of that obligation.
Beacon Hill Roundup, April 15, 2011
Amendments restoring funding for environmental protection (see #’s 206, 226, 432, 563, 566, 578):
To contact your Representative:
If you know your representative's name, you can just call the House
switchboard and be put through: 617-722-2000. If not, locate the name
and contact information of your state representative by visiting:
(Note: look for "Rep. In General Court"); or,
An Act Relative
to Sustainable Water Resources-House Bill 255/Senate Bill 349
The BRWA supports An Act Relative to Sustainable Water Resources
House Bill 255 /
Senate Bill 349 which amends the Water Management Act to:
The bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural
Resources and Agriculture. View this
for more information.
- ensure adequate water flow and levels for fish and other species
according to guidelines developed by the Department of Fish and Game.
- ensure adequate water flow and levels for community water suppliers.
- authorizes water suppliers to implement "waterbanking" under which
they could charge a small fee to residents and businesses for any new
water withdrawal capacity to offset and remedy ecological
impacts of water withdrawals.
- Adds dam removal to the options offered to dam owners by the
Office of Dam Safety within the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
MA Bill Requiring Adult PFD Use
A bill has been filed in The Massachusetts House (H646), which would
require everyone on boats less than 20 feet long to wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
year-round. The bill apparently has little support and faced
opposition from the boating public. Opponents cite the cost and
difficulty of enforcement and unreasonable restrictions on boaters
as reasons for not passing the bill and say that emphasis should be
on education rather than mandated use. Current law requires that
children under 12 must wear approved PFDs at all times and that all
persons on board a canoe or kayak must wear approved PFDs from September
15 to May 15.
|CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Talk Like Shakespeare Day
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin"
Save The Frogs Day
MA Audubon Work For Wildlife Volunteer Day
May is American Wetlands Month
National Teacher Day
Trees, Paddlers and Wildlife -Ecology of Trees &
Our Waterways 6:30pm Blackstone Public Library
see article above
Building a Sustainable Future: The Massachusetts
Green Communities Act 7pm-9pm Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary
BRWA Board Meeting 6:30pm 271 Oak St., Uxbridge
BRC Water Quality Sampling
35th BRWA Canoe and Kayak Race
Blackstone Valley Youth Fishing Tournament 8am - 1pm
Hopedale Pond, Hopedale
IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Blackstone Valley Greenway Update
On March 30, 2011, state and local officials
presented an update on the Blackstone Valley Greenway (formerly Bikeway)
project. Dan Driscoll of MA DCR announced that the completion date for
the entire 22 mile trail between Worcester and Woonsocket will be sometime
in 2012. The work is divided into several sections. It is hoped that work
will begin soon on Section 1 through part of Section 3, between the Rhode
Island border and Northbridge.
See the following article for more on this update:
"Officials give Greenway update" by Christopher Tanguay, Blackstone Valley Tribune
Grafton-Mill Villages Park
On April 9, 2011, ground was broken for Mill
Villages Park in South Grafton. Located at 61 Main St, the long neglected
site was once a parking lot for the former Fisherville Mill,
which was destroyed by fire in 1999. The planned 2 acre park is situated between
the Blackstone River and the Blackstone Canal. It is expected to open for
public use next spring.
See the following article for more on the groundbreaking including links
to pictures of the event:
"From abandoned parking lot to crown jewel: Ground is broken for Mill
Villages Park" by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi, TheDailyGrafton.com
|OF GLOBAL INTEREST
John Muir In the New World
The PBS television series American Masters
program "John Muir In the New World" premiered on April 18th and is
currently running on local broadcast and cable stations.
This excellent documentary explores the life, writing and influences of
this icon of conservation in America whose advocacy for wilderness areas
led to the creation of the National Parks.
If you miss the broadcast on television, the full program can be viewed
on this PBS website.
In addition, the Children & Nature Network provides a companion
Family Guide and
2011 Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest
The US EPA announced the 2011
Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Contest a poetry, essay, photo and dance
contest sponsored by the EPA, Generations United, the Dance Exchange,
National Center for Creative Aging,and the Rachel Carson Council, Inc.
Teams consisting of at least one young and one older person are asked
to share their "sense of wonder" felt for some aspect of their natural
surroundings. Submissions are due June 10, 2011.
Views & opinions expressed in linked websites do not necessarily
state or reflect those of the BRWA.
Your input is crucial to this eNewsletter. If you have a local
watershed-related story, information of interest to our subscribers, or
comments about this publication, drop an email to the editor.|
The Blackstone River Watershed Association (BRWA) has a mission to
enhance and preserve the Blackstone River system and its watershed; its
objectives are to:
The BRWA eNewsletter is published monthly by the Blackstone River Watershed
Association. BRWA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
- Educate members, supporters, watershed residents on watershed protection strategies,
- Engage the public in watershed stewardship activities, and
- Improve the water quality and esthetics of the Blackstone River Watershed’s water bodies.
Editor: Michael Sperry email@example.com
Mailing address: BRWA, 271 Oak Street Uxbridge, MA 01569
Phone: 508-278-5200 Web: www.thebrwa.org
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