Greening our Trails

This post, as originally published, had a photo from Drake Well that I incorrectly identified as a geothermal well field for the new visitor center. Thanks to Barb Zolli, the photo is now correct.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver’s chronicle of her family’s effort to source their food very close to home for a year. Or maybe it’s just one of those convergences that happen from time to time. Or maybe (hmm) it’s because my brain was flailing around for an idea. Whatever. Several items have come together for this week’s post that I hope will spark some interest among readers of this blog.

We’ve posted info in recent weeks about the Tall Ships Erie festival going on this weekend (actually it started yesterday with a Parade of Sail). What I didn’t know until this week is that the event includes something called the Green Zone, in the open lot next to the Erie Maritime Museum. According to an article on, folks from Mercyhurst College will be selling produce from their organic garden (to benefit the Flagship Niagara, pictured above). Representatives from Gannon University, Penn State Behrend, the Sierra Club, Solar Revolution, and other organizations will have loads of info for people who want to help make the planet healthier and reduce their environmental impact. Gannon’s Environaut environmental science boat will also be on the scene.

And speaking of produce, check out Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum’s blog, Life in Landis Valley, for info on the Heirloom Seed Program. I wrote about the program briefly in a post about the annual Herb and Garden Faire (see photo above), but there’s a lot more to know. Obviously growing your own vegetables is a great way to green up your life (pun intended), save some bucks, and cut down on transportation impacts. Using heirloom seeds helps to preserve food history, increase biodiversity, and save even more money over time (you can harvest your own seeds from heirloom varieties and have true-to-form plants in succeeding years—that doesn't really work with hybrid varieties).

PHMC/Drake Well Museum

As we have the chance to upgrade facilities at sites on the Trails of History, PHMC is working with other state agencies and our contractors to invest in new technologies that reduce energy use, making our operations more environmentally and financially sustainable. Geothermal systems for HVAC (photo above shows geothermal wells being drilled), lighting fixtures and bulbs that use less power and generate less heat, and adjusted standards for temperature and humidity controls (in accordance with the museum field’s changing recommendations) are helping us to continue to be good stewards of the material heritage in our care. Gee, isn’t that one of the principles in the Pennsylvania History Bill of Rights?


Amy Killpatrick Fox said...

Quick update--2010 marks the 25th anniversary of Landis Valley's Heirloom Seed Program!

Amy Killpatrick Fox said...

The Railroad Museum of PA recently completed lead-based paint removal on the Lindbergh Engine, using a greener approach to sandblasting. You can read more at

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