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Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has brought back its Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest for 2014.

This year's theme is Plug into Nature, emphasizing the importance of experiencing wildlife and plants firsthand.

All Georgia students in grades kindergarten through 5 are invited to enter the contest. The top 12 winners' posters will be displayed on the DNR's Flickr site and at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry during the first two weeks in May.

Contest entries are due Apr. 16. Three winners will be picked in four categories (kindergarten, grades 1-2, grades 3-4, grade 5).

Visit georgiawildlife.com for more information about the contest.

Pike Nurseries recycling Christmas trees

Pike Nurseries recycling Christmas trees

(WXIA) -- Do you still have your Christmas tree? Pike Nurseries is holding a tree recycling event through the end of January.

Customers can bring their live trees to any Pike Nurseries location until Jan. 31. The trees will be chipped and recycled; Pike Nurseries plans to turn Christmas trees into compost and other environmentally friendly materials.

Pike Nurseries will also come to customers' homes and pick up their trees for $50.

To find your nearest Pike, visit pikenursery.com.

GEMA: Georgians should prepare as hurricane season hurries in

GEMA: Georgians should prepare as hurricane season hurries in

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Emergency Management Agency stresses the importance of safety just before Hurricane Preparedness Week hits. 

During the week, May 26 - June 1, education will be offered to all residents through Georgia who plan to camp outdoors, throw cookouts and spend time at the lakes or in the backyard. Severe weather can make its way here anytime, a Ready Georgia spokeswoman said, which puts Georgians at risk statewide.

Outdoor burn ban to begin in Forsyth County

Outdoor burn ban to begin in Forsyth County

CUMMING, Ga. -- A burn ban will begin on May 1 in Forsyth County and run through September 30.

During that time, residents shall not burn leaves, trash or yard debris outdoors. The ban is imposed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency, and enforced to comply with Federal Clean Air Regulations. 

Burning done outside can contribute to pollutants forming in the ozone, which can be unhealthy during summer months. 

For more information, see outdoor burning regulations

Lake Lanier at lowest level since historic drought

Lake Lanier at lowest level since historic drought

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Authorities say Lake Lanier is now at its lowest level since March 2009 after dropping two feet in two weeks.

Officials say the lake is now at 1,058 feet above sea level, or 13 feet below full pool.

The Times of Gainesville reports that the last time Lake Lanier hit such a low mark was during the 2007-09 drought, when the lake was at 1,050.79 feet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts that Lanier could drop to 1,055.2 feet by Dec. 21.

The agency says there's been very little rain anywhere in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin in recent days. The basin includes portions of Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Atlanta Chefs Celebrate First Pastured Poultry Week, June 11-17

Atlanta Chefs Celebrate First Pastured Poultry Week, June 11-17

Georgians for Pastured Poultry (GPP), an alliance that is promoting the use of high-welfare, pasture raised poultry in Georgia, has created Pastured Poultry Week to take place Monday, June 11 through Sunday, June 17, 2012.

As part of this annual event, Atlanta restaurants will help spread the word about the many virtues of pastured poultry – its superior taste, the natural life of the chickens, and the positive impact on both human health and the health of the environment – by serving it on their menus every day during this designated week. Additionally, chef demonstrations at local farmers markets throughout the spring and summer will educate consumers on ways to prepare pastured poultry in order to continue raising awareness.

Participating restaurants include:

15 counties must clean their air

15 counties must clean their air

ATLANTA -- Air Quality Awareness Week recently came to a close, and 15 metro Atlanta counties didn't quite make the clean air cut.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently changed its standards of attainment for ozone standards from .08 parts per billion to .075 parts.

The change means that 15 formerly compliant counties were re-designated at nonattainment for ground-level ozone: Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Paulding and Rockdale.

To clean up the air, residents can try carpooling to work or taking MARTA if possible; fewer cars on the roads means more breathable air for everyone in metro Atlanta.

Learn more about how to reduce emissions and cut down on ozone at www.cleanaircampaign.org.