Maven Moment: Go Play Outside!

January 29, 2020 by  
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Maven Moment: Go Play Outside!

Earth911 Inspiration: John Muir Reminds Us of Nature’s Web

January 17, 2020 by  
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Earth911 Inspiration: John Muir Reminds Us of Nature’s Web

Transparent, prefab tiny cabin offers the best views of the Italian Alps

January 16, 2020 by  
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If you need a little getaway, there is a beautiful, tiny cabin retreat in the Italian Alps calling your name. The Immerso cabin, which is available to rent on Airbnb , is a prefabricated timber cabin with transparent roofs and walls that allow guests to completely “immerse” themselves in nature while trying to find serenity in an increasingly stressful world. Designed by Italian architects Fabio Vignolo and Francesca Turnaturi, the Immerso cabin sleeps up to two people. Located in the fairytale-like setting of the Chisone Valley in the western Piedmont, the timber cabin is surrounded by breathtaking views. In fact, according to the architects, this pristine location is what inspired the Immerso design — to meet the “increasing human need to live strictly connected to the nature.” Related: These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours Manufactured offsite using CNC-cut birch plywood panels that slot together easily, the prefab cabin measures a total of just 65 square feet. Its transparent, A-frame roof and walls add a spacious feel to the interior; however, curtains can be drawn to provide a bit of privacy. Two large doors open completely to reveal the minimal interior, which is comprised of a double bed and coffee table. In case you are wondering, there is a shared bathroom on the property as well for when nature calls. Currently located approximately 1,900 meters above sea level in the Italian Alps, the tiny cabin was designed to be easily transportable and assembled in nearly any location. The prefabricated design allows the structure to be assembled in just two hours. Additionally, the cabin is elevated off the ground on a platform in order to leave minimal impact on the natural environment. The Immerso cabin is available for rent on Airbnb starting at about $130 a night. + Airbnb Images via Immerso Glamping

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Transparent, prefab tiny cabin offers the best views of the Italian Alps

Earth911 Podcast: U.K. Environmental Leader Tony Juniper on Rainforest Awareness & Restoration

December 9, 2019 by  
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Tony Juniper spent a lifetime traveling the world’s rainforests and … The post Earth911 Podcast: U.K. Environmental Leader Tony Juniper on Rainforest Awareness & Restoration appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast: U.K. Environmental Leader Tony Juniper on Rainforest Awareness & Restoration

Striking, sinuous home outside of So Paulo is inspired by the shape of native pine trees

December 3, 2019 by  
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Rio de Janeiro-based Mareines Arquitetura has unveiled a striking home tucked into the mountainous region near São Paulo. The Pinhão House boasts a unique, elliptical volume with various levels and a leaf-shaped roof that juts out over a covered swimming pool, which is also integrated into the home’s curved shape. Located in Campos do Jordão, the Pinhão House is a gorgeous design with a curvaceous volume surrounded by nature, and it was also built by local craftsmen using locally sourced, natural materials . The massive home spans four levels, with a garage and wine cellar on the ground floor and the main living area on the first floor. Related: Eco-friendly guesthouse in Brazil sports a green roof and rammed earth walls The main floor comprises a large social area that is enclosed by a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels to provide stunning views of the nature that surrounds the home. Various glass doors open up to a wrap-around, open-air porch. Below the main living space, a winding ramp leads to an indoor spa area with a massive swimming pool and sauna. Four bedroom suites and a home office with 180-degree views of the mountains and native Araucaria trees are located on the highest level. These trees were essential to the design , because they inspired the structure’s unique, curving volume. According to the architects, “The building shape sprouted like a fallen Pinhão, one of the many particles that form the fruit of the local Araucaria trees. An organic, sinuous form that seems to weave through the trees and winds. Instead of stairs, ramps. Instead of corridors, compressions and expansions of the internal sculptural contiguous spaces. This manipulation of the spaces together with the use of ramps enhances the importance of the sensorial experience of the architecture.” Bold curved walls, windows and cabinetry flow throughout the space, creating fluid connections between each level, which are joined via a long, winding ramp. Natural materials, such as wood walls and stone accents, create a cozy and warm atmosphere. These materials were all crafted by local artisans of Campos do Jordão. + Mareines Arquitetura Via ArchDaily Photography by Leonardo Finotti via Mareines Arquitectura

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Striking, sinuous home outside of So Paulo is inspired by the shape of native pine trees

Cedar Haven is a forest retreat made with reclaimed logs

December 3, 2019 by  
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Blending contemporary design with natural materials, Washington-based residential architecture firm Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture completed a stunning timber home that feels like an extension of its alpine forest environment. Created for a homeowner who wanted a residence that echoed the tranquility of its mountain surroundings, the aptly named Cedar Haven was built mainly from timber and stone — much of which was reclaimed from the site itself. Several salvaged logs and other found objects from the surroundings were deliberately left in their natural state to emphasize the organic beauty of the design. Located on a site where a previous log home once stood, Cedar Haven was created in response to the client’s desire for a more contemporary house that still exuded the warm, rustic feel of a traditional log cabin . The result is a stunning, custom home that features a dramatic, light-filled great room with a massive stone fireplace, a sculptural spiral staircase and custom, handcrafted details throughout. The natural materials palette and large windows — particularly those in the double-height great room — blur the boundary between indoors and out. Related: A traditional log cabin in Colorado is the perfect winter wonderland retreat “The Cedar Haven project draws inspiration from the surrounding natural beauty,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Inside, vertical lines and artful asymmetry mimic the forest outside the soaring great room window. A staircase of spiraling posts echoes a grove of trees , and a colorful petrified stump captures the attention of all who enter.” In addition to the petrified stump, reclaimed wood is used for statement design pieces in the home. Cedar trunks act as eye-catching pillars inside and outside of the house, while a twisted tree trunk frames one of the three stone fireplaces. Reclaimed stones were also used to build the fireplaces and chimneys. + Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture Photography by Benjamin Benschneider via Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture

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Cedar Haven is a forest retreat made with reclaimed logs

We Earthlings: Saving a Rainforest Lowers CO2 Levels

November 26, 2019 by  
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Existing rainforests are our most effective natural method to prevent … The post We Earthlings: Saving a Rainforest Lowers CO2 Levels appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: Saving a Rainforest Lowers CO2 Levels

Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth

November 25, 2019 by  
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by Tom Brown, Jr., with Randy Walker, Jr. My new … The post Tom Brown’s Guide to Healing the Earth appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast: How To Lower Your Carbon Footprint and Save Money

November 25, 2019 by  
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The Earth911 gang gathers at the microphone to talk about … The post Earth911 Podcast: How To Lower Your Carbon Footprint and Save Money appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast: How To Lower Your Carbon Footprint and Save Money

Touring restored wetlands at a Wisconsin nature conservancy

November 1, 2019 by  
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The village of Williams Bay, Wisconsin hasn’t changed much since Harold Friestad was a kid, he told me as we walked through Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy (KNC). Now almost 80 and the conservancy’s chairman, Friestad is proud of being a factor in stunting the small town’s growth. He was president when the village board bought 231 acres of lakefront property in 1989 to create KNC. “What I want on my tombstone,” he said as our sneakers sank into the wetlands , “is, ‘Because of Harold, there will never be a stoplight in Williams Bay.’” Nature conservancy history The nature conservancy sits against Geneva Lake , long a summer playground for rich Chicagoans . Before that, it was home of the Potawatomi people. The name Kishwauketoe comes from a Potawatomi word meaning “lake of the sparkling water.” The current conservancy land was once a rail yard. But when the train was decommissioned, developers swooped in, wanting to build hotels, golf courses and shopping centers. Area residents wished to stop the developers and keep Williams Bay small and quiet. The Williams Bay Village Board, led by Friestad, negotiated a price of $1.575 million for the 231-acre parcel. “People knew I was a businessman,” said Friestad, who worked for Lake Geneva Cruise Line for 50 years, retiring as general manager in 2015. “They didn’t know I love nature so much.” Even though he got an excellent price — a 10-acre estate could now cost $15 million — Friestad said, “A lot of people didn’t like the idea of me spending all that money to buy it.” But now people value the conservancy, and some of Williams Bay’s 2,500 residents even bought their homes in the village so they could walk the wetland trails every day. “It’s almost sacred now,” Friestad said. “I don’t know how you put a value on it. But it’s priceless to me, and it’s priceless to many, many people.” Donations, volunteer hours, summer interns and a few part-time workers power the conservancy, which has never received tax dollars. During my weekday visit, one woman was chainsawing dead branches, a couple of folks were repairing a boardwalk and a controlled burn was going on in the distance. In the conservancy’s nearly 30-year run, the crew has restored more than 65 acres of prairie, planted a 15-acre arboretum, created a spawning area for lake trout, installed boardwalks over the wettest wetlands, cleared invasive species and constructed a four-story viewing tower. They’ve also built and continue to maintain more than 4 miles of trails. Visiting the Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy On the October day I visited, the conservancy was quiet. I saw only a half-dozen other walkers during the hour or two I was there. Things are busier in summer, Friestad said, when up to 500 people may visit in a day. Non-human residents include deer, coyotes, foxes and raccoons. Some years, beavers move in. The conservancy has a public education campaign about the benefits of beavers, not the most-loved local animal. Reptile-wise, the conservancy is home to garter snakes and the rare Blanding’s turtle, which has a striking yellow throat. People can walk through the area on their own 365 days a year. The conservancy also offers many guided walks, some focusing on particular aspects, such as history, geology, botany or trees . Those who want to get dirt under their nails can join volunteer workdays and autumn seed harvesting. Every summer, the conservancy hosts a 5K run/walk. I’d recommend the Friday morning walk, which Friestad usually leads. Trail cams Kishwauketoe participates in the statewide Snapshot Wisconsin program, a network of trail cameras. The project provides information for wildlife managers and lets citizen scientists get involved in monitoring Wisconsin’s natural resources. Jim Killian, KNC board member, Wisconsin master naturalist program instructor and coauthor of an upcoming book on the conservancy , learned about Snapshot Wisconsin while attending a master naturalist conference in March 2018. “I immediately sought permission from the Wisconsin DNR [Department of Natural Resources] to host a wildlife trail camera for the Wisconsin Snapshot Wisconsin in KNC,” Killian said. “Because of the location and size of KNC, I learned that I qualified to host two trail cameras in our conservancy. While the program participation requirements are quite stringent, I thoroughly enjoy this volunteer work.” The cameras work with a motion sensor. “At night and in low light, the cameras utilize an infrared flash to capture images,” Killian said. “That is why they appear as black and white. One camera is located on the edge of a small open field/prairie area, while the other is located on the edge of a very dense, wooded area and on the bank of a small stream, which is a popular watering spot for wildlife of many varieties. This stream remains as a source of open water all year, including in the midst of a very cold winter.” Killian services each trail camera at least once every three months to replace the memory card and batteries and to upload the captured images to the Wisconsin DNR. The DNR places the images on a website and invites the public to help classify them. Of the thousands of images captured at KNC so far, Killian said deer are No. 1, followed by squirrels, turkeys , coyotes, raccoons, opossums, cottontail rabbits, redtail foxes, woodchucks, blue jays, cardinals, sandhill crane, northern flickers and mink. Do the trail cams reveal any surprises? “The humor of wildlife,” he said. “I would have never suspected that animals do the funniest things, including selfies, when they know or sense that their image is being captured by a camera. This is particularly true for deer.” KNC is open year-round. If you’re looking for immense peace and quiet, visit in winter … and bring your cross-country skis . + Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy Images via Harold Friestad / Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy, Wisconsin DNR Snapshot Wisconsin (trail cam imagery) and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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