Giving Tree Band Recycling Inspired by Shel Silverstein

One of the first books I owned was the The Giving Tree written by the late Shel Silverstein. This book was a gift from my godmother many years ago. In the book, an apple tree gives joy to a the main character from the time he is a boy until he becomes an old man. The tree keeps giving back.

Recently I heard about the Giving Tree Band from Yorkville, Illinois. The Giving Tree Band uses social networking to connect with their fans and share their message of environmental sustainability. They made a green statement while recording their “Great Possessions” album in 2009. The group stayed near the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center where they recorded the songs to reduce their carbon emissions during commutes. Even the instruments used on this CD were made of recycled materials.

After the recording, the band raffled off the guitar pictured below, signed by the band, through the Chicago Bluesgrass & Blues Festival. McHenry County resident Kyle E. Williams, also a song writer and guitarist, won this Taliesin model guitar which Jason Harshbarger of Highland Strings created from reclaimed materials.

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Guitar Giving Tree Band used on the “Great Possessions” album
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Guitar inlay Giving Tree Band used on the “Great Possessions” album

Click on the image below to view the video of Kyle playing the guitar from the Giving Tree Guitar and signing his original song CTA accompanied by Noel F. Williams.

Read more about the band’s eco friendly practices and recording. Purchase the Great Possessions album. Listen to their music on MySpace and Facebook. Follow Giving Tree Band on Twitter.

Ewaste Recycling in Algonquin McHenry County

The Village of Algonquin in McHenry County is hosting an e-waste recycling event at the Algonquin Public Works Facility. This event, open to Algonquin residents is on May 14 from 9AM to 1PM.

Bring your computers and accessories, televisions and other electronic items you no longer use. Check with the village for a list of accepted items.

Bring along your patience. Last year, a mile long line of cars was queued up at 10:30 AM. For those with manual transmission vehicles, note the Public Works Facility is located at the top of a hill.

Electronics Recycling Algonquin, McHenry County Illinois

Electronics Recycling Algonquin, McHenry County Illinois

Here is a link to information on last year’s ewaste recycling event.

Algonquin Public Works Facility
110 Meyer Drive
Algonquin, Illinois 60102

Electronics Recycling Algonquin

Algonquin, Illinois in McHenry County offered electronics recycling this week at the Public Works building. By 10:30 in the morning, a half mile long line of cars were lined up for the three hour event. We waited in line for over one hour to unload our goods.

There were eight foot tall piles of computers, big screen TVs, computers, printers and miscellaneous electronics in stacks all over the parking lot. Forklifts transferred the once high tech toys to semi truck for disposal.

Electronics Recycling Algonquin, McHenry County Illinois

Electronics Recycling Algonquin, McHenry County Illinois

While we waited our turn in line, we overheard comments from other drivers. They said things like:

“This is not worth the wait. Next time I’ll just throw these items in the garbage”
“It may be green to recycle but what about all the gas these cars are wasting while they idle in line”.

It is a good sign to see a large number of people participating in these events. I would like to see them scheduled more frequently. Still looking for a place in the area that accepts used batteries. Any suggestions?

Travel blogs

Louis Sullivan Works Exhibit at Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center current display of Louis Sullivan works is not to miss for anyone interested in architecture or history. Sullivan, an architect, was a leader in Chicago’s rebuilding post the Great Chicago Fire. With blocks of stores, factories and home decimated, he had a clean slate to design and build his modern works. Sullivan began using steel to create high-rise buildings as an inexpensive and versatile building material.

Many of the buildings highlighted are no longer standing including the Transportation Building from the Colombian Exposition and the White City era. The iron gates and photos are all that remain from Chicago Stock Exchange.

There are a few of his works still standing. I graduated twice in the ornate Sullivan designed Auditorium Theater now part of Chicago’s Roosevelt University. Over sized photos show the Theater Building crowded with tables. The former Carson, Pirie, Scott store on State Street with the decorative iron work is one of my Sullivan favorites.

In this exhibit, descriptive text combines with two story prints of the buildings designed by Louis Sullivan and large chunks of now torn down buildings. Walking through the installation, I felt as if I was strolling down the streets of Chicago during the early 1900’s.

Louis Sullivan Works Exhibit at Chicago Cultural Center

Louis Sullivan Works Exhibit at Chicago Cultural Center

Unlike most museums, the molded concrete and steel segments of once stately buildings are at hand and eye level for visitors to see and touch. Beyond the building remnants stand photos of the building where you can see the segments as they were.

If you visit Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery, stop by to see Louis Sullivan’s final resting place.

This free exhibit runs Jun 26, 2010 – Jan 2, 2011.

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Earth Month Waikiki Aquarium Honolulu

The Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii hosted Earth month celebrations on April 10, 2010. Free admission to drew a long line at the 9AM opening. Special interactive educational displays were popular with the keiki. Scientists, educators and volunteers were on hand to talk about sea life, invasive species, conservation and habitats. The messages were conveyed with coloring books, ring toss games and learning puzzles. A seahorse release was a highlight for many attendees.

The Waikiki Aquarium partners with Duke’s Waikiki for educational events.

In addition to the Earth month special events, we visited the ongoing exhibits including Hawaiian monk seal, puffer fish, anemones, and jellyfish. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Kualoa Ranch Honolulu Hawaii Video

Here is video of our visit to Kualoa Ranch on Oahu where we toured ancient fish ponds, gardens and the where location shots for Lost TV show and movie productions were filmed.

You can read more about our visit to the ranch in this previous post.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Tours and Hawaii Activities

David Morgan, 6th generation owner, invited us to visit the 4,000 acre Kualoa Ranch cattle ranch and recreation destination.

David is a descendant of Gerrit Judd, who was one of King Kamehameha III cabinet members. Judd purchased the initial land and offshore fishing rights from the king in 1850.

While still an active cattle ranch, the family has diversified operations including vegetable and fruit farming, flower nurseries and producing fish and prawns for local markets. There are a variety of non invasive visitor activities they were happy to show us including hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, concerts, sporting events, education sessions and TV and film production.

After our breakfast orientation meeting, we were off to a tour of the Moli’i fish ponds and gardens. These preserved fish ponds were built 800 years ago using lava rock walls and a series of wooden sluice gates where small fish could enter. Growing as they fed on the alga in the pond, the fish became too large to exit the gates. Photo credit Kualoa Ranch.

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii fishpond tour on 800-year old ancient pond

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii fishpond tour on 800-year old ancient pond

Our next stop was the garden where taro, breadfruit, papaya, jack fruit, banana, pineapple, bamboo, sugar cane, coffee and a rainbow of flowers grew. We stopped near the macadamia nut trees seeking out a few overlooked nuts. The effort to required to crack these shells was impressive. By smashing the nut between two stones we were able to taste a few raw nut meat treats.

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Stepping in the Footprints from Godzilla’s movie

Kualoa Ranch Oahu Hawaii Stepping in the Footprints from Godzilla’s movie

After our stop for the lunch buffet in the main lodge we were off on our next tour. We chose the movie tour which took us out in a scenic part of the ranch valley. Cowboy, our tour guide took us through the former military bunker which has been used to film Lost and now houses movie relics and posters. As we rounded the bend the valley opened up in front of us. Here is were many movies and television shows are shot including Jurassic Park, George of the Jungle, Fifty First Dates. “@nctrlbst @alohayaling @alohabruce and @noelwilliamsinside one of Godzilla’s footprints. Photo credit April M. Williams”

The sites are marked by signs and our guide Cowboy had a story to tell of each one. Photo credit Kualoa Ranch.

Kualoa Ranch is about an hour drive from Honolulu. The ranch offers shuttle service from Waikiki and The Bus route 55 stops at the entrance to the ranch.

Follow Kualoa Ranch on Twitter.

For more information or to make reservations for a day at the ranch call (808) 237-7321 or email activityinfo@kualoa.com.

Watch video of our trip to the fish ponds, gardens and movie location sites.

Oahu Revealed

Oahu Revealed

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

This week we visited Duke’s Waikiki sponsored Reef and Ocean Expo. Ross Anderson, Regional General Manager was inspired to host this event by local fisherman Mac Poepoe who created a sustainable fishing plan for Moloka’i bay. By working with local residents, the retired firefighter created a plan allowing locals to fish and the Bay to replenish.

When we met with Ross on the beach he talked about Mac Poepoe, his passion for the ocean, sea life and his kids. His son Dakota and his schoolmates spent the day helping out and greeting attendees.

Educational displays were set up beach side with a variety of information on ocean life and conservation. We learned about non-native seaweed that raises havoc with our native plants. Volunteer divers put this vegetation from the waters and have disposed of truckloads of these invasive plants.

Ryan, a Waikiki lifeguard was on hand showing jellyfish caught off Waikiki Beach. These ocean critters are abundant in the waters about 10 days after a new moon. According to Ryan, the jellyfish tendrils are covered with thousands of pockets of venom. When swimmers are stung these pockets are transferred to our skin and the pocket opens. Some swimmers feel a faint twinge while others experience a more severe stinging and swelling. Each Waikiki lifeguard station is stocked with vinegar they can spray on victims to prevent the venom pockets from breaking, releasing their toxins. Occasionally, the stings produce an allergic reaction that may become deadly if untreated.

Two artists practiced fish painting called gyotaku. They brushed paint on an octopus then transferred the design onto t-shirts and posters.

If you are in Waikiki, take a break at Duke’s and check out the memorabilia of legendary Duke Kahanamoku. You never know who you might run into while you are there! Follow them on Twitter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Gyotaku Fish Painting Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Gyotaku Fish Painting Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Ryan shows us jellyfish Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Ryan shows jellyfish found in Waikiki Beach

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Earth Hour March 27 2010

Earth Hour 2010.

On Saturday 27 March at 8.30pm local time, join in support of your planet and shut off your lights.

Earth Hour is a global initiative to highlight our responsibility to our planet and the collective power of our citizens. We are encouraged to shut off our lights for one hour on March 27, 2010 in a stand against climate change. According to the Earth Hour website, we will be joining 116 countries and over 1500 cities, towns and municipalities who have already signed up to take part in the lights out campaign.

This movement began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 as the lights were shut off in the harbor around the Sydney Opera House. Over the last 3 years, the movement has grown to a worldwide event. Landmarks from the Eiffel Tower to the Sphinx in Egypt to the Las Vegas Strip will go dark for 60 minutes.

Visit the Earth Hour website for information on local events or to learn more about how you can reduce your environmental footprint.

Where will you be during Earth Hour 2010 Saturday March 27, 8:30 -9:30 PM local time?

Click below to watch a video about Earth Hour.

Encourage your family and friends to learn more about earth hour. On Twitter, use the hashtags #earthhour #wwfus #climate.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

While many of us just recently learned of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floating 1000 miles off the California coast in the North Pacific Gyre, scientists tell us it has been growing steadily since the 1950’s. Birds and animals get entangled in the trash and ingest tempting looking pieces of plastic causing a high concentration of chemicals in our food chain.

Weight is estimated at over 100 million tons spanning an area twice the size of the state of Texas. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch even has its own Wikipedia entry. Experts believe 80% of the plastic comes from land based sources while 20% comes from ships.

I delighted in taking my kids snorkeling in Hanauma Bay in Hawaii this month. They were wide-eyed as they watched the colorful tropical fish swim arms length away. At all the beaches we visited in Hawaii we found plastic bags and other trash on the shore and in the water. It’s not just Hawaii beaches. We find garbage everywhere we go. While out hiking or geocaching, we take a bag to collect garbage. In fact, the other week I had to buy a tactical backpack to carry our hiking snacks/water in one compartment while filling up the others with beach trash. Cache in – Trash out.

Hanauma Bay in Hawaii

Hanauma Bay in Hawaii

Plastic is 100% non biodegradable. It never breaks down.

What do you do about this growing problem? Start locally.
* Bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping. It’s an easy step.
* Pick up trash you find on your walks
* Reduce your waste. Can you fix it? Repurpose? Do without?

Only humans are to blame for this disaster and we are the only ones who can resolve the situation.

Profile for Diamond Head

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