Mountain Studies Institute and Air Quality

Mountain around Silverton, by Heather Ellis

Mountain around Silverton, by Heather Ellis

Devon Dey interviews Aaron Kimple, Project Manager of the Mountain Studies Institute, about air quality in the mountains. The Mountain Studies Institute (MSI) is an independent, non-advocacy, not-for-profit 501(c)3 center for research, education, and outreach. MSI operates its headquarters and a high-altitude field station in Silverton, CO. MSI also has an office on campus at Fort Lewis College in nearby Durango, CO. Their mission is to enhance understanding and sustainable use of the San Juan Mountains through research and education.

Make the Jump to Compost

EC File Photo

EC File Photo

Fall is finally here, and it is now the season for pumpkin carving, corn mazes, and leaves to change and fall. I’m sure most of you will agree that no matter what age you are you still enjoy taking part in the fall pastimes. Raking a pile of leaves and then jumping in them has always been a favorite of mine, but what do you do when you’ve had all the jumps you want and need a place to get rid of the leaves?

Leaves happen to be one the best fertilizers. So after you have had all of the fun jumping into the pile you can compost the leaves and spread them across your garden. For those of you without a composter you can use your lawnmower to chop the leaves up so they’ll break down sooner. You can also add fruits, vegetables, napkins, and coffee grounds for extra nutrients. This leaf concoction can help you harvest winter roots like leeks, carrots, and rutabagas. The only precaution to take when spreading the leaves is to make sure they don’t get too thick over the crowns of your perennials. This can cause root rot.

You can also compost your leaves during the winter and use them next spring to give your garden an early boost. You can simply place the leaves in a wire round bin and turn them every three or four weeks. Adding coffee grounds, vegetables, and fruits is also a great way to make the fertilizer even more nutritious, but can attract animas. If you’re adding food scraps to your compost make sure you have a closed container. By spring next year you can have all of the fertilizer you need to start a beautiful s garden.

Finally, if you don’t garden but don’t want all that leafy goodness to go to waste, call the Environmental Center at 247-7676. Our zero-waste crew is collecting leaves this fall for several of the community gardens we work with. This fall after carving pumpkins, going to corn mazes, and haunted mansions don’t forget to re-use those fun filled leaves. Gardens everywhere will thank you.

– Devon Dey