In New York, it's officially fall. There's a nip in the air, the skies are a crisp blue, and everyone's sleeping better and smiling more, now that those humid, asphalt-scented dog days of summer are over (we hope).
When I was in college and the air got like this, heralding changing leaves and cool afternoons of pickup football in the park, my friends and I would round up a gaggle of girls and head up to Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, N.H., to pick what always ended up being way too many apples; they got made into way too many pies. We always ended those outings feeling uncomfortably stuffed--usually even before the pies, cakes, cookies and muffins came out of the oven. As a tribute to those fond memories, here are a few offerings of green ways to celebrate fall this weekend.
Build up your karma by helping with this year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday (Sept. 20). Once a year, volunteers around the world get outside together to clean up their beaches. In New York, Brooklyn’s the place to be. Landlubbers can do their bit in Prospect Park, while ocean lovers can join the estimable Don Riepe (he starred in our magazine's plover video) at Plumb Beach. For more info, call Barbara Cohen at (718) 471-2166 or Don Riepe at (718) 318-9344. To participate in California, visit the California Coastal Commission’s website. If you’re elsewhere, contact one of Ocean Conservancy’s regional offices. The Ocean Conservancy also has some fun follow-up activities, like swapping cleanup stories and a competition for the “weirdest find.”
Life is fair in Fort Collins, Colorado, which will host its ninth annual Sustainable Living Fair this weekend, with speakers including George Siemon, the founder of the now-ubiquitous brand Organic Valley, and Ed Begley, Jr. The fair will also feature live music, tons of kids’ activities, and exhibits on renewable energy, green building, sustainable foods and alternative transportation. Last year, the two-day event produced only 230 pounds of trash and offset nearly 400,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. Admission: $5; free for kids under 12.
Get out and play with Audubon chapters from coast to coast. Volunteer with Audubon’s TogetherGreen to restore habitat inLos Angeles and Missouri, count birds in their fall migration in South Carolina, or crack down on invasive species in Texas or Maryland.
Reap what you sow—or what someone else has sown—at farms across the country. From raspberries in Massachusetts to wine grapes in Michigan, fall is harvest time. Of course, there are the usual suspects, too: apples are getting plentiful, as are pumpkins and squash. For a directory of pick-your-own farms in your area, visit www.pickyourown.org or www.localharvest.com.
Enjoy the beginning of fall, and have a great weekend!
Photo: "The Perfect Pick," taken by Cara Parker. Courtesy of New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (www.visitnh.gov).