Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Conserve-Action: A Green Halloween

All the packaging around Halloween-- the candy, the costumes, the decorations-- got me thinking: what if I just make one little change each holiday? By the end of a calendar year I will have earned my place on Santa's good girl list and helped the earth in the process. So I googled the question and here are 6 easy ways to make an eco-difference this Halloween:

  • First of all--walk. Don't drive.
  • Buy an organic pumpkin.
  • Bake the pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack or simply toss into the yard for the birds.
  • Compost that pumpkin.
  • Pass on the plastic bags for trick-or-treating and use a pillowcase or other reusable bag.
  • Dance by the light of the moon. In other words, turn off that spooky outdoor lighting. What's more spooky that an (almost) full moon?

Georgia Out...and About

Fall temperatures are here!! So get out there and try these Suwanee River and fall season inspired adventures:

Okefenokee Nature Photography Workshop at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. A hand's on workshop at one of the nations renown refuges with local nature photographer John Reed.

Paddle the Suwannee River. Very little of the Suwannee River is actually in the state of it's birth-- Georgia. But there is enough of it for a good weekend paddle. Put in at Stephen C Foster State Park in Georgia, stop off at the Suwannee River Visitors Center in Fargo and take out at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park not too far over the state line in Florida. Trip: +/- 20 miles.

Georgia State Park Leaf Watch. Visit this site to find out which state parks are in the best fall color. Looks like this weekend the higher elevation parks are your best bets: Black Rock State Park and Fort Mountain State Park.

Premiere Episode: Suwanee River Watershed

The Suwannee River is one of the most famous rivers in the southeast. From its origins in the Okefenokee Swamp to the rivers end along the marshes of the Gulf of Mexico, this great river is one of the last remaining unspoiled waterways in the United States.

But, a river is does not stand alone. Through a network of a network of springs, creeks, and underground aquifers, the Suwannee River Watershed drains an area over 11 thousand square miles straddling Georgia and Florida.

Georgia Outdoors explores the natural diversity of-- and some recreational opportunities throughout-- the Suwannee River watershed.

Only on GPB Television

Friday, Nov 2, 9:30 PM
Saturday, Nov 3, 6 PM
Sunday, Nov 4, 12 Noon

Tuesday, Nov 6, 7:30 PM

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Georgia Out and About: Nature Photography

The weather is supposed to clear up this weekend. 69 degrees and partly cloudy. Just about perfect, in my opinion. So get out there and try these Nature Photography and Halloween inspired adventures:

Halloween Hikes at Chattahoochee Nature Center. Experience the mystery of guided night hikes as you walk through the lighted nature center trails and meet friendly forest creatures with a tale to tell.

Burts Pumpkin Patch. A great place to bring the family and the camera. And while you're in that neck of the woods pop over to Amicalola Falls State Park. Hike the falls and use the camera. But don't forget to look all around you for that special shot. The falls is not the only subject in the park. Catch a shot of the turning leaves, a damp mushroom or a sneaky salamander.

Hop aboard Thomas the Tank Engine. The classic storybook engine is set to roll into the Sam Shortline Excursion Train depot in Cordele this weekend. While you're there stick around for sunset at Lake Blackshear. One of the best I've ever seen.

6th Annual Georgia Outdoors Nature Photography Contest

It's official. We holding another Nature Photography Contest. We'll start accepting submissions this Friday, Oct 26. Submissions will be accepted until Dec 31, 2007. For more about the rules and regulations of the contest click here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On The Road: Dalton, Pine Mountain & Washington, GA

We at Georgia Outdoors travel a lot! That is to be expected with an outdoors show like ours. Our offices are located in Midtown-- but most of our subjects are not. This week our subjects are in Dalton, Pine Mountain and Washington, GA. That'll be about 600 miles clocked on the ol' GPB van.

Wouldn't you know it-- the first day it has rained in months and months we're in Dalton shooting a segment about Watersmart, a water conservation program of the The Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority. Most of the morning was a bust and the afternoon fell apart too. Luckily, at Georgia Outdoors our shoots don't fall apart that often. My policy for cancellations due to weather is a forecast of 85% or higher chance of rain. Lower than that and we head out anyway.

On Thursday, the focus of the shoot at Pine Mountain is geology and plant ecology of the mountain. Pine Mountain is an anomalously tall area in the Piedmont region with north and south exposures of rock that are probably a billion years old or older. An interesting place for plants. We'll find out what the experts can show us.

And finally, this Friday the Georgia Outdoors crew will find themselves in Washington, GA to take part in "Cemetery Day". Believe it or not, cemeteries count when you're adding up greenspace in an area. Cemeteries are also historic sites that require preservation efforts. This Friday, the town of Washington, GA will be rededicating the African American section of the School Street Cemetery. The area has been cleaned up, archeology surveys have helped identify unmarked graves, and walking tours of cemetery will be offered. We'll be there to catch it all.

Georgia Outdoors Friendly Neighborhood Intern Boy

Although now I am an Associate Producer, not too long ago (i.e. a matter of months) I was the Georgia Outdoors Friendly Neighborhood Intern Boy. (GOFNIB) One of the tasks set before me during those intern days was to close caption the current season of shows. I won’t go into too many details (because frankly, who cares?) but suffice it to say that close captioning is, as a general rule of thumb, about a nine on the monot-o-meter.

This held true for all of the close captioning I did as an intern, with the notable exception of the upcoming episode “Nature Photography Contest: Fifth Anniversary”.

As a nature lover and amateur photographer, the “photo contest” shows are some of my favorite in the Outdoors library. It’s great to hear the winners talking about their photographs: what they went through to get the shot, what equipment they used, and so on. The winners always have great advice for any up and coming shutterbugs, and on the top of the list is this one: take lots of pictures. Simple advice, I know, but it’s amazing how easy it can be to forget. It really is the best way to get better at photography. Don’t believe me? Check out Georgia Outdoors: Nature Photography Contest Fifth Anniversary and see for yourself.

And after you watch the show, go out and start taking some pictures for yourself. Why? Because soon we’ll start accepting entries for year six of our contest! Check our website in the coming days for more information. Don’t miss the deadline! If enjoying the outdoors isn’t motivation enough for you, watch this Friday’s episode and check out some of the prize packages our previous photographers have won. : )

Friday, October 19, 2007

Brown Spots in Your Lawn are a Badge of Honor

All outdoors watering of any kind is now banned. It is the strictest watering ban in Georgia history.

We've never watered our lawn at my house so I'm used to a brown lawn especially in the late summer and fall. But I have always felt a little sheepish about it. Now I won't. I'm going to wear that brown lawn like a badge of honor. A little attutide goes a long way. Although I've never watered my grass there is a small bed at the front of my house that I water with drip hoses and several trees I try to keep healthy through the hot summers. This is how I plan to get creative and conservative about outdoor watering at my house.

I plan to start using my gray water tonight. Gray water is collected from baths, rinsing foods, clothes washers and dishwashing. Even if it has dilute amounts of soap, gray water will not harm your plants. I will collect the water by placing a tupperware bucket under the faucet when I'm rinsing vegetables or even washing my hands. That water can be walked right out the front door and placed in the graden. My three-year-old will love it.

Speaking of three-year-olds-- mine loves her evening bath. Also starting tonight, I will recycle her bath water. No, I won't lug it outside with multiple trips with a bucket sloshing water on the stairs and rugs. I will recycle the water by siphoning it right outside with a hose through the window. And my huband is going to be mightly entertained in the process!

Composting. I've been putting this off for years. But I have a big back yard and no more excuses for not composting. This will have a three fold effect: save water, decrease solid waste and fertilize my garden. It's easy enough to keep a garbage bowl or on the counter and fill it with my family's organic waste such as coffee grounds, eggshells, and fruit and vegetable scraps. You can even dispose of tea bags, cardboard rolls, and dryer and vacuum cleaner lint.

And lastly, I plan to buy a shower timer this weekend. You can save 1000 gallons of water a month if you limit your showers to under 5 minutes. My husband isn't going to love this part of my plan. He loves to fritter the time away in the shower. But, hey, he will get to play with a siphon hose and a new electronic gadget, a decreased water bill-- which in Atlanta can add up to alot!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Be a Citizen Scientist

Several years ago I was driving down I-16. For anyone whose ever driven that stretch from Macon to Savannah you know it can be a trial just staying awake. It is some of the blandest highway driving in the south.

Well, on this day, like so many others driving from location to location, I looked up and saw a dark shadow coasting above. First thought-- a vulture. Maybe a turkey vulture but probably a black vulture. But as I studied the silhouette I noticed the deeply forked tail that gives no doubt to its identification-- a swallow-tailed kite! What a joy to see!

Swallow-tailed Kites are listed as rare in Georgia and so I noted the exit # and added the bird to my mental life list. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has an ongoing survey about swallow-tailed kites and this information is used to study activity range size and migration routes among other things. So, I did my citizen scientist duty for the day and it felt good.

You can do your part too. There are many ways that your observations in the outdoors can be put to use by wildlife biologists. Check out Georgia Outdoors: Citizen Scientist for more ideas and links.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ignore the sand gnats, look at that sunrise.

Shooting days can be long and wearing. Early mornings, long days, and late nights. In the event of a marsh shoot, those circumstances are compounded by sand gnats, mosquitoes, fire ants, and anything else that can savage the legs of an unsuspecting television crew. But a beautiful sunset and brilliant sunrise will make you forget about all those things in a hurry.

We live in a beautiful place.

Georgia Outdoors photographer Shane braves the stinging insects to shoot some pretty pictures.

I took some stills on the shoot. This is a sunset over the west edge of Skidaway Island.

Sunset over the west side of Skidaway Island, with endangered Wood Storks.

Sunrise over the eastern edge of Skidaway Island.

Sales Tax Holiday for "Green" Products

What better way to celebrate the premiere of a new season of eco-friendly TV than to purchase some eco-friendly products?

This week, from Thursday Oct 4 through Sunday Oct 7, shoppers will pay no taxes on any products under $1500 that carry an Energy Star label. Eligible items include dishwashers, air conditioners, ceiling fans, refrigerators, florescent light bulbs, and televisions. Yes, there are "green" TVs out there.

So, this Friday at 9:30 PM tune in for the season premiere of Georgia Outdoors on a new Energy Star TV and be an eco-friendly armchair explorer.