Author Archives: sharphue

Spring Cleaning By Way of Volunteers

Two neighborhood cleanups in the last several weeks have left our little town looking sparklier! I’m so grateful to all those who volunteered their time. The second cleanup was a little low on volunteers, though, so we are hoping our third neighborhood cleanup (COMING SOON! – CHECK FOR DATES!) attracts a whole mess of helping hands. Spring cleaning at its best!


Earth Stewardship By Way of Public Schools Part Two

As Executive Director of the Ozark Solid Mountain Waste District, I’ve found the most effective way to promote waste diversion is through education. And what better place to apply that philosophy than at the district schools?

Alpena school district has a thriving recycling program, made possible by the vision and passion of a group of dedicated students and their faculty leader.

The movers and shakers make sure the classroom bins are collected and taken to the sorting bins where many helping hands are there to sort paper, plastic, aluminum and cardboard, which are then taken to the bigger containers to await transportation to the Boone County Recycling facility.

The Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District is proud to support these hard-working young people and their mission with $1000 grant.

Way to go, Alpena!

Earth Stewardship By Way of Public Schools Part One

The picture below is from the Walker-Floyd Outdoor Classroom at Berryville Intermediate School in Berryville, Arkansas. Looks cool, no? Well, you don’t know how cool it is until you visit and see the incredible offerings it has for the students.

Walker Floyd Outdoor Classroom 3 (2)

Check out this list of what you can find in this amazing space:

  • Carroll County Solid Waste Department mobile module for recycling education
  • Greenhouse to start seedlings
  • Raised beds for planting, growing and harvesting vegetables, herbs and flowers
  • Archaological dig site
  • Composting site
  • Pond ecosystem
  • Solar cooker
  • Wind turbine, weather instruments, water cistern, solar panels
  • Rainwater collection system
  • Two miles of trails with solar powered lighting
  • Human Sun Dial
  • Wildlife study
  • Telescope
  • Water Wheel
  • Classroom space for labs
  • Displays for recycling, fossils, wildlife and other artifacts
  • Topographical and regional maps

This impressive project is beautiful not only because of its incredible hands-on educational opportunities but also because the local government, businesses and citizens got behind it and made it a true community project. One of its biggest supporters is

mayor Tim McKinney, who chatted with me for a bit before I taught recycling classes to a wonderfully curious and smart bunch of fifth graders. It took a lot of volunteer man hours to build this incredible facility, a lot of generous donations, and a lot of vision, passion and hard work on the part of the faculty who dreamed it and made it happen for their students.


Clean Water By Way of My Son!

He’s embarking upon a project that will be the culmination of MANY years of hard work, dedication, learning and a whole lot of fun; his Eagle Scout project! As soon as his proposal gets the final stamp of approval, he will move forward with his project that will promote waterway awareness in our community as well as improve water quality. Stay tuned for updates on his next step! I’m so proud of him….


January By Way of Waterfalls

A friend and I spent a January day exploring some of Arkansas’ waterfalls. We started our adventure at Richland Creek, where we found Witch Hazel in bloom, weeks before its usual late-February/early-March showing. If you find yourself at waters’ edge and smell an unbelievable sweet smell this time of year, it is most likely this medicinal shrub. (The brownish bush on the right in the picture below.) A few miles down the road we got our zen on at Six Finger Falls and then spent time communing with a beautiful spot called “Pam’s Grotto” near Haw Creek. Ahhhh. Batteries: recharged.


Remedies By Way of Witch Hazel

I have been thinking about witch hazel ever since I saw it blooming during my January hike. Check out the uses for this hard-working, multi-tasking little shrub:

  • Astringent
  • Aftershave
  • Reduces bags and puffiness around eyes
  • Treats hemorrhoids, bites, stings, skin sores, sunburn, poison ivy, stiff muscles, varicose veins, diarrhea and dystentery
  • Slows bleeding (even externally, if taken as a tea)

It’s also pretty smart: if a frost occurs during the flowering stage, it rolls up its petals so they aren’t harmed!

For more information on witch hazel, visit