Friday, July 04, 2008

From the WV First Lady - Nice Article

From: []
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2008 11:38 AM
Subject: From the First Lady's Desk: July is West Virginia green month

July 3, 2008

From the First Lady’s Desk:
A monthly message by First Lady Gayle C. Manchin

Contact: Lara Ramsburg , 304-558-2000

West Virginia has definitely gone green. There is not a nook or cranny anywhere in this state that is not lush and green from trees, foliage, ferns and other beautiful plants that call West Virginia home. Joe and I came across the scenic highway from Marlinton to Richwood recently, and the vista of vibrant green against the blue sky was absolutely breathtaking.
With all the green around us at every turn, it is a great time to think of ways individually, as a community and as a state that we can be better stewards of our beautiful landscape and environment. One of the biggest win-wins for everyone is buying fresh, locally grown produce in our own neighborhoods. The vegetables and fruits grown in West Virginia taste better and are better for us than those shipped in from other states and countries. I was amazed at the variety of vegetables and fruits grown regularly and organically across our state. In addition, many chefs and restaurants are promoting buying West Virginia products, and they have found poultry, beef, fresh fish like mountain trout and artic char, eggs and dairy products that can accommodate all their needs and recipes.

Within our own homes and yards, we can do many little things everyday that begin to add up when you calculate over weeks and months from one house to an entire community. Adding insulation and sealing cracks around doors and windows can reduce both heating and cooling bills, and is also a great start in practicing energy conservation.

In that same vein, just remembering to turn off lights, televisions and unused electrical appliances are among little efforts that pay off. The newest energy-efficient light bulbs cost more initially, but will pay for themselves in savings in a big way over their lifetime. Also, using solar or LED (light-emitting diode) lighting around your lawn is a big energy saver. The LED lights are very bright and use very little power and will last five to 10 times as long as standard outdoor lights!

It is also interesting to note that it is not only professional chefs, but everyday “mom-and-pop chefs” that are taking a little corner of the yard for an herb garden and a few favorite items like tomatoes and peppers. Again, a few steps to the garden, a fresh salad and a little pruning on the side are other win-wins for a healthier lifestyle and greener environment.

It is worth noting that when doing seasonal planting, plants, flowers and grasses that are native to our region are the most attuned to our soil, climate and water particularities. Therefore, they will thrive with less care than tropical and other imported varieties and, let’s face it, they are gorgeous! While water is not necessarily scarce in West Virginia, a barrel sitting in an area of the yard to collect rain water is another way to conserve and cut down on our water bills and is handy for watering our new gardens.

Enjoy the green of West Virginia, whether it is in your own backyard or in one of our beautiful state parks or national forests. If we each do our part in a small way, it will make a big difference in the conservation of our land and energy.

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