Learning New Things Related to Sustainable Living

GreenTreks Network has been lucky to have volunteer David Hecht on board since June 2012. Dave is working with GreenTreks Network as part of the GlaxoSmithKline Pulse Volunteer Program. Today, Dave is guest-blogging to share some of his recent experiences being in Philadelphia.

PECO Green Roof by Dave Hecht

Over the years I have heard about the increase interest in the green infrastructure. We saw stories on television related to the greening of the Seattle and Portland, Oregon, areas. I am fortunate to volunteer through the GlaxoSmithKline Pulse program at GreenTreks Network Inc. They help tell stories that change the world. I have lived in Philadelphia over the last 3 months and have learned that this city is moving towards being a better sustainable city. Some private organizations have also been driven to this environmental goal. Over the last three weeks I have had a great opportunity to see two unique locations in the Philadelphia area. The first is at the Morris Arboretum and the second is the PECO office building in Center City Philadelphia. Both of the organizations have decided to work on having LEED-certified buildings.

Morris Arboretum Green Roof by Dave Hecht

The Morris Arboretum [featured in our Porous Pavement video] has a building that is Platinum-rated LEED Certified. Some of their buildings that impressed me were the green roofed storage/garage facilities. The two roofs grow different flora on them. The type flora grown is related to the depth of the soil. One roof is 2500 sq. ft with 4 inches of soil while the other is 3750 sq. ft with 8 inches of soil. Sedum is a typical growth since it is drought and temperature resistant.

A comparator roof is found on the 8th floor of the PECO building. This roof is much larger than the Morris roofs. It is 45,000 sq. ft of surface space with 4 inches thick with soil. It also has sedum and other flora growing on it.

The primary idea with having a roof with natural plant growth is stormwater management. The water that normally gets on roofs goes down the storm drain into our water supplies. Often there is waste or slit going in to the system along with the rain water. We know that we need to decrease the amount of runoff to help the waterways of our country.

PECO Green Roof by Dave Hecht

With the videos that GreenTreks produces we help show stories like these to give others a positive educational experience.

For the PECO Green Roof fact sheet, click here. It’s fascinating stuff!
To learn more about green infrastructure and stormwater management, visit StormwaterPA.org.

PA Master Naturalist Guest Blog: Alaska!

In this PA Master Naturalist Guest Blog, John McGlaughlin shares notes and a video from his trip to Alaska.

John McGlaughlin: Alaska!
Howdy y’all! I’m happy to report that my capstone presentation went off without a hitch and was well received by the panel of specialists and my cohort of fellow trainees alike! With all the preparation through I’m finally gearing up to take my capstone project to the streets over the next few months by featuring some local environmental organizations on this here blog. Stay tuned!

I must admit that after the capstone presentation I was pretty wiped out and ready for a little vacation. Luckily, my fiancé and I had a few greenbacks in our bank account so we decided to plan a trip that would be an escape from our daily rigmarole (and also an opportunity to solidify some of my newly minted naturalist knowledge!) After relentlessly spinning the globe and carefully crafting our budget we finally decided on a destination… ALASKA!

The name Alaska instantly evokes tales of wild adventure, outdoor excitement and pressing ecological issues in my mind. Nicknamed ‘The Last Frontier”, Alaska’s mythical appeal continues to draw over 1.5 million adventurous spirits each year to its endless natural wonders and rugged frontier culture. With a landmass greater than Texas, Montana and California combined and only a handful of roads, this majestic behemoth of a state is ripe for outdoor exploration. And exploring we did!

Renting a car out of Anchorage, we immediately headed south to the Kenai Peninsula and the stunning coastal town of Seward. The Peninsula has been dubbed “Alaska’s Playground” due to its close proximity to Anchorage and wealth of outdoor opportunities. After a few days hiking around glaciers and whale watching in Resurrection Bay, we drove from Seward to Valdez along the magnificent Glen Highway and Richardson Highway to witness some salmon spawning in action. We were in awe of the shear size of this annual migration and had the chance to see bear, sea lions and bald eagles take part in this annual feeding and reproduction frenzy. We rounded out the trip by traveled along the famously desolate McCarthy Highway, spending the night in the land of the midnight sun in Fairbanks, and hiking among arctic squirrels and caribou in Denali National Park.

It’s impossible to capture the splendor of Alaska without being there in the flesh and blood but I created a little travelogue video of some of the highlights from our travels to aid your imagination. Happy Trails!

Cheer on Barry in the Iron Man World Championship!

Go Barry!

We are very proud of GreenTreks Network’s Executive Director, Barry Lewis, who is competing in the Ironman World Championship this Saturday in Hawaii! The Ironman triathlon is a true challenge to the human body and spirit. In less than a day, triathletes must complete a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. Barry has been in intense training for a long time (while the rest of us have continued an everyday regimen of intense snacking). His efforts are very inspiring, and hopefully will motivate others to get moving & go outside. We wish him lots of luck and hope that it’s a wonderful experience!

Send Barry your encouragement via email or #gobarry!

Follow live news and results from the Ironman World Championship this Saturday, October 13, here.