25th Annual Leaf Lookers GEMBOREE :: Friday, October 17 - Sunday, October 19 at the Macon County Community Building

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Outdoors

The US Forest Service has announced it will extend the comment period on the environmental assessment (EA) on Managing Recreation Uses in the Upper Segment of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River Corridor by 15 days. Comments are due by Aug. 30, 2011.

“Since we started this process, our priorities have been transparency and public input,” said Paul Bradley, forest supervisor for the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests. “Although we were not required to provide a comment period, we wanted to give people an opportunity to review the document. Now people have told us they need more time to look at our analysis and our preferred alternative, and we’re responding by giving the public 15 more days.”

Extending the comment period will not impact the agency’s ability to issue a final decision by the end of the year.

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A report released Aug. 1, by the Center for Rural Affairs, “Connect the Dots: Transmission and Rural Communities,” finds that expansion of the electric transmission grid is key to a clean energy future. And an improved grid is necessary to bring more wind energy online, creating rural jobs in both transmission and wind industries.

“The wind is always blowing somewhere,” said report author Johnathan Hladik, “an integrated and robust grid with new lines connecting high-wind areas to demand centers will enable wind power to meet an increasing share of our energy needs.” Hladik went on to explain that with adequate transmission, up to 40 percent of U.S. electricity demand can be met by wind without storage technology or reserve generation in excess of what is already in place for conventional sources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas.

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For more than 80 years, the Highlands Biological Station has sought to promote education and research with emphasis on the natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau, while preserving and celebrating the integrity of the “biological crown of the southern Appalachian Mountains.” Offerings at the Station include a Nature Center and a Botanical Garden as well as educational programs for young and old alike.

Nature Center

The Nature Center presents a variety of programs throughout the summer — like “Snakes of Highlands,” “Nature by Night,” and this Thursday’s, “Cherokee Storytelling.” The program begins at 6 p.m. Daily summer nature camps for kids are popular in the area and fill up fast.

The Nature Center is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer. The center is located at 930 Horse Cove, Highlands. For more information, call (828)526-2623.

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Tom and Elena Marsh, who live in Swiss Colony neighborhood, have met the requirements from the National Wildlife Federation to create a backyard certified wildlife habitat.

In order to become certified, a property must provide the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover and places to raise young.

In addition to providing for wildlife, certified habitats conserve natural resources by reducing or eliminating the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and/or irrigation water.

Friends of Rickman Store are helping to implement the project with a series of “Gardening for Wildlife” programs. The next progam is set for Monday, Aug. 15, 5 to 7 p.m. “Meet Me At Spring Valley.”

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