The Ray integrates plants and pollinators along I-85

September 1, 2020 by  
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Along The Ray, an 18-mile stretch of I-85 that starts at the Georgia and Alabama state line, cars and trucks race by roadside meadows, where pollinators are buzzing along the vibrant wildflowers. A new University of Georgia thesis documents two efforts to better integrate grasses and wildflowers into a transit ecosystem. Matthew Quirey, the thesis’ author, recently earned his Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Georgia College of Environment & Design. His ongoing work focuses on the country’s first attempt to cultivate Kernza, a perennial wheatgrass, on an interstate roadway. He also studied the cultivation of meadows full of tall native grasses and wildflowers that bloom all year. His data is from 2018-2019. Related: This all-weather bicycle highway could fulfill the dreams of bike commuters everywhere “Most people think that the purpose of these wildflowers is just for beauty,” Quirey said. “But we’re seeing that they create some real roadside management benefits, if we can help them establish good root systems and strength. Erosion can be a big problem along Georgia’s interstates and highways, and wildflower meadows could help stabilize the soils in the right-of-way.” Quirey also sees potential for the wildflowers to benefit bees and other pollinators. In recognition of his valuable work, Quirey has been named The Ray’s landscape design and research fellow. Researchers are also studying the potential of wildflower meadows as carbon offsets . The right-of-way meadows are efficient and cost-effective, because perennials don’t require annual replanting. “We always envisioned more wildflowers on the roadsides of The Ray,” said Harriet Langford, founder and president of The Ray. “What we have actually been able to do with Georgia DOT and UGA is so much more. Higher-growing meadows planted on roadsides can work harder for us. They can provide food and habitat for pollinators and meadows can control storm water that rushes off the highway during heavy rain. Our work will help Georgia DOT and all state DOTs cultivate native wildflower and grass meadows across the state.” The Ray has also installed or experimented with many new technologies, including a roll-over tire check station that sends inflation information to drivers, a section of pavement that generates solar power when heavy vehicles drive over it, reusing scrap tires as road material and creating a vehicle-to-vehicle data ecosystem. The highway is named after Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), a Georgia native and green business pioneer, in 2014. + The Ray Images via The Ray

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The Ray integrates plants and pollinators along I-85

5 cozy getaway cabins that are perfect for fall

September 1, 2020 by  
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Get away from it all and enjoy the beauty of fall in an Airbnb cabin. You can surround yourself in nature while you stay in a tiny cabin, or book a luxurious solar-powered cabin with all the bells and whistles. Airbnb is is a treasure trove full of eco-friendly getaway cabins that let you get off the grid and escape from it all. Eco-cottage in New York This beautiful, modern cottage is surrounded by tall trees and greenery. It has two bedrooms and one bathroom. Both bedrooms have queen-sized beds, and this cottage is full of great amenities. Not only is there Wi-Fi on the property, but there’s also a laptop workstation that is comfy and quiet. This is a single-level home with no stairs, and private parking is available. The spacious kitchen has all the extras: coffee maker, dishwasher and microwave. There’s a beautiful outdoor area with a grill, too. Related: Top fall camping destinations throughout the US This is an owner-built structure in a location that is perfect for getting out and enjoying nature. The cottage is surrounded by trails and breathtaking scenery that honors the beauty of the natural world. Rock Rest eco-cabin in Colorado This cabin in Colorado has a truly unique look because of the stone supports and the multicolored wood planks used to assemble it. The structure has a distinctly modern appearance that is also rustic inside and out. The owners wanted to create a retreat that paid homage to the environment, and they succeeded. The elevated cabin was built with the goal to leave the surrounding nature as undisturbed as possible . Inside, you’ll find stainless steel appliances, open shelving, concrete counters, a tankless water heater and a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system that provides water for the trees. Other creature comforts include a smart TV, a washer and dryer and a large kitchen decked out with appliances for cooking delicious meals. The eco-cabin has one bathroom and one bedroom. The bedroom features a twin bed elevated above a queen-sized bed. The living room includes a day bed, and the porch also features a twin-sized bed swing, perfect for napping. Solar-powered cabin in Maine Enjoy a private getaway tucked among towering trees and surrounded by the sounds of wilderness in this solar-powered cabin in Maine . This is an off-grid retreat nestled among mountains and lakes. Tuck the kids into a handcrafted bunk bed while you rest on the double bed and enjoy views of the 33 acres of wooded hills that surround this space. There is a separate composting toilet and plenty more eco-friendly perks onsite. Treat yourself to locally roasted, organic coffee beans while you cook in the wood stove. The water is pure mountain water from the onsite well, and all of the electricity is provided by solar energy. The shower room is just a three-minute walk away. Get outdoors to take advantage of the soaking pools, dipping pools, fire circle and hammock — not to mention all those acres of natural beauty. Off-grid luxury cabin in Colorado Step outside and take in views of the incredible Colorado mountains in this off-grid, two-bedroom cabin . The cabin also has two bathrooms and luxury features everywhere you look. There is a separate suite, a laptop workspace, a cozy fireplace and of course Wi-Fi if you aren’t ready to completely unplug. There is a great selection of children’s books and toys, making it ideal for the whole family, plus on-premises parking. Related: A socially distanced vacation in eastern Oregon The Colorado wilderness itself is one of the main features of this eco-cabin. There are breathtaking vistas in all directions and a natural hot spring nearby. Fern Valley eco-cabin in New York This modern tiny cabin was inspired by Swedish architecture in a classic, lean-to style. The cabin may be small, but one whole wall is made up of windows so you are always surrounded by the glory of nature, even when you are indoors. This rugged cabin does not have modern features like running water (from November to April), electricity or Wi-Fi. Here, you can connect deeply with nature and truly live off of the grid. You can enjoy all 12 acres of the private property, including a pond, during your stay. Although it lacks water and electricity, the cabin does have some off-grid amenities, including a coffee maker and an outdoor grill. A queen-sized bed greets you at the end of a long day filled with adventure. Escape this fall With extra care and planning, you can enjoy some rest and relaxation this fall in an eco-cabin surrounded by autumnal beauty. Be sure to check out the advice on travel precautions from the CDC and WHO before taking off for your next socially distant getaway. Images courtesy of Airbnb

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5 cozy getaway cabins that are perfect for fall

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