Sunday, May 22, 2011

Compost Socks!

No, these aren't what my socks are called after I spend all day in the field for construction administration (those would be tick socks).  The compost socks I'm talking about are erosion control measures courtesy of the Robeson Creek Watershed Council & NCSU Water Quality Group.  Thanks to their generous donation, Southern Park is using this innovative technology to keep sediment loosened by construction activities from migrating into area streams. The socks form long barriers around the park's playground and parking lot areas. Traditional silt fence is used elsewhere on site.  

Here's how it works.  The compost socks are long fabric bags encasing composted mulch.  These socks replace standard erosion control fencing and are superior in a number of ways.  First, they don’t require digging a trench to install, unlike traditional silt fence, which greatly minimizes damage to tree roots around sensitive areas (the playground in this instance).  Second, the compost inside provides biological filtering of certain pollution in the run off, thus providing extra protection for the area's water bodies.  Finally, clean up is as simple as slitting the bag and leaving the mulch in place. Some applications allow for adding grass seed and leaving the bags in place as a permanent fixture.  
Compost socks can be used for a wide variety of erosion control measures.  NCDOT has used compost for erosion control on a number of large projects, although the technology is still relatively uncommon.  More info here if you're interested:

Compost sock erosion control in action at Southern Park.
Parks Department collaboration with Robeson Creek Watershed Council (RCWC) is nothing new.  They helped fund the beautiful raingarden, the permeable parking pavers, and green roof on the gazebo at Mary Holmes Park.  The also funded or constructed most of the raingardens around Pittsboro including the one at the Community House.  And they'll be undertaking a major wetland restoration project at Town Lake Park.  Thank you RCWC for all that you do for our community and our waterways!  Karen Hall in particular deserves high praise for her commitment to Robeson Creek.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Southern Park Flora

Some photos of Southern Park's current residents. . .  (pics taken with a 3rd gen iphone)

 Sourwood Tree - Oxydendrum arboreum
Bluets (Quaker Ladies)- Houstonia caerulea, Hedyotis caerulea
White Violets - Viola striata
Arrow Leaf Violets - Viola sagittata Aiton var. ovata

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fairy Festival - After Action Report

The first annual Fairy Festival & Gnome Home Building Workshop was a great success and a lot of fun.  Over 50 people showed up to participate and there were tons of smiling faces on kids, parents and grandparents.  It’s great to be amongst folks deeply engaged in their creative process.  The parents and grandparents were as thoroughly immersed in building their fairy houses as their kids - it was much more of an event for all ages than I had anticipated.  

A great team was pulled together to facilitate the event.... Little Dippers Italian Ices set up shop and seemed to be doing brisk business particularly as the day warmed up.  

Dr. Laura Barringer DDS was awesome, as always, in her persona as the Tooth Fairy.  

Samantha Birchard from Pittsboro Toys, hosted a chalk drawing contest, sold fairy related toys and generally helping out as needed.  Stacy Gray, a very talented Environmental Educator, facilitated the fairy house building.  Finally, Megan Bolejack, chair of the Pittsboro Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, helped with the event, and brought several people for her excellent Passport to Wellness Program, in her capacity with the Chatham County Health Department.  

We had truck load of great starter materials--bark, feathers, acorn caps, flowers, etc.--to use for the home building, plus an assortment of hot glue guns to hold everything together.  Like any good meal, if you start out with great ingredients it’s more likely that you’ll have a great meal at the end.  A half dozen new homes were built for the fairies and gnomes of the park and many, many more homes were built and relocated to the builder’s homes for their own, local, fairy population.
Caption - Click montage to enlarge
I was most impressed with the creativity of the participants and the imaginative homes that they built.  Judging by the feedback and open smiling faces, it looks like this will be an annual event.  By the way, if any of you participants have photos of your gnome or fairy homes in their new natural habitat, please send them in and I’ll post them on the blog. 
I hope the gnomes and fairies are enjoying their new digs!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gnome Home & Fairy Festival May 7th 9-noon

If you're interested in the workshop this Saturday, but are still wondering just what a Gnome Home or a Fairy House is I'd recommend that you go to this great site which gives an idea of what to expect.  I hope that ours will  turn out a beautifully as the homes at that site. Either way, it should be lots of fun.  

Charlotte/ Mecklenburg has a Fairy Festival every year which attracts thousands of people in the middle of January.  This will be a lower key affair, but if there's interest this could easily evolve into an annual event.  The workshop will be run by an Environmental Educator, so don't be surprised if the kiddos learn a lot more than just how to build cool little houses.  (which is quite valuable in its own right)  Hope to see you there!

Gnome Home Workshop & Playdate - May 7, 2011

Join the fun this Saturday May 7 from 9 AM to noon, and let your imaginations run wild as you build miniature homes for tiny mythical creatures at Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park.  The construction disturbed a lot of their habitat so they could use some help settling back into their new surroundings.  You’ll use natural materials found on site, plus some starter materials brought in for the workshop to create fine homes fit for the gnomes.  Fairies and elves need homes too, and feel free to dress up in fairy wings but also in clothes grubby enough for a nature inspired workshop.  

NO FEES (troll tolls) – this is a free event sponsored by the Pittsboro Parks & Recreation Department.  You can take your creations home, for your own mythical creatures, but we encourage folks to leave a good portion in the park for others to enjoy.  Feel free to bring natural materials from home to use or share.  

For directions to Mary Hayes Barber Holmes Park click the "interactive map tab" toward the top of the blog page under the main banner.

Local businesses like Pittsboro Toys, Laura Barringer DDS and Little Dippers Italian Ice will be on hand to join the fun, provide treats and host contests.  A fun time should be had by all, so come on out.  

Click image above to expand it to full size.
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