Considering planting a garden to help beautify your business front? Try planting native wildflower or plant species that will draw in honey bees! By planting varieties that are attractive to bees, you can help your garden thrive while benefiting the insect population in your region. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, since 2006 about one-third of the honey bee population in the US has disappeared due to what scientists today refer to as ‘colony collapse disorder.’ This startling loss of honey bees has been linked to numerous causes ranging from pesticides to parasites. However, scientists have yet to narrow down the exact reason(s) causing honey bees to die. The most helpful thing that we, as community members can do is to encourage the repopulation of honey bees is by carefully selecting garden varieties that are irresistible to these buzzy insects! Continue reading
Category Archives: in Southwestern PA
Between May when the weather gets warm and when it starts to get cold in November, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) brings thousands of potential customers through the towns along it’s length. During peak summer months and holiday weekends tourist destinations like Ohiopyle can be awash with visitors and their dollars. Finding ways to maintain and increase this seasonal traffic is a great way to increase profits, but the problem becomes what to do during those months of the off-season. For established businesses strong local patronage during the trail season is a bonus and the off-season brings slower but still good levels of business. The issue is really for those businesses that depend on the trail customers.
The Great Allegheny Passage Sustainable Business Network welcomes its two newest members, ArtWorks Connellsville and El Canelo Mexican Restaurant, both prominent Connellsville businesses.
ArtWorks Connellsville sells a wide variety of regional artwork including jewelry, handmade soap, watercolor paintings, photography, handmade bowls, and more. In addition, ArtWorks Connellsville holds a summer art camp for children ages 6-14. ArtWoks Connellsville will also be the site of a Re-Create/Re-Use store opening in October. The Re-Create/Re-Use store will collect items that would normally be discarded, such as fabric scraps, foam, and promotional items. The Re-Create/Re-Use store will hold classes where students will learn about various artists and will use materials at the store to create art.
El Canelo Mexican Restaurant in Connellsville, PA serves local residents and is a destination for trail users. The authentic cuisine offers a delicious selection for many dietary types, serving vegetarian and gluten free meals. Service at El Canelo is hard to beat, with staff always going the extra mile to make dining there a pleasant experience.
Next time you are in Connellsville, PA stop in at these two businesses to learn about their commitment to the Great Allegheny Passage and sustainability.
The cold weather has finally given away to warm, if not hot days, and we are all aching to get out of the office to spend time outdoors! Read on to find out how to make your summer more sustainable.
With gas prices up and the economy still down, plan a low impact, high quality summer vacation. Vacation locally and save time, save gas money, and reduce carbon emissions.
- Spend the week on the Great Allegheny Passage, riding from Pittsburgh to Cumberland. If you are adventurous, continue from Cumberland to D.C. on the C&O Canal Towpath. Visit www.atatrail.org for trip planning suggestions.
- Spend a weekend or a week hiking and backpacking on the Laurel Highlands Trail. This 70 mile trail runs from Ohiopyle State Park to near Johnstown. Visit the Laurel Ridge State Park website for more information: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/laurelridge.aspx.
- Explore Pennsylvania State Parks. Camp or stay in cabins during the night and hike, swim, fish, and relax in beautiful Pennsylvania during the day. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/index.aspx
Whether you are spending a lot of time outside or you serve customers that are visiting our region to enjoy the natural wonders here, you can use these tips to promote sustainable lifestyles.
From a personal perspective:
- STAY HYDRATED THE SUSTAINABLE WAY Use refillable water bottles. Bottled water costs about 2000 times as much as tap water. Bottled water is not safer to drink than tap water. The EPA strictly regulates tap water quality under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The FDA regulates bottled water, yet cannot require certified lab testing or violation reporting. In addition companies are not forced to disclose where the water they bottle comes from. http://storyofstuff.org/bottledwater
- BUY LOCAL Farmers’ markets are starting up for the summer. Buy locally produced and grown foods this summer. Local, fresh produce tastes amazing and is energy and resource efficient. Most produce grown in the US is shipped an average of 1500 miles before being sold. Produce grown in other countries is shipped even further. Buying local will reduce the energy use attributed to shipping and will help build local economies. If you live in Fayette County, get a Buy Local card and receive discounts at local stores. You can also save $5 at Fayette County farmers’ markets if you are one of the first 20 people to arrive. http://www.localharvest.org/buylocal.jsp http://www.faypenn.org/economy.jsp?pageId=2161392210281306139485965
- WATER EARLY OR LATE Water your plants in the early morning or the late afternoon to reduce the amount of water that evaporates on these hot summer days.
From a business perspective:
- Offer customers to fill up reusable water bottles in your sink.
- Encourage customers to buy/use reusable bags rather than just giving them a plastic bag. Consider charging for bags like companies such as Aldi.
- Promote local farmers’ markets to customers.
- Invite customers to dispose of any packaging from purchases in your store so they are not tempted to litter. Recycle what can be recycled.
- If you sell food, buy locally produced and grown food. See above for advantages.
- WALK, BIKE, OR CARPOOL Enjoy the nice weather or the company of a co-worker, and use alternative transportation to get to work. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help reduce tropospheric ozone pollution (formed when hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides from car exhaust interacts with sunlight). http://instaar.colorado.edu/outreach/ozone-oceans/ozone.html
The history of southwestern Pennsylvania in the last 150 years is largely shaped by industry – coke, coal, steel, and energy production, all of which generate air pollution.
Human health and air pollution are directly linked – particulate pollution from industrial and vehicular traffic have been proven to exacerbate asthma, heart diseases, and Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette recently completed a thorough series on regional air quality in Southwestern PA called “Mapping Mortality,” discussing the human, environmental, and economic relationships involved with the issue of air quality.
Why is this related to your business? Consider how the health of your community would influence the local economy. If your community is affected by heavy pollution, residents are more prone to dying younger, paying more for health care, and perhaps are even more likely to move away to avoid health complications.
In addition, out-of-town patrons may not want to support an area plagued by poor air quality. People will visit less, invest less, and take less interest in your town, which hurts business in a very direct sense.
The American Lung Association compiled a list of the Eleven Biggest Clean Air Events of 2010, some good, some bad, that will influence progress on this issue in the years to come.
If you are concerned about the social and economic vitality of your community, please stay informed about this issue and support lobbies for stricter regulations and more thorough enforcement.
Visit these sites for more information:
Due to a proposed cut in government funding for trail projects across the United States,* the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is rallying support to encourage government to continue to allocate Highway Trust Fund dollars to transportation projects other than highways.
“In a recent issue of AAA World magazine, Don Gagnon, president and CEO of AAA Mid-Atlantic, argued to restrict the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to just highways. That argument may sound reasonable on its face given the fund’s name, but such a change would eliminate popular and effective programs that have been the lifeblood of our movement for two decades, helping to create more than 19,000 miles of rail-trails and many other bicycle and walking facilities around the country.”*
TTOC attended the 20th American Trails National Trails Symposium in November, where government representatives discussed the implications. Some explained that the name “Highway Transportation Fund” is a misnomer, because since 1991, “… Congress has clearly stated that federal gas tax revenues be used for all aspects of a surface transportation system, including bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.”*
Consider what your town would be like without its bike trail. How would your business change? What other economic and recreational assets would you rely on to attract customers and provide an active resource for your community?
Losing a bike trail, or halting the growth of more trails, would devastate regions all across the county; that’s why Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is asking for support to continue its campaign against AAA’s outdated stance on transportation projects.
Click here to donate to the End of Year Challenge, to match a $25,000 fund from the RTC Board of Directors, raising a total of $50,000, for the upcoming battle.
Consider it a holiday gift for friends and family who walk and bike every day, every week, every month, every year.