Where have all the Snowflakes Gone?

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Weather. Yes, I am going to talk about the weather. OK, I’ll make it quick before you stop reading and move onto possibly more interesting stuff.

What has happened to January and February? The Scarborough Winter Festival has been cancelled and/or modified again for another year. Plenty of precipitation, but not in the right form. 40 degrees in January? The National Weather Service has reported that this January has been the warmest one on record.

I grew up in Bangor, and January and February were very distinct. Lots of snow – cold, and I mean cold, every day. Sunny and bright, with a sparkle to the snow, I loved wading, waist deep through the snow drifts. Jumping over the small hill on one side of our yard, I could, as an 8 year old, end up in the snow up to my neck! The snow would blow into my face, and my eyelashes and eyebrows would freeze. My sisters and I would wait for the bus when it was still dark. If I did not manage to fight my way into the shower soon enough, I waited to get onto the bus with wet and then stiff hair. As I would shake out my hair on the warm bus, I would create my own little snow storm.

I miss these winters. Yes, I realize Bangor is not Scarborough. However, having lived in Scarborough nearly 10 years, the winters have changed even in this short amount of time. I miss the snow and having the Winterfest. I like the participation of all ages, and the different events – skating, ice sculptures, hot chocolate, jumping rope for the younger set. This year, I was so hopeful with that last beautiful snowfall we had the second week of February would answer my prayers, but watched it literally disappear as the week progressed.

OK, where am I going? Whether you agree with global warming or not, our climate is changing. Anyone over the age of 30 cannot dispute this fact. Also, whether you agree on the size of the imprint that man makes on our world, we do negatively impact our environment by just going about our daily tasks. I am not here to lecture, cajole, or beg you to change your habits. That is not my business. However, I ask you to think globally and act locally. Here are some small contributions that anyone can do, and involve your family while you are at it.

– Although gas prices have gone down, it is likely they will not stay that way for long. Consider what you drive and how you drive.

– Does your lawn need to been “fed” six times in a season? I dropped down to three times a season two years ago, and it has looked fine. Pay your local 10-year-old to dime-a-dandelion if you’re not satisfied. All that extra nitrogen will not be introduced into our watershed and the health of our water, fish, and waterfowl will be improved.

– Support the Scarborough Land Trust. When they ask for volunteers, give a call and offer your time. Even two to three hours a week can be a big help. Participate in their annual dance and silent auction.

– Support the actions and ingenuity of ECOS – our high school students and a teacher who converted a VW bus to run on french fry oil!

– Compost your yard waste. Make the time to take your (and possibly your neighbor’s) grass clippings and leaves to the Recycling Center (you know, the dump). Or better yet, compost on your own. I applaud Scarborough Community’s efforts a few years back to offer composting bins to anyone interested in paying the nominal price. I hope that offer is made again.

– Join the spring cleaning of the beaches and marsh that will take place on Earth Day on April 22. My daughter and I participated last year, and we were appalled at what we found on the edges of the marsh and surrounding areas. Contact swilder@gwi.net or call 883-6050 if you are interested.

– Voice your opinion to your local town councilor about the possibility that storm water user fees might be implemented in the next few years in a number of communities.

Abi Ordway lives and works in Scarborough. She is married and a mother of an eleven year old daughter.

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