Dallas Sierra Club
Dallas Sierra Club News

December, 2011: In This Issue. . .


Sierra Club Annual Holiday Party - Sunday, December 11 

HollyhollyOur annual Holiday Party will be held at El Fenix Restaurant at 255 Casa Linda Plaza.  We'll party on Sunday, December 11 from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm. Here is a Google map.

Club members and guests will share the holiday spirit, some good Mexican food, and the company of others at this annual event. Join us for some camaraderie, door prizes, silent auction, and perhaps some surprise speakers, you never know. We'll celebrate some of our outstanding volunteers and have plenty of time to mingle. Free margaritas to the first 10 to arrive. Free bandannas to the first five. Support the Club by getting a 2012 Sierra Club Calendar or Planner- if they haven't sold out by then! Invite your family and friends. The entire menu will be available so you can order whatever you want to eat or drink, including liquid spirits. So come on out for a great party, low price, no clean up, and lots of like minded people. You can relax and share a laugh or get serious and talk about issues of the day -- air, water, veganism, hydro-fracking, coal, nuclear, whatever strikes your green fancy. What could be better? Nuthin'. See you there, and bring your appetite. More details will follow as the date gets closer, but mark you calendar now so you won't miss it. Happy Holidays!! 


General Meeting Program - December 13, 7:00 pm - Refreshments at 6:30 

Remodeling for Health, Comfort, and Energy Efficiency
Robert Ruth, architect, will discuss planning, designing and remodeling homes for comfort, health, energy efficiency, and water conservation.  He will cover best building design and remodeling practices to achieve a sustainable, eco-friendly living environment.  Robert will share his research and experience in sustainable architecture, building energy systems, indoor environmental quality, clean air requirements, water conservation systems, and rainwater harvesting.

Robert Ruth is an architect, an accredited leader in Energy and Environmental Design who has completed many residential, commercial and public buildings.  Robert's experiences span more than 35 years in the architectural and/or construction industries.  He has led design and construction teams to complete several high profile buildings and luxury homes in North Texas.  Robert is an Energy Star Partner, speaker for U.S. Green Building Council, and member of the American Solar Energy Society who advocates sustainable building construction to provide better built homes and building.  He teaches green building design principles, concepts, theory, and resource conservation for the North Texas Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Everyone is welcome. You don't have to be a Sierra Club member.  Just show up.  We'd love to meet you.

Our General Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. but come at 6:30 for snacks, information and fellowship.  We'll also have a quick Sierra Club orientation (Sierra Club 101) for new members and visitors. Click over to our General Meeting page of our website for more information and a map.


Outings Highlight 

Dec 17 (Sat) Trail Maintenance and Walk at Cedar Ridge Preserve
Happy Holly Days!  Its fun and its helpful to get out to the Cedar Ridge Preserve in Dallas to help upgrade some of the beautiful walking trails just south of Dallas. The address is 7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75249. Its a great morning workout, and the scenery is exceptional. No tools are required, (maybe gloves) just show up and be ready to lend a hand or two. We'll work from 9 AM to 12 or so, and then walk around the preserve and admire the wildflowers and fauna! Bring some water for sure. Its on Saturday the 17th of December, and please see their website at www.audubondallas.org/cedarridge.html for directions and info. Their number is 972-709-7784 See you then! If you wish to carpool, then let me know, and we'll arrange a meeting spot. Come on out and stay green, people!  Trip rated: Easy. Organizer: Ginger Bradley 469-223-7902

Feb 16-20 (Thu-Mon) Annual Taos Bus Trip
It's time to sign up for our very popular annual trip to enjoy the winter beauty of northern New Mexico. We'll leave Dallas on our sleeper bus around dinner time on Thursday, February 16 and return early morning on Monday, February 20. The trip is very economical and offers your choice of a great hotel in Taos with hot tub or backpacking/yurt accommodations. Activity options include alpine snowshoeing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and even new hike options in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area (weather permitting). You can also just relax and enjoy the galleries, museums, shops, food and beauty of this scenic and historical town. Activity ratings range from easy to moderately strenuous. Trip includes transportation to/from Taos, Taos Ski Valley, trailheads and destinations to activities included in the trip. Complete details, including all costs and sign-up information are in this PDF document. This trip usually sells out so make your plans and sign up now! Bus trip leader: Liz Wheelan 214-368-2306

For a complete list of our outings, visit our outings page.


The Outings Corner 

ICO Outreach: Your Gift of Nature to Kids

We are an amazing Club with many strengths and dedicated volunteers who share a passion for conservation and the outdoors. Our outings program continues to grow and offers an array of safe, fun and well organized outings to destinations near and far. But as many of us are running around and fighting crowds to find that perfect gift for a loved one, I want to take this moment to highlight the gift you have already given. It's a gift that can't be wrapped or bought, won't fit under a tree (even if they had one) and is something that is remembered and enjoyed by children well into their adult life. What is this magical gift? It's your Inner City Outings, our Club's outreach program that provides local disadvantaged and underserved youth a simple Saturday day hike to a nearby nature center, a first night in a tent at a state park, a few hours of environmental learning/service work pulling invasive plant species or making seed balls, a chance to paddle a canoe or kayak and when we're really lucky and have the funds, a long weekend to a "far away place" like Palo Duro Canyon State Park or even a rare but amazing backpack trip in the Pecos Wilderness.

Not all Sierra Club's offer an ICO program. I've talked with members of Sierra Club groups in other cities who love the idea of ICO and want to start a program in their area but then can't come up with enough volunteers who are willing to come to monthly meetings, do fundraising, don't mind (or at least understand the necessity for) the bit of extra training, criminal background checks, paperwork and reports required. Next year our Dallas ICO will reach a milestone - our 25th anniversary. Through the years of tight funding and other challenges, volunteers have given up a few of their Saturdays or weekends to give kids a chance to unplug, get off the cement, away from the noise and challenges of their difficult neighborhoods to explore nature firsthand. For many of these kids an ICO outing is the first time they've seen or driven over the Trinity River, let alone traveled to a destination a half hour or hour outside Dallas. And when we're on trail something as simple as a caterpillar or yes, pile of scat can start a conversation about the importance of nature, conservation and the fun of exploring for nature's clues of what animals may live in that area. And with magnifying jars to see bugs and binoculars to see birds - oh, the fun!

At a recent national ICO meeting one of the staff from the Club's Military Families group (part of our new Mission Outdoors initiative - more on that later) reminded us how much society has changed by asking this simple question: how many of us as kids went on that bike ride to nowhere or walk in the woods or ravine in our backyard or friend's house down the street? As you'd imagine, most everyone in the room raised their hand. Most of today's kids don't grow up with that same opportunity to just be a kid and explore in the woods, fostering their imagination, curiosity about nature and even self confidence. Today those same activities we could choose to do most every day as a kid are no longer safe, there aren't any green spaces close enough to their homes or kids are in a childcare situation until dinner because the single parent or grandparent rearing them is at work late. Many of us in the Club share a love of the outdoors partly, perhaps mostly because of fond experiences we had as kids... going to a summer camp, scouting programs through our school, the tree house shared with neighborhood kids (if you were in on the secret password needed to enter), the kickball game with different trees as bases, the creek or lake down the road from Grandma's house. My alarm clock during my grade school years was a pair of woodpeckers in the large oak tree outside my bedroom window. How many kids in low income housing have the many outdoor opportunities like we had, or even one of them?

Last week at our ICO end of the year dinner I read some statistics I'd gathered from our ICO efforts this past year. We had 15 outings which included almost 150 kids on 200 "kid days" of fun. Those outings were made possible by 7 leaders and 13 volunteers who, not counting all the time to organize the trips, gather gear and grub, gave just under 1,100 volunteer hours. Our outings included kids age 6 - 18 from Jubilee Park and Community Center (southeast Dallas near Fair Park), Pegasus School (downtown Charter school) and Peters Colony (low income housing, north Farmers Branch). All of these outings were provided at no cost to the youth. My heartfelt gratitude to fellow leaders Giri Akkaraju, Kyle Cotten, Lynn Marple, David McCalib, Kim Osborne and Glenn Squire. Also a special thanks to all the amazing volunteers who share their passion for nature and give their valuable time to ICO. When you receive your January 2012 issue of Sierra magazine, check out our picture on page 83!

So, as we end 2011 and think of all the conservation battles and struggles we've gone through, you can still smile knowing that because of Dallas Sierra Club's ICO program, we've shared the gift of nature with a lot of deserving kids, our future conservationists and tree huggers. And since kids say it best, I'll leave you with a few quotes from kids on our outings:

"I didn't know all this nature stuff could be so much fun"! (boy from Jubilee)

and, when seeing the Pecos Mountains for the first time, a high school girl said with tearful eyes:

"I've seen this kind of thing on TV but I didn't think it could be real. It's even more beautiful than I could imagine".

Interested in volunteering with or donating to ICO? Contact Liz Wheelan. For meeting information please also sign up for our ICO list serve. Our next new volunteer orientation is Tuesday, January 24.


Recycling Roundup - by Rita Raccoon 

Recent Recycling News - December 2011

LOCAL SITE FOR RECYCLING INFORMATION
http://www.timetorecycle.com/

This is the regional recycling site noteworthy for featuring residential recycling, recycling locations, where to buy recycled, composting corner, and games.

Close the Loop...Buy Recycled!
Buy Recycled at Home

Recycled materials are not truly recycled until we reuse them. The materials that we recycle do not truly benefit the environment until a demand is created for them. You can increase the demand by using your purchase power. Be an environmental shopper!

Most importantly, buying recycled turns waste into a useful resource for making other products and diverts waste from our landfills. So close the loop and buy recycled!

What Consumers Should Look For:

Check for the recycle symbol on the following products:
- Cereal, cookie, and cracker packages
- Canned foods and beverages
- Detergent and cleaning supply containers
- Glass containers
- Shampoo and beauty products
- Paper towels and bathroom tissue
- Writing paper, notepads, greeting cards, and stationary
- Carpeting
- Tools
- Plastic flower pots, trash cans, bins, and fencing
- Packing boxes
- Re-refined motor oil
- Retread tires
- Automotive batteries
- Insulation in ski jackets, gloves, and sleeping bags made from recycled PET bottles.

Definitions of Terms on Product Packaging
Here are a few terms you may encounter on product packaging:

Pre-consumer waste: This includes the paper scraps, overruns, and misprints from the manufacturer. These fibers are reused to produce new paper. It does not include any material from household or commercial recycling programs.

Post-consumer waste: These materials have all been produced, sold consumed, and collected. Anything you recycle at home or at work is included in this category. Using these materials helps promote recycling programs by creating a market for our recyclables. In order for recycling programs to continue, we as consumers must purchase products with at least some post-consumer waste.

Recyclable: The word "recyclable" simply means that the product can be recycled. If you see this on packaging, it does not mean that the product is made of recycled materials.


Calendar 

Here is our calendar for the next two months. For complete listings, visit us at www.dallassierraclub.org.

Social Gathering IconDec 11 (Sun) Dallas Sierra Club Holiday Party
Our annual Holiday Party will be held at El Fenix Restaurant at 255 Casa Linda Plaza.  We'll party from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

Club members and guests will share the holiday spirit, some good Mexican food, and the company of others at this annual event. Join us for some camaraderie, door prizes, silent auction, and perhaps some surprise speakers, you never know. We'll celebrate some of our outstanding volunteers and have plenty of time to mingle. Free margaritas to the first 10 to arrive. Free bandannas to the first five. Support the Club by getting a 2012 Sierra Club Calendar or Planner- if they haven't sold out by then! Invite your family and friends. The entire menu will be available so you can order whatever you want to eat or drink, including liquid spirits. So come on out for a great party, low price, no clean up, and lots of like minded people. You can relax and share a laugh or get serious and talk about issues of the day -- air, water, veganism, hydro-fracking, coal, nuclear, whatever strikes your green fancy. What could be better? Nuthin'. See you there, and bring your appetite. More details will follow as the date gets closer, but mark you calendar now so you won't miss it. Happy Holidays!!

Dallas Sierra Club Meeting IconDec 13 (Tue) Dallas Sierra Club General Meeting
Home Remodeling for Health, Comfort, and Energy Efficiency is the topic of our December meeting.  Full details are on our Home Page..

Service Outing IconDec 17 (Sat) Trail Maintenance and Walk at Cedar Ridge Preserve
Happy Holly Days!  Its fun and its helpful to get out to the Cedar Ridge Preserve in Dallas to help upgrade some of the beautiful walking trails just south of Dallas. The address is 7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75249. Its a great morning workout, and the scenery is exceptional. No tools are required, (maybe gloves) just show up and be ready to lend a hand or two. We'll work from 9 AM to 12 or so, and then walk around the preserve and admire the wildflowers and fauna! Bring some water for sure. Its on Saturday the 17th of December, and please see their website at www.audubondallas.org/cedarridge.html  for directions and info. Their number is 972-709-7784   See you then! If you wish to carpool, then let me know, and we'll arrange a meeting spot. Come on out and stay green, people!  Organizer: Ginger Bradley 469-223-7902

Dallas Sierra Club Meeting IconDec 21 (Wed) General Meeting of the Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club
Christmas Party!!! We will NOT have a regular meeting with a speaker, but we will have a wonderful time socializing with members and guests. Please bring a snack or dessert to share. Drinks will be provided. Location: Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, Moncrief Garden Center, Azalea Room; 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. at University Drive, north of I-30, Fort Worth. (817)871-7686.

Dallas Sierra Club Meeting IconJan 4 (Wed) Dallas Sierra Club Executive Committee Meeting
The Executive Committee (or Excom) is the elected governing body of the Dallas Sierra Club and meets at REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Farmers Branch, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch). Contact the Dallas Group Chair for more information.

Dallas Sierra Club Meeting IconJan 18 (Wed) Outings Committee Meeting
Meet in the upstairs program room at REI (on north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch), at 6:30 PM. Bring your ideas for the Dallas Sierra Club Outings program. We will be planning local outings and bus trips. All outings leaders, future outings leaders, and interested Sierrans welcome. Ask Bill to be placed on the email list for an agenda. Contact: Bill Greer 972-247-0446

Service Outing IconJan 21 (Sat) Trail Maintenance and Walk at Cedar Ridge Preserve
Ready to help out this year? It's fun and its helpful to get out to the Cedar Ridge Preserve in Dallas to help upgrade some of the beautiful walking trails just south of Dallas. The address is 7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75249. Its a great morning workout, and the scenery is exceptional. No tools are required, (maybe gloves) just show up and be ready to lend a hand or two. We'll work from 9 AM to 12 or so, and then walk around the preserve and admire the wildflowers and fauna! Bring some water for sure. Its on Saturday the 21st of January 2012, and please see their website at www.audubondallas.org/cedarridge.html  for directions and info. Their number is 972-709-7784   See you then! If you wish to carpool, then let me know, and we'll arrange a meeting spot. Come on out and stay green, people!  Contact: Ginger Bradley 469-223-7902

The Dallas Sierra Club News e-newsletter, sent monthly (and occasional for late-breaking news or events), keeps you up-to-date on meetings, activities, issues and special events. Visit us at www.DallasSierraClub.org.
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