Sep
28
0

Insight in Nature

Authors John Harvey, at left, and Doug Bill discussed their books in response to questions posed by SEEDS Executive Director, Sandy Long at the Milford Readers and Writers Festival on September 22, 2019 at Grey Towers National Historic Site.
Tuning in to nature’s beauty.

Nature came through in a spectacular display of golden sunlight, hovering hummingbirds and flowering finery for the insightful and inspiring program, “Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Finding Deeper Meaning in Nature,” held on September 22 at Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford, PA.

 

The free panel discussion and field excursion with local authors John Harvey and Doug Bill was part of the Milford Readers & Writers Festival. Co-sponsored by Pike/Wayne Conservation Partnership (PWCP) and the US Forest Service at Grey Towers, with support from the Grey Towers Heritage Association, the program was moderated by Sandy Long, Executive Director of SEEDS, which is a member of the PWCP.

 

The authors engaged in a compelling discussion of their books, writing process and more in response to questions such as, “What role does practicing attentive appreciation play in our interface with the natural world? And how does this relate to self-understanding?

 

Following a question and answer session, Doug and John led a field excursion where attendees ranging from children to seniors participated in a sensory-based meditative experience and a Wander Walk, accompanied by the occasional hummingbird and abundant insect life seeking sustenance from wild grapes draped among the stone trellises.

 

John Harvey, author of The Stillness of the Living Forest: A Year of Listening and Learning, is a naturalist and consulting psychologist whose years of experience helped him to appreciate the healing potential of a nature connection. He completed a year-long commitment to sit an hour each week in the same spot in the woods. As he settled into his routine of visiting his “sit spot” and fully engaging his senses, rich and illuminating experiences began to unfold.

 

Doug Bill’s work is focused on bringing a profound, spiritual truth into a hectic world. During the early 1970s, he traveled to India and Nepal, where deeply moving experiences in overcrowded villages, along with later advanced studies in psychology and spirituality, awakened him to the oneness of all life. Those experiences planted the seeds for his book, Living the Namaste Principle, which outlines his quest to awaken, access, and embody the awareness of the divinity within.

SEEDS Burkhardt Scholarship recipient, Phoebe Cykosky (front row center) stands surrounded by SEEDS Board members and Phoebe’s parents at the August board meeting.

SEEDS has issued its $1000 scholarship in memory of Michael “Jake” Burkhardt to Phoebe Cyckosky, a 2019 graduate of the Wallenpaupack Area High School District. The scholarship honors the memory of Jake, Western Wayne Class of 2015, who loved life, his family, his community and the environment and worked with SEEDS as a high school student.

Phoebe was selected for her winning essay on the following topic:

“In what ways does our consumption of non-renewable energy sources affect the health and well-being of the Earth and its lifeforms? How does developing “clean” energy alternatives contribute to a more sustainable future? What practices have you seen in your community that indicate we’re going in the right or wrong direction? What information would you provide to educate people? What tools and strategies would you employ to accomplish this, both locally and beyond?”

Entries were reviewed by a panel of SEEDS volunteers based on the responsiveness to the topic, the persuasiveness, logic, and cohesiveness of the ideas presented, and other criteria such as proper grammar.

Phoebe and her parents, Dawn and Ed Cykosky, attended a recent SEEDS board meeting to express their gratitude for the scholarship. Board members took great pleasure in meeting this promising young woman and wishing her well in her studies at Penn State University.

Phoebe’s essay can be read in full here:

“Even though we live in an increasingly environmentally-friendly world, there are still many practices that people across the globe continue to partake in that will affect the future. The use of non-renewable resources only emits harmful residue into the atmosphere and negatively impacts the local wildlife. However, if we take the initiative now to change our actions, we can take steps to not only creating a sustainable future but allowing one to exist. The initial step of progress is education because without it, people would not realize the severity of the problem. Through various sustainability methods, local and even, global practices can be altered to further preserve our environment.

Knowing the dangers and effects of nonrenewable resources can encourage many to alter their energy sources. Our atmosphere and ozone layer are being directly affected by fossil fuel processing. Without the ozone layer, our exposure to greater levels of the sun’s radiation would increase because of the greenhouse gases released into the air. After the fossil fuel to energy conversion, sulfur is given off into the air creating acid rain. Local ecosystems cannot handle this unnatural exposure and can begin to deteriorate (Stefan). On land, fossil fuel containment areas can malfunction and pollute their designated areas upon bursting. At the Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee in 2008, a containment area accidentally released 5.4 million cubic yards of sludge causing significant damage for local homeowners and again, the atmosphere (Stefan). Oil rigs are prone to the risk of spilling, which causes chaos to the ocean’s shores and wildlife. These spills kill or severely injure local animals and plants, and they fill the ocean with foreign chemicals the ecosystem cannot handle. Even locally, the issue of fracking has increased because of its negative effects on the environment. In places near our homes, drill sites are releasing hazardous chemicals into the air and waterways. Over time, all of these nonrenewable resources deteriorate the well-being of the ecosystems entirely. Air pollution leads to negative effects on our respiratory health, and one study expressed how that pollution shortens almost 24,000 lives per year in the United States, let alone the world as a whole (“Benefits of Renewable Energy Use.”). Neurological damage, heart attacks, cancer, premature death, and more problems are at the hands of nonrenewable energies (Healy, Noel, et al.). Without developing cleaner alternatives, this pattern will only increase, become “the norm”, and eventually, destroy our planet.

Using renewable resources such as wind turbines and solar panels can aid in creating a more sustainable future. Our future is dependent on our actions because it is predicted that we only have twelve years before our actions become irreversible. Wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass are all renewable energy resources that can be used instead of fossil fuels. These resources help decrease the spread of global warming because they do not produce the high amount of global warming emissions that coal and natural gas do. Twenty-nine percent of the world’s global warming emissions are generated from the United States’ electricity sector; however, a study from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory predicts that eighty percent of the country’s electricity could be from renewable resources by 2050 which would reduce the global warming emissions by eighty-one percent (Stefan). By reducing our carbon footprint, we have a better chance of creating a sustainable future.

Within my own community and region, I have seen various indications that show that we are going in both the right and wrong directions. For example, a few years ago, Wallenpaupack Area School District made the switch to the use of geothermal energy throughout its campus in Hawley. Even though it was expensive, the district prioritized benefiting the environment especially in a lake region. On the contrary, throughout Pennsylvania, fracking sites for the extraction of natural gas have increased. There are now 7,788 active wells throughout the state even though the extraction impacts not only the land at the drill site, but many other things within a sixty mile radius such as ecosystems and overall health (Amico, Chris, et al.). Several years ago, a decision was made to eliminate the free recycling bins in the parking lot at one of our local grocery stores. Since then, recycling prices were raised, which caused a significant decrease in the amount of recycling in our local areas. These signs are red flags for trying to create a sustainable future at the local level.

Without the knowledge of where our planet is going, people would be unaware that they need to make changes within their own lives. Through the use of local television and radio advertisements, people should be informed of what global warming is doing to the planet and  what they can do to do their part. The mass media outlets have the largest impact on lives today; therefore, partnering with at least one station could spread the message of making environmentally-friendly decisions. If people are given an ultimatum of if they do not make progressive changes in their life, the planet will deteriorate, they will begin to make adjustments. It does not take a lot of effort to reduce your own carbon footprint, but we cannot do it alone. Our goal will be impossible to accomplish without the support of lawmakers at the local level and up. Many environmental protection organizations are hidden in the shadows of big corporations who have better control of what laws are passed. If enough people unite with one common goal and make a petition to the regulations such as on fracking, then our voice will be heard. Increased funding to the Environmental Protection Agency and more organizations with similar goals is a necessity to providing the best possible chance of a sustainable future.

In conclusion, the planet is indisposed and needs us. Nonrenewable energies are one of the leading causes of our planet’s deterioration. Even our health is at risk because of these dangerous resources being blatantly used in everyday life. By making a positive change to reducing our carbon footprint, we will be able to sustain life on our planet. By implementing laws and restrictions on corporations that put our planet at risk, we will impact the environment at not only the local level but even the world. We all know the phrase “it’s a small world after all”, but if we do not take the right steps toward environmental protection, there will be no world after all.”

SEEDS entered its second decade in 2019 with a Strategic Planning process launched in January. Attend the Annual Membership Meeting on September 17 to learn more and to check out our Electric Vehicle and Solar Device Displays!

SEEDS to Reveal New Initiatives and More at Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday • September 17 • 5:30 pm • The Cooperage, 1030 Main Street, Honesdale PA.

Have you been wondering what SEEDS has been up to since entering its second decade in 2019? Find out at the upcoming Annual Membership Meeting! All are welcome, from current members to the curious. Come and learn the latest as SEEDS embraces its own sustainability.

• Learn about the status of the Draft Strategic Plan launched in January

• Hear about new initiatives from the folks spearheading fresh organizational growth

• Talk to SEEDS volunteers to find your fit with the region’s decade-long leader of sustainability initiatives

• Check out our Electric Vehicle Display and talk to the owners

• Explore an array of interesting items in our Solar Device Display

• Win one of several great door prizes, ranging from energy efficiency kits and solar devices to locally grown and prepared food items!

Healthy and delicious food from the Mustard Seed Café will be available for purchase.

Doors, Electric Vehicle Display and Cafe open at 5:30 p.m.

Program begins at 6:00 pm. and will include a brief business session.

Please RSVP at https://forms.gle/A8HjDBzxDcy3BvEs9  (to help determine food quantities) or call (570) 245–1256 or email Sandy@SeedsGroup.net. (Food purchase not required).

Local authors Doug Bill and John Harvey will participate in a panel discussion moderated by SEEDS Executive Director, Sandy Long at the Milford Readers and Writers Festival on September 22 at Grey Towers National Historic Site.

Experience the beauty and healing that can be found within the natural world at the program, “Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Finding Deeper Meaning in Nature,” on Sunday, September 22, from 1-3 pm, at Grey Towers National Historic Site, Milford, PA.

This free panel discussion and optional field excursion with authors John Harvey and Doug Bill is part of the Milford Readers & Writers Festival. Co-sponsored by Pike/Wayne Conservation Partnership and the US Forest Service at Grey Towers, with support from the Grey Towers Heritage Association, the program will be moderated by Sandy Long, Executive Director of SEEDS.

Grey Towers hosts public programs that help carry forward the conservation legacy of Gifford Pinchot, founder of the US Forest Service and two-term Governor of Pennsylvania.

John Harvey, author of The Stillness of the Living Forest: A Year of Listening and Learning, is a naturalist and consulting psychologist whose years of experience helped him to appreciate the healing potential of a nature connection. He completed a year-long commitment to sit an hour each week in the same spot in the woods. As he settled into his routine of visiting his “sit spot” and fully engaging his senses, rich and illuminating experiences began to unfold.

Doug Bill’s work is focused on bringing a profound, spiritual truth into a hectic world. During the early 1970s, he traveled to India and Nepal, where deeply moving experiences in overcrowded villages, along with later advanced studies in psychology and spirituality, awakened him to the oneness of all life. Those experiences planted the seeds for his book Living the Namaste Principle, which outlines his quest to awaken, access, and embody the awareness of the divinity within.

Following the panel discussion, Harvey and Bill will lead an optional field excursion that will include a brief sensory-based meditative experience and a Wander Walk. It is a unique opportunity for festival goers to interact with the authors and gain new insights into what informs their writing.

The program will be held rain or shine; dress for the weather and with appropriate footwear for uneven terrain. Light refreshments will be served and pre-registration is appreciated at 570-296- 9630 or greytowers.org.

For more information about the Milford Readers & Writers Festival
visit milfordreadersandwriters.com.

Fertile Valley Farm is one of the stops on the Wayne County Farm Tour on September 7, 2019.

WE REGRET TO ANNOUNCE THAT WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING RESERVATIONS FOR THE 2019 WAYNE COUNTY FARM TOUR DUE TO THE OVERWHELMING RESPONSE TO THIS EVENT. THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR INTEREST!

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — Five Wayne County farms will open their doors to the public on a day-long farm tour to be held on Saturday, September 7, creating an opportunity for people to get a behind-the-scene look at farming on a family farm. An additional stop on this bus tour will be at the Wayne County Demonstration Farm to see how conservation practices in agriculture support sustainability.

Stops on the tour include Calkins Creamery, the county’s preeminent cheesemaker and its Highland Dairy Farm; the county’s largest organic vegetable farm, Willow Wisp Organic Farm, to learn about its many sustainable farming and energy practices; lunch with a spectacular view at Second District Vineyard and Hops Farm; a diversified beef farm with an on-farm store and vegetable CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) at Fertile Valley Farm.

The tour is jointly hosted by the Wayne County Conservation District and SEEDS (Sustainable Energy and Education Development Support) with support from Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, the PA Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. and Wayne Economic Development Corp.

The cost for the day is $5, which includes lunch. Advance registration is required by calling the Wayne Conservation District at 570-253-0930. Check-in on the day of the tour is at 8 a.m. at the Park Street Complex, 648 Park St., Honesdale, with departure at 8:30. The bus will return there by 5 p.m. 

For more information visit wayneconservation.org

WOW—have we been busy lately, collaborating with others to clean up the Lackawaxen River, supporting the outstanding recycling efforts at the Roots & Rhythm Festival, and providing hands-on-training through our popular annual DIY Solar Installation Workshop. Have a look at how these efforts contribute to a more sustainable future for our region!

Photo of SEEDS volunteers at the DIY Solar Installation workshop.

Sustainability superstars–SEEDS volunteers and Buselli Solutions–presented another great DIY Solar Installation Workshop on June 25 and 26. SEEDS has conducted solar workshops for a decade now, leading to startups of solar businesses such as Buselli Solutions as well as many solar installations throughout the region.

Photo of SEEDS volunteer Jack Barnett at the DIY Solar Installation workshop.SEEDS board member, Jack Barnett assesses the solar potential of a site owned by workshop participants.

Photo of a solar installation demonstration by SEEDS.

Despite recent knee surgery, Blair Buselli of Buselli Solutions guides participants through a hands-on demo of the installation process.

Photo of Presenter Blair Buselli’s wife and child, Aurora and Ella, at the SEEDS DIY Solar Installation workshop.

Presenter Blair Buselli’s wife and child, Aurora and Ella, attended both nights of the DIY Solar Installation Workshop–a testament to the importance of working toward a more sustainable energy future for all!

SEEDS volunteers also supported the outstanding recycling efforts overseen by Cheryl and Stu Badner (a past SEEDS Board Member!) of Corporate Waste Consultants at the Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Festival on June 15. Kudos to all who have made the festival into a zero-waste event that has won awards for this significant achievement!

Photo of Cheryl Badner and young volunteers helping out with the recycling effort at the 2019 Honesdale Roots and Rhythm Festival.

Cheryl Badner guides a group of young volunteers helping out with the recycling effort at the 2019 Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Festival.

Photo of Cheryl Badner who is in charge of zero waste recycling at the Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Festival.

That big grin on Cheryl Badner’s face is due to the zero waste recycling success at the Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Festival.

SEEDS also collaborated with Honesdale’s Here & Now Brewing Company and Pig Farm Ink to tackle several miles of the Lackawaxen River during the first Get Trashed River Cleanup in June. Shout out to all who supported the event, including the Honesdale Borough Council and neighboring businesses, churches and friends who agreed to closure of 7th Street for fly fishing demos and the chance to share info about sustainability following the cleanup. Sustainable futures include caretaking the waterways we are blessed with. Community collaboration makes a difference!

Photo of SEEDS board member David Ford and volunteer Krista Gromalski cleaning up a riparian zone on the Lackawaxen River.

SEEDS board member, David Ford and Krista Gromalski clean up the riparian zone.

Photo of Seeds Executive Director Sandy Long, Board Member Jack Barnett, and Ashley and Sarah Hall-Bagdonas at the Lackawaxen River Clean Up.

One SEEDS team filled up a Subaru and sent more bags to the dumpster via another team’s pickup truck.

Photo of volunteers filling dumpsters at the Lackawaxen River Clean Up.

Getting the job done–one dumpster at a time. Four dumpsters were filled by day’s end.

Photo of trash and shopping carts removed from the Lackawaxen River.

Some of the trash no longer littering the lovely Lackawaxen River. Good riddance!

And in the “stay tuned” department—a local group is working with the Highlights Foundation on a new project called “Boyd’s Mills Net Zero.” The project is in the planning stages and will combine power conservation, renewable power generation, education, and funding to help the Boyd’s Mill campus be net zero or net positive. This project seeks to expand knowledge of ways we can transition our energy economy. We’ll keep you posted!

May
28
0

A Fond Farewell to Nate!


Nate Mansfield was recently recognized for his dedication to SEEDS by past Executive Director, Jocelyn Cramer (center) and current Board Chair, Kathy Dodge.
(Contributed photo by David B. Soete)

SEEDS has been very fortunate to have the support of intern Nate Mansfield, who first became involved with our organization as an intern in our Home Energy Assessment program nearly four years ago. Now a senior at Honesdale High School, Nate continues to assist in the office and at SEEDS events. This fall, Nate will begin pursuing a degree in Computer Science at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA. We will be very sorry to see him go, but wish him all the success that is certain to light his future, based on what he’s already accomplished.

We invited Nate to reflect on his experience with SEEDS and his ensuing efforts:

“I’ve grown up with a natural interest in technology and energy, and Seeds has been largely responsible for bringing my attention to the impact our energy usage has on the planet, as well as the subsequent impact we can have in saving it through conservation efforts. It’s the wonderfully unique learning experience I’ve had here that I value most. I plan on continuing to lend part of my efforts to conservation on into adulthood. Currently, I enjoy spending my time outside of the office creating, whether it be something on the computer, or on paper and canvas with pen or paint, while also working to uphold good grades in school.

“On March 16, I and fellow high school senior, Liam Carmody led an assembly for Honesdale High School to present to students and staff what had been going on behind the scenes for the past few years in terms of new initiatives for sustainability. Most recently, the school had begun looking for ways to conserve energy. A professional audit and the observations of a student-led efficiency group both helped in the effort to explore what behavioral changes or efficiency upgrades might help the school and the school district.

“Further back, a different effort was made to address the district’s waste output. This effort resulted in a push for recycling as well as the more notable implementation of composting throughout the district. In our assembly, both efforts and the timeline behind them were explained to the high school body with the addition of a handful of guest community members, all of whom for years had joined in on our effort to conserve but may not have known how successful or impactful it truly was. [See http://seedsgroup.net/recylce-forum-and-rocket-composter-demo/]

“With some humor, some history, and some numbers to put the success to scale, our audience was entertained and informed, and to top it all off, the assembly closed with the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance [https://keealliance.org/] presenting their “Head of the Class” award for sustainability to the high school.


Nate was awarded a first-place prize by the Honesdale Women’s Club for this artwork he created using pen and ink. Drawing inspiration from M. C. Escher’s “Reptiles”, Nate depicted moths throughout a forest scene from a viewpoint high among the trees.
See electric vehicles and talk with their owners on July 21st, from noon to 2 p.m.

Been thinking about buying an electric vehicle to help pave the way to a better future, but still uncertain about the decision? Stop by the Audubon Art and Craft Festival at Wallenpaupack High School in Hawley, PA to see EV’s on display and to talk with their owners—most of whom are SEEDS volunteers. Have your questions answered by the folks behind the wheels, then enjoy the fantastic festival. Visit our SEEDS booth to talk sustainability too! The EV car show happens on Sunday, July 21st, from noon to 2 pm. The two-day festival is slated for July 20-21, from 10 to 5, with loads of family-friendly activities and outstanding artwork that celebrates the natural world. Visit www.audubonfestival.com to learn more!

SEEDS says THANKS!

With the support of many local businesses and community members, SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) celebrated another successful SWAPAPALOOZA recently at The Cooperage Project in Honesdale, PA. The lively event helps to sustain the organization as it enters its second decade devoted to energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable living.

Auctioneer Mikki Uzupes led the crowd through a live auction, preceded by a silent auction. The festive event concluded with the legendary SWAPAPALOOZA, reinforcing the sustainability practices of Re-use, Re-purpose and Recycle. Guests bring one item they no longer love and swap it for one that someone else no longer needs. The fast-paced SWAPAPALOOZA is great fun and allows guests who are spending their dollars in support of SEEDS’ mission, to take home a new treasure for free.

The SEEDS fundraiser auction featured unique items such as guided bird walks, home-cooked meals, a half-hog, yard cleanup services, firewood, poetry readings, photography sessions, cabin stays, restaurant and lodging certificates, locally roasted coffee, maple syrup from regional farms, eagle bus tour tickets, antiques, a fall foliage aerial tour of Wayne County in a Cessna 210 and many wonderful gift baskets!

The donated services and items enable folks to learn more about the talented people and outstanding businesses in the Upper Delaware region and to explore the exceptional natural resources found here.

SEEDS extends its gratitude to all the individuals who donated, volunteered, attended and bid, and to the businesses that support the SEEDS mission with their donations: A Picker’s Find, Alice’s Wonderland, American House, Augusta Acres, B. Madigan Jewelry, Bailey’s Hoosier Daddy Antiques, Bethany Senior Village, Black and Brass, Charming Darling, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Doodles and Such, Eye Candy Body Arts, Fair Hill Farm, Flipped, Gina Lenz Photography, Green Outlet, Gresham’s Chop House, Hawley Antique Exchange, Hawley Depot, Here and Now Brewing Company, James Manning Bed and Breakfast, Joe and Lorenzo’s Italian Restaurant, Journey’s End Farm, Lacawac Sanctuary, Lake Region IGA, Mustard Seed Café, Nature’s Grace, North of the Border Fireworks, Picture Perfect Framing Gallery, Pines Tavern, Player’s Row Music, River Road Arts and Antiques, Safford Farm, Salem Mountain Farm, Settler’s Inn, Stephen’s Pharmacy, Teeter’s Furniture, The Boathouse, The Cooperage, The Other Shop 2, Time Machine Antiques, Twisted Sisters Timeless Treasures, Trish’s Bagels and the Village Bath Shop.

May
23
0

Honesdale Charges Up!

Double charging EVs (NY Tesla + our Bolt) in downtown Honesdale, PA!

(Story and photo contributed by SEEDS Board Member, Jack Barnett)

Honesdale is on the map! The Electric Vehicle (EV) charging map, that is, and on multiple smartphone apps too. Last September, the PA Department of Environmental Protection opened two rebate programs for EV charging stations, funded with over $17M received from the Volkswagen federal court settlement on the company’s fraudulent emissions reporting.

Dave Harvey from Harvey Insurance Agency, Steven Moulton from Honesdale Rotary (both owners of plug-in hybrid cars) and I (my wife, Mary Anne and I own a Chevy Bolt EV) approached several Honesdale Borough council members to determine if the town would be interested in installing an EV charger to help promote tourism and clean energy. The resulting plan to apply for $10,000 toward a dual-port 7kW station in the Park & Shop parking lot on Main Street, next to the Fred Miller Pavilion, was presented to the council last November and approved.

Honesdale was the first municipality state-wide to apply, and received notification of the award less than 48 hours later. Thanks go to Tad Moser of JHA Engineering for donating his time on the drawings and permit work. The equipment from ChargePoint, one of several national networks for EV chargers, was ordered in December and received in January, but by then the ground was frozen solid.

Installation work finally got underway this spring, and was finished and inspected in late April. On May 10th, the station was fully activated. Dave Harvey was the first to use it that afternoon. Mary Anne and I used it the next morning. Two out-of-town Tesla Model 3s were seen charging that same day, and another on Monday morning.

The pricing has been set by the borough at $1.50 per hour. On our car, that adds about 25 miles of nearly emissions-free driving range. We normally use our home charger, which gets its energy from our home solar arrays (so fully emissions-free), but we’re both glad to help promote this exciting advancement in this wonderful, and now a little more sustainable, community!

To learn more about EVs, plan to attend the Northeast PA Audubon Art and Craft Festival at the Wallenpaupack Area High School in Hawley on Sunday July 21st, where SEEDS will be co-sponsoring an EV car show.