Get outdoors with this guide to sustainable spring activities

April 30, 2019 by  
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Spring is that amazing time of year that celebrates new life everywhere around us. Animals deliver babies, trees regain their leaves and flowers burst into full color. That means it’s the perfect time for you to enjoy the splendor of the season, too. If you’re eager to hit the trails and clean up the yard, remember to keep the environment in mind when planning your activities. Here are some ways you can enjoy seasonal activities while promoting earth-friendly practices. Start a garden It seems there is a natural pull toward the garden when the temperatures rise and the sun appears reliably. So don’t fight it; create a plan and dig in. Even early in the season, there is much you can do to prepare your garden space. Pull weeds in the garden beds, rototill larger spaces or tackle walkways with the weed trimmer and pressure washer. With the chaos reigned in, get some fresh soil and plant crops like peas, lettuce, spinach and carrots. Have a picnic Don’t get stuck inside looking out on a beautiful, sunny day. Instead, walk away from the spring cleaning for awhile to enjoy a leisurely picnic. Pack up some favorite foods and hit a nearby trail. Take the kids to the park and enjoy some reading time while they play. Even simpler, just take lunch out back, throw down a blanket in the grass and have a conversation while you munch. Bird-watch An open window in the spring is an invitation to the sounds of active birds . Flocks of geese flying overhead honk as they travel. Smaller birds forage in your yard. Even raptors and scavengers are busy. Enjoy the action with a set of binoculars and your favorite bird identification book. Equally effective is one of several phone apps available for bird identification. Incorporate bird-watching with a hike and a picnic for a spring-loaded day of natural activity. Install rain barrels As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. Whether your climate is still bringing frequent rain or has tapered off in favor of drier days, spring is a great time to install those rain barrels . There will be more rainy days to come between now and the summer season, so getting your rain barrels set up now will give you a watering option when the need arises. Rain barrels are easy to install and are a sustainable way to reduce your water bill. Related: 3 ways to capture water for your backyard garden Volunteer You’re not the only one busy with spring clean-up. Many organizations coordinate activities in the spring to enhance the natural space in a community. This can be anything from a community clean-up event to a tree planting function. Whatever your preference, there are ample opportunities to help out. Swap Because spring cleaning is probably on your mind both inside and outside the house, it stands to reason that you’ll have to find a way to get rid of everything you purge. One great solution is to organize a swap with friends, family and neighbors. Simply choose a category of items, send invites and serve some sun tea. Alternatively, you can complete swaps using the internet to connect with others in your area. Swaps offer you a chance to locate a new home for your usable items while finding things that you might need or like. For example, you could have a clothing swap with friends or put together a plant swap to exchange seeds, cuttings or entire plants. Related: Tips and tricks to make spring cleaning more eco-friendly Landscape Step into any yard in the early spring and you’re likely to be assaulted with new growth, both welcome and invasive. It feels like the natural season to get it all under control, so it’s a great time to tackle landscaping projects. Just remember to design with the environment in mind. Plant native vegetation that requires fewer resources to thrive and gets along well with other plants. Also, find some natural plants to draw in the honeybees and butterflies and contribute to pollination in your yard. Get into nature Of course spring means that it’s time to embrace nature, and there are endless ways to go about it. While working in the yard certainly qualifies, why not try something new? Head out for a run or hop on the mountain bike. If you have very mild spring weather, take your first backpacking trip of the season. If there’s still snow, it might be a good time to hit the slopes or brush up on your climbing skills. For a less adrenaline-filled afternoon, download a plant identification app and see how many flowers you can seek out on the local trail. Host a spring fling Each season offers unique opportunities to enjoy our planet and our friends, and spring is no exception. With the yard tidied and the spring cleaning underway, brush off the grill and invite guests for an afternoon of outdoor eating and playing lawn games. It’s a great excuse for everyone to put down the hedge trimmers for a few hours and take in what the season has to offer. Enjoy! Images via Shutterstock

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Get outdoors with this guide to sustainable spring activities

Heres your chance to stay at the first Airbnb on the Great Wall of China

August 3, 2018 by  
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If the climbing the Great Wall of China is on your bucket list, here’s your chance to check it off and take part in a one-of-a-kind overnight experience. Airbnb has teamed up with the Beijing Tourism Development Committee to bring the Great Wall onto the hospitality service site as a temporary lodging option. However, making a booking is not as easy as it typically is on AirBnB—hopeful guests will have to enter a contest for a chance to win. Working together with historians and preservations groups based in Beijing , the Airbnb team sensitively transformed a centuries-old Great Wall watchtower into a temporary suite complete with a bedroom, bathroom, dining area and living space. The elevated structure offers 360-degree views of the wall and lush scenery. “Known as one of the greatest architectural feats in human history, the Great Wall was built as a border to protect Chinese states against raids thousands of years ago,” reads a statement from Airbnb. “Today, it is widely considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world, bringing visitors from all walks of life together.” This unique Airbnb was created to bring attention to tourism to China by spotlighting its most famous icon and one of the world’s great wonders. Related: The Great Wall of China is slowly disappearing Airbnb will select the four winners (who can bring a guest) from the contest based on their responses to a prompt that asks about boundaries and human connections. During the stay, each winner will have the chance to experience different aspects of Chinese culture, from seal engraving to learning calligraphy. Guests will also have the opportunity to hike the Great Wall and enjoy a multiple-course gourmet dinner accompanied by Chinese music. Winners will be announced after August 11, 2018. + Great Wall of China Airbnb

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Heres your chance to stay at the first Airbnb on the Great Wall of China

Stay in a dreamy treehouse inside an ancient English forest

August 3, 2018 by  
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A magical treehouse retreat has opened its doors in the village of Lee in England’s stunning North Devon region. Built largely by hand, this luxurious one-bedroom rental is dressed in a combination of reclaimed and modern materials. Set within remote woodland, the Treehouse Retreat immerses guests in a private paradise in nature without sacrificing modern comforts. Built to sleep two, the two-story Treehouse Retreat is clad in locally sourced cedar charred using Shou Sugi Ban , a Japanese technique that enhances the grain of the wood and naturally protects it from rot, pests and the elements. Timber is used throughout the interior as well to tie the treehouse to its surroundings. Reclaimed flooring from an old U.S. factory was used for the bookcase and windowsills, and the stairwell banister was constructed using locally salvaged branches. Large windows, indoor plants and an outdoor terrace also emphasize the getaway’s indoor-outdoor living experience. The spacious hexagonal terrace overlooks sweeping valley views and is furnished with a solid teak dining set as well as with a wood-fired pizza oven and gas-powered barbecue. Glazed French doors connect the terrace to a bathroom, living space, dining nook and a charming kitchen with a restored 19th-century oak sideboard. Upstairs, a bedroom occupies the entire second floor and offers views of the tree canopy as well as the ‘botanical fleur’ feature wallpaper. “Designed as the ultimate escape, this unique destination also boasts a wide range of features to help guests disconnect from their day-to-day lives, with everything from a Zen-inspired meditation corner to a thoughtfully-styled reading nook lovingly dressed to help visitors distress,” said Nadia McCowan Hill, Resident Style Adviser at Wayfair U.K. , which dispatched an in-house team of stylists to dress the treehouse’s interior. The Treehouse Retreat can be booked exclusively on TripAdvisor Rentals with nightly rates starting from $271. + Treehouse Retreat Images by David Cotsworth Photography

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Stay in a dreamy treehouse inside an ancient English forest

Sprawling nets suspended mid-air turn a forest into a climbing wonderland

March 30, 2018 by  
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You don’t need to know how to climb a tree to enjoy this marvelous climbing maze suspended in a Guangdong forest. When the school affiliated to the Luofu Mountain Chinese Classics Institute wanted to encourage children to pursue more physical activity, the school tapped Chinese design studio unarchitecte to design a place conducive to play in the forested valley. Taking inspiration from nature, the designers created the Climbing Park of Luofu Mountain, a system of white nets and climbing areas elevated into the air that promotes a closer connection with nature. Careful consideration was taken to protect existing healthy trees during the construction process, while precautions were also taken to avoid damaging tree growth. Metal posts were installed to provide extra support. Hundreds of white triangular nets were pieced together to form an undulating surface with dips and rises evoking the surrounding topography. Related: Green Treehouse Provides an Incredible Learning Playground Children can explore the Climbing Park from multiple entrances, while adults (who are also invited to play up above) can supervise down below. In addition to the nets surface, the designers also included other net structures like spiral tubes and hemispherical tents . “A forest can become a place for children to return to nature, to explore and to think, to sweat and to sit still alone. In the nature, they can forget themselves and can also search for their inner selves,” wrote the architects. “Building a climbing system, architects connect all the trees in the valley by hundreds of diverse white triangle nets to constitute a combination of various topological folding surfaces like a “white sea” for children to swim carefree.” + unarchitecte Via gooood Images by Zhang Hetian

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Sprawling nets suspended mid-air turn a forest into a climbing wonderland

Office with arched openings shows off the beauty of cross-laminated timber

March 29, 2017 by  
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Increasing numbers of architects are celebrating the strength, beauty, and sustainable properties of cross-laminated timber . Japanese architecture firm Junichi Kato & Associates shows off how the timber can be used as both a structural and finishing material in the Santo CLT Office. Built in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture, this nearly 140-square-meter office building houses warm and welcoming workspaces with arched openings. Inspired by the climbing kiln in Shigaraki, a town famous for ceramics, Junichi Kato & Associates introduced an arch -shaped continuous frame into the building structure. A raised wooden terrace wraps around two sides of the building and is partly shaded by the roof overhang. The walls and floors are constructed from cross-laminated timber, while foam insulation and low-e glass improve energy efficiency. Related: Taiwan’s first CLT building paves way to greener alternatives to concrete and steel The office is entered from the west and visitors are immediately greeted with an exhibition space, reception desk, and a small informal meeting area. A wall divides the entrance area from the large working space in the center of the building. The night-duty room, shower, and toilet are located in the rear. Large windows fill the office with natural light which, coupled with the ample use of wood, gives the office its cozy and welcoming character. + Junichi Kato & Associates Via ArchDaily Images by Kei Sugino

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Office with arched openings shows off the beauty of cross-laminated timber

Visitors Fined For Climbing Shigeru Ban’s Aspen Art Museum

October 7, 2014 by  
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Interaction with visitors might have been one of Shigeru Ban ’s goals when he designed the new Aspen Art Museum , but three visitors took the concept a bit too literally and got themselves arrested after their attempt to climb the 47-foot-tall museum walls. The climbers have to pay a fine of $150, do 10 hours of community service, and will not be allowed to visit the museum for an entire year. Read the rest of Visitors Fined For Climbing Shigeru Ban’s Aspen Art Museum Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: art museum , aspen art museum , controversial buildings , lattice architecture , Museum , shigeru ban , veneer , wooden architecture , wooden facade , woven exterior

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Visitors Fined For Climbing Shigeru Ban’s Aspen Art Museum

Cardboard Safari’s Cruelty-Free Taxidermy Kits Bring Your Walls to Life

October 7, 2014 by  
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If you’re looking for some tongue-in-cheek, slightly ironic wall decoration, look no further than Cardboard Safari . The Charlottesville–based company creates animal busts to hang on walls like hunting trophies, only without injuring any living creature: they only use sustainable and recycled materials to bring their designs to life. The animal heads come in a variety of different species , ranging from deer, moose, and bison to giraffes, lions, and warthogs. Although most are only available in natural cardboard or white hues, some also come in black or red, or even printed patterns : who wouldn’t want a floral unicorn head on their wall? Read the rest of Cardboard Safari’s Cruelty-Free Taxidermy Kits Bring Your Walls to Life Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal heads , Animals , cardboard , cardboard animals , cardboard heads , cardboard home decor , cardboard safari , cardboard taxidermy , cruelty-free taxidermy , deer , Elephant , giraffe , green home decor , laser cut cardboard , moose , rhino , sustainable home decor , taxidermy , unicorn , unicorns , wall art , warthog

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Cardboard Safari’s Cruelty-Free Taxidermy Kits Bring Your Walls to Life

Brooklyn Boulders Rock Climbing Gym Allows Workers to “Climb the Walls” to Reduce Stress

February 14, 2014 by  
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Do stressful workdays make you want to climb the walls? Well, thanks to Brooklyn Boulders , you can now literally climb the walls to help relieve stress and stimulate your productivity. The climbing company’s venue in Somerville, Massachusetts is equipped with a 122-foot-high by 122-foot-long climbing wall topped with a spacious collaborative work area in the upper mezzanine. This unique climbing wall/office combo, set in a 40,000 square foot facility, is based on the philosophy that “physicality stimulates innovation and creativity.” Read the rest of Brooklyn Boulders Rock Climbing Gym Allows Workers to “Climb the Walls” to Reduce Stress Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: active work environments , active workspace , Brooklyn Boulders , Brooklyn Boulders Active Collaborative Workspace , Massachusetts , rock climbing wall , Somerville , urban architecture , Urban design , urban office design        

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Brooklyn Boulders Rock Climbing Gym Allows Workers to “Climb the Walls” to Reduce Stress

Helical Robotics Introduces Climbing Robots for Wind Turbine Inspection

April 25, 2013 by  
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Inspecting wind turbines is not for the faint of heart. Some of the largest wind turbines possess rotating blades that are hundreds of feet in length suspended at dizzying heights, and getting up close to equipment is no easy task. Yet where humans dare not tread, machines have no fear. Wisconsin-based Helical Robotics  just debuted its  HR-MP20 , a climbing robot that can wirelessly scale a wind turbine and climb out onto the blades. At only 42lbs, the robot can move at max speed of 232.5 feet per minute, all while being controlled by a human back on the ground. Read the rest of Helical Robotics Introduces Climbing Robots for Wind Turbine Inspection Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind turbine” , climb , digital camera , helical robotics , hr-mp20 , neodymium magnets , radio control , robot , wireless , wisconsin        

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Helical Robotics Introduces Climbing Robots for Wind Turbine Inspection

Siloo O: NL Architects Gets a Second Chance To Turn an Abandoned Silo Into a Climbing Gym

December 28, 2011 by  
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Read the rest of Siloo O: NL Architects Gets a Second Chance To Turn an Abandoned Silo Into a Climbing Gym Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: abandoned silo , adaptive reuse , Amsterdam , annie m.g. schmidt huis , climbing gym , climbing silo , eco design , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green renovation , nl architects , silo , silo transformation , siloo o , Sustainable Building , sustainable design

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Siloo O: NL Architects Gets a Second Chance To Turn an Abandoned Silo Into a Climbing Gym

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