Day: November 1, 2013

Presentations from the Illinois Green Business Summit now available

Presentations from the 2013 Illinois Green Business Summit are now available on the event’s web site. Page down to see the links.

Summaries of session will be posted early next week and will be available through the Summit Line-Up Page. Content will be available when you click “Read more…” on each panel description on the Line-Up.


From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2013.

If you’re not scared off by the acronym, the Ecosystems Mobile Outdoor Blended Immersive Learning Environment (EcoMOBILE) is a fabulous learning device. Developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, EcoMOBILE is a fairly remarkable initiative that allows students to explore a virtual pond and extend their learning through one or more field trips to a local pond environment. Students can access and collect information and clues about the virtual environment via a mobile device. Then, students can extend their learning to the real world by using environmental probes that allow collection of real-time data. On the site, visitors can learn about the application via a short video, project data, and information about the primary investigators.

WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities

WaterSense has developed WaterSense at Work, a compilation of water-efficiency best management practices, to help commercial and institutional facility owners and managers understand and better manage their water use. WaterSense at Work is designed to provide guidance to help establish an effective facility water management program and identify projects and practices that can reduce facility water use.

How Hasbro, Lego and Mattel stack up as green toy makers

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Think about the volume of toys manufactured each year. Millions upon millions of games, dolls, trinkets and other baubles are churned out for the entertainment of children around the world. As the titans that make them start considering their complete environmental footprints, they are making big strides in protecting the planet’s natural resources, albeit by disparate approaches.

Here’s an introduction to the steps that three of the biggest names in the toy business are taking toward sustainability.

‘Nature Is a Powerful Teacher’: The Educational Value of Going Outside

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

Four years ago, the nurse at Boston’s Young Achievers School was overwhelmed. Previously a middle school, Young Achievers had recently become a K-8 school and there was no appropriate space for recess. Instead, according to a teacher at the school, students spent recess in “a disorganized, cracked, muddy parking lot,” where they ran between and bounced balls off of cars.

That changed when a group called the Boston Schoolyard Initiative began a community planning process to build a new playground and outdoor classroom at the school. Today, students spend recess digging in a sand box, crafting tunnels through a bramble, and playing in a stream—and asphalt injuries no longer fill the nurse’s office.

Biochar: The Original Soil Amendment to Mitigate Climate Change

Read the full post at CSRNewswire.

The conversion of degradable carbon to carbon that is orders of magnitude more stable than its feedstock carbon is what makes biochar a particularly appealing climate change mitigation technology.

Three biochar research video presentation from Ithaka

On the heterogenety of biochar and consequences for representative sampling
As biochar is extremely heterogeneous to use an adapted technique of sampling especially of industrial quantities of biochar is primordial. Thomas Bucheli introduced into sampling theory and comes up with highly performing sampling technique for biochar. Rarely such a dry matter of study with presented more entertaining.

Potential of biochar and soils for effluent decontamination
Producing Terra Preta like soil substrates with up to 75% biochar may not only help to improve plant growth performance but could also be used to decontaminate urban effluents in so called biobeds. Pascal Boivin introduces into the field of soil substrate characterisation and shows how biological activated biochar could improve its growth and decontamination potential.

Biochar meets organics
One of the most important advances of biochar research in the last years are the combination of biochar with organic nutrients for the developement of new growing media and organic fertilizers. Claudia Kammann is one of the leading figures on this field and gave a very inspiring talk about biochar functions in regard to it’s combination with organics and especialy compost.

Sonoma Ecology Center gets biochar project grant

Read the full story from the Sonoma Index-Tribune.

Earlier this month, the Sonoma Ecology Center and its partners received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and additional funds from the Sonoma County Water Agency to launch a biochar project.

The $75,000 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) is allocated to states by the USDA National Resource Conservation Service, and is awarded to groups undertaking sustainable research-based projects. The Sonoma County Water Agency worked with the ecology center to secure the grant and matched the funds with the $75,000 needed to buy an Adam Retort, the machine used to create biochar…

Research for the project, which will focus on how biochar builds soil, retains soil moisture and improves agricultural productivity and forest practices, will take place at three area farms, Swallow Valley Farm in Valley Ford, Oak Hill in Glen Ellen and Green String in Petaluma.Together, the farms have volunteered to dedicate $83,000 worth of time and work to the project. The Adam Retort will be located at Swallow Valley Farm and the initial biochar will be made from the groves of eucalyptus trees on the property, providing a true example of sustainable biochar creation, notes David Brin, a development associate at the ecology center who was involved in writing the grant. The biochar created will be used on each of the three farms to allow researchers to study the effect biochar has in different soils.

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