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Outdoors

Dear EarthTalk: I am in the market for a new flat screen TV. Are some models greener than others? – Michael Kavanaugh, Rome, N.Y.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans’ 275 million TV sets burn through some 65 billion kilowatt hours of energy each year, representing four to five percent of U.S. household electricity consumption. Each U.S. household spends around $200/year for electricity to power their TVs and related equipment. But while we may not be giving up our TVs anytime soon, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, as the consumer electronics industry has started to prioritize reducing its environmental footprint.

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In order to enhance the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) experience for thru-hikers and better manage this natural resource, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in cooperation with its partners, has launched a new voluntary registration system for those attempting to hike the estimated 2,185- mile-long Trail in one year. This registration system, available at www.appalachiantrail.org/thruhikeregistration, exists to ease impacts from the increased number of hikers expected after the release of two hiking related films, “Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods.”

In recent years, the A.T. thru-hike experience has at peak use times suffered severe overcrowding at the southern end of the Trail. Crowding intensifies because hikers tend to start thru-hikes around specific dates, such as March 1, March 17, and especially April 1 and weekends.

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The Appalachian Trail Community Committee met in Franklin Town Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The committee, chaired by Bill Van Horn, is gearing up for another busy season welcoming Appalachian Trail thru-hikers who visit Franklin. The AT Community designation simply means the Franklin is a hiker-friendly town on the 2,100-plus mile trail from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Katahdin, Me.

The meeting focused on the upcoming Appalachian Trail Celebration events for 2015. These events will run from the first day of spring (Friday, March 20) thru Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22).

During this celebration, the Nantahala Hiking Club will sponsor a Thru-hiker Chow down on Saturday, March 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will provide lunch for thru-hikers featuring chilidogs and homemade sweets at the Lazy Hiker Brewing Company located at 188 W. Main Street, Franklin. For additional information, call Sharon Van Horn at (828)369-1983.

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The crew of Appalachian Tree Services of Franklin helped remove several large trees and brush debris from the Monteith Farmstead in Dillsboro, N.C. The firm generously offered their labor and equipment to support the efforts of the Appalachian Women’s Museum (AWM). Over the past several months the AWM has worked to improve the grounds of the farmstead in a number of ways with support from members of the Jackson County Golf Club and other volunteers.

The Appalachian Women’s Museum is a recognized 501c(3) non-profit organization whose goal is to create a museum that will chronicle the rich and diverse history of Southern Appalachian women.

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