SEEDS’ solar tour scheduled for September 10 and more

What's new for sustainability in the Upper Delaware region

Posted 7/21/22

SEEDS’ solar tour scheduled for September 10

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support) will hold its DIY solar tour on Saturday, September 10, …

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SEEDS’ solar tour scheduled for September 10 and more

What's new for sustainability in the Upper Delaware region


SEEDS’ solar tour scheduled for September 10

WAYNE COUNTY, PA — SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education & Development Support) will hold its DIY solar tour on Saturday, September 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be four stops on the tour. It starts in Damascus Township and ends in Dyberry Township. Participants can drive their own vehicles to the sites, although after registration, energy-saving carpooling opportunities will be available.

Each stop on the tour is an example of a do-it-yourself solar installation, a mix of roof and ground-mount systems. Discussion at each location will cover various aspects of installing a solar system, from financials and paperwork to the mechanics of installation.

“One of the things I like about this tour is that participants will get to meet people who took steps to learn how to put up their own solar systems, thanks to our… solar workshops,” said SEEDS chair Katharine Dodge. “They will share their experiences as well as a broad range of helpful information. So, whether you are interested in installing solar yourself or through a contractor, this is a great way to gain an understanding of the process.”

SEEDS is a Honesdale-based nonprofit environmental education organization. It promotes renewable energy and sustainable living in northeastern PA and the Upper Delaware region.

This tour is limited to 30 participants, so SEEDS urges anyone interested to sign up quickly.

A detailed itinerary will be sent after you sign up.

The tour is free, but donations to SEEDS are always welcome. A mid-morning coffee break and a 1 p.m. picnic lunch will be provided.

SEEDS offers free solar assessments to those members who live within its region. The service helps homeowners avoid bad decisions and unscrupulous solar installers. To inquire about a solar assessment, email

To register, visit

For more information about SEEDS, visit

Clean air is better air

EVERYWHERE — Clean air is vital to human health and the ecosystem. Most air pollutants come from manufacturing industries, vehicles and heating and cooling. But many come from everyday activities. Small changes in our daily routine can make a significant difference in the quality of the air we breathe.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation offers some tips.

Choose pump sprays, not aerosols. Non-aerosol products include roll-on deodorant, shaving soap, setting lotion or gel.

Refuel garden equipment carefully. Spilled gasoline + sunlight and summer heat = pollution that irritates the lungs and causes smog. Use a spout or funnel to avoid spills and don’t overfill.

Choose lawn equipment carefully. Small gas engines— like the engine in your mower, handheld leaf blower and chainsaw—put out exhaust, just like cars. Unlike cars, these small engines don’t have pollution controls. Try electric or battery powered models to take advantage of New York’s clean energy grid.

Use a mulching mower and stay off paved areas.

Rake or sweep leaves. Compost or use for landscaping.

Use a battery operated or plug-in leaf blower. Ensure the equipment is in proper working order—inspect the air filters, air intakes and muffler before operation.

To clean an excessively dusty area, use a shovel to pick up the large debris.

Don’t use leaf blowers to move large debris piles.

Buy a new gas can that seals automatically when the spout isn’t being used.

Use latex paints. Oil-based paints contain solvents that evaporate easily and give off fumes. Water-based latex paint has better color retention and releases less pollution into the air.

Choose products low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Cleaning solvents, paints, stains and even personal care products with VOCs can emit toxic or otherwise harmful fumes. Avoid such items whenever possible, especially in winter when ventilation to the outside is limited.

Eliminate burn barrels. Municipal waste incinerators operate at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and use filters to reduce harmful emissions, but backyard burn barrels—which are illegal in New York—rarely exceed 500°F and release up to 40 times the amount of toxins and pollutants as permitted facilities. Plastics, foils, batteries and chlorine-bleached paper are especially bad.

Have your heating system checked and cleaned each year.

DEC tracks new threat to beech trees

NEW YORK STATE — The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) warned that beech leaf disease (BLD), which affects all species of beech trees, was identified in 35 counties to date. Fourteen of the counties with BLD were confirmed in 2022, and more are likely to be identified.

Most of the reports are from Suffolk and Westchester counties.

Much is still unknown about BLD, including how it spreads, but it can kill mature beech trees in six to 10 years and saplings in as little as two years. There is no known treatment for infected trees.

DEC is asking the public to submit reports through iMapInvasives (see link below) if people encounter a beech tree showing signs of BLD, especially for counties where BLD has not yet been confirmed.

The main symptom is darkened striping between the veins on foliage; it is best seen when looking up through the canopy. Leaves with severe symptoms can be heavily banded and crinkled, with a thickened leathery texture.

At this time there are no specific recommendations for managing trees that are infected with BLD.

For more information about beech leaf disease, visit DEC’s website at

Find iMapInvasives at

For questions about potential tree pests or pathogens, email photos and a description to

Teaching about plastic pollution

NEW YORK STATE — New York Sea Grant has published “Plastic Pollution and You,” a 15-lesson curriculum focused on plastics in the state’s waters.

The curriculum is co-authored by Kathleen Fallon, a coastal processes and hazards specialist with New York Sea Grant; and Nate Drag, a literacy specialist and the Great Lakes program director at the University of Buffalo.

The lessons and activities urge students to think about what plastic is, how they use plastic, and about the consequences of plastic pollution in the environment. They learn the different types of plastics, their impact on marine and freshwater ecosystems, and about the recycling process and trash capture technology.

A recording of New York Sea Grant’s “Plastic Pollution and You” curriculum introduction webinar for teachers and educators is available online at

New York Sea Grant is a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, and works with coastal communities through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Learn more at

New York Sea Grant, plastic pollution, beech leaf disease, beech trees, clean air, SEEDS, solar


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