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Earth Day

See larger Dr. Jason Fridley Using 175 data-loggers to record temperature, sun exposure and precipitation, Fridley created the Smokies Temperature Network.

Photo by Kerry Woods, Kerry Woods

Dr. Jason Fridley Using 175 data-loggers to record temperature, sun exposure and precipitation, Fridley created the Smokies Temperature Network.

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  • Dr. Jason Fridley Since 2005, the assistant professor of plant ecology and geography at Syracuse University has been setting up and monitoring a series of climatological monitors around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • Dr. Jason Fridley Using 175 data-loggers to record temperature, sun exposure and precipitation, Fridley created the Smokies Temperature Network.
  • Dr. Jason Fridley Fridley recruited his brother, Eric (above), for his climate monitoring efforts in the Smokies. Described as a 'freelance adventurer,' Eric was happy to have an excuse to take an extended hike.
  • Beardsley Community Farm brings locals better living with organic produce, personal garden lots and sustainable practices. They'll host the Beardsley Community  Farm Fest May 10, where there is such a thing as a free lunch. And free admission, free tours, local music, door prizes and activities at the annual outdoor gala. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (More information is at www.beardsleyfarm.com.)
  • Jack Neely does his part for the Earth ... he hates styrofoam. Even as a kid he recalls that, though it tended to accompany outdoor fun, it seemed disreputable, corrupted with gray smudges that couldn't be washed off, hideously squeaky, and easily broken.
  • What you can do: Shop to save the planet!
A few thoughts: Dress in your second-hand best.; forgo packaging when you can; bring your own shopping bag to the grocer; and buy used goods when you can.
  • What you can do: Home Ecology 101
Local agencies such as TVA and Knoxville's Freecycle Network offer great opportunities, if you know to look for them. TVA sends along an energy efficiency kit at your request (log onto kub.org), and Freecycle is all about people looking to give away used goods. Don't forget that small things, like choosing cloth diapers over disposables and using energy-saving laundry detergent, can go far for you and the environment.
  • What you can do: To and Fro, less carbon flow
Carpool! Hike! Don't litter! A local tidbit: If you spend more than $10 on bulk ingredients, organics and food from vendors in the 300-mile range of the city at Three Rivers Market, you qualify for a free buss pass for all Knoxville Area Transit routes. Get more details at www.ci.knoxville.tn.us/kat/
  • What you can do: The greener green thumb
Choose to plant only from seed (it'll cut out the energy-wasting time spent shipping plants). On top of that, choose 'open pollinators,' which are self- or wind-pollinating. Some other garden tips: Decrease the grassy area on your lawn to save lawn mowing (replace it with mulched or planted areas), and buy plants native to Knoxville.

More than 30 years after the first Earth Day, we're still facing many of the same problems, heightened by greater awareness of the worsening effects of climate change. Here are ways that people in East Tennessee are working to improve things in their own corners.

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