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 August 23, 2015 - A Stinky Flower and a Dead Ginkgo (full show, 56.29 min.)
Tim Pollak is an outdoor floriculturist for the Chicago Botanic Garden . He is also the caretaker for nine Titan Arums, one of which, named Spike , is about to bloom for this first time in its twelve year old existence. Mike talks to Pollak and to CBG public relations director Gloria Ciaccio about the science and the spectacle currently surrounding this plant, which produces a foul odor to attract pollinators. Then, Mike and Kathleen Thompson attempt to figure out why the Ginkgo biloba in their backyard suddenly died this year.
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  Reusing Building Materials and Saving the Marshall Strawberry (full show, 57.25 min)
It's all about saving the good stuff, one way or another. Kelly Farley is Executive Director and Bryant Williams is Senior Director of the Rebuilding Exchange in Chicago. Mike sits down with them to discuss the mission of this not-for-profit organization, and to promote its upcoming fundraiser, Madison and Wabash Bash. And then there's deliciousness. Leah Gauthier reports on her continuing mission to reintroduce people to the exquisite taste of the Marshall Strawberry .
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Dr. Harry Klee and the (Nearly) Perfect Tomato (full show, 57.30 min.)
Dr. Harry J. Klee is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. For about twenty years, he has been trying to hybridize a tomato that will survive the rigors of mass marketing and still have enough flavor to rise above the horrible, barely edible fruits that are now sold and that are considered the best we can grow.

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Two Environmental Victories in Illinois (full show, 57.40 min.)
Lauralyn Clawson of Growing Power Chicago explains why the new composting ordinance passed by the Chicago City Council is a vast improvement over the old laws. Dr. Cindy Skrukrud , Clean Water Advocate for the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club , talks about how the state is attempting to reduce the runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus into our lakes and streams.

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How to spend a day in the middle of a prairie (full show, 57.09 min)
Mike attends The Pizzo Group' s 27th Annual Celebration and Summer Solstice Party. He interviews Jack Pizzo and Grace Koehler from the Pizzo Group, as well as Commissioner Debra Shore from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago . He gets a tour of the prairie from Brian Fox Ellis of Fox Tales Intervational, who portrays John James Audubon, then wraps up his visit with a taste of roast hog, courtesy of Bob Whitmer of S&W Farms.
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Collecting food scraps and workin' at the car wash (full show, 56.16 min)
Mike visits a car wash to talk to Erlene Howard , owner of Collective Resource, Inc. , which picks up food scraps in the Chicago area to turn into compost. Her company recently won a Green America People & Planet Green Business Award , which will enable her to purchase an automated container washing unit. Meteorologist Rick DiMaio explains how various global anomalies are affecting weather in the United States and elsewhere.
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Gardening and Biodiversity Matter (full show, 56:22 min)
Entomologist and author Doug Tallamy wrote the book on how our gardening habits can destroy or rebuild local wildlife and our relationship with nature. The book in question, Bringing Nature Home, is a landmark in environmental studies, and Tallamy is on the roll of great names that includes Rachel Carson and Michael Pollan. Mike interviewed him recently at the Living Landscape Conference in River Forest and intercuts that conversation with Talamy's presentation about his book.
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Melinda and Mike Geek Out on Gardens (full show, 56:53 min)
If you've been listening to The Mike Nowak Show for a while, you know Melinda Myers. She's a horticulturist, author, radio & TV personality, educator and much more, from the garden state just to the north of Illinois. When she and Mike get goind, it's garden geekery all the way. They exchange information and opinions about gardening topics all over the map, including growing tomatoes, straw bale gardening, and natural lawn care.
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Small-Space Gardening and a Recycling App (full show, 57:16)
Bill Shores helps to keep the award-winning Rick Bayless restaurants stocked with fresh produce. What's amazing is that much of it is grown in Rick's backyard, where Shores coaxes an amazing amount of production out of a very small space. Roosevelt University student Dusan Koleno has developed a phone app that can help people keep track of their recycling.
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Watch a video of Mike interviewing Bill Shore about the hoja santa plant.
 
Small Space, Productive Gardening with Bill Shores (35:33 min.)
Horticulturist Bill Shores has been growing organic food for award-winning Chicago Chef Rick Bayless for a decade, while building his own business, Shores Garden Consulting . Shores gives Mike a special tour of the small but productive garden behind the home of Rick and Deann Bayless in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago that provides much produce for the Bayless restaurants.
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Tracking Your Recycling with an App (17:04 min.)
Dusan Koleno recently graduated with honors in Computer Science from Roosevelt University. But it was a course that he took in the Sustainability Studies Program that helped him put his computer skills to work creating an app that helps you keep track of your home recycling. The app is called Recycle Tracker and it can be downloaded to Android phones.
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Plant Sales, Wildlife and a New Garden App (full show, 56:51 min.)
Mike promotes plant sales at the Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse and the Peterson Garden Project . Mike then travels to Oak Park to talk to Pamela Todd , a co-founder of the West Cook Wild Ones , about creating a wildlife corridor between Chicago and Thatcher Woods while promoting their Living Landscapes Conference . Sidney Phelps , distribution manager at Bonnie Plants , chats with Mike about their new phone app , as well as interesting plant selections for 2015.
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Creating a Suburban Wildlife Corridor (29:41 min.)
Pamela Todd is a co-founder of West Cook Wild Ones . She and others were inspired by the work and writings of entomologist Doug Tallamy to attempt to create a citizen wildlife corridor between Thatcher Woods in Maywood-River Forest on the west and Columbus Park in Chicago on the east. Their goal is to find at least two yards on every block in this small stretch of land where people will put in native plants to promote biodiversity in all of its forms.
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  Clean Jobs and an Award-Winning Student Environmentalist (full show, 58:10 min.)
Lisa Albrecht from Solar Service, Inc. and the Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) , returns to the program to discuss the progress of the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill being considered in the General Assembly. Ashley Williams updates efforts in LaSalle County to slow the onslought of frac sand mines, and talks about her awards for being a student environmentalist.
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  The Promise of Lake Calumet (full show, 57:04 min.)
Lake Calumet has long been a neglected and even abused part of the City of Chicago. Yet, it remains the largest body of water within the city limits and an area that hold promise for restoration from its days as a dumping ground for industry. The Southeast Environmental Task Force invited folks to come to the shores of this lake on Earth Day 2015 to look for birds and other wildlife and reflect on what has been and what might be for this once natural but now quite unnatural area.
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Seed Keeping, Soil and the Gardending Season (full show, 57:30 min.)
Carol Niec and Kerrie Rosenthal are the founders and proprietors of The Seed Keeper Company , which was created to help gardeners organize, plant and store their seeds. Mike chats and jokes with them about the starting 2015 gardening season. Nancy Klehm explains how The Ground Rules will change urban soils and the way people think about them, as she promotes the Indiegogo campaign to get the concept up and running.
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Nance Klehm and the Ground Rules (28:52 min.)
Nance Klehm calls herself a steward of the earth and has been described as a "renegade researcher." Regardless of labels, she is a person looking for solutions to the problems created by the degredation of our soils. That's why she has created a program called The Ground Rules , which is also the subject of an Indiegogo Campaign . Among other things, it helps people find new connections with the land on which they live by re-examining the food waste they create.
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Stinkin' Lincoln, Pollinators and Native Plants (full show, 58:21)
Mike's partner and webmaster Kathleen Thompson talks about recent changes on the website for The Mike Nowak Show. Karen Hudson, an Illinois farmer and co-founder of Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water, warns that the historic site of Abraham Lincoln's New Salem home could be despoiled by a nearby hog factory farm. Writer and native plant specialist Benjamin Vogt describes The Ultimate Pollinator & Native Plant Gardening Guide, which he posted on his blog, The Deep Middle.
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Stinkin' Up Lincoln's New Salem Home (17:39 min.)
Karen Hudson is is an Illinois farmer and co-founder of Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water , She reports that that a hog factory farm has been proposed for Menard county, near the historic site of Abraham Lincoln's New Salem home. And she notes that the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) seems to be having a difficult time doing an inventory of CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) in the state.
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Benjamin Vogt and The Ultimate Pollinator & Native Plant Gardening Guide (21:04 min.)
Benjamin Vogt is a writer, speaker and native plant advocate who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. Recently, in his blog The Deep Middle , he posted an entry called The Ultimate Pollinator & Native Plant Gardening Guide , which lists websites and books that can help ordinary folks do extraordinary things to help protect and increase the populations of these important flora and fauna.
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Rob, Songbirds, and Potato Boxes (full show, 57:33 min) Rob Kartholl stops by to talk about his work at KAM Isaiah Israel on Chicago's south side and opportunities at Fischer Farm History Museum in Bensenville. Su Rynard is the director of a documentary film called The Messenger , which looks at the decline of songbirds worldwide and what that means for ecosystems and human beings as well. Breanne Heath from The Peterson Garden Project and The Pie Patch Farm shows Mike how a simple potato box can increase yields of this vegetable in small spaces.
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More Podcasts

There's another whole page of fascinating podcasts. Just click above to see . . .

  • Bees and Dr. Berenbaum
  • Sending out and SOS for Songbirds
  • Hedgerows and Grass-fed Beeft
  • Cook County Steps Up to Keep Demolition Debris Out of Landfills
  • Angel Azul...or Can Art on the Bottom of the Sea Save our Coral Reefs?
  • Busting Gardening Myths with C.L. Fornari, Author of Coffee for Roses

. . . and more!

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Green Tip

The majestic monarch butterfly needs one thing above all others. This plant.

Wildlife Promise gives you all the information you need about twelve native milkweeds (monarch plants) that you could plant to help the monarch.