The Greater Fostoria Foundation has awarded a $2,000 "matching grant" to the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center to assist in construction of the straw bale zero-energy passive house project. In doing so, it has issued a challenge to other community agencies and organizations to help "match" the grant before the end of the year.
The Project STRAW committee is hoping donors will help FELC double its money from the grant. STRAW stands for Saving Today's Resources in Awesome Ways.
The committee is searching for donors from Seneca County and other areas because the project will benefit the whole region after completion by attracting people from all areas to see the finished product.
Donations - large or small - can be made by writing a check to FELC with a notation that it's for the straw bale house. Straw bales can be purchased for $100 each and the names of donors are to be placed in a "truth window" inside the house. Because the inside of the house won't look like straw bales, a window will be built in so people can see inside the walls.
When the $2,000 grant is matched, the total amount raised so far will exceed $30,000 of the $100,000 goal. Donations can be made online at projectstraw.com or mailed to the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center, 194 St. Francis Ave., Tiffin, OH 44883.
The Project STRAW committee has a goal of building a passive solar house on the grounds of the Sisters of St. Francis, hopefully beginning next spring.
The house, named "Little Portion Green," is to be the first straw bale certified passive house in the United States. About 300 bales of straw are to be used in construction and the house is to incorporate lots of insulation, solar panels, triple pane windows, among other methods of saving energy. It is to be located amid permaculture landscaping, which features useful plants and minimizes the need for lawn mowing.
For more information on the project or to volunteer call Sister Jane Omlor at (567) 207-5393, Mike Connor at (419) 448-7485 or Jim Bailey at (419) 435-2163.
Rabbit, pheasant seasons
There are two weeks until rabbit and pheasant seasons start Nov. 6.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, mild summer temperatures and moderate precipitation provided for good conditions during the nesting season.
ODRN says conditions have been good in areas of the state where habitat is plentiful. Private lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program have been important to supporting upland game populations. Williams and Defiance counties in northwest Ohio have strong pheasant populations because of habitat contributions by local landowners. Upland game populations are responding positively to habitat programs in other areas around the state.
Cottontail rabbit hunting continues through Feb. 28 and ring-necked pheasant hunting is open through Jan. 10. Both seasons are closed during the statewide 2009 deer-gun hunting season, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, as well as the extra weekend of deer-gun hunting Dec. 19-20.
Rabbits, pheasants and quail may be hunted from sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit for all three species remains unchanged from last year at four rabbits, two pheasants (males only) and four quail.
Hunters are reminded that snowshoe hares are not legal game in Ohio and may not be taken. Recently reintroduced to northeastern Ohio after nearly a century of absence, snowshoe hares are brown early in the season, resembling cottontail rabbits. To avoid confusion between cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares, portions of Geauga and Ashtabula counties are closed to all rabbit hunting until Dec. 6 when the coats of hares will have turned white.
The Division of Wildlifereleases pheasants on selected public hunting areasthroughout the state prior to opening day of the pheasant season, the second Saturday of the season and Thanksgiving Day. Hunters may call (800) WILDLIFE for locations.
Bobwhite quail hunting is limited to 16 counties in southern Ohio.
Additional hunting information is contained in the2009-10 Ohio Hunting Regulations brochure, which is available where hunting licenses are sold, on the Internet atwildohio.comor by calling (800) WILDLIFE.
ODNR reminds hunters the 2009-10 licenses are not printed on waterproof paper. Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.
Hunters harvested 438 wild turkeys during the first five days of Ohio's fall wild turkey hunting season, which runs through Nov. 29.
Last year, hunters got 547 birds in the same time period. Wild turkeys can be hunted in 48 counties during the fall season with the addition this year of Defiance and Williams counties.
*?Today, 6-8 p.m., Fall Fest community event, Tiffin YMCA.
*?Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., fall colors canoe tour on the Sandusky River, Camp Glen, TR 131, $5 per person, lunch included, (419) 447-7459, www.campglen.com.
E-mail Vicki Johson at outdoors@advertiser-