It’s a good day to hug your bunny |

It’s a good day to hug your bunny

Kelli Du Fresne

Happy Earth Day.

If you happen to be one of my two brothers or my parents reading this, you’ll roll your eyes and say “It figures.”

My nickname as a grownup is “Bunny Hugger.”

For the record, though, I haven’t hugged a bunny since we had them as pets – then they escaped.

By now I’m sure Gold Hill has a nice population of non-native rabbits.

I earned my nickname because I recycle. That’s all it took for the moniker to stick like glue. And it’s rather ironic, because as a family our motto was pretty much “waste not, want not.” I think only a few of us own a first-hand (brand new) vehicle or first-hand furniture. Most of mine, in fact, are older than I am. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But recycling my newspapers, for obvious reasons, my cans and more earned me the title “Bunny Hugger.”

So the “Bunny Hugger” is celebrating Earth Day. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do. I have softball practice, so I’ll celebrate outdoors, maybe I’ll plant my tree or pull a weed or two.

We celebrate Earth Day as a society because of Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who in 1962 thought it was a terrible thing that the environment was taking it in the shorts, so to speak, and that the general public knew little about it.

He shopped his idea to President John F. Kennedy, who in 1963 took off on a five-day, 11-state tour to raise awareness. “The people were concerned, but the politicians were not,” Nelson said.

It took another seven years before the first Earth Day organized itself. But by April 22, 1970, some 20 million Americans organized themselves to stand up and fight for their trees, rivers, lakes, streams, mountains and deserts, and Earth Day was born.

In Carson City, we’re celebrating Earth Day with Carson Pride Week. There is free yard waste pickup, free hazardous waste disposal, free dump days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and again April 30, May 1 and May 2.

Each spring and fall the city also seeks sign-ups for its street tree program, where the property owner submits an application to plant a tree, or several trees, in the city right-of-way. The cost of the tree and the planting are shared between the city and the property owner. Call the Carson City Parks Department at 887-2262 for information.

The Carson City Preservation Coalition will host a talk at 7 p.m. Monday by Nevada Division of Forestry arborist Susan Stead on Carson City’s old and historic trees.

One such tree can be found just northwest of the Nevada Veteran’s Memorial on the Capitol grounds. The elm tree, now some 80 feet tall, was planted by the Washoe Zephyr Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution 72 years ago to honor the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth on Feb. 11, 1732.

The tree is rumored to be a relative from the tree in Cambridge, Mass., under which Washington took control of the army after the victory at Lexington and Concord that launched the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775.

The Cambridge Historical Commission Web site says there is no documentation to indicate the event took place under the elm tree, but admits the elm has become a symbol of patriotism in Cambridge.

Starbucks Coffee Co. packages its spent coffee grounds in recycled bags and offers them free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis in stores. The 9-year-old program, known as Grounds for Your Garden, keeps coffee grounds out of landfills and provides a nearly endless supply of grounds to gardeners who claim coffee as their key to success.

Here are some ways to use spent grounds:

n Mix spent grounds directly into soil around acid-loving plants, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, hydrangeas, camellias and magnolias.

n Apply the coffee grounds as a light mulch to fast-growing vegetables. Don’t apply the mulch too thickly or you could create a moisture and air barrier that can cause fungal growth.

n Mix grounds with brown leaves and grass clippings or lime to help balance the pH of the soil.

Check in with the University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative extension for more garden advice at: or “Ask a Master Gardener” at mastergardeners@ or call 887-2252. Pick-up complimentary coffee grounds at Starbucks.

Kelli Du Fresne is features editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact her at kdufresne@nevadaappeal. com or at 881-1261.