Master Gardeners Accepting Applicants
Would you like to become a Master Gardener?
The Lee County Extension Service is offering a new Master Gardener class for 2015. Day
time classes will be held at the local extension office located at 600 S. 7th St., Suite 4. The
starting date is to be decided, but will be in early February. Applications will be accepted
through January 23rd.
The program is designed for people with an interest in gardening who would like to improve
their gardening skills and passing their new found knowledge on to others.
The courses will be taught by specialist, county agents, and veteran Master Gardeners. The
classes will cover all aspects of gardening from soil and plant nutrition, design and care of
landscape, vegetable, fruit and herb gardening and much more.
The program is 13 weeks and will consist of lectures and hands on training. After completing
the course, new interns will be expected to give 10 hours of service to the Master Gardener
Helpline and 40 hours of volunteer service to the Extension Service and/or the community. At
the completion of their hours they will receive their Master Gardener Certificate.
Master Gardener classes are $125 per person. If you are interested or have any questions,
please contact the Lee County Extension Service at 334 749-3353 or visit LeeMG.org.
Christmas Tree Recycling
One of the favorite Christmas traditions in my family is cutting down the Christmas tree. Since my parents live in the country, it seems there is a plethora of worthy threes. However, after years of participating in this adventure, I have learned that a tree against another tree is not a good choice. The tree appears lopsided and unless you plan to put it against the wall in your home, it just won’t work. Some trees we have chosen could have landed us in a scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Too tall, too wide, too full and too much sap are a bad combination. These days the grandchildren look forward to picking out the perfect tree for my parents’ house. The adventure always includes lots of opinions, freezing toes, a saw and many pine needles. The memories made will last a lifetime.
Once the man in the red suit has visited your house with lots of goodies, what do you do with your Christmas tree? In Opelika this year, we are changing our tree recycling program to better serve the community. Keep Opelika Beautiful will be hosting the Christmas tree recycling event on Saturday, December 27. The event will be from 8am to noon at the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, 601 Avenue A. Volunteers will be onsite to unload your tree. The Opelika Tree Commission will be handing out tree seedlings to everyone who brings a tree. This year, Home Depot is our presenting sponsor of the recycling event. Home Depot will have a chipper on site to mulch your Christmas tree. You can take home a bag of mulch to use in your yard. If you would like to donate your mulch, representatives from Opelika Grows will be at the event. Opelika Grows will use the mulch for gardens in the Opelika City Schools. The Christmas tree recycling event is open to all residents and businesses at no charge. In Auburn, trees can be placed with your other curbside collection and will be picked up on the designed garbage pickup for the neighborhood. Trees picked up in Auburn will be taken with other yard debris to a recycling center to be ground into mulch. If you choose to recycle your tree, strip the tree down to the natural state. Please remove all lights and ornaments.
Why is it important to recycle your Christmas tree? Trees placed in the landfills will biodegrade very slowly due to lower oxygen levels. Trees can be recycled and use for mulch at playgrounds, gardens, around trees and for weed abatement. Many people use trees for erosion barriers to stabilize lake shorelines. Old Christmas trees are also excellent for feeding fish and fish refuge. Each year around 30 million real Christmas trees are sold. The average time it takes to produce a Christmas tree is 7 years. What if every one of the trees sold was recycled back into nature?
Responsible Football Fans
Whether you yell “War Eagle”, “Roll Tide”, “Go Tigers” or “Go Dawgs”, football season is upon us. This Friday night Opelika High School will travel to Oxford to play Oxford High School. Tiger fans from Auburn High School will be in Enterprise this Friday night. Auburn fans will get to watch their team play tomorrow night as the AU Tigers take on the Kansas Wildcats. The game will be played in Manhattan, Kansas. In Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama will be hosting University of Florida for an afternoon game. Prior to all of these games, families will reunite over tailgates. With delicious food and old friends, some say this is the best part of the whole game. I encourage you to start the football season by making a conscious effort to recycling when you tailgate and during the game. I know you have developed this habit at home so don’t become lazy on Friday nights and Saturday. How do you recycle on college campuses? At Auburn University, the Waste Reduction and Recycling Department has placed over 300 recycling bins throughout the tailgate area and Jordan Hare Stadium. University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa has a similar setup. Prior to home football games, volunteers in bright green shirts will be distributing clear recycling bags. In our tailgate area, these bags are also hanging on the fences. During the 2013 football season, Auburn University collected 40.6 tons of recyclables. This is a 56% increase from the previous year. What can be recycled? Only aluminum cans and plastic bottles (preferably empty) should be placed in the recyclable containers. Glass and plastic cups are not accepted. The reason for this restriction is the danger in glass breaking and recycling programs in our area only collect plastics labeled #1 or #2. Recycling at football doesn’t just take place at the collegiate level. At Opelika High School, Club 23 pickup plastic bottles after all home football games. There are also recyclable containers located throughout the stadium. I know you, faithful fan, would never be the scrooge that leaves your trash scattered among campus, as if it’s someone else’s chore to clean up. The universities and high schools work hard to maintain their campuses. A lot of money is budgeted at schools just for cleaning up after fans. Many of the parking areas on college campuses handout garbage bags when entering. Why not throw one of your garbage bags from home in with your tailgate items to be used throughout the day? At the very least, place your trash together before leaving your tailgate area. When traveling to other schools to cheer the Tigers, Tide or Dawgs, make sure you clean up your area. Be mindful of other school’s campuses, regardless of where your allegiance lies.
Our area has many fun fall activities coming up. On Saturday, September 27, Auburn University College of Agriculture will host the annual Ag Roundup prior to the football game. The Lee County Fair kicks off September 30.
Christmas Activity in Opelika
Tis is the season for all things merry and bright! Isn’t December just a fun month? Tomorrow will kick off the annual Rocky Brook Rocket Reindeer Express. The antique train will be churning through lights, live scenes and painted figures in the Municipal Park. Choirs will be entertaining families from the stage. Face painting and hot chocolate will make every little one happy. Santa Claus will also be there for pictures and wishes. The fun will be Thursday and Friday evening from 5 to 8pm. The Opelika Christmas Parade will be this Saturday. Downtown Opelika will be booming with handmade floats, professional floats, bands, animals, dancing groups and so much more! Kickoff is at 11am so find your spot early! Prior to the parade Heritage Baptist Church will have live music on courthouse square and Jim and Nicks will be selling snacks. The Grand Marshall for the parade will be Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins. On Tuesday, December 9th, the Auburn Opelika Tourism Bureau, Keep Opelika Beautiful and Opelika Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Christmas Reception. Each year members and friends of these organizations enjoy catching up before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The food is always delicious and the Chamber building is beautifully decorated. With so many activities in just one week, it seems the Christmas season starting with a bang!
Our area will host the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Super Seven this week. This annual football championship will take place at Jordan Hare Stadium. One interesting point is that this championship flips between Tuscaloosa and Auburn depending on the Iron Bowl. Each football team participating in the Super Seven has an exciting Tiger Walk as they enter Jordan Hare Stadium. The school’s fans, cheerleaders and band will be cheering on their team. This is a once in a life opportunity for these youth. Starting this evening with the Class 7A title game, the final game will be Friday evening. Even though Auburn High School nor Opelika High School will be competing this year, what does this mean for our area? First, this are 14 teams competing. Consider how many players are on each team. Don’t forget the coaches, cheerleaders, dance team members and band members. Then, think of every parent, sibling, grandparent and best friend that want to watch their loved one compete. Also think about the hotel rooms that must accommodate the teams and fans. The lodging tax is put back into our community. Throughout their stay in Auburn/Opelika, fans and players will enjoy several meals, perhaps go shopping and purchase gasoline. This benefits our businesses, employment and sales tax. It is wonderful that our area can host such an exciting event. For more information about the championship games, check out the Auburn Opelika Tourism website or the AHSAA website.
Yard of the Quarter Nomination Form
Please complete this form when nominating a yard for Yard of the Quarter Award