Image: Metal mercury, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
Mercury—the metal not the planet—has been in the East Lansing news since a spill at the East Lansing Wastewater Treatment plant and an ELi scoop about continuing concerns among city workers regarding exposure.
Should East Lansing residents worry about mercury? The short answer is yes, East Lansing residents should worry about mercury.
This week, Eli on Earth takes a look at one contributor to the City of East Lansing’s carbon footprint: the outdoor public fireplace in the Ann Street Plaza.
First, some background: “Ann Street Plaza” is the name given to the downtown public space on the north side of Albert Avenue just west of MAC. It includes the clock tower, the performance space used for summer outdoor concerts, and the large gas fireplace enclosed with heavy metal grating (see above photo) just outside of Peppino’s sports/pizza lounge.
Image: The author sowing seeds the day before the big snow.
If you are tired of winter and cannot make the trip south to warmer climes, you can still begin some spring activities right here in East Lansing. It may not be warm outside, but there are some seeds that do well planted in the snow. Snow planting is as simple as putting the seeds in the snow where you would otherwise plant them in the dirt.
Image: The author's coast redwood. The leaves are very similar to those of the dawn redwood, but there is a key distinction: the leaves of the coast redwood alternate on each side of the stem while the dawn redwood leaves grow exactly opposite each other on the stem.
Above: From left, a paper seed-starting container made from scrap paper using the wooden press shown behind it; a dish of commercial seed-starting mix; a commercial peat pot like those the author uses for starting seeds.
It may not be spring-like outside yet, but it is time for East Lansing gardeners to be thinking about summer planting. For those interested in starting their flowers, vegetables, and herbs as seedlings indoors, this is the season for getting organized.
Image: Another Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) as photographed by Dan Burbank from the International Space Station in 2011; courtesy of NASA.
Last week ELi on Earth (EoE) focused its binoculars on the moons of Jupiter, and this week we will point our binoculars to comet Lovejoy.. The comet is bright enough to be seen with binoculars in East Lansing, or even with the naked eye if you are in a darker area.
Image: “Europa’s stunning surface,” courtesy of NASA and the Galileo Mission
Winter weather has come to East Lansing, making for cold and potentially good conditions for astronomy. Because of how precipitation works, the coldest nights are often the clearest in East Lansing, and so can make for good, if brief, looks at the sky. (Tip: Observation sessions can be extended if, along with your binoculars, you pack a flask of something warming from Jonnna’s and some boot warmers from Moosejaw in downtown East Lansing.)
In response to the recent snows and freezing rain, East Lansing residents brought out shovels and de-icing agents to clear their walks and driveways. ELi on Earth (EoE) has already covered the creation of ice in the form of hail, and this week EoE is going to look at using salt to melt ice on your sidewalk and driveway, including which product to choose if you’re conscious of the environment in East Lansing.
While the chill in the air and the leaves on the ground may signal the coming of winter, they also mark the time in East Lansing for planting many kind of bulbs. For plants that form them, bulbs are both the food storage and growth structures for spring.