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A new set of wheels for ENP

10 Feb
Photo courtesy of GM, Detroit

Darwinian Evolution is defined as: “descent with modification from preexisting species cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations” – From Merriam-Webster

In Automotive Evolution we might say the following: automotive technologies descend with modification and enhancement from earlier preexisting forms and technologies cumulative inherited change of traits occur within a population of automobiles/automakers through time leading to the appearance of new and often more evolved/advanced automotive forms the process by which new automotive systems and/or collections of systems – as dictated by necessity and/or markets – lead to novel and more advanced automotive systems and/or collections of systems developed from preexisting forms through successive generations often (but not always) leading to more superior technological adaptations : those forms and technologies deemed inferior by function/markets are quickly weeded out of the population by the process that drives both automotive and Darwinian evolution – Natural Selection. Those forms and technologies deemed superior and that perform at or above their design will survive and their technological traits will be passed down to future populations.

Recently, I made the EVolutionary choice and I EVolved my automotive system.

In late September 2019 I purchased a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt to be the new ENP outreach vehicle.

Yep. The days of the Nissan Leaf are over.

My trusty old 2012 LEAF “Elektra” served me well as the ENP outreach vehicle for a little over six years but due to her failing battery chemistry and resulting limited driving range of only around 45-50 miles – natural selection prevailed and I was forced to automotively EVolve.

Yesterday meets today.

The old LEAF found a new home with a wonderful couple in a nearby town. Since they only drive around 25 miles per day I believe it will serve them well for many years to come.

For my ENP outreach vehicle needs, I require a vehicle that will travel more than 50 miles per day and sometimes upwards of 200 miles at a time. I also needed a vehicle that I can afford to fuel, maintain, and pay for as a company vehicle. Now that we have EV’s I feel that it is not logical nor is it a good use of funds for a small nonprofit organization to pay large amounts of money for fossil fuel powered vehicles and their fuels and maintenance. Essentially, using a fossil fuel powered vehicle for a nonprofit – or any business for that matter – is like lighting generously donated and/or hard earned money on fire, then tossing it out the window. It is not only a garish waste of funds but it also pollutes the environment – the very thing my organization is working so hard to protect, conserve, understand, and share.

So, after extensive research and planning, I decided to purchase a new 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV – Premier edition – as a replacement outreach vehicle for Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) – www.earthshinenature.com

I have owned the Bolt EV now for 4.5 months and during that time I have driven the little EV close to 6500 miles! It is a remarkable car that makes the old LEAF seem, well, – like ancient technology – or, in keeping with the EVolutionary theme – an earlier form of life.

The last solar charge for Elektra.

I really loved my LEAF EV but the primary reason I decided to go with a Chevrolet over another Nissan was mainly due to the ongoing terrible experience I had with Nissan HQ. Despite my detailed record keeping, sticking with the car’s dealer defined maintenance/warranty schedule, countless service visits/inquiries/emails/phone calls with Nissan HQ about my LEAF’s battery degradation issue, and even working tirelessly to promote the LEAF to many people online via this blog and in person via my nonprofit programming through EV education classes, and through the Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle Club at EV car shows during National Drive Electric week – all of these things lead up to many people I knew and many I did not who then purchased Nissan LEAF’s for themselves. Despite all this Nissan still refused to stand by their product and would not offer to replace my car’s degrading battery. Then, to make matters worse – just when I was about to consider the purchase of a new battery for my LEAF – Nissan raised the price by thousands of dollars as if trying to force owners of the first generation LEAF’s to upgrade to a newer car!

On top of all this madness, Nissan opted to forgo the implementation of an active battery management system that would extend the useful life of their EV batteries in favor of keeping the costs down so they could then sell more new LEAF’s using an out-dated technology while making a higher profit.

All these reasons pushed me over the edge so I decided that I was finished with Nissan and chose to look elsewhere. I looked at Tesla, Hyundai, Kia and then Chevrolet. Chevrolet already had several years of EV experience with the Volt and the Bolt’s technology was a few years old therefore giving them some time to weed out any major issues with the newer Bolt. Chevrolet also opted to go with a battery management system similar to Tesla’s that would keep the battery at the optimum operating temperature extending its driving range and its useful life. The bolt also has amazing driving range second only to Tesla (at the time) – at 238 it was a massive improvement over the old gen one LEAF which would only travel 73 miles before needing a charge. Another big deciding factor for me was the fact that at the time I was shopping there were some really nice end of model year deals on the Bolt so, for all these reasons, I chose the Bolt EV.

Taking ownership of the new “MIGHTY BOLT” from Walker Chevrolet in Franklin, Tennessee…interestingly enough only a few miles from where I purchased the Nissan Leaf in 2013.
With the new Bolt at the Nissan HQ saying goodbye Nissan!

So far I love the little EV – although, it does have a few odd issues that need mentioning. These are issues that I believe need some real attention from Chevrolet – so let us get those out of the way first.

1: Ultra reflective dashboard deck. The windshield facing side of the dashboard (in my car) is light colored so it reflects sunlight onto the underside of the windshield making it almost impossible to drive without visual discomfort from the “flashing” reflections. This creates an unsafe and uncomfortable driving experience. During the test drive I did not notice this phenomenon – possibly due to the sun angle at the time – or I would have chosen a vehicle with a dark colored dashboard. To remedy the situation I purchased a custom fit charcoal black, non-reflective dash cover from Covercraft.com and the problem was solved.

2: Thin driver’s seat bottom cushion. I am a relatively thin person so the narrowness of the seats do not bother me as they do for some people. However, the thin cushion and adjacent plastic framework of the seat near the seat adjusting levers puts pressure on my left outer thigh region as I exit the vehicle. Over time this fact began to cause my left upper leg to ache. I fixed the issue with a simple pool noodle slipped over the plastic piece. It worked for me but GM should really work to remedy this problem as it may be a deal breaker for some buyers especially those who do not want a pool noodle flopping about in their new car.

This added pool noodle cushion ended all discomfort and is removable if need be.

3: Cargo space. For many people the Bolt will be perfect in size for town runs etc but I needed more carying capacity so I opted to install a roof basket.

This allows me to carry much more cargo when I take long trips and even lumber 🙂

Or bales of straw for the chickens 🙂

And even more lumber and conduit 🙂 !

Things I LOVE about this little car.

238 miles of range – and more depending on conditions! WOW! It is a real car!!

Range anxiety is a thing of the past!

Cool UI. I love all the data and functionality the UI provides and it is pretty.

One pedal driving – SO COOL!!! (and the brakes will last MUCH longer!)

Awesome stereo system with the option of SiriusXM.

Roof rack ready.

The three level cargo area.

Arm rest/drink holder in the rear seat.

Heated seats and steering wheel.

USB charging ports everywhere.

Qi/wireless phone charger.

Wonderful windshield wipers that really work well.

Deep, multi-level storage in center console.

Sliding sun visors.

Built-in rear-view mirror backup camera.

Surround view camera.

Automatic headlights.

Automatic Emergency Braking.

Lane keep assist.

Android Auto.

The hulkingly huge 60 kWH battery that lets me go for days without needing to charge.

The insanely low cost to fuel and operate.

In fact, lets look at some numbers on that last topic.

I am not bragging but I feel that I need to share this very revealing automotive data with you should you be considering EVolving up to a Bolt or other EV.

I have calculated the fuel costs to drive the car the 6500 miles I have traveled up to this point.

Are you ready for this?

Are you sitting down?

Here it is.

$119.71

Those costs come primarily from the five “quick charge” sessions I needed during these first four months of ownership. Those sessions resulted in a total charge of $77.95 or and average of $15.59 per charge.

The remaining $41.76 comes from multiple “Level 2” charge sessions on the road and from several overnight “Level 1” and “Level 2” charging sessions at home.

In summary, during the last four months, I have driven an average of

1,625 miles per month.
406.25 miles per week.
58.03 miles per day.

At a cost of –

$32.60 per month.
$8.15 per week.
$1.16 per day.

119.71/6500 = .0184

So that breaks down to be $0.0184 cents per mile for the Mighty Bolt’s electron fuel.

$0.2 cents per mile! I will let that sink in for a moment.

Those numbers are accurate as I keep detailed notes on all charge sessions/energy costs.

My EV’s electric fuel costs are much lower than many EV drivers since I am able to use locally generated renewably produced solar electricity as my EV’s primary fuel source. The largest percentage of my Bolt EV’s electron fuel comes from the classroom solar array my students, interns, volunteers and I installed on the ENP office/classroom.

For the average US homeowner without solar who is charging their EV at home using the local power utility energy mix (US average @ .12/kWh), their costs would be a bit higher than my numbers.

My stats.

Regional Energy Grid Data from: https://www.eia.gov/state/

Arcadia Power: https://www.arcadia.com/

The fact remains that no matter an EV’s fuel source – fueling, maintaining, and driving an EV will always be much lower than anything powered by dirty, toxic, nature, life, earth, and future polluting fossil fuels.

It is very interesting and revealing to note that if I had driven those 6500 miles in my only remaining gas guzzler – a 2013 Honda Pilot – I would have needed to stop maybe 15 – 20 times to refill the gas tank (and change the oil and oil filter one and possibly the air filter once) and therefore my gasoline fuel bill (maybe we should call it a conveyance convenience cost) would have been a massive $812.50 or around 0.13/mile! …then add in the cost of the oil/filter change of around $50 and that’s $862.50!!

I do not care who you are, where you are from, or how much money you have to burn but you must logically agree with me – that is a CRAZY STUPID expense for anyone to spend just to get from point A to point B!

In fact, below is a photo of the gas pump the last time I filled up the Honda’s fuel tank…YIKES!

That $47 will push the Honda Pilot around 360 miles but it will also push the Chevy Bolt EV over 2300 miles!!!

Some Maths

6500 miles at an average of 20mpg = 325 gallons x $2.50 (per gasbuddy.com) = $812.50

Or
812.50/6500 = .125 (per mile)

(812.50 (gas) – 119.71(electricity))

That is a fuel only cost savings of $692.79!!

No one can deny the fuel savings of driving electric – but what about all those grossly unacceptable downsides of driving EV’s:

THE DIRTY DOWNSIDES OF DRIVING ELECTRIC

Charging: What about the horrible inconvenience of charging my EV while I sleep…It is just so difficult and time-consuming to need to remember to plug in the car before going on to other things…oh the horror!

First quick charge!

Stopping: The painfully needling fact that when on a road trip I always need to stop driving every 200 miles or so to plug in my car while I take a break, read a book, surf the net, take a nap, graze on food, have a cold one, get some exercise, go shopping, fish for lunch, fly a drone, watch a movie, spend time with friends and family, ride a zipline, pet a dog, pick some fruit, or just smell the flowers (these are just a few of the terribly inconvenient things I have been forced to do or could do while waiting for my EV to charge)…I just can’t take this intolerable electric car life of any longer!

Gas Stations: What about the hot insanity of never ever again needing to stop at dirty gas stations*? I so greatly miss the ritual of waiting in line for a pump, grasping the infectious germ and “booger” covered gas nozzle, shoving it into my legacy vehicle’s fuel port, engaging the trigger, inhaling deeply of the toxic and highly flammable hydrocarbon fumes while watching other oil addicted users doing the very same – oh and sometimes some of them leave their engines running and/or are even smoking while fueling – WTF!!! All this time our tanks fill up and our bank accounts drain…oh and let’s not forget the great fun of shopping in the station’s store for low quality overly processed foodstuffs…oh how I miss those days. *Ok, so I do occasionally stop at filling stations – but only if they have EV charging stations and/or to use their bathrooms or squeegee my EV’s windshield đź™‚ (Read one of my earlier posts about an earlier and most unusual filling station experience.)

Fueling up on electrons at a Dandridge, Tennessee Exxon station – maybe one day the pump locations will be reversed 🙂

Cash Flow: How about the fact that driving electric means you will never again be forever stuck in the endless “subscription to dependency” that owning and driving petroleum-powered vehicles truly is. Therefore, I will be FORCED to stop endlessly paying out loads and loads of cash for gas/oil only to just burn it up over and over again harming our individual lungs and our shared environment. Whatever will I do with all this extra cash???

Health: When my asthma and the seasonal ozone/fossil fuel pollution-induced respiratory inflammation and distress go away – I will shed a great and lonely tear of loss. What will I ever do with all this improved health I just do not know…

Maintenance: Then there is the unbelievable madness of having virtually no maintenance costs/repair downtime on the EV’s motor, battery, brakes, and drive systems…like the LEAF before it, this BOLT EV (and all EV’s) are virtually maintenance-free. I am going to really miss the time-honored ritual of raising the hood and/or crawling under my vehicle on the side of a busy road – in the rain, mud, ice, snow, and boiling summer heat (been there done all that many, many times) – to fix some failing component such as a faulty belt/hose/fuel line/fuel tank/plug wire/radiator/thermostat/clutch/carburetor/alternator/exhaust/intake manifold/”johnson rod” and on an on…and/or wiring up a broken exhaust pipe/muffler…and/or adjusting some broken or maladjusted linkage/shaft in 20-degree weather then bashing my knuckles on a cross member etc…or having my old beater car towed to a repair shop and then waiting hours or days for it to be professionally repaired and then receiving the huge charge $$$$$$ for all those frequent repair/labor costs…again, what will I ever do with all this extra money and time? Note: I really do love working on older, classic cars – especially with my dad. However, working on a classic car at home in the garage or in the driveway/yard on a nice day is a totally different animal than what I described above – which is a fresh hell I would not wish on anyone.

Efficiency: Oh, and what about the insanely stupid fact that EVs produce a portion of their own electron fuel through the process of regenerative braking thereby extending their driving range by hundreds to thousands of free driving miles each year and therefore lowering my fuel costs even more…how will I ever adapt to all this egg-headed science nerd tech geek madness saving me loads of money and making my life easier, faster, stronger, better?!

The first road trip from Franklin, TN to Chattanooga, TN – a Bolt and a Tesla Model 3 – so cool! Photo by Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute

Sound of silence: How about the unbearable and unbelievably smooth, quiet ride? I just cannot handle all this calmness, comfort, and serenity. Oh, how I miss the endless internal combustion engine drone drowning out the silence and/or the nuances of my favorite songs, audiobooks, and podcasts. Then there are the random noises, sudden jerks, squeaks, rattles, bangs, parts falling off (yes, that really happened), and body wrenching lurches that used to assault my ears, muddle my thought processes, and often torque my spine in all my previous legacy vehicles…

…all this EVolved silence is just so unbearable – oh, the humanity!

Convenience: What about that ridiculous one pedal driving thing! It is just so bizarre and inconvenient to only need to use one pedal instead of two. Not having to step on the brake all the time means my brake pads may last over one hundred thousand miles – how will I ever adapt to all this efficient madness? What will I ever do with all the extra money that I would have spent on bake jobs? My foot really misses stepping on the brake all the time so sometimes I do it out of nostalgia.

High above my EV’s fuel refinery. Note how clean the air is 🙂

Safety: I am not at all comfortable with the increased safety of this car. It will automatically and without asking me to authorize it – put on the brakes to avoid a collision!! What a HUGE compromisation of my freedoms to stop whenever I want to and under my own power and control!!! …oh and then there are all the airbags – they wrap around me on all sides – and then there’s the seatbelts holding me down keeping me from flying through the windshield in an accident – I feel so invaded!! …and what about all the CAMERAS!!! Giving over control to the machines – we all know where that leads!! It all must be a conspiracy…a plot fabricated by the Russians or maybe the Chinese…NO it is the greenies working with the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans and the DUTCH!!!! (To be clear: I am not racist and this was not a racial slur – it was a cheezy reference to an obscure comedy movie series staring Mike Myers.)

Furthermore!

I will not stand for all the EV safety madness!!!!

Give me back my 1969 Vista Cruiser!!

That 70’s Show photo courtesy of Carsey-Warner.

Fuel: How about the garishly un-American ability to charge an EV’s traction battery with home-grown electron fuel made on my own soil – be that electron fuel renewably generated by sun, wind, water, landfill gas, cow farts, or even the dirtiest hulking coal-fired power plant.

It is all domestically produced American made energy that does not require dirty deals, endless wars, and the terrible loss of our brave loved ones in the service just to keep it flowing into our tanks.

Nor does all this locally grown renewable energy destroy the very environment that gives all of us clean air, clean water, healthy food, diverse wildlife, our own lives, and a healthy future.

Source: NASA https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2159.html

Driving electric vehicles powered by renewable energy is obviously such an un-American, un-patriotic sacrilege that our founding fathers must be spinning like oil-soaked V8 crankshafts in their graves!

__________________________________________

Ok, so for those of you that somehow missed it – I absolutely LOVE my Chevrolet Bolt EV and I absolutely LOVE driving electric. I was attempting to be overly and intentionally sarcastic and humorous with my previous outline of EV shortcomings. From my point of view and over six years of EV driving experience – there really are no EV shortcomings.

Driving electric is simply a better way to drive.

Despite my sarcastic attempts at humor aside and despite all the mostly manufactured EV shortcomings you may encounter from the deniers, doubters, Luddites, and FUD generators – and those with money/politics tied up in the legacy automakers and fossil fuel economy – I fail to see how anyone can rationally dispute the massive cost savings of driving electric vehicles as daily driver commuter vehicles and soon, much, much, more…and all this before we have even looked at the significant reductions to toxic air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions saved by driving electric vehicles especially when they are charged by locally grown renewably generated 100% energy secure electricity – but that is another long-winded data-rich topic for yet another blog posting on yet another day.

Final Question:

How much does it cost you to drive your fossil burner 6500 miles?

Charging with my cousin the Chevy Volt

So, suffice it to say that I absolutely LOVE my Chevrolet Bolt EV.

I will keep you posted on my newly EVolved EV life with the “Mighty Bolt” EV and hopefully I will be able to offer you some insight into the world of the Electric Vehicle, renewable energy, and maybe, if you have not already, you will take the necessary steps toward your own automotive EVolution.

SPECIAL THANKS to Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute, Jim Hardy, Catherine O’Neil, Marian O’Neil, and the Blue Ridge EV Club, my awesome students, and everyone who worked with me to make all of this possible – you know who you are!

Note: I do not work for, receive compensation from, or own stock in GM, Chevrolet, Tesla, or any electric vehicle or electric vehicle supply equipment company or renewable energy technology or company. I do however support all of these technologies, companies, and ways of life as long as they stay focused on their goals and work to help more than harm and because they are all working toward a better, cleaner, more energy secure, lower ecological footprint, science-focused way of life that supports everyone everywhere.

!THANK YOU!THANK YOU!THANK YOU!

29 Nov

turtle

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN 2019

This year you helped us make the following amazing things possible –

and so much more!

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation – In 2019 we rescued 9 young Opossum joeys that lost their mother while crossing a road. They were very close to the age where they would have left the warm home of their mother’s pouch to strike out on their own so we gave them a few days to build their strength, fed them all kinds of tasty natural treats, and released them in the forest near the classroom.

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We also rescued five Eastern box turtles. All were injured while attempting to crossroads and after some shell splints and recovery time all but one were released back into their home habitats. The remaining turtle has an injured eye so it will continue to reside with us until it recovers from its injuries and starts eating on its own and we hope to be able to release it into its home habitat next spring.

BRSrehab18

 

Update on the Black rat snake with terrible oral infection (aka “mouth rot”) that we rescued last year.  He fully recovered, was eating very well, and was released this past spring.  Take a look at his release day video on our YouTube channel via this link: https://youtu.be/1b5HrXXRouY 

 

Outreach – We teamed up with our crew of wonderful volunteers to take our animal ambassadors, our wildlife, and environmental conservation message, our didgeridoo music, and our renewable energy, EV, and science advocacy programming into many local and regional classrooms, summer camps, festivals, and special events, introducing thousands of people to the wonder and beauty of wildlife, nature, and our interconnectedness to our shared earth.  We offered great ways to support nature, respect and live alongside wildlife, and to be better stewards of our environmental life support system with the adoption of renewable energy and transportation technologies such as solar power and electric vehicles.  The above photo was taken at our spring fundraiser at Oscar Blues in Brevard, NC where many folks came out to meet our education animals, experience several electric vehicles, and some (including me) even tried out an awesome One Wheel electric skateboard!

volunteers

 

A new set of wheels for ENP 

Over the last 6 years we used our Nissan Leaf fully Electric Vehicle (EV) in most of our outreach classes and programs, wildlife rescue calls, and in the monitoring of Eastern box turtles, Black rat snakes, Timber rattlesnakes, bats, and Black vultures.  It was a wonderful vehicle but sadly, due to a design flaw in the battery chemistry of 1st generation LEAF’s, its driving range degraded to the point where it was no longer useful to us for our outreach programming needs.  In September of 2019, with generous support from some of our primary benefactors, we acquired a new outreach vehicle – a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV.  It is 100% electric and has a driving range of 238 miles per charge – although we are often getting closer to 250 miles. The Bolt is the perfect vehicle for our mission as its battery is charged primarily from our classroom solar array making it truly zero-emission so it does not pollute the precious environment that we strive so hard to understand, preserve, protect, and share with you. This new outreach vehicle will allow us to expand our service area bringing our programming to a much larger audience.  The ENP EV Motto: Drive electric to protect and preserve nature, wildlife and wild places. Drive electric for the health of your family, drive electric for freedom from dependence on toxic, polluting fossil fuels. Drive electric for energy independence.  Drive electric for a better future for all. Drive electric for fun!

boltandsnakeI took this photo a few days after acquiring the new Bolt.  I was on the way home from work and stopped to assist a Rat snake across the road.

*This new EV is owned by ENP and will be used as a dedicated company outreach vehicle and it is charged primarily by local renewable energy sources. It will serve as an outstanding teaching tool for our Trails students, ENP outreach program participants, and everyone we meet.   Learn more about driving electric at: www.blueridgeevclub.com

 

Organic Garden

2019 was the third year for our organic/heirloom student garden project.  After the very successful straw bale squash garden experiment of 2018, this year we decided to plant the entire garden using straw bales as the substrate.  This experiment worked surprisingly well allowing us to produce many more tasty organic vegetables from our little garden than in previous years.

veggies.jpg

We believe the only way to have a truly organic garden is to not use any toxic chemicals or fossil fuels in the preparation and tending of the garden in any way so this year the students and interns prepared the garden using only human power and fertilized it with composted food scraps and waste from our education animals.  The students planted and tended the garden throughout its growing season and amazingly we had virtually no “pests” on our garden vegetables and we never used any toxic insecticides or herbicides!   I am happy to say that our third year of the garden project was a great and tasty success with over 150 yummy squash, big bunches of green beans, countless tomatoes, Peruvian black corn, purple and red sweet potatoes, several varieties of peppers, and for the first time our Passion fruit vine produced several tasty fruits – all of this wonderful organic produce was then shared among the students and staff! 

CLUCK CLUCK

Our small flock of friendly laying hens grew to over 25 birds this year!  Several of the new recruits were adopted by Trails employees or found homes with chicken people in the community.  Our flock of chickens are free-range, organically fed, and have been hand-raised by our students as pets, and are wonderful therapy animals – with the great side benefits of wonderful organic, free-range eggs, no-cost organic fertilizer, and free pest control for our organic garden!

henandchick

Our rescue hen Midnight and her new chick in the “Coop Car.”

 

 Just in case you missed it – last year ENP was featured in The Laurel of Asheville

Read the story at this TinyURL link: https://tinyurl.com/yb7zxhdp

(or just Google “Laurel of Asheville Earthshine Nature”)

 

   The ENP Renewable Energy Program

On November 8th, 2019 our student-built classroom solar array project celebrated two full years of producing clean, renewable, “locally grown” solar-produced electricity for our classroom and electron fuel for our outreach EV! Add to all that awesome the incredible accomplishment this year of the completion of Phase Two of the solar array!  That’s right, with your help we have completed Phase One and Phase Two of this amazing classroom energy project and the array is now complete!!

placingpanel

Steve and one of his awesome students installing the first solar module in Phase Two of our classroom solar array.

This time last year our student-built solar array had produced over 6.5 megawatts of clean solar produced electricity. With the completion of Phase Two, the now complete and fully functioning array has produced well over 12-megawatt hours – and that is just since mid-summer when the completed array went online full time!  With the generous support of Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute, Pisgah Forest resident Jim Hardy, Lake Toxaway Charities, Trails Carolina, Trails Momentum, and our many other wonderful project supporters – maybe you were one of them – and all of my amazing Trails Carolina and Trails Momentum students, ENP interns, and volunteers – this classroom renewable energy project has been an outstanding success!

studentsmovemods

Since the completed classroom solar array went online on July 04th, 2019 (our Energy Independence Day) it has consistently, quietly, and without any harmful toxic emissions – produced close to 4 times the power we need to meet the daily needs of our classroom building, education animal habitats, and our all-electric outreach vehicle’s electric fuel needs – all this entirely on 100% clean, “homegrown,” solar power!

finishedarray19

We produce so much electricity that we send the surplus out to the local energy grid giving our closest neighbors on the campus of Trails Momentum some “locally grown” on-campus renewable energy.  We are now producing an excess of around 823kWh of electricity each month and sending this out to the local grid. Over the course of the entire year that excess has totaled around 9.8 mWh – so our classroom has now become a renewable energy power plant for the campus of Trails Momentum and for the local community!!  Due to our excess energy production, we have built up so much energy credit with Duke Energy that we could turn off the array and run on the solar credits for several months without paying a cent for energy!  With the completion of Phase 2, the most complex portion of our classroom solar array project is now complete. We are now moving forward with fundraising for Phase 3 – the final Phase of our classroom energy project.  This will consist of a “plug and play” battery storage system that will store excess electricity produced during the day that will then be used to keep all systems online at night and during power outages. We will then only use our grid connection to Duke Energy as a back-up power source during longer periods of dark/rainy/stormy weather – isn’t science amazing!

Watch a short time-lapse video of Phase Two of the solar array’s construction via this link: https://youtu.be/12wtCSldnKc

To make the 3rd and final Phase of this amazing student energy project a reality for our classroom, our students, and our animal ambassadors – we need your continued support in this final push to the end.  Please consider making a year-end gift to Earthshine Nature Programs and help us reach our renewable energy powered goals.

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Cute little Jumping spider says it is time for everyone to GO SOLAR!

Supporter Spotlight — Bob Harris and Jim Hardy

ENP would not be possible without all of our amazing supporters – including you.  Two of our biggest supporters are also two of the most outstanding and most generous people on earth – Bob Harris and Jim Hardy.  Jim and Bob have donated countless hours of their time, expertise, skills, and resources to make things happen for ENP, and for the students of Trails Carolina and Trails Momentum.

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Jim Hardy is the master carpenter who has donated hundreds of hours of his valuable time and expertise as he has overseen, directed, and worked with our students and me on the construction of the solar array, our theater-style seating, the new fire escape steps, building electrical and other key building upgrades, many of the tables in the classroom and our “‘Possum Palace” Opossum habitat.

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Bob is the incredible electrical engineer who designed the solar array, installed the wiring for the array, upgraded the classroom power grid, and donated countless technical and educational components and support to our classroom and outreach EV.  All of these things have contributed immensely to the wonderful educational environment we are working to create for our students at ENP and Trails Science.

bobandjim

THANK YOU Bob Harris and Jim Hardy for your wonderful and most generous support – you are true HEROES!

Wildlife Conservation Programs

Turtle Tracks, Snake Tracks and Snake Trails

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The Turtle Tracks and Timber Rattlesnake Tracks programs have ended and we have now decided to focus our energies on our classroom and environmental education outreach programming, wildlife rehabilitation, and on reporting our findings from the reptile conservation projects we conducted over the last decade of tracking misunderstood reptiles. What did we learn while tracking wild reptiles? – waaaay too much to fit into the pages of this newsletter – so we have decided to write it all down and share it with you!  The stories and the answers are in the works in the form of three private publications currently available only to ENP supporters – namely you.   The first of these three publications – The Rattlesnakes of the Blue Ridge – is ready now!  It contains a naturalist’s perspective on everything we have learned by following the secret lives of Utsanati and Zoe – the two wild Timber rattlesnakes we followed in their native habitats for a four year period in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of WNC.  Within the pages you will find an overview of the natural history of the Timber rattlesnake, a consolidation of my field observations and personal reflections, tracking and activity maps, and many high-quality photographs from the field.  benfranklin.jpg

This document and the others that will follow on the Eastern box turtle and Black rat snake will grant fascinating insight into the lives of these unique, wonderful and very misunderstood creatures as well as useful information on coexisting with these animals and other native wildlife species on your lands.  All proceeds from the sale of this and the future documents in this series will be 100% directed toward our nonprofit wildlife conservation, rehabilitation, and environmental education mission.

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Zoe – By Steve Atkins

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of The Rattlesnakes of the Blue Ridge, and/or Turtle Tracks: Box Turtles of the Blue Ridge or Snake Trails: The Rat Snakes That Live Among Us at the discounted price of $25.00 each – please contact me via the links at the end of this newsletter.

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Opie D. Opossum – by Evan Kafka

 

Clean Air Carolina Blue Sky Award

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Photo by Clean Air Carolina

On November 07, 2019 ENP was honored to receive the Clean Air Carolina Blue Sky Award at a very special awards ceremony in Charlotte, NC.  This award was presented to us by Clean Air Carolina for our volunteer work with the Clean Air Carolina Air Keepers project which is working to install air quality monitors in all 100 counties of North Carolina.  We will continue to work with Clean Air Carolina and other organizations and individuals who value clean air, clean water, diverse wildlife, and energy independence for people, wildlife, and our shared environment.

In case you missed it last year ENP/Trails Science was featured in a Clean Air Carolina video clip with Miles O’Brien: https://youtu.be/mhQ4Kk3oq9o

Learn more about Clean Air Carolina: www.cleanaircarolina.org

Your Support

We welcome your continued support in keeping our unique programming alive. There are many ways you can choose to help us make our programs and projects a reality.

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Donate time and energy by volunteering at our Science and Nature Center classroom – we always have loads of projects from working in the garden, cleaning animal habitats, yard work, etc; so if you like to get your hands dirty for a good cause then just contact us at earthshine.nature@gmail.com or call Steve at (828) 606-8939 to set up a time to give us a hand around the classroom/farm.   Another great way to support us is through the donation of much-needed supplies – our wish list can be found on Amazon by searching for the Earthshine Nature Programs Wish List or by visiting this tinyURL link: https://tinyurl.com/yahlsvnp   Another easy way to support us is through Amazon Smile. Simply visit: smile.amazon.com and sign up to support Earthshine Nature Programs.  Then, every time you make a purchase on Amazon using your smile.amazon.com account, a portion of Amazon’s profits will be donated to ENP at no cost to you! Yes, it really is that easy to support us!  If you would like to directly support our projects and programs there are several ways to do so.  We have an ongoing GoFundMe campaign where you may donate to our solar project and more – visit: www.gofundme.com/enpsolartrails

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We also now have a Patreon page where you can choose to support us with ongoing monthly donations of any size.  Visit our Patreon Page: www.patreon.com/earthshinenature

Lastly, you may also donate to us via the PayPal link on our website at www.earthshinenature.com/donate or mail a donation to our address below. All donations to ENP are tax-deductible. Receipts available upon request.                                                                                    

 THANK YOU SO MUCH

Without your continued support, Earthshine Nature Programs would not function.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation or end of year gift to us now and in the future.  Earthshine Nature Programs is a 501c3, donation-funded, volunteer owned and operated, wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, environmental stewardship, and science education charity organization.

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We have a wonderful partnership with Trails Carolina and Trails Momentum to provide nature knowledge, science education, curiosity, and inspiration to their populations of outstanding youth.

Learn more at:

Trailscarolina.com

and

Trailsmomentum.com

 

A note from naturalist Steve O’Neil

I am passionate about sharing my love, respect, and curiosity for nature, wildlife and wild places, environmental stewardship, science literacy, and reason with everyone I meet – especially my classroom and outreach programming students.  It is the students of today who will make the big wildlife and nature conservation, science, and energy decisions of the future, and it is my goal to communicate to my students the most up to date, unbiased, peer-reviewed evidence, practices, technologies, and environmental ethics so they will be better informed and ready to take on the world and be the change that will guide us all forward. I feel that by demonstrating working models of what is possible, respectfully coexisting with each other, and by working together toward the common goal of creating and maintaining a better world for all living things today and into the future, we will bring the changes that will make all of our dreams come true.

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Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) is supported primarily through monetary, resource, and time donations from caring, concerned individuals just like you.  I work hard to fundraise and acquire grants and donations from any and all sources that would like to support us. With your help with hands-on volunteering, a one-time donation of equipment or funds, a year-end gift, or your continuing patronage – together we will continue to create something unique and wonderful that will serve to educate and inspire thousands of students with a new curiosity, a greater respect, an evidence-supported understanding, and a powerful conservation ethic for caring for wildlife, nature, and the environment that supports us all.  Your support will assist us in sharing with others the value of adopting responsible, secure, clean energy and transportation resources we can all work to bring to our homes, businesses, and to the roads, thereby lowering our impacts on our shared environment and in the process, become better stewards of the earth and empower our shared futures through the findings, methods, and tools of science.

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Photo by Evan Kafka

THANK YOU ALL

Sincerely, Steve O’Neil

Executive Director of Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3)

Snail Mail: 134 E. Dogwood Ln. Pisgah Forest, NC  28768

Phone: (828) 606-8939

Email: earthshine.nature@gmail.com

Website:  www.earthshinenature.com

Nature Blog: www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/snakesteve68

EV Blog:  bluewaterleaf.wordpress.com

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Earthshine Nature Programs Update

4 Jul

It has been a very busy 2019 at Earthshine Nature Programs!  In the pages of this posting, I offer an update to catch you up on the happenings over the first half of 2019 at ENP!

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Adventure News

Early in the year, I journeyed to that outstanding nexus of all geekdom the wonderful nerd incubator that is Kennedy Space Center in Florida!

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I was on a pilgrimage of adventure, awe, wonder and it was an information gathering mission for the science classes I teach to the brilliant youth of today (and I was on a mission to check this off my bucket list since I was a 4-year-old kid watching the last of the Apollo moon landings on a black and white cathode ray tube console TV way back in the early 1970’s!)

While at KSC I was in my element and felt the need to share a small part of my experience with my students and with you so I made an educational “teaser” video for anyone interested in learning about NASA’s out of this world space exploration history – check it out below- then get yourself to Kennedy Space Center!

 

While on this spaced-out star trek I also completed another amazing life milestone even bigger than my nerdy space quest – I connected with my biological father!  Yes, you read that right – through the marvels methods and tools of science I was able to have my DNA sequenced, then a few weeks later I was touring Kennedy Space Center with one of the people who brought me into existence – my biological father!

WOW!

What an amazing journey it has been – to the historic past of US space exploration and into my own history! Here’s a photo of my absolutely awesome father and I visiting in Florida.  Isn’t science, life, the universe, and everything – just amazing!

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Public Service News

Early in the year, I produced a new video documenting Asheville NC’s adoption of Proterra all-electric city busses! Check it out below!

Then, while visiting an NC beach in May, I became very frustrated (again) with the way we human animals are mistreating the planet so, like I always do, I picked up others people’s carelessly cast-off litter and produced a short Public Service Announcement about littering – view it below.

PLEASE DO NOT LITTER!

and

please work to keep our home planet clean by picking up the litter/pollution carelessly cast aside by others onto our shared earth, air, and waters.

Remember to always Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose, Rethink, Refuse, Resist

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Outreach News

The amazing ENP volunteers and I have presented several reptile and wildlife outreach programs to many local schools and organizations and events.

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Reptiles, wildife, nature, local ale, One Wheels, electric vehicles and renewable energy – yes, it is a thing because we at ENP make it a thing and you should too 🙂

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Abby and crew at the Upper French Broad Riverfest on June 22nd!

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Wildlife News

It is summer and the reptiles are on the move.

A few weeks ago I was on my way to the office when I encountered this cute little Rat snake crossing the road.

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I tried to lend him a hand and he was not very cooperative but eventually, with some gentle coaxing, I was able to encourage him to move along into the forest where he would be out of danger from humans and our machines.

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Then a few days later Abby and I were on the way to the classroom to work on the solar array and we discovered a young Timber rattlesnake making her way across the road – so we gave her a bit of a “hand” in getting to the other side.

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I carefully used my tongs to gently lift her and move her off the road to the safety of the forest – she quickly moved off rattling all the way – such an amazing encounter!!

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Upon arriving at the office Abby spotted a young Rat snake moving across the chicken yard in the direction of the chicken coop car where a mother hen had just hatched out three new chicks!

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I decided to move this cute little chicken thief to the other side of the building in the hopes that he would move off and not come back for a chicken dinner!

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While working on the classroom solar array we discovered this cute little Jumping spider out for a stroll – isn’t she just soooo cute!!

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Here’s a close-up:-)

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Wildlife Rehabilitation News

We have successfully rehabilitated one once very sick Rat snake (black snake) who lived with us since the fall of 2018 and have released him back into his home habitat.

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What a grand success story – check out his release video below!

 

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Charlie, one of our Red-footed tortoises, has laid eggs!!

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We are incubating them now and hope to hatch them by late summer –

more on this later as things develop 🙂

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We have fostered 9 orphaned young Opossums, who lost their mother in an incident with a motor vehicle – and released them into the forest near our classroom. (In the pic you only see five but the others are underneath…)

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Opossums help us so much yet they are so mistrusted and misunderstood.  Watch this amazing video on the Opossum and learn how awesome they truly are!

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In April, May, and June several of our hens hatched 10 new chicks!!

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Everyone loves spending time with the chicks!

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Clean Air Carolina Air Keeper Project News

With all of our other projects taking up most of our time we have not had much time as we would like to devote to getting more air monitors installed in the WNC area.  However, we were able to successfully install one monitoring station in Murphy, NC thereby filling in the big gap in coverage in the far western part of NC.

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Are you air aware?  How is the air quality in your area?  Take a look at the map and find out.  In the coming weeks, I hope to install two more air monitors in the WNC area and close in the remaining gaps in the far western part of the state as well as in the area north of Asheville.  If you are interested in hosting an Air monitor in NC (or anywhere) feel free to contact me for more details on how you can become an Air Keeper or if you are in NC please check out Clean Air Carolina and find out how you can become an NC Air Keeper and be part of the solution.

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ENP Crew News

We have an awesome new ENP intern! Let’s welcome Abby M. to the crew!

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Abby loves animals and nature, is very capable in everything she sets her mind to, is focused and passionate about science and environmental conservation, she has studied abroad in the rainforests of Peru, and is great with animals, people, and power tools which is always a big plus.

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The ENP/Trails Science organic garden is doing great!!

This year the students and I planted the entire garden in straw bales and if the amazing growth is any indication we will have a wonderful harvest!

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Solar Project News

We have been working very hard on bringing the western portion of Phase Two of our classroom solar array online and as of 5/24/19 we made it so!

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On May 24th we threw the switch on an additional 7.2 kW of solar that, with your support, we have added to the existing 4.8 kW Phase One array (the blue one).

That is solar hero Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute and I throwing the switch on the new western array!

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This new increase in solar capacity means our science and nature center classroom and the ENP all-electric outreach vehicle are now fully powered/fueled* by the sun!!

*When the ENP EV is charged on-site.  My recent energy audit study on the ENP EV revealed that, as of the date of the study, the ENP outreach EV was 48% solar charged – however, that number has undoubtedly increased with our addition of more solar generation capability as well as the continued “greening” of the energy mix in the area in which I live.  I will complete another energy audit after the completion of the eastern segment of Phase Two and report the results here and on my EV blog.

Next, I offer a series of mostly chronologically arranged photos of the construction of the western segment of the Phase Two classroom solar array starting about 3 months ago.

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ENP long-time intern Pierce and his girlfriend Erin gave us a hand one day on the solar array support structure and much more – THANK YOU PIERCE AND ERIN!

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Solar Hero Jim Hardy installing a support beam.

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The support structure taking shape, as well as our straw bale garden experiment!

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Jim and Abby cutting steel support beams for the Eastern array.

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The students all worked very hard to help make this amazing project happen for their classroom!

THANK YOU ALL FOR WORKING SO HARD ON YOUR SOLAR ARRAY!!!!

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The completed Zilla Rac solar support framework ready to receive solar modules!

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The students and I moving the new SolarWorld solar modules into place!

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Bolting it all together!

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Putting the final solar modules in place!

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Bob wiring the modules into the system.

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Connecting the SMA SunnyBoy inverter*!

*A wonderful benefit of using SMA Inverters is if/when grid power goes out the Secure Power Circuits from the solar inverters will – when the sun is shining – provide us with up to 6 kW of emergency power to run key habitat, lighting, education support systems, and the entire campus internet system – very cool indeed!

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Bob Harris and Jim Hardy – heroes for renewable energy, the environment, education, our students, and our little log cabin classroom!

THANK YOU JIM AND BOB 

WE COULD NEVER HAVE DONE ANY OF THIS WITHOUT YOU!!!

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After we powered up the western array, Bob worked his magic and networked the new inverter with the original unit so we could visualize the energy output from anywhere in the world – check it out HERE!

As you can see from the first partial day of operation both solar arrays together were putting out over 9.8 kW!

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On the first full day of operation, we put out over 1.6 times as much power as the original Phase One array alone – circled in red!

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We produced a total of 58.16 kWh of electricity for the first full day of operation – that is  33.16 kWh above our average daily usage of around 25 kWh per day.  On the second full day of operation, we produced a total of 56.49 kWh and at midday hit a peak of 10,044 watts of clean solar produced electricity!!  Our best production to date on the Western Segment of Phase Two has been on a cloudless cool spring day when we generated a bit over 63 kWh of clean solar electricity – that is well over twice our average daily use!  Then, about two weeks later, on a very overcast, rainy, and gray day, the array produced 25.50 kWh of solar-generated electricity!! So what this means is that our array produced enough electricity to cover all of our needs even on a cloudy day – without even seeing the sun itself !!!WOW!!! If this trend keeps up we will not be paying for and using fossil fuel generated power for much longer – especially after the eastern segment of the Phase Two array comes online very soon.

For those of you interested in how much money we are saving by going solar – the answer, for now, is – all of it.  Our power bill for May 2019 was only $3 above the standard grid connection fee charged by Duke Energy!  Before going solar, our monthly energy cost to operate our classroom/ENP office averaged over $200.  Add in the all-electric outreach vehicle and that would be another $15.  But now, with our amazing student-built classroom solar array we have almost dropped our facilities and transportation energy use costs to zero!  Once the eastern segment of Phase Two goes online – it will be well below zero and far into the positive.

The Eastern Segment 

 After we completed the Western segment of the Phase Two array we started work on the Eastern Segment.  Below I offer photos of that project.

I took the following photo a few weeks ago of Jim, Abby, and her boyfriend Mitch from high on the roof while we were working on the eastern array.

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Bob and Jim working with me to put one of the eastern array’s frame pieces in place.

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Moving more solar modules

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Bob, Abby, and I showing off one of the solar modules that will soon be producing fuel for the ENP/Trails classroom and the ENP all-electric outreach vehicle – a 2012 Nissan LEAF.  I find it simply amazing that several very thin pieces of modified and purified silicon (sand) and a few other unique compounds fused together and sealed under another flat piece of glass (more sand) with a few wires connecting everything together and then pointed at the sun – produces clean fuel for our outreach vehicle and electricity to run the entire classroom/office building for zero operational costs, without any moving parts – and from my own “backyard!”

Why aren’t more people doing this?!?!?

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The Eastern array starting to take shape while my little pup Tange looks on.

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Abby and I moving a solar module up onto the frame.

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Careful…

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Success!!!

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Building a solar array means tapping into your inner monkey!

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Peace – through teamwork, cooperation, perseverance, some monkeying around – and lots of SCIENCE and ENGINEERING!

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The very last primary solar module goes into place!

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WOO HOO!!! It is DONE!!

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Tightening a hold down bracket

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Bob tightening another hold down

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Bob running more electrical conduit

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SUCCESS!!

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As of June 06, 2019 the primary construction on the Earthshine Nature Programs/Trails Science student-built classroom solar array is officially complete!!

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Throughout the entire project, the students have left their mark on the project and left their signatures on the support structure 🙂

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Over the next 10 days, we worked on wiring up the Eastern Array, installing the safety fencing, and completing the classroom building’s new power grid wiring project that we started in the fall of 2018.

The photo below shows two of the new electrical boxes in the process of being installed.

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Bob Harris installing the new main breaker box.

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Now, compare those top of the line, incredibly safe electrical box units to what we had before pictured below and you can see why this electrical evolution upgrade project was so important for the safety of our students, our classroom, and our education animals.

Trails Old Main Electrical Panel Closeup

Before this electrical system upgrade, many of the building’s power outlets had failed and a few of the circuit breakers would get uncomfortably warm to the touch thereby requiring us to resort to using many extension cords to keep systems in operation.  After we powered on the majority of the new system I removed most of the extension cords and took this photo as a reference of what once was – yikes!

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This new power grid is not only higher quality, a magnitude safer, and more energy efficient than what we previously used, it has also allowed us to interconnect the easternmost segment of the Phase Two solar array into the new power grid.

As the sun was setting on June 15, 2019, Bob Harris made the final connections and threw the switch on the Eastern segment of the array bringing the entire Classroom Solar Array online and ready to produce power.

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As I write these words on June 16th, 2019 the first rays of the morning sun has just started hitting all 60 modules of the array and by midday, we will see what this amazing student, volunteer, and community constructed and donation supported solar powered renewable energy generation facility is capable of!

Below is a photo of “first light” hitting the newly completed ENP/Trails Science Classroom Solar Array on June 16th – Father’s Day!  I took this photo using the ENP/Trails Science BloomSky weather camera – follow the link and view our completed classroom solar array in real-time anytime you like 🙂

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At the end of the day the newly completed Classroom Solar Array had produced over 67 kWh of clean, “locally grown” renewable energy – and it was even partly cloudy/hazy mid-day as evidenced by the solar production curve from the newly networked SunnyBoy inverters.

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Even with the clouds and haze our array produced more than enough electricity to power all our classroom/office systems, fill our Duke Energy net metering “credit bucket” to overflowing, and it also become a small scale local energy generating station providing cleanly generated electricity not only for our classroom and outreach vehicle’s needs – but also for the campus energy grid thereby “greening” the other buildings on the campus of Trails Momentum!

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Now that the Eastern segment (on the right) of the Phase Two Array is complete, online, and producing electricity alongside the Western segment (on the left) of the Phase Two Array and the original Phase One Array (the middle one) – it will bring the total system capacity up to 19.2 kW of solar produced electricity!!  Due to environmental factors and system losses, our maximum output on perfect days could reach upwards of 18 kW and possibly hit production targets of over 80 kWh – only time will tell!

UPDATE: On the first day of Summer 2019 the array produced an astonishing total of 83.34 kWh of electricity!!! That is over 3 times our energy needs – truly amazing!!!

Take a look at the beautifully perfect power curve from that day…

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A few more amazing stats…

Now the same curve showing the inverter output.bestsolardaytodate7

The below graph shows our to-date monthly production numbers for 2019 – outstanding!

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Now let’s compare the solar output for

June of 2017…

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…and June of 2018…

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And now, June of 2019

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WOW

Now take a look at our annual solar electricity production since day one of almost exactly three years ago.  Our 2019 levels will soon surpass all of 2018 and 2017 combined – and as I write it is only now the fourth of July – now that is some amazing homegrown energy independence and freedom!  In fact, to mark this special day, from now forward  I will forever refer to July 4th as the ENP/Trails Science classrooms

Energy Independence Day! 

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And now our energy production numbers to date.

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The key numbers to notice here are the following:

Total energy produced since going online in late June of 2017:

11.184-megawatt hours!!!

That is enough solar-generated electricity to offset the energy needs of

1.55 average American homes for one year!! 

This may not seem like much but until a month ago we were using almost all of the energy produced by the 4.8 kW Phase One array – and we still managed to generate a  small surplus.   Now that we have all of Phase 2 complete and online we will generate much, much more!

How did I come up with those numbers you may ask:

According to the UCS the average American home uses 7,200kWh/year.

1 (MWh) / 7.2 (MWh) = 0.13889 Homes per MWh

0.13889 (Homes per MWh) x 11.184 (MWh) = 1.553 homes

Data Sources:

http://blackbearsolarinstitute.org/

https://www.seia.org/initiatives/whats-megawatt

https://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/how-is-electricity-measured.html

Now that we have completed Phase 2 and the entire array is now complete, online, and producing loads of electricity, it will be very interesting to see how long it takes us to blow the top off of those numbers.

Science and evidence tell us that burning things (fossil fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas, gasoline, diesel fuel, etc.) for energy/fuel releases toxic air pollution and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into our shared atmosphere.  These compounds, directly and indirectly, harm our health, our planetary life support system, and all our futures. By going solar we at ENP and Trails Science are no longer using toxic fossil fuels to power our classroom and outreach vehicle.  We have avoided releasing 8.6 tonnes of CO2 into our shared atmosphere as well as all of the associated pollution – and that is a very good thing!

The average American is responsible for releasing 19.8 tonnes of CO2 annually.  By installing our classroom solar array we have reduced our classroom’s carbon footprint from 19.8 to 11.2 tonnes.  Adding in the 6 tonnes of CO2 removed by driving an all-electric solar-charged EV outreach vehicle and we reduce our CO2 output down to 5.2 tonnes!  We are well on our way to net zero!

That is most impressive!

Calculate your own carbon footprint using the following websites and work to reduce your impact on our shared earth.

https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

https://www.conservation.org/act/carboncalculator/calculate-your-carbon-footprint.aspx#/

https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/consider-your-impact/carbon-calculator/

https://www.c2es.org/content/calculate-your-carbon-footprint/

https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/

Our amazing new solar capacity will produce loads of surplus power, far above and beyond what we use.  This surplus power will, at first, go toward filling the overflowing net-metering “credit bucket” for our classroom that we will then pull from at night and during periods of low light/rainy/wintery weather.  This large output of power and overflowing electron filled credit bucket will effectively remove our Duke Energy power bill for the classroom building and most of the electric fuel bill for the ENP all-electric Nissan LEAF outreach vehicle – WOO HOO!!

Eventually, when we bring online the third and final Phase of our classroom solar energy project – the “plug and play” battery storage bank* – we will then channel a portion of any excess power produced during the day into those batteries for later use at night and during periods of dark weather.  At that time, our connection to the Duke Energy power grid will remain as a backup – just in case – and it will act as an emergency “generator” in the event of a major power outage coinciding with a long period of dark/rainy/wintery weather (if we ever see wintery weather again…)

However, if over time, we discover that we are able to make enough power for all of our needs and if the system operates without issue in all weather through all seasons – we hope to eventually unplug from the grid entirely thereby making our science classroom and ENP office 100% off-grid, self-sufficient, energy secure, and net zero.

Now that is what I call true freedom!!

Freedom from all the problems of burning toxic fossil fuels – freedom from the insanely high human and environmental health costs, the endless war, and dirty politics connected to and feeding upon the acquisition, transport, and use of fossil fuels.

*We are now raising funds to support the Phase Three battery bank and associated battery inverter system.  If you are interested in supporting the third and final phase of this awesome classroom renewable energy project, please follow the links at the end of this blog post for more information on how you can support us. 

THANK YOU!

All donations to ENP are tax deductible.

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THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED US IN MAKING THIS HAPPEN!!!!!

YOU ARE ALL HEROES OF THE HIGHEST ORDER!!!!!

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Above all of the obvious awesomeness of producing clean, “locally grown,” energy-secure, renewable energy from the sun to power our classroom building and outreach vehicle – our primary reason for all the time, effort, classroom, and community teamwork, fundraising, and focus on this multi-year-long project is the continuing STEM  education of our students, visitors, and outreach program participants and you reading this blog post.  To put it simply – our students, visitors, and outreach program participants and you are the future of science-supported nature, wildlife, and environmental conservation of their futures and of our planetary life support system.  By introducing all of you to the most up to date, scientifically accurate, and unbiased, nature, wildlife, environmental, energy, climate, and renewable energy-focused peer-reviewed science, as well as to these functional projects that they work together to create in class that directly benefit their classroom and learning environment and education – we are hopefully planting great seeds of curiosity in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), nature, ecology, clean energy, and clean transportation systems as well as forward-thinking progress that works to benefit all of us, our shared environment,  and of everything moving forward.

————————————————————————————-

BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD

AND THE WORLD WILL CHANGE

—————————————————————————————–

Speaking of change, today* was monumental for us in more ways than one.

*much of this post was written on 5/24/19.

While we were powering on the Western segment of our new solar array in support of using clean, “locally grown” renewable energy (instead of – toxic and expensive – in more ways than your bank account – fossil fuels) to power our classroom, outreach vehicle, and our future – over a 1.5 million school-age students, many of their teachers, supporting parents and other adults, and scientists from all disciplines from all around the planet, in thousands of cities and hundreds of countries – were walking out of their classrooms, offices and laboratories to protest their government’s inaction on fighting the most challenging environmental and social issue of our time:

Anthropogenic climate change.

I stand in support and solidarity with the students, scientists and others who are attacking this most urgent issue head-on with peer-reviewed evidence, science supported solutions, and peaceful action such as but not limited to;  the adoption of energy-secure “homegrown” renewable energy sources, zero-emission electric transportation, and the election of policymakers who understand and support the findings of science and will choose to deny the status quo and work very hard to make the needed changes in the system that will be most beneficial for everything and everyone moving forward.

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In support of these goals I attended the March 15th, 2019 Fridays For Future event and plan to attend the September 20th Global Climate Strike event as well. I encourage all of you reading this to join me from wherever you are and to attend, organize, band together with your classmates, teachers, professors, and co-workers, and peacefully walk out of your school, laboratory, office, home, church, place of business or other institution to show your support for ending our toxic addiction to fossil fuels and adopting clean, energy-secure, “locally grown,” renewable energy systems and electric vehicles to power, transport, and and empower a better, more prosperous future for us all.

Learn more about this planetwide movement for positive change at: https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/

______________________________________________________

Earthshine Nature Programs* (ENP) is a volunteer operated wildlife and environmental education and conservation and renewable energy outreach education nonprofit (501c3) based out of Pisgah Forest, NC. It is operated by its founder and Executive Director Steve O’Neil.  Steve is on a mission to connect people with nature and wildlife and in doing so he works to foster a renewed curiosity in the natural world that supports us all.  

Through his hands-on wildlife, nature, indigenous music, renewable energy and science outreach programming at camps, schools, birthday parties and special events in local area and in the WNC region, to his unique experiential citizen science-based projects and experiences in his Trails Science classes, Steve strives to educate and inspire his students and people of all ages to get excited about nature, wildlife, the sciences, and above all else – caring for, and becoming better stewards of the fragile natural environment that supports us all.

Steve is also a full-time naturalist and environmental science educator at Trails Carolina and Trails Momentum near Brevard, NC where he and his students and interns care for a menagerie of animal ambassadors, most of which are ex-pets and non-releasable wildlife.  Some of these animals were once wild but after surviving run-ins with cars, dogs and habitat loss, were rehabilitated by Steve (an NC licensed wildlife rehabilitator), his students, and volunteer staff.  

12744548_10207723252332049_7293508382097406487_n

Gollum the Eastern Hellbender – one of Steve’s animal ambassadors.

These animals are housed in the rustic log cabin Science and Nature Education Center classroom that is also the office of Steve’s nonprofit 

Earthshine Nature Programs 

DCIM104GOPRO

High above the ENP/Trails Science Classroom cabin (Note: This photo was taken in 2017 – before Phase Two of the classroom solar array had been started).

Steve is an avid supporter of renewable energy – especially solar – and he supports the great need for trusting the findings of science to facilitate the final goal of transitioning our society away from polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and renewably powered electric vehicles for the sake of our health, the health of our shared environment, and future generations of life on Planet Earth.

Questions? Contact Steve at earthshine.nature@gmail.com

The ENP website: www.earthshinenature.com

The ENP Blog: www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

The ENP Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/snakesteve68 

Facebook: Earthshine Nature Programs and The Blue Ridge EV Club 

steveandsnapper1.305162240_large

Steve and a Snapping turtle friend he rehabilitated and released into its native habitat. 

A history lesson: Steve O’Neil founded Earthshine Nature Programs (ENP) when he was working as an outdoor guide and naturalist at Earthshine Lodge in Lake Toxaway in 2010.  In 2013 ENP incorporated as a 501c3 and became a separate business entity from Earthshine Lodge yet ENP kept the name Earthshine as a reminder of its humble beginnings at the wonderful Earthshine Lodge.  The name Earthshine is foremost in our mission because we believe that stewardship of the EARTH, and all the life contained within this fragile oasis of life in space, should SHINE brightly above all other issues because without clean air, water, and environmental balance  – we have nothing.

There are several ways you can support us. 

1. Monthly Patreon support via our Patreon page.

2. Direct donation of materials/funding via one of the following links.

If you would like to donate anonymously, please visit our donate page at www.earthshinenature.com/donate or donate to our GoFundMe campaign or support us on our new Patreon Page.  Yet another option for supporting us is our new Solar Sponsorship program – read more about it below. 

or

Snail mail your donation to 

Earthshine Nature Programs 

134 E. Dogwood Ln. 

Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

3. Sponsorship of a solar module (aka solar panel).

How the solar sponsorship program works.

You may choose to sponsor (donate) one or more solar modules at the donation level of $500 each.* 
*Your sponsorship covers the cost of the solar module, its support structure, and the electronic components needed to tie Phase 2 into the existing & operational classroom solar array. 

After your donation is complete – your name/company name (or the name of your choosing) will be permanently affixed to the frame of your sponsored solar module(s) and/or inscribed on a nearby commemorative plaque listing all classroom solar project supporters. (you may opt out of any of these perks)

Sponsors will also receive a certificate of sponsorship, a donation receipt, and the following private web links that will allow you to check in anytime & see your donation in action supporting our classroom, our students, our education animals, and the future!

– A unique web address and private login/password that will allow you to directly access our classroom solar array’s real-time energy production status.

– A unique web address to a private live web camera providing a birds-eye view of our classroom solar array in action! (and organic garden during the growing season)*

– A web address to our weather camera that provides yet another unique view of our classroom solar array in action and a daily time-lapse video of the weather at our site.*
*No students/staff will be identifiable to protect their privacy. 

And if you choose: A set of one of a kind “solar earrings” or a “solar pendant.” Handmade of remnants of solar cells by Naturalist Steve O’Neil and his interns.  These unique items do not generate any power but they are all one of a kind, unique, and beautiful. 

To sponsor one or more solar modules please contact Steve at earthshine.nature@gmail.com

4. Support us by shopping on Amazon with Amazon Smile by following this link: smile.amazon.com and under the Supporting Link choose Earthshine Nature Programs and Amazon will donate funds to ENP each time you make a purchase – at no cost to you!

 

THANK YOU!!

Without your continued support, Earthshine Nature Programs and the Trails Science program would not function.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to ENP now and in the future.  Earthshine Nature Programs is a 501c3, donation funded, volunteer owned and operated, wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, environmental stewardship, and science education charity organization.

__________________________________________________

ENP has a wonderful partnership with Trails Carolina and Trails Momentum to provide nature and science education and inspiration to their populations of outstanding youth.  Learn more at:

Trailscarolina.com

and

Trailsmomentum.com 

_____________________________________________________

A note from naturalist

Steve O’Neil

I am passionate about sharing my love, respect, and curiosity for nature, wildlife and wild places, environmental stewardship, science, and reason with everyone I meet, especially my classroom and outreach programming students.  It is the students of today who will make the big nature and wildlife conservation, science, and energy decisions of the future, and it is my goal to give my students the best possible unbiased exposure to the most up to date, peer-reviewed evidence, ethics, practices, and technologies so they will be better informed and ready to take on the world and be the change that will guide us all forward. I feel that by demonstrating working models of what is possible, respectfully coexisting with each other, and by working together toward the common goal of creating and maintaining a better world for all living things today and into the future, we will make all of our dreams come true.

Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) is supported primarily through monetary, resource, and time donations from caring, concerned individuals just like you.  I work hard to fundraise and acquire grants and donations from any and all sources that would like to support us. With your help with hands-on volunteering, a one-time donation of equipment or funds, a year-end gift, or a continuing patronage – together we will create something wonderful that will serve to educate and inspire thousands of students with a new curiosity, greater respect, passionate understanding, and conservation ethic for caring for wildlife, and nature, and the adoption of responsible, secure, clean energy and transportation resources that we can all work to bring to our homes, businesses, and on the roads, thereby lowering our impacts on our shared environment and in the process become better stewards of nature and empower our shared futures through the findings, methods, and tools of science. 

THANK YOU ALL

Sincerely,

Steve O’Neil

Executive Director of Earthshine Nature Programs(501c3)

1811-1SteveONielAnimals5306-FPO

 Steve and Ashley – By Evan Kafka

Learn more about us:  www.earthshinenature.com

Follow our Nature Blog:  www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

Find us on Facebook at:

“Earthshine Nature Programs”

Watch our nature video series on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/user/snakesteve68

Follow our Electric Vehicle Blog:  bluewaterleaf.wordpress.com

Earthshine Nature Programs

134 E. Dogwood Ln.

Pisgah Forest, NC  28768

(828) 606-8939

earthshine.nature@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOIN US for our SPRING BENEFIT EVENT!

17 Mar

Date: April 16, 2018 

Location: Oskar Blues Brewery – Brevard, NC

Time: 5-8:30 PM

Earthshine Nature Programs* (ENP) is a volunteer operated wildlife and environmental education and conservation and renewable energy outreach education nonprofit (501c3) based out of Pisgah Forest, NC. It is operated by its founder and Executive Director Steve O’Neil.  Steve is on a mission to connect people with nature and wildlife and in doing so he works to foster a renewed curiosity in the natural world that supports us all.  

Through his hands-on wildlife and nature outreach programming at camps, schools, birthday parties and special events in the region, to his unique experiential citizen science-based projects and experiences in his classes, Steve strives to educate and inspire his students and people of all ages to get excited about nature, wildlife, the sciences, and above all else – caring for, and becoming better stewards of the fragile natural environment that supports us all.

Steve is also a full-time naturalist and environmental science educator at Trails Carolina and Trails Momentum near Brevard, NC where he and his students and interns care for a menagerie of animal ambassadors, most of which are ex-pets and non-releasable wildlife.  Some of these animals were once wild but after surviving run-ins with cars, dogs and habitat loss, were rehabilitated by Steve (an NC licensed wildlife rehabilitator), his students, and volunteer staff.  These animals are housed in the rustic log cabin Science and Nature Education Center classroom that is also the office of Steve’s nonprofit. 

12744548_10207723252332049_7293508382097406487_n

Gollum the Eastern Hellbender – one of Steve’s animal ambassadors.

Steve is an avid supporter of renewable energy – especially solar – and he supports the great need for trusting the findings of science to facilitate the final goal of transitioning of our society away from polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and renewably powered electric vehicles for the sake of our health, the health of our shared environment, and future generations of life on Planet Earth.

Working toward that grand goal, over the last few months Steve and his students, and Pisgah Forest resident and environmental hero Jim Hardy, finished Phase One of the construction of a grid-tied solar power station that now provides 5.3 kW of clean solar produced electricity for Steve’s log cabin classroom and the ENP nonprofit office. 

20170802_090847

This array was constructed from donated components and in-kind donations from generous local individuals and businesses as well as great support and expertise from Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute in Townsend, Tennessee.  

View the construction of our solar array in the video below. 

Phase One of this student-built solar array is now complete and online; however, it provides only around 5.3 kW of electricity or 50-60% of the power needed to operate the building.  To provide 100% of the power needed for all our daily needs we are now working on Phase Two of our classroom solar project.  Phase Two consists of 10 more solar modules, their support frame and wiring totaling around 3.0 kW of solar.  To date, we have raised around 35% of the funds needed to complete Phase Two and it is for this reason that we will be holding a fundraiser on April 16th at: 

ob

Bring the family and friends and join us as Oskar Blues hosts their Making a Difference Monday fundraiser for

Earthshine Nature Programs 

Between the hours of noon and 8:00pm Oskar Blues will donate a percentage of taproom sales to Earthshine Nature Programs!  Proceeds from this fundraiser will support Phase Two of the construction of our student built and maintained classroom solar array project. Learn more about this community supported renewable energy project by reading the full story on my previous blog post linked below:

https://earthshinenature.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/update-enptrails-classroom-solar-project-phase-one-is-complete/

Watch a video of the day we first activated our classroom solar array last summer!

Now that you know how and why we did it, please come out in support of making it even better with Phase Two of our classroom solar project!

At our benefit event you will learn all about our wildlife education, rehabilitation and outreach programming and interact with many of our friendly education animals including Rosie, Rex, and Charlie the Red-foot Tortoises, Ashley the Red Tailed Boa Constrictor, Fiona the Ball Python and Piggy the Western Hognose snake.

We are working on having several Special Guests!

(these could change but may include) 

Peter Kipp of Curtis Wright Falconry with his birds of prey!  Get your photo made with a bird of prey sitting on your hand!

peteandhawk

Meet Walter Kidd of Serpentarium Magic and Peewee the 22 foot long python!

peewee

Meet members of the Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle Club and learn all about and possibly take a ride in an electric car! The Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle club will have several sleek, fast, EVs on display including the all-new 2018 Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S & X, BMW i3, Chevrolet Volt, and Bolt EV, all new Honda Clarity and the much anticipated Tesla Model 3!

11731666_10206302066643295_6887548450814718652_o

Browse local nature and wildlife themed art, photography, and jewelry for sale by Steve Atkins, Kathy Wright Hardy,  Christina Ramsey and Chance Feimster.

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Find out how you can do more to conserve and protect our fragile environment when you chat with representatives from Clean Air Carolina, Sundance Power Systems, Joyce Pearsall of Monarch Watch, Alan Cameron – a volunteer with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission and Friends of Dupont State Forest – Alan will have a Green Salamander for you to learn all about and much more!  

Explore our fundraiser table of unique items and if you have any items you would like to donate to the sale table please do contact us or just bring them the day of. 

Fun!

Live Music!

Local Beer!

Great Eats provided by the

  Oskar Blues Chubwagon! 


If you are unable to attend or would like to donate anonymously, please visit our donate page at 
www.earthshinenature.com/donate or donate to our GoFundMe campaign or support us on our new Patreon Page.  Yet another option for supporting us is our new Solar Sponsorship program – read more about it at the end of this blog post. 

or

Snail mail your donation to 

Earthshine Nature Programs 

134 E. Dogwood Ln. 

Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

All proceeds from this fundraiser will support the completion of our classroom solar project and are tax deductible. 

Questions? Contact Steve at earthshine.nature@gmail.com

The ENP website: www.earthshinenature.com

The ENP Blog: www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

The ENP Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/snakesteve68 

Facebook: Earthshine Nature Programs and The Blue Ridge EV Club 

steveandsnapper1.305162240_large

Steve and a Snapping turtle friend he rehabilitated and released in its native habitat. 

*Steve O’Neil founded Earthshine Nature Programs when he was working as outdoor guide and naturalist at Earthshine Discovery Center in Lake Toxaway in 2010.  In 2013 ENP incorporated as a 501c3 and became a separate business entity from Earthshine Discovery Center yet ENP kept the name Earthshine as a reminder of its humble beginnings at the wonderful Earthshine Discovery Center.  The name Earthshine is foremost in our mission because we believe that stewardship of the EARTH, and all the life contained within this fragile oasis in space, should SHINE brightly above all other issues because without clean air, water, and environmental balance  – we have nothing.

There are several ways you can support our Classroom Solar Energy Project

1. Monthly Patreon support via our Patreon page.

2. Direct donation of components/funding via one of the links above.

3. Sponsorship of a solar module (aka solar panel).

How the solar sponsorship program works.

You may choose to sponsor (donate) one or more solar modules at the donation level of $500 each.* 
*Your sponsorship covers the cost of the solar module, its support structure, and the electronic components needed to tie Phase 2 into the existing & operational classroom solar array. 

Solar Sponsorship spaces are limited to 18.

Of those 18 spaces – five are already taken as of April 8, 2018. 

After your donation is complete – your name/company name (or the name of your choosing) will be permanently affixed to the frame of your sponsored solar module(s) and inscribed on a nearby commemorative plaque listing all classroom solar project supporters. (you may opt out of any of these perks)

Sponsors will also receive a certificate of sponsorship, a donation receipt, and the following private web links that will allow you to check in anytime & see your donation in action supporting our classroom, our students, our education animals, and the future!

– A unique web address and private login/password that will allow you to directly access our classroom solar array’s real-time energy production status.

– A unique web address to a private live web camera providing a birds-eye view of our classroom solar array in action! (and organic garden during the growing season)*

– A web address to our weather camera that provides yet another unique view of our classroom solar array in action and a daily time-lapse video of the weather at our site.*
*No students will be identifiable to protect their privacy. 

And if you choose: A set of one of a kind “solar earrings” or a “solar pendant.” Handmade of remnants of solar cells by Naturalist Steve O’Neil and his students.  These unique items do not generate any power but they are all one of a kind, unique, and beautiful. 

To sponsor one or more solar modules please contact Steve at earthshine.nature@gmail.com

ENP Air Keepers Project

4 Mar
ENP is now working with Clean Air Carolina on the Air Keepers Project!

Follow me in my newest video as I work to install Purple Air particulate pollution air monitors in several locations in Western North Carolina.

Let’s work together to clean the air!

Learn more about Clean Air Carolina: https://www.cleanaircarolina.org

Become an Air Keeper today:  https://cleanaircarolina.org/airkeepers

If you live outside NC you may install your own PurpleAir air monitor by visiting:  https://www.purpleair.com

THANK YOU to all of my supporters and Patrons who have helped make this and all ENP projects possible!

Visit us on our website:  www.earthshinenature.com  

Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/earthshinenature

Gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/enpsolartrails

Rat Snake Tracks Field Report for Summer 2016 & 2017

25 Sep

Video footage in this edition of Rat Snake Tracks was filmed in August 2016 and September 2017.

The Snake Tracks project is an ongoing Rat snake habitat use and movement study using radio telemetry techniques and UAV’s (drones) for canopy surveys and monitoring.

If you were a student at Trails Carolina or the Academy at Trails Carolina during the 2015 season you may have helped “Science Steve” locate Apollo the Black rat snake and you may be in this movie, in front of or behind the camera, learning and living 🙂

This project is supported by in part by Trails Carolina, The Academy at Trails Carolina, Trails Momentum , our donors, and people just like you. If you would like to support our projects and programs with a donation and learn more about us please visit our website.

Earthshine Nature Programs is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to wildlife conservation, rehabilitation, science, and renewable energy education and awareness.

NOTE: The parents of the student(s) appearing in this video granted permission for us to record their special moments sharing time with our educators and the Apollo the rat snake.

Earthshine Nature Programs To Hold Fundraiser In Support Of Our Classroom Solar Energy Project

2 Apr

Earthshine Nature Programs* (ENP) is a volunteer operated wildlife and environmental education and conservation and renewable energy outreach education nonprofit (501c3) based out of Pisgah Forest, NC. It is operated by its founder and Executive Director Steve O’Neil.  Steve is on a mission to connect people with nature and wildlife and in doing so he works to foster a renewed curiosity in the natural world that supports us all.  

Through his hands-on wildlife and nature outreach programming at camps, schools, birthday parties and special events in the region, to his unique experiential citizen science based projects and experiences in his classes, Steve strives to educate and inspire his students and people of all ages to get excited about nature, wildlife, the sciences, and above all else – caring for and becoming better stewards of the fragile natural environment that supports all of us.

Steve is also a full time naturalist and environmental science educator at Trails Carolina and The Academy at Trails Carolina near Brevard, NC where he and his students and interns care for a menagerie of animal ambassadors, most of which are ex-pets and non-releasable wildlife.  Some of these animals were once wild but after surviving run-ins with cars, dogs and habitat loss, were rehabilitated by Steve (a NC licensed wildlife rehabilitator), his students, and volunteer staff.  These animals are housed in the rustic log cabin Science and Nature Education Center classroom that is also the office of Steve’s nonprofit. 

12744548_10207723252332049_7293508382097406487_n

Gollum the Eastern Hellbender – one of Steve’s animal ambassadors.

Steve is an avid supporter of renewable energy – especially solar – and he supports the great need for trusting the findings of science to facilitate the final goal of transitioning of our society away from polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and renewably powered electric vehicles for the sake of our health, the health of our shared environment, and future generations of life on Planet Earth.

Working toward that grand goal, over the last few months Steve and his students, and Pisgah Forest resident and hero Jim Hardy, finished construction of a 5.3kW off-grid solar power station that will soon power Steve’s log cabin classroom and ENP nonprofit office. 

solararray

This array was constructed from donated components and in-kind donations from generous local individuals and businesses as well as great support and expertise from Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute in Townsend, Tennessee.  

View the construction of our solar array in the video below. 

This student built solar array is now structurally complete; however, it is yet to go online and produce power for the classroom due to lack of support to fund the remaining components – the solar storage batteries.  It is for this reason that Steve will be holding a fundraiser on April 24th at: 

ob

Bring the family and friends and join us as Oskar Blues hosts their Making a Difference Monday fundraiser for

Earthshine Nature Programs 

Between the hours of noon and 8:00pm Oskar Blues will donate 30% of taproom sales to Earthshine Nature Programs!  Proceeds from this fundraiser will support the final phase of the construction of our student built and maintained classroom solar array project. Learn more about this community supported renewable energy project by reading the blog posting on my previous blog post linked below:

https://earthshinenature.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/update-enptrails-classroom-solar-project-phase-one-is-complete/

Learn all about our wildlife education, rehabilitation and outreach programming and interact with many of our friendly education animals including Rosie, Rex and Charlie the Tortoises, Ashley the Red Tailed Boa Constrictor, Fiona the Ball Python and Piggy the Western Hognose snake.

Special Guests! 

Peter Kipp of Curtis Wright Falconry with his birds of prey!  Get your photo made with a bird of prey sitting on your hand!

peteandhawk

Meet Walter Kidd of Serpentarium Magic and Peewee the 22 foot long python!

peewee

Meet members of the Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle Club  and learn all about and possibly take a ride in an electric car! The Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle club will have several sleek, fast, EVs on display including the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Chevrolet Volt and the all new Chevrolet Bolt!

11731666_10206302066643295_6887548450814718652_o

Learn about how you can go solar with Warren’s Solar Superheroes!

wss

Browse local nature and wildlife themed art, photography and jewelry for sale by Steve Atkins, Kathy Wright Hardy,  and Christina Ramsey.

11953434_10206635574740789_5449295985393361448_o

Explore our fundraiser table of unique items and if you have any items you would like to donate to the sale table please do contact us or just bring them the day of. 

Fun!

Live Music!

Local Beer!

Great Eats provided by the Oskar Blues Chubwagon! 


If you are unable to attend, or would like to donate anonymously, please visit our donate page at: 
www.earthshinenature.com/donate or donate to our GoFundMe campaign.

or

Snail mail your donation to 

Earthshine Nature Programs 

134 E. Dogwood Ln. 

Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

All proceeds from this fundraiser will support the completion of our classroom solar project and are tax deductible. 

Questions? Contact Steve at: earthshine.nature@gmail.com

The ENP website: www.earthshinenature.com

The ENP Blog: www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

The ENP Youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/snakesteve68 

Facebook: Earthshine Nature Programs and The Blue Ridge EV Club 

steveandsnapper1.305162240_large

Steve and a Snapping turtle friend he rehabilitated and released in its native habitat. 

*Steve O’Neil founded Earthshine Nature Programs when he was working as outdoor guide and naturalist at Earthshine Discovery Center in Lake Toxaway in 2010.  In 2013 ENP incorporated as a 501c3 and became a separate business entity from Earthshine Discovery Center yet ENP kept the name Earthshine as a reminder of its humble beginnings at the wonderful Earthshine Discovery Center.  The name Earthshine is foremost in our mission because we believe that stewardship of the EARTH, and all the life contained within this fragile oasis in space, should SHINE brightly above all other issues for without clean air, water and environmental balance  – we have nothing.

enplogolarge

 

Why I Save Snakes (and turtles, and Opossums…)

8 Jan

In a recent article I read about two women who save rattlesnakes from being killed on roads.  These women are heroes to me and their journey has inspired me to put my thoughts down on “paper” and share them with all of you.

snake_final-1-1600x896

Photo by Tim Peacock from the article by W.R.Shaw 

Like these amazing women, I have been saving snakes – Rattlesnakes included – and all others as well as turtles, salamanders and Opossums for as long as I have been driving.

With most incidents I quickly move the animal to to the side of the road it is moving toward and then move on without incident.  Below are a few videos of some of my rescues when I was toting a video camera.

Box turtles (and all others) need our help across the road

And just last year I rescued one Timber rattlesnake from a garden and then another as I drove home from the first rescue – two in one night!

On another occasion several people worked together to get one small box turtle back to her home in the remote forest.

A copperhead rescue…

Most of the times when I am rescuing wildlife from the road the other drivers will slow down and wait for me to rescue the animal and sometimes even thank me out the window as they pass.  I believe most people are really good and helpful and may only hit small creatures crossing the roads on accident.

Other, thankfully more rare times, I have had drivers swerve their vehicles toward me and speed up in the attempt to hit the animal before I get to it.

Once this happened as a friend and I had just pulled over and were jogging toward an Eastern box turtle that was attempting to cross a curvy 2 lane road in the mountains near Boone, NC.  As we were approaching the turtle a huge jacked up “redneck” truck with nasty diesel smoke belching from over-sized “hey look at me” loud exhaust pipes swerved past us, accelerated and aimed for the animal.  We could only watch as the helpless reptile died in a cartwheel of blood and gore under the giant tires of the infantile driver’s weapon of death. As the truck hit the turtle with a very audible “pop” we could hear the hoots and catcalls from the driver and passenger as they celebrated their murder of an innocent and helpless creature. I am normally a calm, easy going person but at that moment I was so mad and disgusted with humanity that if that driver had turned around I do not know what I would have done but it would not have been nice.

Many years ago I witnessed the aftermath of a similar incident that I recorded in the below video.

In the following video a scientist conducts an experiment to explore the connections between the species of the animal and how many drivers target them.

In another incident, as I was driving home one warm summer night when I noticed a medium sized Copperhead warming its belly on a remote road.  I saw the snake in the last instant and was forced to straddle it with my car to avoid hitting it and then I quickly pulled off the road and jumped out to move it before the approaching vehicle could hit it.  Unfortunately the driver was only a few car lengths behind and probably did not see it as they came into the dark curve and hit the snake which quickly died…and so did the 9 babies gestating in its belly.

Yet another time I watched as a driver on a cellphone driving on a busy Florida highway mowed down an adult Gopher tortoise as it tried to cross the road – yet another cartwheel of blood and gore from a protected keystone species. The driver never even tapped her brakes but from my vantage point I have no idea how she did not see the animal.

Other times I have stopped to move road-killed animals off the road in order to not cause the deaths of the scavengers that come to feed on them. When I have moved rattlesnakes they almost always have a missing rattle (see the video below in which I find just that).  – This is evidence that the murderer took the snake’s rattle as a trophy of their conquest of the “fearsome deadly beast” they now probably brag about to their friends to boost their childish machismo at the expense of another creatures life – now you see how I feel about trophy hunting.

In the third installment in the Sad Snake series I encounter a cold blooded murder scene and I get a bit heated at the insanity and ignorance of the Human species.

 

Then there’s the type of people that swerve in the attempt to maybe intimidate me into;

A. Dropping the animal and running so they can kill it with their rolling death machine.

B. Assisting with their deadly plans by throwing it under their wheels so they can kill it with their rolling death machine.

C. Possibly kill us both with their rolling death machine because they are holding onto some misplaced ancient dogma that insists that snakes are “evil” and anyone who associates with them must also be “evil” so it would be appropriate to kill both of the “evil” creatures at the same time. Really? Yes, there are misguided people like that still out there walking and driving the earth – some of them are even toting guns – yikes!

It is truly sad that in this day of scientific breakthroughs leading to technological achievements that allow us to drive great distances in machines of science (cars, planes, trains, ships, rockets etc..), connect with others at the speed of light using devices of science (smartphones, internet, satellites, computers,…), and the fact that many of us owe our very lives to the findings of science by way of medications derived from snake venom such as snake bite antivenin and some cancer and pain treatments and more and even more). Watch the video below for more on this.

Crofab antivenin is used in treating the bite of pitvipers.  The video below shows how venom is extracted from Rattlesnakes before used to produce lifesaving antivenin.

Here is a another good, but a bit over dramatized, video of how Crofab is used to treat the bite of Pitvipers.

Then there is the simple fact that through thousands of years of direct observation and the findings of science, that we now know for absolute fact that snakes eat lots of rodents (mice, rats, voles etc…) and that these rodents, if not kept in check by snakes and other predators, would overpopulate destroying our crops and spreading deadly disease–watch an example in the following video.

Rodents directly and indirectly carry or play a part in the vectoring diseases that sicken and kill humans the world over in huge numbers (Bubonic plague, Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Hantavirus and Hantavirus Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, Lassa Fever,  Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, Rat Bite Fever, Salmonella, Arenaviridae, Tularemia need I go on…), so logic and reason would dictate that we should never ever choose to willingly harm a snake and we should in fact honor and protect them if only for the rodent removal service they provide our homes, farms, forests and fields thereby keeping us fed and healthy.

Many, like the women in the article I noted at the start of this posting, and others like John Sealy, Alan Cameron, William H. Martin,  Bruce Means, and organizations like The Orianne Society, The Center for Snake Conservation, The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Davidson River Herpetology Lab, and many bloggers like the Wandering Herpetologist, Living Alongside Wildlife, the Scaly Adventures crew and myself are all working to share the facts, truths, and benefits of snakes and other reptiles with you, our readers.

Sadly it seems that there remain many good and bad people, or should I say “Sheeple,” who choose to live their lives blindly following ancient or ignorant beliefs rather than truth, reason, logic, knowledge, and the findings of science.

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I feel sorry for these people.

I feel sorry for them because they are so closed to the facts that their actions of killing snakes and other wildlife end up make this thing called life harder for us all – from the snake crossing the road to the rest of us just trying to make a living.

Yes, I rescue snakes and other wildlife from roads, homes, and wherever else they are in need. I rescue them because they need rescuing from the bullying humans who are BY FAR more dangerous and deadly than the snakes they target with their cars, hoes, guns, shovels, and fear driven ancient beliefs and venom spitting narrow-minded hatreds.  I also choose to make a difference by teaching the scientific truths — based on reason, knowledge, and experimentation as well as thousands of years of collective observation by countless scientists, naturalists, animal lovers and farmers all over the planet — to anyone and everyone who will listen.  I do this through my science classes, my small nonprofit education and outreach organization Earthshine Nature Programs, my YouTube Channel and this blog.

Please, do not be a sheeple. Before you choose to harm or kill a snake, do some simple research and learn more about the creature who’s life you are preparing to end.

BTW, yes I have been bitten by a Rattlesnake and no, I did not kill it in vengeance – in fact, I let it go so it could eat more rodents. Oh and thank you science for saving the finger that I am using to type these words with antivenin derived from snake venom and the findings of science.

 I leave you with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi – “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated. “

Earthshine Nature Programs Fall Benefit Events

25 Sep

BENEFIT EVENT #1

Date: October 01, 2016

Time: 1-4pm

  Location: SANCTUARY BREWING COMPANY Hendersonville, NC

BENEFIT EVENT #2

Date: October 03, 2016

Time: 5-8pm

Location: OSKAR BLUES BREWERY

Brevard, NC

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Come to one or both events, bring the family and friends and join us as Sanctuary and Oskar Blues as both wonderful establishments will be donating a portion of taproom sales during the events to 

Earthshine Nature Programs! 

Learn all about our wildlife education, rehabilitation, conservation, outreach, science and renewable energy programming. 

Meet many of our education animals including Rex and Rosie the Tortoises, Scar and Slip the Rat snakes, and Ashley the Boa Constrictor and more!

Help us raise funds for our newest project at our science, nature and wildlife rehabilitation and conservation center – a 5.3 kW solar energy system that will help us power most of the heating, lighting, and habitat life support systems for our education and rehabilitation animals as well as and the lighting, audio visual and computing systems for our classroom…and charge our all electric Nissan Leaf outreach vehicle with 100% renewably generated power from the sun!

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*Learn more about our solar energy project in the detailed description at the bottom of this blog post*

Meet special guest Pierce Curren of TV’s Scaly Adventures and hear all about his adventures with his family sharing his love of reptiles and nature with everyone he meets! 

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Local artists will be on hand offering their unique wildlife and nature themed art, photography, and jewelry with a portion of the proceeds directly supporting our work. 

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Steve and friends will start off the event with a one of a kind music jam with indigenous instruments such as the didgeridoo, flute and drum.  If you play, please bring an instrument and join in on the fun!

At the Oskar Blues event we will also have an Electric Vehicle car show where you can learn all about and maybe even take a ride in an electric car!  Members of the Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle Club will have several sleek EVs on display including possibly the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, and BMW i3 on display!

Come learn how you can go electric and kick gas! 

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All donations to our 501c3 are tax deductible.

Receive updates from our programs on Facebook at Earthshine Nature Programs and on the Earthshine Nature Blog at www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

If you are unable to make it to one of our fundraisers and would still like to support us, please feel free to visit our Amazon wishlist or the donate page on our website where you will find a Paypal donate link.

THANK YOU

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Earthshine Nature Programs is a 501c3 nonprofit wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, nature and science education organization, and is a separate business entity from Earthshine Discovery Center.


Please support our

Solar Energy Project

Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) and Trails Science is working to develop an environmental education classroom and wildlife rehabilitation facility that is powered by the sun!  Our goal with this project is to drastically reduce our carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels by taking advantage of the most renewable energy source – our nearest star.

This 5.3 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array will not only supply our classroom with renewably generated power but it will be a bold teaching tool for the students of Trails Carolina, The Academy at Trails Carolina, and our visitors. It will offer our students a myriad of learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, environmental education, and conservation courses. It will also provide web interface technologies that will allow the system to be monitored in real-time by students in class or from anywhere on the planet!

Once online, this solar farm will not only provide much of the power used by the science classroom but it will also provide enough solar generated electricity to power our nonprofit outreach vehicle, an all-electric Nissan Leaf.

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Our students and visitors will benefit greatly from the applied use of renewable energy technologies in class by experiencing the first hand functioning of real world, renewable energy applications such as solar-electric power, and electric vehicles.  In our unique solar powered science classroom they will bust through the negative myths often associated with these technologies by assisting with the maintenance of, and studying of the most up-to-date systems in class and on class field trips to local renewable energy installations and events.  After leaving Trails our graduates will be more up to date, connected, and ready to accept the reality of, and make use of, sustainable clean energy power and transportation systems to power their lives and their futures.

To make this grand vision a reality we have partnered with Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute (BBSI) in Towensend, Tennessee with the goal to install a state of the art off-grid solar array that will allow the Trails Science and Nature Center to one day become fully self-powered by the sun!

The students and I have already begun site preparations and will begin installing the solar array in the early fall of 2016 and depending on granting/donation support we hope to have the system online by mid-November if not before.

The following outline shows what components we have already received and the yet to be sourced components.  Two of the three primary components needed to make this project a reality have already been donated – they include;

1.The Solar Modules (Panels). 22 240watt solar modules – Donated by Frank Marshall of FLS Energy, a local utility scale solar installation company in Asheville, NC.  Approximate value: $10,000

2.The charge controllers.  Two (2) Morningstar 600 Volt charge controllers with DC disconnects – Donated by Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute in Towensend Tennessee. Value: $3,600. These devices will monitor the output of the solar modules and the needs of the batteries and regulate the power as the batteries need it.  They are “smart” devices so we will be able to monitor their status from anywhere with an internet connection.

3.Electrical Panels, Wiring and Conduit for Solar Control System. Donated by Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute in Towensend Tennessee. Value: $600.00

4.Aluminum Racking for solar panels. Donated by Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute in Towensend Tennessee. Value: $3,922

Our remaining needs to make this classroom solar project a reality

  1. The battery storage – yet to be acquired. This project will rely on 24 Trojan T145 EHPT 6 Volt golf cart batteries to store power for use at night and on cloudy days.

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Need: 24 Trojan T145 EHPT 6 volt batteries. Estimated cost: $5256.  Donate via our wish list on Amazon or special ordered locally from Batteries+Bulbs in Asheville to save on shipping costs.

2. The power inverter – yet to be acquired.

The remaining primary component for this system to work as planned is the power inverter.  This device ties everything together, converts DC to AC power, and is the “brains” of the system keeping everything that needs power running smoothly and efficiently.

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Need: 1 Aims 6000 Watt 48V Pure Sine Power Inverter / Grid Charger / Transfer Switch PICOGLF60W48V

Cost: $1392.00 via: http://invertersrus.com/product/aims-picoglf60w48v120v/

You may also donate this unit using our wishlist on Amazon.com

 

3. AIMS Power Remote Switch with LCD Monitoring Screen

This device will allow the students and I to monitor the solar power system remotely from the classroom.

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Cost $139.00

Donate via our Amazon wish list.

 

  1. Hidden Costs: $2,500 – These are the unseen costs that will inevitably come up during construction and upgrades to the ENP/Trails Science and Nature Center. Should this not be needed immediately, it will be deposited into the ENP account and used for future needs.

Primary Supporters of Our Solar Project

Black Bear Solar Institute

Bob Harris – Executive Director

www.blackbearsolarinstitute.org

Bob Harris:bob.harris@blackbearsolarinstitute.org

Bob understands the value solar holds to the future and has generously donated many of the components needed to construct this system as well as new, energy efficient computers for the classroom and is providing pro bono guidance, technical expertise, and installation assistance to see this project to fruition.

FLS Energy

www.flsenergy.com

Frank Marshall: frank@flsenergy.com

Frank has graciously taken my students and I on guided tours of local grid scale solar installations that his company has installed for Duke Energy.  He also sees the value in supporting solar energy education for our students and has generously donated 20 new 240 watt solar modules to our classroom’s solar project.

Jim Hardy

Jim is a master carpenter, passionate educator, Sierra Club member and founder of Charge Transylvania County.  Jim is also a wildlife advocate and drives a fully electric vehicle.  Jim will also be providing pro bono guidance, construction technical expertise, and installation assistance to see this project to fruition.

Email: jh3@citcom.net

 Trails Carolina

Supports the project and its great value to the students and the organization.

 The Academy at Trails Carolina

Supports the project and its great value to the students and the organization.

Jewell Mimms donated $1000 – THANK YOU!!

DONATION PERKS

Option 1: Donate to our project and be part of something amazing that will truly make a difference in the education of countless students, campers, and visitors to our science and nature center over the lifetime of the project!

In our great and humble thanks to those that have and will assist us with this grand education and conservation undertaking, the students and I will create a one of a kind informational plaque that outlines the benefits of the project, all the student groups that worked together to construct the project, and lists all of the primary supporters* of the project.  The large version of this plaque will forever be proudly displayed on the solar array for all future students and visitors to see.  A smaller version of the plaque will also be permanently mounted in the classroom alongside the solar array’s information and monitoring station.

SUPPORTER DONATION LEVELS

Level 1. Up to $100  Charged Particle

Level 1. $100 – $200  Shiny Soldier*

Level 2. $200 – $500   Captain Photon*

Level 3. $500 – $1000   Ray of Hope*

Level 4. $1000 – $5000  Enlightened Provider*

Level 5. $5000 and up!     Lord of Light and Wonder*

As stated above all primary supporters* (unless you choose to opt out) will have their names listed on the solar array commemorative plaques as well as having your names listed on our website and a spacial blog posting.

Option 2 – BONUS PERK: Those that donate $500 or more will receive your choice of either beautiful custom made locally crafted jewelry and/or artwork made with fragments of actual solar cells similar to the ones used in the construction of our solar array.  These solar cell fragments are the remains of a very successful classroom solar pilot project that the students and I conducted over two years ago. This project created two student built small solar panels that are still online and providing clean power to one of our animal habitats to this day.  This small array will be coupled with the large array to provide even more power to our systems when all is complete.

These one of a kind items will take the form of either;

-Earrings

-Tie/Lapel pin

-Paperweight

-Mixed media artwork

-A combination of the above listed perks

-Or you may submit your own custom suggestion

NOTE: Perks to be granted to supporters after the project officially goes online.

 

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A note from ENP Executive Director Steve O’Neil 

I am passionate about sharing my love, curiosity, fascination, and respect for nature, wildlife and wild places with everyone I meet – especially my classroom and outreach programming students and participants.  It is the students and children of today that will make the big wildlife, nature, science, and energy decisions of the future.  It is my goal to give them the best possible unbiased, science supported, exposure to the best ethics and best practices of these most important disciplines so they will be better informed and ready to change the world for the better as they mature.   

I feel that by demonstrating what is possible, and working together toward the common goal of creating and maintaining a better world for all living things today and into the future by using clean technologies that are readily available to us, we will be able to make all of our dreams come true for the betterment and health of us all and in support of the planet that supports us.  

I am working very hard to complete all of these upgrades and enhancements under my very small wildlife, nature and science conservation, education, and outreach organization Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) (Tax ID 27-3465594) which is supported primarily through monetary, resource, and time donations from concerned individuals just like you. To cover the remaining costs I am working on acquiring donations from any and all sources that would like to support us. 

Please consider supporting us in any way you are able.  If you are unable to support us at this time please, if you know of any possible monetary or component donation sources and/or granting options please do share this document with them.   

Every little bit helps us get closer to our grand goals that will serve to upgrade our education animal habitats, classroom equipment, power our education facility and outreach vehicle via the endless energy from the sun, and most importantly – educate and inspire middle and high school aged children on the proper respect and understanding of wildlife and wild places and the wise and responsible application of clean energy resources that we can all use to provide for, and empower our shared futures together on spaceship earth. 

Sincerely,

Steve O’Neil

Executive Director of Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3)

and

Naturalist with Trails Carolina and The Academy at Trails Carolina

www.earthshinenature.com

(828) 606-8939

134 E. Dogwood Lane

Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

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ENP is running in the Mad Mountain Mud Run for the 3rd year in a row!

26 May

That’s right, Earthshine Nature Programs Executive Director Steve O’Neil and Team Earthshine Nature Nerds will be running again this year in the Mad Mountain Mud Run 5K in Hendersonville, NC on Saturday May 30th, 2015!

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For 2015 the Nature Nerds will be sharing the muddy trail with The Trails Turbo Turtles!  The Turbo Turtles consist of several Steve’s students and staff of The Academy at Trails Carolina and Trails Carolina!  Captain Steve will be overall captain of both the Nature Nerds and the Turbo Turtles.

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Many of the Turbo Turtles are experienced runners, hikers, Mtn. bikers and climbers so do not let the name fool you–the Turbo Turtles are a force of nature and may just take overall best time in the Mud Run!

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Our nerdy nature goal is to run representing Earthshine Nature Programs as our 2015 spring fundraiser.  To do this we need sponsors that are willing to support Earthshine Nature Programs with a pledge.  Your pledge will provide direct and 100% support to our environmental science education and wildlife rehabilitation and conservation programs and projects.

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Our muddy community goal is to run in support of the Hands On A Child’s Gallery based in Hendersonville, NC and Trails Carolina/The Academy at Trails Carolina with our afternoon of challenging obstacles and muddy fun!

Last year and this year the students and I have constructed an obstacle for the Mud Run — take a look at a few photos of this years obstacle that we call the ENP/Trails Turbo Tunnels!!

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Take a look at the course map for a taste of what we may have in store for us this year!  It should be a muddy fun challenge!

 

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Sponsor Awards

Any donation is welcome and needed however…

Those who sponsor ENP with $50 or more will receive your business logo or name and weblink* on the ENP supporters website,  in a posting in this blog (to be updated after the race), and on the back of our custom mud run t-shirt that we will proudly wear during the race.

Those who sponsor us for $500 or more will receive your business logo or name and weblink* on the ENP supporters website,  in a posting in this blog (to be updated after the race), on the back of our custom mud run t-shirt that we will proudly wear during the race, four custom designed ENP Medici Lighted writing Pens from Myron.com, your own custom mud run t-shirt,  and one “Honored Supporter” custom award (made by Steve) which includes a certificate of appreciation and small glass vial filled with a small amount of the actual mud from the race course that we will run through on May 30 th!

Those who sponsor us for $1000 or more will receive will receive your business logo or name and weblink* on the ENP supporters website,  in a posting in this blog (to be updated after the race), on the back of our custom mud run t-shirt that we will proudly wear during the race, six custom designed ENP Medici Lighted writing Pens from Myron.com,  your own custom mud run t-shirt,  and one “Honored Supporter” custom award (made by Steve) which includes a certificate of appreciation and small glass vial filled with a small amount of the actual mud from the race course that we will run through on May 31st! On top of all that Steve and his animals will come to you and present a private Misunderstand Wildlife animal show with live animals and a didgeridoo concert at your birthday party, school or other gathering!

*You can opt-out of having your personal/company information publicized on our shirts/websites if you choose.

An awesome mud covered photo from the end of the 2015

Mad Mountain Mud Run.

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A great muddy moment from the 2013 Mud Run!

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The nitty gritty muddy dirt of the sponsorship (rules)

After the Earthshine Nature Nerds/Trails Turbo Turtles team completes the race–all sponsored pledges will be collected from the sponsors by June 15th, 2013.  Supporter awards will be awarded within 60 days following the race.

If the Earthshine Nature Nerds/Trails Turbo turtles does not complete the race–no donations will be collected unless you choose to support us despite the fact.

If the race is cancelled due to weather or other circumstances beyond our control you may choose to honor your sponsorship agreement or not.  100% of all donations will be used to provide direct support to our environmental science and wildlife rehabilitation/conservation projects and programs.

You may earmark your donations to the following projects:

Project A: Turtle Tracks Eastern Box Turtle radio telemetry project: currently radio tracking four wild Eastern box turtles at Earthshine Discovery Center and The Academy at Trails Carolina. Two of these turtles are part of the ongoing (since 2008) Turtle Tracks project at Earthshine Discovery Center in Lake Toxaway, NC.  The other two turtles are part of a hands-on wildlife science class led by Steve for the Academy at Trails Carolina and Trails Wilderness students.

Project B:  Snake Tracks  – Ratsnake Tracks. A radio telemetry project  tracking two large Black rat snakes at The Academy at Trails Carolina.  This will be part of a hands-on citizen and student science class led by Steve for the Academy at Trails Carolina and Trails Wilderness students.

Projects A-B are most important wildlife science and conservation projects seeking to learn as much as possible about the natural movements of some of nature’s most misunderstood creatures.  Data collected during these projects will directly benefit the greater understanding and conservation of not only box turtles and Rat snakes but all reptiles for many years to come.  These projects also directly benefit the continuing hands-on education of middle and high school age youth–the future of all wildlife conservation.

Project C: Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation: ongoing support of our wildlife rescue and rehabilitation activities that works primarily with the Eastern box turtle and Opossum.

Project D: General program support.  Examples include–animal care, habitat construction and project support: this covers all costs that are not directly part of or that cross over between all of the above listed programs.  Example: radio telemetry equipment,  foods, housing, vitamins, and medications for our resident and rehab animals,  rechargeable batteries, camera equipment etc.

If you do not earmark your donation it will be used where it is most needed in one or more of the above programs.

If you would like to sponsor our team please contact me and we will make arrangements or feel free to donate now via the Earthshine Nature Pay Pal account.

You may sponsor us with either monetary pledges or supplies.  If you would like to pledge supplies please contact us for a list of our current needs.

Below are some of our past sponsors and supporters

THANK YOU All!

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No matter if you choose to support us or not,  please do come out to Berkley Park and watch all of the mud runners get muddy and have fun for a couple of great causes–the education of children and conservation of wildlife and nature!

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If you know anyone who may like to support ENP with a sponsorship or donation please forward this post on to them–THANK YOU!

After last year’s Mud Run we were all smiles–it was great fun!

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NOTE: The Nature Nerds will video/photograph their perspective of the race using the latest technology including an HD GoPro camera and several volunteer friends with cameras stationed around the race course so that this years nerdy muddy experience will be able to be shared by all!  A few weeks following the race look for the video to be posted here on the ENP Nature Blog!

Take a look at last years race video below!

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THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

That’s all for now…I need to go train!

Steve O’Neil, ENP Executive Director and Mad Mountain Mud Runner

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Earthshine Nature Programs is not responsible for or affiliated with ads that may appear below this line.

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