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Madison’s Bus System: Easy, Green, and Healthy for You!

city bus

Are you looking to change the way you commute to work, classes, or other places in Madison? Try the bus! Taking the bus can help reduce car emissions that contribute to climate change and many respiratory issues. Furthermore, individuals who use public transportation tend to get over 3 times the amount of physical activity per day than those who drive. Changing your commute can help you stay active and lower your environmental impact.

Madison’s bus system has options for everyone, no matter where you live. With over 60 different routes that cover the entire city of Madison and its suburbs, commuting to work by bus can be easy and convenient.

Madison Metro even has 4 free buses that cover the UW-Madison campus and can be used by anyone, without a bus pass. To use this free service, simply hop on any bus with a number in the 80’s (80, 81, 82, 84). Route 80 is the most popular for students and employees of UW-Madison, since its route takes riders by all of the main campus buildings and Eagle Heights residential area. Route 81 covers more of the northern part of campus, including the Lakeshore residence halls, Observatory Drive, and north of the Capital. The southern part of campus is covered by Route 82, and Route 84 and will take passengers from the top of Bascom Hill to Eagle Heights. All of these routes are easy and inexpensive ways to commute to your job, classes, or events, and each route offers many options for times.

Bus fare for other routes is $2.00 per ride, per person for adults, with prices being less for children and senior citizens. This fare can be paid on the bus when you board. Daily passes can also be purchased on the bus for $4.50 a day. For those looking for more long-term commutes, Madison Metro offers a variety of passes, including 31-day passes, semester-long and summer passes for youth, and 10-ride passes. Passes can be bought online at the Madison metro website. Some employees and students are also eligible for free unlimited ride passes, including UW-Madison students and employees, City of Madison employees, and UW Hospital, Meriter Hospital, and St. Mary’s Hospital employees. For a full list of eligible businesses for the free unlimited ride pass, please visit the Madison Metro website.

Planning your route is easy with the help of Google Maps. Simply type in your starting location and where you want to go, click the “get directions” button, and click on the bus icon. All of the available routes will appear, including how often the bus departs and how long your total commute will take. Madison Metro also has a “Transit Tracker” that allows you to see live time when the next bus will be at the stop. For those with smartphones, an app is available called “Transit App.”

If you’re looking to change the way you commute, head over to the Madison Metro website to find routes, stop times, helpful tips, and a variety of other useful information.

Overall, the bus is an easy, healthy, and environmentally friendly option for your commute. Next time you’re traveling in and around Madison, consider your other set of wheels!

image credit: www.nagpurhungama.com

September 24, 2014 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Dane County TimeBank

“The Dane County TimeBank (DCTB), established in 2005, is a network of over 2000 individuals and organizations who exchange services and skills to build community, build capacity, and come together to help each other to build a better world.” As explained on their website, with timebanking, “everyone’s time is valued equally – one hour equals one hour – and services exchanged include helping neighbors cover basis needs, skilled services and skill building, and other creative connections.”

Dane County Timebank works to uphold five core values of “assets, reciprocity, social networks, respect, and redefining work.” Assets require viewing every human being as having something to offer within a collaborative environment that only works through reciprocity and understanding that “helping works better as a two way street”.  Social networking and respect are important values because they reaffirm that members of our community can and should be able to rely on each other for certain things and that all of us matter equally. Redefining work as whatever it takes to make the community as a whole better by supporting its members is also crucial to building strong families, neighborhoods, and ultimately the entire world.

The main goal of the Dane County TimeBank is to provide “a mechanism to facilitate the sharing and exchange of resources among organizations that are often put in a position of competing for limited resources” within our county.  This approach to community building helps reduce some strain on municipal budgets and human service providers and offers a chance for partnerships with local organizations to meet local needs.

Joining the TimeBank is open to individuals and organizations in Dane County and some of the current projects include “The Wellness Project,” “Neighborhood Care Teams,” and “Inclusive Community,” just to name a few. All of these projects along with the many others which Dane County Timebank helps facilitate really are making our community stronger and thereby enhancing the lives of citizens of Dane County.  For more information, please visit http://danecountytimebank.org

 

image credit: http://danecountytimebank.org/

June 30, 2014 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

Summer Adventures!

 

ALNC logo

Since its creation in 1994, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC) has helped connect many people, young and old, to nature in south-central Wisconsin.  The center continues to successfully foster the development of a deeper understanding of the land for citizens of Madison and the surrounding areas in the way that naturalist, Aldo Leopold, did decades ago.  Through programming including pre-school, summer camps, after school programs, public programs, special events, and more, ALNC has also fostered “admiration and respect for nature, and encourages sustainability and stewardship of the land”.

The ALNC has two facilities that they maintain year-round for environmental education opportunities.  According to the ALNC website the Monona Campus provides interpretive trails spanning 94 acres that lead visitors through a wide variety of ecosystems and habitats.  The Black Earth Campus provides 38 acres of “rugged, unglaciated terrain” for hiking.  Additionally, on both of these campuses, there are many buildings for programming and special events that visitors can take full advantage of.

So this summer when you or your family is looking for an outdoor adventure to be able to enjoy Wisconsin’s environment sun up to sun down, look no further than the Aldo Leopold Nature Center.  With your participation and with so much to offer on both campuses, ALNC is clearly leading the way to engage, educate and empower the next generation of stewards of the land for a healthy, happy and sustainable future.

image credit: http://aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org/

June 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

Clean Sweep

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Not sure what to do with your old electronics and batteries? Are you uncertain of where to dispose of unused pesticides and poisons? Well, look no further! Dane County Clean Sweep is here to help. For a nominal fee, residents of Dane County have the opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted chemicals, paint, and other hazardous materials and eliminate the environmental risks that are associated with their improper disposal.

Located at 7102 US Hwy 12/18 across from the Yahara Hills Golf Course, residents and businesses alike can bring a wide range of materials to the facility to be properly disposed of. For a full list of accepted items, visit www.danecountycleansweep.com.

To prepare for your visit, waste materials should be packaged in boxes or rigid totes to keep products upright and prevent spillage during transportation to the facility. Make sure to keep all materials in their original packaging and do not co-mingle products together in plastic bags.

While the program does accept items from both residents and businesses, the associated fees vary. Dane County households and farms will be charged $10.00 per trip for hazardous wastes and electronics (The first CRT TV or CRT computer monitor is free with paid trip fee!) For businesses, fees are based on weight and the type of waste being disposed of. Electronics are not accepted from businesses. Businesses must also qualify as Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQG’s) as well as schedule an appointment prior to bringing wastes to the collection facility. Out-of-county businesses are welcome. Out-of-county households and farms will be charged $75.00 per trip and are unable to bring latex paints and electronics.

The facility also offers a product exchange program which features a large area devoted to product reuse. If items are received in good condition, they are stocked on the shelves of the product exchange room for redistribution to the public. The program is free and Dane County residents are allowed a single entry to the room per week. For more details on the product exchange program, visit danecountycleansweep.com.

Once you arrive at the Clean Sweep facility, you will have to provide proof of residency and pay accordingly in the form of cash or credit card (MasterCard or Visa only).

If you didn’t have a chance to finish up your spring cleaning, now is the time to round up all of those last lingering items and dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way!

image credit: http://www.danecountycleansweep.com/

May 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

Healthy Lawn Care

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image: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/gallery/wasteprev/wpclp2.htm

Collectively, Americans spend about $40 billion annually on lawn care including grass seed, sod, and synthetic chemicals.  Much of the money we spend on our lawn cares goes towards products that “help” grass only in the most superficial ways and that actually degrade the soil underneath, pollute our drinking water and lakes through contaminated runoff, and can pose serious health threats to pets and wildlife in the area, including birds.* 

However, maintaining a pristine lawn doesn’t have to be harsh on our wallets or on the environment.  There are other options for caring for our yards that can be more cost-effective and help our communities avoid many of the negative environmental impacts of overspreading synthetic chemicals, for example.

Chemical fertilizers typically contain high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other elements that can help grow strong grass and grass roots, but too much of a good thing can be bad.  In fact, when we overspread fertilizer on our yards, 40-60% of this fertilizer can ultimately leach away and pollute our ground water and have the potential to eventually reach and pollute our precious lakes.  This spring, consider spreading less fertilizer than in previous years and less than might be recommended by the lawn care product company.  If necessary, add water-insoluble organic fertilizers and do not fertilize your lawn when there is heavy rain in the forecast, in order to prevent extra runoff.

Additionally, leaving grass clippings on your lawn after mowing can add nitrogen back into the ground through the natural breaking-down of the clippings.  Similarly, allowing plants like clover to grow in your yard in addition to grass can help prevent erosion, smother weeds, and clover also naturally fixes nitrogen in the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer application.#

 

* http://www.planetnatural.com/organic-lawn-care-101/

# http://greenscapes.org/?page_id=105

May 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Think Local First

When shopping for household needs, food, clothing, etc. consider buying from a local, Wisconsin, Dane County, or City of Madison vendor, first.

Primarily, buying local keeps more of your money in the community.  When you buy something from a local store or artisan, they are then more likely to reinvest their money in the community which can lead to further growth of other local business.  This can eventually, hopefully, perpetuate the cycle of primarily buying and selling locally within your community.

Furthermore, buying local can reduce the environmental impact of your purchases as far as transportation and manufacturing costs.  There is arguably a slightly higher chance that the goods you purchase locally were made or constructed with local, unique materials.  Thus, local goods travel less miles than goods purchased online from out-of-state or overseas.  

Lastly, by making the choice to keep your hard-earned money within the community, you encourage others to do the same.  Lead by example and spread the word about all of the awesome local vendors you’ve heard of or had experience with.

Image  Watch this video by Dane Buy Local for an illustration of how buying local can keep our community vital, and next time you go shopping, think local first.

image: danebuylocal.com

May 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

April Showers Bring… Spring Cleaning!

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image credit: http://pureella.com/green-spring-cleaning-tips/

It’s that time of year again; time to get started on your annual spring cleaning.  No matter what your spring cleaning project may be, here are some tips to get you started on not simply spring cleaning, but green, spring cleaning that is good for you, your home, and the planet.

Most importantly, when cleaning-up or cleaning-out, we should keep in mind the after effects of our actions.  For example, scrubbing the counters with harsh chemicals and massive amounts of paper towels will leave our kitchen full of toxic chemical fumes and a ton of waste.  Instead consider wiping down the counters with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda using a reusable cloth.  Similarly, if cleaning-out and getting rid of things is your priority this spring, don’t just throw items in the trash.  Instead consider making something out of that “junk” or putting those old clothes and toys together as a donation to your local Resale Shop or host a garage sale to find your used items a new home.  One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure.

Ultimately, neither spring cleaning-out nor spring cleaning-up need adversely affect the environment or your family by adding waste to landfills or toxins to the air.  Instead, consider how the spring cleaning choices you make in your own home actually have the potential to be Earth-friendly.

 

Check out these sites for more information: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=1073

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-diy-green-cleaning-recipes-141129

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/cleaning-organizing/10-green-home-cleaning-tips.htm#page=0

May 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

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