LACONIA — Girl Scouts from Laconia Troop 12347 took part in an early Earth Day event Saturday morning at the Laconia Transfer Station, which has been operated by Waste Management company since 1980 and was recently re-certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council under its 'Wildlife at Work' program in recognition of its many environmental achievements.
The Girl Scouts completed a a recyclable art project by using recycled cans to make wind chimes, planted native shrubs like blueberry bushes that provide food for local wildlife and took part in a groundbreaking for a new information kiosk at the facility.
Cathy Parriera, business process manager, of Waste Management, Inc., welcomed the Girl Scouts and talked about some of the projects they have been involved with in recent years, including the use of recyclable products to create beehives, putting up bird houses which attract bluebirds and plants which attract butterflies.
She noted that milkweed plants, which are viewed by farmers who us their fields to produce hay as nuisance plants, are a vital part of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, whose larvae can only survive by eating the milkweed plant's leaves.
Lisa Morin and Marnie Schulz of the Laconia Conservation Commission distributed materials on invasive species, plants animals, marine life and insects, which are pushing native species out of their natural habitat because they thrive in a new environment which lacks the natural predators which would keep them in check.
Morin brought along a sample of oriental bittersweet, which she said produces bright orange berries which are very attractive but grows rapidly by wrapping itself around trees, killing them and taking over large areas at the edge of forests and fields.
She said that bittersweet stems and roots can be burned but cannot be composted as they will regenerate. One way to ensure they do not grow again is to place the uprooted bittersweet plants in a trash bag and leave the bag in a sunny area for three weeks where they will decompose into a slimy mixture.
Since 1980 Waste Management has operated on the 25 acres of freshwater wetlands, grassy meadows and dense forests at the transfer station, which is adjacent to the Huston-Morgan State Forest owned by the city.
Employees of the company, Department of Public Works, the Laconia Conservation Commission, along with Scott McPhie of the Planning Department took part in Saturday's event.
The transfer station was named the Wildlife Habitat Council's "Rookie of the Year" for 2012, as the outstanding new participant in the council's program to restore and preserve wildlife habitat on corporate property.
An upgrade to the transfer station, which was started in 2007-08, has made it an environmentally friendly area according to Laconia Public Works Director Paul Moynihan. He said that the project, 55 percent of which was paid for by Waste Management, which contracts with the city for the right to use the transfer station for its own operations, was largely initiated by Waste Management itself and cost $2.6 million. The city paid 30 percent of the cost, $780,000, and Gilford, whose residents and businesses can also utilize the transfer station, paid 15 percent, or $390,000.
''The site used to be borderline acceptable to the state. It was open face and all gravel and there were nearby wetlands. The changes made it a much better location and there's a long-term agreement with Waste Management for use of the site,'' says Moynihan.
Shia Rankin and Emily Lemay of Girl Scout Troop 12347 from Laconia make wind chimes from recycled cans at an Earth Day event held at the Laconia Transfer Station Saturday morning. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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