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GOING GREEN The Idyllwild Town Crier's Guide to Responsible Living


Earth Fair preview, page 2 Planting a water-wise garden, page 9

This year's Greenwood Award recepient, page 3 Idyllwild Arts' renewed committment to sustainability, pages 4, 6 & 7 Landscaping with native plants, page 8

DIY compost bins, pages 10 & 11

Page 2 - Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2012

Idyllwild Earth Fair ... friendly fun for all By J.P. Crumrine Editor

“The constant

is that everyone Idyllwild’s 23 rd Annual Earth Fair will be Saturday, May 19 from who’s involved 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at its traditional donates their venue — Town Hall. This year the time and gives theme is “Sustain this!” The logo depicts a flower with from their five petals. Each petal suggesting hearts ... how or where we might conserve our resources. The ocean and water is on one, a car and electrical appliance is San Jacinto State Park, another petal. Trees and gardens are Mountain Communities represented on a third, the weather Fire Safe Council and is the fourth and the fifth petal, Riverside County Waste at the top, depicts our homes and Management. community. The Idyllw ild The Committee promises the Garden Club, usual attractive mix of food, music Idyllw ild Nature and dancing. Interactive booths will C e n t e r, P i n y o n feature recycled art, solar energy, Mountain Botanicals earth-friendly products, composting, and the California garland making, wildlife education, Native Plant Society henna painting and more. will discuss plants There will be some new exhibi- A butterfly tent will be at this year's festival. and gardening. tors this year. The Earth Fair ComFo o d w i l l b e mittee welcomes the Secret Goldfish Baking Company available, including popular Sage Mountain Farm, with organic bread and cookies, which Molly Greenwood which will offer organic burritos.. and Dolma’s Hiowns and operates. malayan Finger Food will also bring refreshments. This year, the popular butterfly exhibit will be locally Preceding Earth Fair at 7 p.m. Friday, May 18, connected. Scott (co-owner of the Strawberry Creek Bed will be a Dessert Reception at Town Hall. Attend& Breakfast and Strawberry Creek Bunkhouse) will or- ees can taste dessert delicacies prepared by local ganize the Butterfly Tent. His experience includes raising restaurants and listen to live local music. A silent and tending to praying mantes, bees (currently at the bed auction with a wide variety of items to bid on from and breakfast), monarch butterflies, and other insects. area galleries and businesses is also offered, as is In addition, local groups and agencies will return to the annual presentation of the Greenwood Award. share their thoughts on conservation and sustainability. The Tickets for the Friday event are $15 or two for $25 Idyllwild and Pine Cove water districts will have booths at the door and all proceeds go toward producing Earth and the Santa Ana Watershed Association will be present. Fair. Other agencies exhibiting include Malki Museum, Mount The highlight of the Friday event is presentation of the Greenwood Award to this year’s recipient Dr. Performers Kate Kramer, the Forest Service botanist on the San Jacinto Ranger District. See facing page for more about Emcee: Doug Austin Kramer. Headliners: Idyllwild Arts All Stars, The Idyllwild Earth Fair was created in 1990 by a featuring Barnaby Finch & Don Reed group of volunteers who wanted to contribute to the life Local Color of our community by presenting an annual event focusSwift Pony ing on environmental concerns that effect us locally and Idyllwild Arts Jazz Quintet globally. This grassroots event is still produced entirely by volunteers. Through inspiration, motivation and the Nathan Rivera & the Resophonics provision of information and expertise, the Earth Fair

Musical performances include some of the Hill's top talent, from professional musicians to Idyllwild Arts Academy award-winning student groups. Exhibitors often feature whares made from reused items,.

Photos by J.P. Crumrine

organizers encourage neighbors, visitors and others to become actively involved in the pursuit of such areas as solar energy, multi-species preservation, recycling, earthfriendly products, fire safety, composting, water conservation and more. In the nearly quarter century since the Idyllwild Earth Fair’s inception, the individuals responsible have changed, but the goal and enthusiasm remain. “The constant is that everyone who’s involved donates their time and gives from their hearts,” said Holly Owens, Earth Fair committee chair. “Idyllwild makes this event happen — from the donations at our silent auction, to the incredible talent on stage the whole day, to the people who staff the event — it’s a community effort.”

Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2012 - Page 3

Dr. Kramer 2012 Greenwood Award recipient By J.P. Crumrine Idyllwild Town Crier Editor he 2012 Greenwood Award recipient is Dr. Kate Kramer, botanist on the San Jacinto Ranger District. Kramer has been working in the local forest nearly 10 years and said she still finds the work exciting and new. The award will be presented at the Earth Fair Dessert Reception, which starts at 7 p.m., Friday, May 18 at Town Hall. Following the presentation, Kramer will speak about the enormous flora diversity on the Hill, including lemon lilies. “We are honoring Kate for her advocacy and work on behalf of native plants in our region,” said Holly Owens, of the Idyllwild Earth Fair Committee. “Not only is she generous with the public and individuals in sharing her time and knowledge, but Kate has the ability to

We are honoring Kate on behalf of native plants in our region ...


Dr. Kate Kramer teaches about the growth of lemon lilies during the first Lemon Lily Festival in 2010. Town Crier file photo

reach across lines within the Forest Service and has worked hand-in-hand with fire personnel to try and find the best solutions for our environment and people’s safety.” Kramer said she was very surprised when Owens called with the news. “This is prestigious company,” she said. This is the 21st Greenwood Award and Kramer is the second U.S. Forest Service employee to be honored. In 2004, the Committee gave the award to Daniel McCarthy, noted local archeologist and cultural anthropologist. Although Kramer grew up in southern California and graduated from the University of California at Riverside, she earned

her graduated degrees in Texas. Her doctorate in biological systems engineering is from Texas A & M University. After school she has worked with various public agencies assessing and researching primarily botanical issues. At UC Riverside, Kate trapped kangaroo rats for a study in coastal sage mammal communities, hiked the southern Sierras as a field Dr. Kate Kramer is the 2012 assistant working on white Greenwood Award recipient. Photo by J.P. Crumrine bark pine regeneration and surveyed populations of Yucca whipplei for reproduction differences as her senior project. A trip to Africa after college taught her that if people are taken care of, then they will take care of the environment. This important lesson has guided her efforts in research projects, regulatory biology issues and most recently, land management work. See Kramer, page 9

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Page 4 - Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2012

Idyllwild Arts returns to conservation roots By Isaac Dwyer Idyllwild Town Crier Intern Idyllwild Arts Student

education to schools about ings, most notably the Parks ecology and Native AmeriExhibition Center (where can culture, for an artists’ there is considerable cost reception benefiting the for the gallery lighting) dormant seed has reschools sustainability proand the replacement of the sprouted this school year gram. 70-watt tree-mounted lights on the Idyllwild Arts “We’re moving our with more efficient 29-watt Academy (IAA) campus cafeteria towards locally alternatives, saving approxiand is growing into something that based and organic foods,” mately 50,000 pounds of holds vast potential — a push toJacobs continued. carbon from entering the ward environmental sustainability. The school also plans atmosphere. Sydney Cosselman, acting director of the Krone Museum, to construct all new buildThe academy’s enrevealed some of the roots of the rediscovered environmen- ings according to LEED vironmental impact, just talism, utilizing the archives at her disposal. (Leadership in Energy and from light usage (during the “In 1952,” she wrote, “the School of Conservation was Environmental Design) 9-month school year) was established [by the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts standards, created by the calculated by the environ(ISOMATA)] to fill a growing need in public schools.” Before United States Green Buildmental studies department becoming a private high school, ISOMATA was an connected ings Council (USGBC). led by Martha Ellen Wingto Cal State Long Beach and the University of Southern The USGBC evaluates the field to be approximately California. “At the request of the California Department of energy usage of buildings. 422,005 pounds of carbon Natural Resources and the State Department of Education, If a building uses 25 to (assuming that light usage a two-unit course in Conservation of Natural Resources was 30 percent less than the is continual throughout the made available to teachers on the ISOMATA campus.” national average, then it year, including breaks). Cosselman said Ernie Maxwell, a local conservation edu- is given the council’s seal This number may seem cator and activist, and biologist Clinton Schonberger were of approval. daunting in the face of the appointed by the State Department of Natural Resources to Attitudes on cam0-waste goal, but Jacobs sees head the program. The school’s conservation efforts main- pus have also noticeably a way through. “I want to tained a strong run throughout the 1950s and ’60s, but changed over the past year, Public school students came to Idyllwild Arts, then ISOMATA, in integrate conservation into dissipated in the early ’70s. with environmental inter- the 1950s to participate in a conservation program. every single piece of life on Brian Cohen came on staff following 25-year President ests rising among faculty Photo courtesy Idyllwild Arts Krone Museum this campus. We all use the Bill Lowman’s departure in 2011 and with him came a and students. cafeteria, restrooms; we all reinvigoration of the early conservation roots. This time, Cohen often gets pointturn on and off the light Cohen hopes to take the academy all the way. ed to as the beginning of the change, but he says not all the and we need to work on conserving our natural resources,” “Our goal is to eventually have the whole campus off credit should be given to him. she said. “The goal is to integrate arts and academics and the grid,” said Shannon Jacobs, student life and leadership When he arrived on campus at the beginning of the conservation actively and seamlessly. I don’t want this to coordinator. “Obviously, that’ll be a while from now, but year, he said “everyone was ready, and all I had to do was be annoying. I want people to fall into step for their own that’s the goal.” press a button.” Cohen said when he first noticed the lack benefit. We need to do this and the best way to do it is in Being off the grid, Cohen said, means “all of our electric of avid environmentalism at the school he was “a little bit a smart way.” power [would be sourced] from a solar array on campus. surprised that it wasn’t part of peoples’ systems of behavior. “You need to love the environment to care for it,” said We’re in an ideal location for solar and the idea isn’t all that There was a lack of mindfulness about basic stuff, such as Wingfield, who once spent time as an environmental conwacky, as utilities are required to proturning the lights off.” sultant on a Superfund hazardous waste clean-up site. “You vide a certain amount of power from When asked if he had received need to get out into it. The more time you spend outside, Our goal is to eventually renewable sources and are looking to any pushback against his efforts, the more steps you’ll take to care for it.” have the whole campus off partner with schools.” Cohen said, “the only reservations “I’m very much taken with the beauty of our location. Jacobs explained the steps that the the grid ... that people expressed to me were that It’s still somewhat unfamiliar to me and captivating,” said academy has already implemented I couldn’t go too quickly, or they’d Cohen who taught a class on observation and taxonomy, toward this goal: “We have the water burn out.” where students learned to observe their environment more conservation plan. We’re developing baselines for energy One of the most obvious changes visible on campus is carefully and reflect and respond to it creatively, at his former consumption for electricity and propane. We have partner- what is colloquially known as “going tray-less” (read more post at Putney School. ships forming with the community,” she said. on page 7). “It seems that we owe respect and attention to our The school recently partnered with The EarthWitness Other changes to campus life include the installment surroundings and should live in parallel to its needs and Foundation, a local organization that provides outreach of motion-activated light switches in most of the build- balance,” he said.



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Page 6 - Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2010

Progress already being made at IA By Ruth Ruiz Idyllwild Town Crier Intern Idyllwild Arts Student

I noticed that we “ don't think much about

waste and energy usage, and that we weren't looking around at the environment and taking it in ... – Brian Cohen President, Idyllwild Arts Academy

dyllwild Arts Ac a d e my i s currently undergoing a transformation. Earlier this school year, it was brought to the student’s attention that the school’s energy consumption needed to go down. The school president, Brian Cohen, is enthusiastic about getting the school into the conservation program and to “go green.” knew a lot about what it would take Cohen illustrated two major books to conserve energy and lower the of natural history and ecology, “Readschool’s carbon footprint. He said ing the Forested Landscape” and “The his interest was reawakened when Granite Landscape.” Both of these books he was offered the chance to go on help people become more aware of the the Denver trip. many features within the landscape and When the students returned from their significance. their trip, they came back with new In addition to this, he taught “Obknowledge on the subject and new servation and Taxonomy,” which took experiences the share, like having to as its premise, “a student’s development write a rap about environmentalism. of responsive, reflective and descriptive At an all school event, they presentwriting and drawing skills in directly ed a video showing their experience experiencing, describing, and interpretat the International Green House ing the observed natural world.” School in Denver. While presenting The Putney School, where Cohen their video to the school, the four worked for 26 years before his move students stood proudly wearing their to Idyllwild, was “on a working dairy brand new shirts made from 100 farm and strongly emphasized ecologipercent recycled plastic. cal principles.” He was even involved The video documented their in “planning the first net-zero energy travels, the actual event and all the school building in the U. S., which Students participate in the ISOMATA conservation program in this 1950s photo. different types of booths they got to opened about four years ago.” Photo courtesy Idyllwild Arts Krone Museum visit. Standing proudly in front of Although Idyllwild Arts is only beginthe entire school, they showed how ning its energy and water conservation, important going green was, while it has managed to save a considerable amount already. Earlier this school year, four students traveled to using a fun and cheerful approach. The school started the movement at the campus dining Denver and participated in a conference called the The academy’s sustainability efforts have gotten off to hall by encouraging diners to go tray-less (read more on Green House School. The students who attended were a great start and more plans are already in the works. page 7). Devin DeBowski, Alexandra Gandionco, Katherine A garden, where flowers and vegetables can be grown, As well as going tray-less, the school has now changed Kearns and Michelle McMillan. is being planned for outside of one of the dorms. its light bulbs to CFLs, which conserve energy. Another Before leaving, all four expressed excitement and “I noticed that we didn’t think much about waste step was the installation of new recycling bins in every a little nervousness about to what they were getting and energy usage, and that we weren’t looking around dorm. They are used to collect a variety of items, includ- themselves into. DeBowski was very excited about the at the environment and taking it in,” Cohen said. “We ing ink cartridges, digital cameras and even old laptops. Denver trip because at his former school, he was very live in a very special place.”


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Going tray-less

By Isaac Dwyer and Ruth Ruiz Idyllwild Town Crier Interns Idyllwild Arts Students The Nelson Dining hall, where the serving system was designed around the use of cafeteria trays, is now the site of many of its attendees refusing to use trays. Diners instead opt to carry their food to their table. The reason for this is not a rebellion, but was encouraged. It is because the use of trays, and having to wash them, accounts for a large amount of the cafeteria’s water usage (90 gallons a day), as well as concerns about food waste: the thought being that if you had to carry all of it by hand (instead of by tray), diners would be more conscientious about only taking food that they were going to eat. When the students and faculty use a tray, they tend to fill the tray with food. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t necessarily eat all of this food and some would end up in the trash bin.

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Of course, there are those who still prefer the converse of using a tray. Interestingly enough, this is visibly more common with faculty members, not students. When asked, faculty and student responses for their choice ranged from “What are you talking about?” and “I’m lazy” to “How do you expect me to carry all of this?” and “I’m old, and I don’t have the time or energy to be running back and forth from the salad bar five times.” Other reasons for not using a tray include, “I go up for seconds and my tray helps me carry all my plates back without spilling anything” or “I feel like I’m really messy and my tray helps contain my mess.” One even said, “I don’t want to carry all of this in my hands,” and another said “I’m not the one washing it, so it’s not my problem.” Going tray-less was suggested by some of the staff and it proved to be effective. Within the first week there was a visible change in the amount of water that was Some perfer to still use a tray, while others embrace the trayused. less mantra. Photo by Ruth Ruiz

Page 8 - Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2012

The benefits of planting California natives lanting local California native plants is a form of ecological restoration that we can all accomplish, whether in a home landscape, community garden, or in patio plant containers. “And, here is the good news; it’s not all that hard to do,” said to Ben White, who along with partner Jackie Lasater, last year co-founded Wild California Native Plants & Seeds Nursery in Banning. Because they are adapted to prevailing conditions, local California native plants demand little from the environment other than what is provided by nature. You don’t have to Bush Poppy or Tree Poppy transport them for long distances because they come from (Dendromecon rigida) here. You don’t have to water them much after they are Courtesy National Park Service established or add fertilizer because they have been naturally adapted to the arid climate and local soil conditions for eons. And native plants fit with the local ecology, providing food and shelter to native pollinators like butterflies, native bees and birds. “Even a small area devoted to local California natives can make a huge difference” Lasater said. “Over half of the residential water used here gets used to water the landscape and that just isn’t sustainable over the long term.” Patches of native plant gardens can also serve as islands Slender Sunflower (Helianthus of refuge for native wildlife and can provide stopovers for gracinentus) Courtesy National Park Service Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla) Photo by Noah Elhardt species to migrate between surrounding areas like the national forests and wildlands. The possibilities for such informal native plant wildlife refuges are increased as those responsible for maintaining larger government facilities, office campuses and corporate headquarters consider the palette of local native plants as part of reducing water usage and chemical runoff from fertilizer. “Transitioning to California native plants in landscaping is a powerful way to be positively and proactively environmentalist,” says White. “It’s important to try to stop destructive practices, but we can also make a strong statement for helping to heal the environment in every Arroyo Lupine (Lupinus plant we place in our garden and in the landWestern Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale) succulentus) scaping installed around our schools, parks and Photo by Eric Hunt Photo by The Marmot Scarlet bugler (Penstemon centranthifolius) offices.” White and Lasater formed Wild California Native Plants & Seeds this past year as part of the Alliance for Youth Employment Skills community service and jobs skills development program. Since then, they and their team of Coulter’s Snapdrag14 trainees have supplied over on (Antirrhinum 5,000 plants to local retail coulterianum) California fuchsia or hummingbird Chaparral Current (Ribes nurseries, garden and ecology California wild rose Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) groups, botanical gardens and (Rosa californica) malvaceum) Photo courtesy flower (Zauschneria californica) Photo by Curtis Clark restoration projects. Photo by Florian Siebeck National Park Service Photo by Stan Shebs Photo by Stan Shebs


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Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2012 - Page 9

Watering the garden By Vicki Jakubac Pine Cove Water District ith summer fast approaching, the stores are brimming with all sorts of plants from flowers to vines to vegetables, which makes a stroll through the garden center the gardener’s equivalent of being a kid in a candy shop. While it is tempting to bring as many of these plants home to our gardens as possible, we have to first think about how much water it will take for them to grow and thrive. With gardening being the number one hobby in the United States, it is no surprise that each summer water usage rises exponentially due to outdoor irrigation. And with more water use, comes higher water bills. So what is an avid gardener living in a drought prone area to do? There are many tricks and techniques that can be incorporated in gardens everywhere that will reduce outdoor water usage. In the past, we have discussed water saving methods such as installing rain water harvesting systems, creating swales and berms throughout your property, using drip irrigation and soaker hoses instead of sprinklers, adding compost to your soil for better water retention and mulching to keep moisture in. However, what hasn’t been discussed yet is container gardening. That’s right, container gardening. Gardening in con-


Kramer Continued from page 3

One of the projects on which Kramer has had significant influence is the recent effort to re-establish the native lemon lily population. “Everybody loves lemon lilies,” she said. “I see people aware and very appreciative to taking ownership of the lemon lily. Up here people now know its history and value. “As a plant person it is wonderful if others got excited for the plants. I’m so glad the town backed the project,” she said. Kramer is also responsible for a rare plant tabulation of the local forest. “This is a really good baseline for anyone coming in,” she noted. But Kramer has not been restricted to botanical fieldwork and in the laboratory writing reports. In the absence of a San Jacinto District information officer, Kramer took on those duties for the district’s fire staff. Whenever there is fire on the local district, such as the Lawler Fire in January, Kramer is the source of abundant and helpful information. “I enjoy being a part of the team,” she said. “I love working on fires as the public information officer. Learning those communication skills is really fun.” Curiosity is a necessity for any scientist, but Kramer uses teamwork, communication, leadership and creativity, which demonstrate why the Idyllwild Earth Fair Committee is honoring her this year. J.P. Crumrine can be reached at

tainers can be wonderfully creative, flexible and can create a magical ambiance in your garden. It can save you time and water, which in turn, saves you money. Gardening in containers is far less physically challenging than traditional gardening and that makes gardening accessible to just about everyone. One downside of container gardening has always been that containers need more frequent watering as they dry out quickly. But that is no longer a problem because there are now self-watering containers available making it possible for anyone to have a water saving garden as large or as small as they would like, anywhere they would like. Self-watering containers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, save water and reduce your time spent on watering. They can be used for vegetables, flowers or even in window boxes. If you are an avid DIYer, there are lots of directions on the Internet on how you make your own self-watering containers out of simple things like plastic storage containers, laundry baskets and PVC pipe. What makes self-watering containers unique is that they have special reservoirs that hold water. The plants draw moisture from the reservoir as they need it and this means that your plants are never over- or under-watered and you are freed from the daily chore of watering your containers. Generally, you fill them up once or twice a week — depending on the weather and the type of plants you have planted — and you are good to go. The plants do the rest. As a result, you save time, water and money.

If you prefer a method that is even more low-tech than the self-watering containers, you can try using the buried clay pot method of irrigation, which just happens to be one the most efficient irrigation systems known. Clay pots, also known as ollas, are unglazed clay containers that are buried in the garden and fi lled with water. The water seeps out through the clay at a rate that is influenced by the plant’s water use. You just fill the olla and go. They are excellent for water conservation and can be used in many situations and are especially good in the veggie garden. And, just like the self-watering containers, they save time, water and money. So the next time you get the urge to start planting a garden, remember that with a little planning and creativity, it is possible to have a beautiful garden and save water.

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Page 10 - Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2012

What is the importance of composting? By Marshall Smith Idyllwild Town Crier Staff Reporter hy compost? For one thing, organic waste accounts for 24 percent of material taken to dumps and collected by trash companies. It is almost a quarter of the mountain of trash that we, as the most voracious consumers on the planet, produce annually. Composting materials are routinely thrown away when, in fact, they can be productive and useful. What is it? Compost is organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants. Compost is created by combining organic wastes (yard trimmings, leaves, food wastes) in proper ratios into piles, rows or containers. Bulking agents, wood chips for example, are then added to accelerate the breakdown of the organic materials. Compost improves soil structure, porosity and bulk density, which creates a better environment for a plant’s root structure. Using compost to enrich a soil prior to planting a garden is a necessary precondition with many types of soil. The moisture-holding capacity of soil is improved with compost, reducing water loss and nutrient leaching. Beneficial microorganisms are supplied to the soil, which assist nutrient uptake and suppress certain soil-born diseases. Compost adds a variety of micronutrients to the soil and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, which recent research has shown to damage soil if used over extensive periods of time. And finally, compost acts to release nitrogen into the soil slowly and steadily so plants receive a constant flow of nutrients. In addition to benefiting plants and gardens, compost has been shown to facilitate reforestation, wetland restoration and habitat revitalization by amending contaminated, compacted and marginal soils. Compost can remove solids, oil, grease and heavy metals from storm water runoff. It can help capture and destroy 99.6 percent of industrial volatile organic chemicals in contaminated air and provides cost savings


of at least 50 percent over conventional soil, water and air pollution remediation technologies, where applicable. (Statistics courtesy of the federal Environmental Protection Agency [EPA].) So, the question is why throw away materials that have use? Why buy new materials that can cost as much as $15 a cubic yard when you could use your own compost to prepare soil this year for spring planting next year? According to the EPA, here is the “In” list of good composting materials: animal manure, but not pet wastes; cardboard rolls; clean paper; coffee grounds and filters; cotton rags; dryer and vacuum cleaner lint; eggshells; fireplace ashes; fruits and vegetables; grass clippings; hair and fur; hay and straw; houseplants; leaves; nut shells; sawdust; shredded newspaper; tea bags; wood chips; wool rags; and yard trimmings. The “Out” list, or things not to compose, includes coal or charcoal ash; black walnut tree leaves or twigs; dairy products (such as butter, egg yolks, milk, sour cream and yogurt); diseased or insect-ridden plants; fats, grease, lard and oils; meat/fish bones and scraps; pet wastes, including soiled cat litter; and yard trimmings with chemical pesticides. As a general rule of thumb when composting, use equal amounts of green and brown material. Green materials are nitrogen-rich and moist and include grass clippings, weeds, coffee grounds and kitchen scraps. Brown materials are carbon-rich items such as dried leaves, straw and wood chips. Don’t add twigs larger around than your finger; they take too long to deteriorate. Keep compost moist, but not wet. Your compost pile or container should have enough mass for microbes’ activity to raise the temperature. Rule of thumb is that a pile be 3-foot-by-3-foot-by-3-foot, but not greater than 5 feet in any direction, to allow air into the pile. The more often you turn the pile, the faster it will become fully composted. Turning means reversing the top and bottom materials on a regular basis. Make sure the compost pile is at least two feet from any building. And, always mix compost with soil before

A three-level worm compost bin is easy to make using plastic storage containers and a drill. Photos by Rachel Welch using for gardening. Finished compost can be applied to lawns and gardens to help condition the soil and replenish nutrients. Compost should not be used as potting

soil for houseplants because of the presence of weed and grass seeds. Marshall Smith can be reached at


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Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2012 - Page 11

12 (relatively) easy compost bin designs Details for these do-it-yourself compost bins are provided by the California Department of Resources, Recycling & Recovery (CalRecycle). They range in complexity and price and many can be made from reused or recycled materials. Full details for the compost bins below can be found online at Below find a preview of the full designs, highlights and the level of complexity for each.

Do-it-yourselfer Do-it-yoursel it-yourselfer skill level required it-yoursel = beginner

= handy

= experienced

Single Compartment Wood Bin FEATURES • Simple materials and tools • Sturdy • Low maintenance • For a yard with space and level ground 2-Person Wooden Worm Bin FEATURES • Compact and can be placed indoors or outdoors • Produces high-nutrient fertilizer

Worm Composting Bin FEATURES • Produces large amounts of highnutrient fertilizer • Fast production • Good for large gardens and projects

Urban All-Wood Bin FEATURES • Needs considerable carpentry skills • Good for mixed compost — fruit, vegetables & yard trimmings • 2 harvesting doors, wire mesh lining & top doubles as sifter

Portable Wood & Wire Composting Bin FEATURES • Portable • Easy to removed finished compost materials • Good for yards and gardens with plenty of room

Homemade Food Waste e Composter FEATURES • Simple design • Keeps away pests

Wood & Wire 3-Compartment Bin FEATURES • Allows for continuous composting • Many materials required • For larger gardens/projects

Pallet Worm Bin FEATURES • Efficient • Pallet design recycles old materials • Good for medium-sized gardens

LEARN HOW ... Riverside County Waste Management Department presents Wiggle E. Worm Backyard Composting Workshop. It's free to the public and teaches the "How Tos" of backyard composting. WHERE: Idyllwild Nature Center WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 16, 2012 Low cost bins will be available for purchase by Riverside County residents only.

Compost Screen FEATURES • Handy for ANY home compost project • Simple design

Wire Mesh and Lath Snow Fence Compost Bins FEATURES • Portable • Easy to make • Placement on earth required

Page 12 - Idyllwild Town Crier, Going Green, 2012

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Est. 1990

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(951) 659–3307 | P.O. Box 3227 | Idyllwild, CA 92549 | SLB 586585

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