Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Praise for The Natural Heritage of Indiana Project

2011-01-20 Leave a comment

The Natural Heritage of Indiana Project “consists of a four-part documentary series, educational materials, a public conference, book republication, podcasts, lesson plans, and more” – inspired by the 1997 publication, The Natural Heritage of Indiana, by Marion T. Jackson.

Natural Heritage of Indiana - The Indiana That Was

Episode 1: The Indiana That Was

I was privileged to see the first episode of the documentary this evening on WFYI, and it was remarkable. The scenery and content are top-tier. You don’t have to be from Indiana to enjoy it, and I cannot recommend it enough. In regards to the project, the author of “The Natural Heritage of Indiana” issued the following challenge:  “if you feel moved to help protect what remains of Indiana’s natural heritage, our objective will have been fulfilled.”

Mr. Jackson, consider your objective fulfilled.

Some notables from episode 1:
  • 20,000 years ago, “Indiana was inhabited by more large animals than exist today in all of Africa”.
  • In recent past, 80% of Indiana was covered by trees, with many exceeding 200 feet in height.
  • Below are a handful of animals that used to be common in the state:
    • Carolina parakeet  (now extinct)
    • Passenger pigeon  (now extinct)
    • Elk and bison
    • Mountain lions
    • Wolves

Watch: Check WFYI for showtimes.
Read: The book that inspired it all:  The Natural Heritage of Indiana – Indiana University Press

The Natural Heritage of Indiana Project


Bat House at McFarland Park, Story County, Iowa

2009-12-24 1 comment

Bat House at McFarland Park, Story County, Iowa. Click on the image to see more photos.

My Eagle Scout project consisted of building a large bat house at McFarland Park near Ames, Iowa. The structure is made to accommodate hundreds of bats, although I don’t know if it has ever been occupied. It was built and installed around 1995/1996, and much has been learned about how to make bat houses since then. In 2006 my father and I added a vertical landing platform under the roosting areas. After looking at modern bat house designs it seemed that a landing platform was the most important feature that was missing. The landing platform was heavily scored with a table saw to give the bats something to grab onto and climb. The roosting partitions were also scored with a rotary tool.

After 10 years the structure still looks fantastic and is holding up remarkably well. The hope is that the vertical landing platform and scoring of the roosting partitions will make the structure more attractive to bats.

If you’re wondering why anyone would want to build a bat house, I recommend going to Bat Conservation International – Install a Bat House FAQ

Categories: Environment Tags: ,

Indianapolis Recycling Google Map

2008-02-04 2 comments

UPDATE 2014.08.13:  Keep Indianapolis Beautiful no longer offers a recycling guide. The Indianapolis Recycling Guide is now being provided by the Indiana Recycling Coalition.

UPDATE:  Keep Indianapolis Beautiful has developed an Indianapolis recycle and reuse guide that now includes a map.  It is far more comprehensive than mine, so I am redirecting visitors to my map to theirs.

I’ve created a Google Maps application that shows recycling locations in Indianapolis for various categories of recyclable material.  The map currently contains locations for city drop-off bins, cardboard, and computer and lab equipment.  I plan to add more categories in the future.  Click the image to go to the map.

Indianapolis Recycling Map

Donate Your Old Cell Phone and Help Soldiers Call Home

2008-01-12 Leave a comment

Cell Phones for Soldiers sells donated cell phones and uses the money to buy calling cards for troops overseas.  This is what you need to do to recycle your old cell phone:

Solar Power without the Huge Investment

2006-11-13 Leave a comment

Solar power for your home is a very attractive idea, with one huge obstacle. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to purchase and install the panels on your roof.

The Citizenre Corporation has a program called Citizenre REnU which provides solar power to homeowners. The homeowner does not pay for the panels or installation. Citizenre owns and maintains the panels. The homeowner pays for the solar power at or below their current rate and enjoys a clearer conscience. You also have the benefit of locking-in your current rate for up to 25 years.

via Treehugger

Update 12/17/06: There seems to be a lot of interest in the Citizenre program. For a detailed look at the program check out Tom Konrad’s blog. He has actually signed up for the program and has some great information for potential participants.

Google's Growing Brain

2006-10-15 1 comment

Wired’s recent article – The Information Factories – is a must read. The article discusses the new data centers that are being built by Google and the other major search engines. The scale of these data centers is not as big as the idea behind them, however. An incredibly scalable parallel server architecture is the big idea here.

One of the consequences of these data centers is that they use massive amounts of electricity.’s current data center is 1/3 empty because they have maxed-out the local power grid. This is why the search companies have to choose their location based on the price and availability of electricity.

In the study of computers, you cannot avoid learning what has constrained their advancement. Storage, memory, processor speed, and bandwidth come to mind. While electricity is not a constraint of the personal computer, it appears to be turning into a constraint for the data centers of search-engine companies. Perhaps these companies will turn into the major supporters of alternative energy research.

Categories: Environment Tags: , ,

Factory Farming is Bad for Everyone

2006-09-11 1 comment

Factory farms are massive animal farming operations. These farm animals are raised in horribly inhumane conditions. Many of the animals are kept in cages where they are not even allowed to turn around or lie down. Hormones and antibiotics are used recklessly on these animals, and likely end up in the meat intended for humans. The excessive use of antibiotics on these animals has caused many of these drugs to be ineffective in treating human infections.

Learn more about factory farming at the following websites:

Categories: Environment