The posts on this page are from a variety of Salem blogs and the views expressed are those of the individual blog author.

May 8th, 2013

Here’s the Scoop on a Salem Chicken Coop

Check out this video of the Murphy's urban chicken coop on Deaborn Street in Salem.

The poultry that live inside Maura Murphy’s urban chicken coop on Dearborn Street in Salem are more than just your run-of-the-mill roosters and hens – they’re members of the family.

The beautiful backyard coop was the brainchild of Murphy’s 10-year-old daughter, Catherine, who fell in love with chickens after spending a long weekend caring for a batch of newborn chicks as part of a project at Glen Urquhart School in Beverly Farms.

Catherine’s experience caring for the chicks led to helping out on a neighborhood farm – and after a year of pitching in, the Easter Bunny brought her a coop of her very own.

“With the help of our neighbors Ed and Betsey, and Dan, the owner of Agway in Danvers, and his daughter, Ashley from Ashley’s Chickens, Catherine became the neighborhood chicken girl,” Maura Murphy said. 

The coop, which is home to more than a dozen chickens, produces between 8 and 13 eggs a day and Murphy was quick to point out that the farm-fresh eggs generated by her coop are even healthier than those for sale at the local supermarket.

According to Robert and Hannah Litt’s book A Chicken in Every Yard, eggs from pasture-raised flocks contain 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, two times more omega, three times more vitamin E and seven times more beta carotene.

Check out the video above for a closer look at the Murphy’s Salem coop.

If you’re interested in purchasing some of Catherine Murphy’s eggs, you can email her here.

May 7th, 2013

7 Jobs that Make the World a Better Place

A recycling truck driver is one career that can make a real difference in the world.

The following story was provided by 

By Debra Auerbach for CareerBuilder

Have you ever had an itch to quit your job and instead do work that makes a real difference in the world? In honor of Earth Day on April 22, we’ve compiled a list of seven jobs that help people live a better life – from the buildings they work and live in, to the energy that fuels their homes, to the air they breathe. 

1. Conservation scientistConservation scientists are hired to help preserve and protect natural habitats. They usually work with landowners and federal, state and local governments to find the best ways to use and improve the land while conserving the environment.*

  • How to become one: Conservation scientists typically need a bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field. It helps job prospects to have a degree from programs that are accredited by the Society of American Foresters and other similar organizations.
  • Pay: According to Economic Modeling Specialists International, conservation scientists earn a median hourly income of $28.28.

If you’re looking for a green job in Salem, check out our jobs page.

2. Energy auditorWhen a building is cooled or heated, it uses energy. Buildings often leak energy, so they produce extra heat or air to compensate, which wastes more energy. Energy auditors help curb energy waste by inspecting buildings to find areas of air leakage and advising customers on how to fix and prevent leaks.

  • How to become one: There are no nationwide education or training requirements for energy auditors, but some states require auditors to take courses or earn a certification. Certification is available through organizations such as the Building Performance Institute, the Residential Energy Services Network and the Association of Energy Engineers. Some local technical and community colleges also offer energy auditing courses.
  • Pay: Since it’s such a new field, national wage information is currently unavailable.

If you’re looking for a green job in Salem, check out our jobs page.

More: How To Find A Job That Is A Good ‘Fit’

3. Green construction manager: Construction is another area that has seen an emergence of green jobs. As interest for environmental protection increases, the demand for green buildings grows with it. Construction managers that specialize in green buildings plan, direct, coordinate and budget construction projects, ensuring that onsite processes are environmentally friendly. This could mean setting up a recycling plan for unused construction materials or protecting environmentally sensitive areas of the site. They’re also responsible for choosing contractors who have knowledge of green building techniques.

  • How to become one: Most construction managers come to the job with experience working on other similar projects. Most also hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in construction management, business management or engineering. They may also acquire a LEED Green Associate credential or have taken the NCCER’s Sustainable Construction Supervisor Training and Certification Program.
  • Pay: Median annual pay for construction managers is $85,030.

If you’re looking for a green job in Salem, check out our jobs page.

4. Landscape architect: According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, these workers analyze, plan, design, manage and nurture natural and built environments. Projects they may work on include: academic campuses, conservation, corporate and commercial areas, gardens and arboreta, green infrastructure, interior landscapes and land planning. Landscape architects who work on green building sites apply their expertise to plan attractive scenery while also conserving water, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They may also plan drainage channels to diffuse rainwater throughout planting beds.

  • How to become one: Landscape architects are required to have licenses. Requirements vary among states but usually include a degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school, work experience and a passing score on the Landscape Architect Registration Exam.
  • Pay: According to the ASLA, average annual salary and bonuses for landscape architects is $78,600.

If you’re looking for a green job in Salem, check out our jobs page.

5. Recycling truck driver: There are many roles that help ensure that the U.S. recycling system works and is successful. One such job is that of the drivers, also known as recyclable material collectors. These workers are employed by recycling companies or local governments to pick up recyclables from residences and offices and transport them to a materials recovery facility. Several drivers usually work together as a team to collect recyclables.

  • How to become one: Drivers should have at least a high school education or a G.E.D. To be certified to handle these trucks, drivers must have a Class A or B Commercial Driver’s License with airbrake endorsement. Drivers need to pass drug screening and background checks and should have clean driving records.
  • Pay: The median annual pay for refuse and recyclable material collectors is $29,610.

If you’re looking for a green job in Salem, check out our jobs page.

6. Solar power plant operator: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every hour, enough energy from the sun reaches Earth to meet the world’s energy usage for an entire year. Creating solar power by converting sunlight into electricity lowers emissions from electricity generation and helps decrease long-term energy costs. Because of these benefits, solar power has continued to grow as an industry. Solar power plants are run by operators, who oversee power generation and distribution from control rooms. They monitor the solar arrays and generators and regulate output from the generators, and they monitor instruments to maintain voltage to regulate electricity flows from the plant.

  • How to become oneStrong mechanical, technical and computer skills are needed to operate a power plant. Certification by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation is necessary for positions that could affect the power grid.
  • PayThe median annual pay for power plant operators is $64,270.

If you’re looking for a green job in Salem, check out our jobs page.

7. Wind turbine service technicianWind power is a relatively new source of electricity generation and has been used on a utility scale for only a few decades. Wind turbines — the machines that generate wind power — are extremely complex, and if any part fails, they have to be shut down until repairs can be performed, losing time and money. Wind turbine service technicians help prevent and solve issues by inspecting turbines and providing regular maintenance. They’re capable of diagnosing and fixing any problem that could require the turbine to be shut down.

  • How to become one: Since the field is still so new, there isn’t formal training to become a wind tech. Instead, most come from technician jobs in other industries. Experience or training as an electrician also is beneficial.
  • Pay: The BLS notes that while no national wage information is currently available, industry sources say starting wages are between $35,000 and $40,000.

If you’re looking for a green job in Salem, check out our jobs page.

*Job descriptions, experience/education and pay taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unless otherwise noted.

May 3rd, 2013

How Can We Make Every Day Earth Day? (Sponsored)

Kevin Barry, owner of the Woodbury Saw and Mower business in Woodbury, CT, wears his beekeeper equipment as he demonstrates how to become a beekeeper, his other business. He is holding a sample beehive panel from one of the many beekeeper starter kits he is selling at the Woodbury Earth Day Event on April 27, 2013.  Credit: Paula Antolini

Very few events are celebrated around the globe, but Earth Day is. This year, it’s come and gone. But we’re here to ask: What can we do to show our love of the earth on that day, and every day?

On May 31, Sony will release After Earth, an action-packed movie that takes place 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity to leave. It’s the kind of scenario that makes you want to donate to Greenpeace, recycle everything, and start biking every where, immediately. So, in honor of Earth Day, Patch has teamed up with Sony to present these ideas for making every day Earth Day.

How can we make every day Earth Day?

Begin with little things. Easy things. Obvious things. Things we take for granted each day, and use and/or abuse because of our lack of knowledge. Let’s start there. Remember that children learn from what we do.

There are some wonderful family activities you can do together while learning about the environment. Make a “to do” list and make it fun! Do as many hands-on projects as you can each day to help save the earth in little ways. Have the children keep a chart or journal about everything they do.

Here are some suggestions:

Indoors: Learn more about the earth with your kids – surf the web, read books, magazines, and newspapers. Conserve energy and save water by letting children find (and a parent fix) dripping faucets; only running the dishwasher when full; taking short showers; turning the water off while brushing your teeth; turning off electrical items when not in use; doing full loads of laundry only. Recycle cans, bottles and newspapers.

Outdoors: Plant a tree. Plant a garden. Clean up roadside litter. Create a habitat by putting up a birdhouse. Build a compost for food scraps, leaves and lawn clippings. Save rainwater and reuse for outdoor gardens.

At School: Urge teachers and administrators to do activities for Earth Day and every day. Suggest ideas for projects: write poetry; create environmentally-themed music; have an environmental poster contest. Check to see which sources of electricity you can conserve in your school (electric pencil sharpener, lights on in rooms not used, etc.) and keep a chart about how many ways you saved energy.  

At Work: Make a company Earth Day resolutions list. Conserve paper and electricity. Close shades in the summer to prevent high heat in offices. Don’t use air conditioning all the time. Recycle cans, bottles and newspapers at the office.

While Traveling: Visit parks and nature centers. Visit a maritime museum. While on a drive, have children count how many things might be polluting the air, land or water, and then research if anything is being done to correct the problem.    

For Pets: Attend a dog-friendly Earth Day event. Organize a dog park cleanup. Take a hike on a dog-friendly trail. Use natural flea control. Buy organic pet food. Avoid plastic and synthetic toys and dog beds, and use natural fiber products. Scoop up the poop, compost it, or use biodegradable poop bags if you live in the city. Adopt a pet from a shelter. Spay or neuter your pet.

Join a Group: Join organizations that help save endangered animals. Adopt an endangered species online. Join any group that supports Earth Day issues. 

Community Service: Volunteer your time in any way that will improve the environment.  Does your community have a nature center? Maybe you can volunteer there.


How do you make every day Earth Day? Tell us in the comments!

April 30th, 2013

MBTA Community Recycling Event Saturday


SalemRecycles will host its second annual MBTA Community Recycling Event at the MBTA station on Bridge Street Saturday morning.

Area residents are encouraged to bring along any unwanted appliances, including snowblowers, grills, all electronics, metals, toys, bikes, batteries and more, for free recycling. 

TVs will be recycled at at 35 cents per pound.

The event will take place at the same time as the organization’s annual Swap ‘N’ Drop at Leslie’s Retreat Park.

The collaboration between Salem Recycles and Goodwill Industries to collect textiles (in any condition as long as they are clean and dry) and assorted small household goods will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Local residents can drop off their items directly in the Goodwill truck or take the time to participate in the Swap ‘N’ Drop and score some great free items that would have otherwise ended up in a trash bag.

For more information about these two events, visit the Salem Recycles Facebook page here.

April 26th, 2013

SalemRecycles Swap ‘N’ Drop Next Week


SalemRecycles will host its second annual Swap ‘N’ Drop on Saturday, May 4 at Leslie’s Retreat Park.

The Swap ‘N’ Drop will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is a collaboration between Salem Recycles and Goodwill Industries to collect textiles (in any condition as long as they are clean and dry) and assorted small household goods.

Local residents can drop off their items directly in the Goodwill truck or take the time to participate in the Swap ‘N’ Drop and score some great free items that would have otherwise ended up in a trash bag.

For more information about the organization’s annual swap, visit the Salem Recycles Facebook page here.