Spiraling treetop walkway gives visitors a birds eye view of a Danish forest

June 13, 2017 by  
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A stunning new adventure park in Denmark is taking visitors to new heights—literally. Architecture studio EFFEKT designed the Camp Adventure Treetop Experience, a unique destination that aims to reconnect people to nature by elevating them high above the treetop canopy. Located in the preserved forest Gisselfeld Klosters Skove, the Treetop Experience aims improve accessibility to the forest while minimizing landscape disturbance. EFFEKT unveiled their designs for the Treetop Experience this year as part of an expansion to Camp Adventure, an existing sports facility with treetop climbing and aerial zip-lines located one hour south of Copenhagen , Denmark. A wide variety of landscapes are found in Gisselfeld Klosters Skove, including various forest types, lakes, creeks, and wetlands. To show off environmental diversity, EFFEKT designed a winding 600-meter-long treetop walk that sensitively passes through the landscape. The treetop walk is divided into a higher and lower walkway with the former located in the oldest parts of the forest, while the latter is situated in the forest’s younger areas. The walk begins at Camp Adventure Farmhouse and is punctuated with educational features and activities such as an aviary , suspended amphitheater, walkway loops for tree observation, and a variety of viewpoints. Related: Sinuous Boomslang Walkway Gives Kirstenbosch Visitors a Taste of the Treetops in Cape Town The walkway culminates with the star built attraction, a 45-meter-tall observation viewpoint platform with an accessible spiraling ramp. The tower’s hourglass shape gives visitors an up-close look at the tree canopy, and is wrapped with a structural skeleton made up of 120-degree rotated steel elements. “The geometry and spacing of the ramp fluctuates according to the changing curvature, write the architects. “The ramp becomes a sculptural element in itself making the journey to the top a unique experience.” The observation platform offers 360-degree panoramic views of the preserved forest. + EFFEKT

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Spiraling treetop walkway gives visitors a birds eye view of a Danish forest

This incredible forest park lets you trampoline in the treetops

March 27, 2017 by  
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Imagine if your next trip to the forest allowed you to meander hidden pathways into the treetops, swing on hammocks, and bounce on giant trampolines, like an oversized playground for grown-ups. Architects Studio Dror envisioned a bold new urban park experience for a “city with no Central Park” — Istanbul , Turkey. Studio Dror’s goal was to “design a love story between people and nature” for their new “Parkorman” park, with numerous pathways, swings, hammocks and trampolines scattered throughout. The design transforms the existing green space located six miles north of Istanbul’s city center into a playground where visitors can create their own unique experiences. While providing clear paths and spaces, the park also allows people to be surprised by unexpected discoveries along their journey. Related: Dallas is building one of America’s biggest urban nature parks The park comprises five main zones, each with its own distinct qualities. The Loop features swings and hammocks suspended above the forest floor, while giant ball pits, inspired by Turkish spice markets, dominate The Pool. A footpath meanders through the forest and twists around tree trunks into giant loops with trampolines at the center in The Chords. A maze-like trail surrounded by sculptures, called The Grove, aims to encourage exploration, while a cube-shaped Fountain of Clarity envelops visitors in water. + Studio Dror

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This incredible forest park lets you trampoline in the treetops

German forester says trees are social beings with friends and personalities

January 4, 2017 by  
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A German forester said in a recent interview that trees are social beings that have friends and their own personality. Author of The Hidden Life of Trees , Peter Wohlleben shared with Yale Environment 360 fascinating stories of relationships between different trees he has observed. His revelation of their inner lives may be vital for the battle against climate change . We rarely attribute feelings to trees, but Wohlleben does so without hesitation. He spun compelling tales to illustrate why he says trees are sentient. For example, he said in about one in 50 cases, trees form special friendships, such as the one he glimpsed between two beeches. He told Yale Environment 360, “Each one was growing its branches turned away from the other rather than toward each other, as is more usually the case. This kind of partnership is well known to foresters. They know that if you see such a couple, they are really like a human couple; you have to chop down both if you chop one down, because the other will die anyway.” Related: Trees form special bonds with “friends and family” Trees send signals to warn others of dangerous insects, and pass along food to nearby sick trees. Wohlleben describes an instance of trees keeping each other alive: “This one beech tree was cut four to 500 years ago by a charcoal maker, but the stump is still alive – we found green chlorophyll under the thick bark,” he said. “The tree has no leaves to create sugars, so the only explanation is that it has been supported by neighboring trees for more than four centuries.” He has heard similar stories from other foresters. Some people have criticized Wohlleben for attaching emotional language to trees, but it’s all part of his strategy to help people view trees as living beings instead of commodities. Sustainable forest conservation is crucial in a changing, hot world, and Wohlleben eschews heavy machinery and insecticides, instead hand-harvesting trees and hauling them via horses. He cautioned against the trend of “indiscriminately cutting timber ,” which weakens ecosystems and the trees’ “social structures.” You can read the full interview here . You can also find Wohlleben’s book on Amazon or at your local bookstore. Via Yale Environment 360 Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Mother trees recognize kin and send them "messages of wisdom"

August 2, 2016 by  
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More information continues to surface that trees may be far more connected than we thought. Forest ecologist Suzanne Simard of The University of British Colombia gave a TED talk in June, during which she detailed research that shows mother trees recognize their kin. At a time when an increasing number of people are disconnected from the natural world, Simard hoped to persuade the audience to think differently about forests . In the talk Simard said, “…we set about an experiment, and we grew mother trees with kin and stranger’s seedlings. And it turns out they do recognize their own kin. Mother trees colonize their kin with bigger mycorrhizal networks. They send them more carbon below ground. They even reduce their own root competition to make elbow room for their kids. When mother trees are injured or dying, they also send messages of wisdom on to the next generation of seedlings…so trees talk.” Related: Researchers believe trees may have their own living Internet Trees send each other carbon through mycelium , or fungal threads, and it looks like the sending process isn’t simply random. According to Simard’s research, mother trees prioritize their offspring when it comes to providing them with key nutrients and other resources. Trees can send not only carbon through mycorrhizal networks, but also nitrogen, water, defense signals, phosphorous, and allele chemicals. Simard says mycorrhizal networks have “nodes and links.” Fungi act as links, and trees as the nodes. The busiest nodes she calls mother trees. Mother trees can sometimes be connected to hundreds of trees, and the carbon they pass to those trees is said to increase seedling survival by four times. Her findings are incredibly relevant for conservation . If too many mother trees are cut down, “the whole system collapses.” Simard thinks we’d be more careful about cutting down trees if we were aware of the deep connections between their “families”. You can watch her whole TED talk here . Via Treehugger Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Mother trees recognize kin and send them "messages of wisdom"

One place on Earth where climate change is actually beneficial

June 29, 2016 by  
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Canada’s boreal forests may not suffer as much as other areas on Earth from climate change . Armed with climate data from as far back as 1960, scientists from Quebec and the United States scrutinized datasets of tree rings from black spruce trees to gather a sense of how the trees respond to varying weather conditions. Their discovery is incredibly hopeful: some of these forests might actually thrive in the warmer temperatures brought on by climate change. The scientists looked at tree ring datasets from 26,000 black spruce trees, matching rings with growth rates to see how the trees reacted to different weather. Around the 49th parallel, they found something intriguing. South of the parallel, when trees encounter hot, dry weather, they tend to show stress. North of the parallel, the reaction changes: the trees respond much better to warmer weather. These trees could thrive in the longer growing season climate change could afford them. Related: China’s eco-civilization plan calls for 23% forest cover by 2020 Lead author of the study Loïc D’Orangeville told Gizmodo, “Generally, the scientific community agrees that because boreal forests are constrained by low temperatures, they should see some benefits from global warming .” Where the forests grow in Quebec, winters are typically long and harsh. If winter shortens due to climate change, the trees might be able to grow for longer periods of time. Of course, there’s still the caveat of water : in warmer temperatures, trees need greater amounts to grow. At this point, however, the scientists think the warmer weather could outweigh the potential that there could be less water available. Harvard senior ecologist and co-author Neil Pederson said, “It’s hope. It’s a bright spot…this dataset is showing us an area that might be dynamically okay. The trees are telling us that it might not be so bad.” Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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One place on Earth where climate change is actually beneficial

Students build a stunning solar-powered multi-use space from salvaged materials

June 29, 2016 by  
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Created for the University of Utah’s annual Design Build Bluff project, Cedar Hall is located next to the historic John Albert Scorup House, a historic 1890s property that, despite twelve years of effort, is unable to accommodate the multifunctional needs of the student body. The objective of the Cedar Hall project was to design a simple yet elegant flexible assembly space that could also attract the Bluff community to campus. The 850-square-foot Cedar Hall building is clad in handsome, high-grade cedar planks coated in a marine-grade finish that wrap around the facade and the roof. “The idea was to create a portal that brings the energy of outsiders into the campus, which is why the north exterior wall is faceted with a natural plaster finish to enhance the funneling effect,” write the students. “The south face on the other end is extruded, into a trellis system. Blending with the landscape the trellis attracts visitors towards the inner workings of the campus.” Around 70% of the framing is constructed from materials reclaimed from a deconstructed house in Park City. Other salvaged materials were also upcycled into windows and furniture. Related: Students design and build a gorgeous LEED Platinum-seeking forum in Kansas The simple open-plan interior was designed for flexibility. Steel barn doors for a storage closet double as a magnetized pin-up space and are flanked by dry-erase marker walls. Opposite the steel bars on the west wall is a built-in shelf space that houses two large moveable partition walls that can also be used as additional writing surfaces. A custom spiral staircase built with salvaged glulam treads leads up to the roof where the PV solar panel array is located. The trellis features a water-catchment system to collect rainwater. + Design Build Bluff Via ArchDaily Images via Design Build Bluff , by Spotlight Home Tours

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Students build a stunning solar-powered multi-use space from salvaged materials

Stop throwing away banana peels – eat them instead

June 29, 2016 by  
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Pop quiz: What food is packed with vitamins and fiber, but is almost always purchased just to be thrown away? If you said banana peels, you’re right. It might be one of the world’s most recognizable comedy props, but the humble banana peel is nothing to laugh at. These slippery skins contain vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium, potassium and fiber, as well as tryptophan, which has been shown to help balance emotions and mood. While the jury is still out on exactly how much of these nutrients our bodies can absorb from eating banana peels, noshing on them instead of trashing them is still a great idea because of the landfill waste it saves. But if the idea of chomping down on these thick, fibrous membranes doesn’t sound very a-PEEL-ing to you, read on to check out the newest episode of Inhabitat and NYC Media ‘s TV series Urban Green for three delicious and nutritious ways to make them more palatable. Video: Little Darling Productions with Jason Jenkins for NYC Media Before we get into our banana peel recipes, here are two important tips: TIP 1: Remember to wash your banana peel thoroughly just like you would with any other fruit you plan to ingest. TIP 2: We recommend using organic bananas for these recipes since non-organic banana peels may contain harmful pesticides. BANANA PEEL SMOOTHIE Smoothies are a great way to mask the bitter flavor of banana peels while also breaking them down and making them easier to digest. One of my favorite smoothies to use banana peels in is an apple pie smoothie , which, believe it or not, tastes like a healthier version of apple pie. To make it, just blend one Red Delicious apple, one whole banana and the peel (just cut off the hard ends), a dollop of almond butter or a handful of almonds, some almond milk and a dash of cinnamon. If you’re allergic to nuts, feel free to leave out the almonds and use a different kind of milk. PICKLED PEELS Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peels, and so can you, with this couldn’t-be-easier pickled banana peel recipe. Just chop your washed peels up intro strips width-wise (cutting against the grain helps to decrease the fibrous mouthfeel). Then plan to have pickles for lunch so that you can use the leftover pickling liquid for your peels. Submerge the peels in the pickling liquid overnight and you’ll end up with a tart condiment that will have your dinner guests trying to place the unique flavor. CANDIED PEELS Okay, so candying isn’t exactly the healthiest way to eat banana peels, but these sweet morsels are guilt-free enough if eaten in moderation or used as a garnish. To make these crunchy treats, stir together ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then add 2 sliced up (again, against the grain) banana peels and reduce to medium/low heat. Simmer while stirring for about 10 minutes. Once you see the sugar begin to caramelize, remove the pot from the heat and transfer your peels to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or other non-stick surface. Let your peels cool and harden, and then snap them into strips to eat as a snack or sprinkle over some yogurt to give it a crunchy kick. We hope you had a “bunch” of fun learning how to eat banana peels. And if you have any cool peel recipes, please share them in the comments below! + Urban Green + NYC Media

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Stop throwing away banana peels – eat them instead

Look like trees have their own living Internet

April 15, 2016 by  
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Back in 1999, scientists at Switzerland’s University of Basel began an experiment to see how trees would handle the large amounts of carbon dioxide we’re releasing into the air. In so doing, they stumbled onto the unexpected discovery that trees exchange carbon with one another, even when they’re not directly connected. This “ wood-wide web ” could totally alter the way we understand forest interactions. Read the rest of Look like trees have their own living Internet

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Look like trees have their own living Internet

This smart umbrella tells you when it’s about to start raining

April 15, 2016 by  
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Obama administration announces student loan forgiveness for nearly 400,000 disabled people

April 15, 2016 by  
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The Department of Education is sending letters to 387,000 individuals who are eligible for a “total and permanent” discharge from their student loan debt . The move cuts through some serious red tape for the people who need debt relief the most, namely people who have a disability that prevents them from being able to work and repay their loans. Thanks, Obama, indeed. Read the rest of Obama administration announces student loan forgiveness for nearly 400,000 disabled people

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