3 min read

Community-driven Pollinator Garden at Bristol Elementary School

By Christopher Pepe on Dec 15, 2020 4:33:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Pollinator Garden for Elementary school

It took a village to create this natural space for children to explore.

garden

Parents discussed the joy of the Bristol Elementary School's (BES) Forest Fridays and how our kids thrived outdoors (the year before one student formed a petition, gathered signatures, and lobbied the administration for more outdoor recess time). Parents and school administration began meeting to remove hurdles to students being outdoors. The focus of the effort became:

  1. Outdoor classroom space to facilitate classroom based learning outdoors
  2. Natural playscape to encourage engaging with and observing the natural world
  3. Water management during the spring thaw and freeze cycles

During a training session, Four Winds, a community-based natural science education organization, announced a mini-grant program to improve area schools. We felt a pollinator garden was the most achievable project to increase the diversity of the playground landscape without adding much maintenance overhead. Four Winds agreed and BES was awarded the grant.

Four Winds Nature Institute is a non-profit organization advancing the understanding, appreciation, and protection of the environment through community-based natural science education and research. 

While the beloved playground boasts a vast flat area with many play structures there is not much natural diversity. Our goal has been to rewild the playground and celebrate seasonality with an ever-changing display of flowers and foliage made of native plants. This project would establish a naturalized island that will promote native plants and pollinators, as well as cultivate creative play. The students can watch the garden evolve, watch the insects, birds, and other life that thrives there, and to be a part of it themselves.

I would like to thank our vendors, who were easy to work with, generous with their time, gave us favorable pricing, and donations. All of our plants came from Full Circle Gardens. Sarah helped build our plant list, added in several plants as donations, and delivered them for free. Great communication and coordination made working through the pandemic a non-issue. Our mulch and top soil came from Livingston Farm, nearly half of which was donated to this project. Without the generosity of our vendors we could not have built the garden that we had envisioned. Thank you.

I would also like to thank the school administration for their support and commitment to our community. This effort began with principal Kevin Robinson who was an enthusiastic supporter of our parent driven efforts. That was handed off to Thomas Buzzell who is a strong advocate for outdoor play and its many benefits on behavior and development of children. With the community, he is building a collective vision of the future of play at BES. No job too small, Tom has even offered to hand water the fledgling garden. Joel Fitzgerald has also been a strong advocate for this project and playground improvements including a student driven project to build an outdoor classroom. Sheila Gebo was kind and patient while shepherding me through vendor management and financial operations. And of course thank you to Four Winds for funding this project and encouraging us along the way. I would also like to thank the other parents that have given their time and energy at every phase of this project. Finally, a special thank you to the Urban girls for their hard work in installing the garden on a sweltering summer day. Thank you all, and those that were not named. Without your help we would not have completed this project.

IMG_6516

There were a lot of hot dry days between delivery and installation. Sam was a big help in keeping the plants happy.

IMG_6687

The Urbans came out in force for installation day!

Topics: environment do-good social-responsibility education
4 min read

Why Mushrooms Can Save The World

By Christopher Pepe on Jun 24, 2020 12:30:17 PM

2020 Blogposts_Beyond sustainable

When walking behind my house, I found this rhizomorph, which I believe is from a honey mushroom called Armillaria mellea, and it reminded me of the amazing world that we know so little about.

honey-ropes

First, take a guess: What was the largest thing to ever live on earth?

If you thought a blue whale or any other gigantic animal, you will be surprised to know that the current record holder is a mushroom that covers 2200 acres and is thought to be 2000 years old. It eats entire groves of trees. Colloquially named the Humongous Fungus, this Armillaria ostoyae specimen lives in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon. There are several other gigantic honey mushrooms in Oregon and Washington, and this one just happens to be the biggest one we know of today. The mushrooms that we think of are the fruiting body of the organism - like an apple. The main body, the mycelium, lives underground, in decaying wood, even in dead animals. The Humongous Fungus is bigger than a blue whale yet is only one cell wall thick.

I grew up foraging a few mushrooms and have always liked eating them, but it wasn't until I moved to North Carolina that it developed into a full-blown obsession. Running across Paul Stamet's TED talk solidified a lifelong passion for these little understood and underappreciated organisms. Did you know that there are 8 miles of mycelium in a cubic inch of healthy soil? That's amazing!

Going Beyond Sustainable

My focus, shaped by Cradle to Cradle, is on being better than sustainable. I believe that we need to replace all single-use plastics with biodegradable products and be better at reusing. Remember it's: reduce, reuse, and finally recycle. If we fail at all of those, then we have no choice but to landfill it. Recycling has been branded as a better solution than it is, especially if you consider the abysmal rate of only 9% of plastics being adequately recycled. According to a sign on a bus in London, 50% of the trash in the Thames is single-use plastic. We know this is a problem, and we now need to act upon it. But let's rewind, I'm getting off-topic...

To be better than sustainable, we need to have our effluent (outputs) be cleaner than our influent (inputs), but this is not commonplace. Our waterways are so polluted due to factories being built along rivers and lakes where they can conveniently pump water from and return effluent into those bodies of water. Clean river water was brought in, contaminated in some industrial process (like making paper), and then discharged back into the waterways. Even though this is a largely outdated practice, there are still long-lasting effects of contamination )like the superfund site in downtown Portland) we still pump our waterways full of E. coli (human and pet waste), phosphorous (agriculture and lawn fertilizer run-off), and host of other pollutants.

Mushroom Superpowers 

Mushrooms have proven to be very good partners for remediating contamination. In the typical workflow, mushroom mycelia are grown throughout the contaminated material. 

The fruiting bodies and the mushrooms are harvested and safely disposed of since they have accumulated heavy metals. Other nasty compounds are destroyed as the mycelia eat them (one promising example is nerve gas being destroyed by a mushroom that wants the phosphorus contained within the toxic molecule). The contaminated material is now a bit cleaner (although, wouldn't it be nice if we didn't use so many materials that are toxic to us?). Mushrooms are even being researched for neutralizing radiation. While it's worth noting that bacteria and plants are great allies in remediation projects, there is much more work needed to undo the damage that we've done in the last two centuries.

As we grow our partnership with TreeFolks, one of our non-profit partners, we also look to our fungal friends to help us expand the good that Praecipio Consulting can do in the world. Fungi are ubiquitous. They make our food better. They make our brains smarter. They make our medicine more potent. They make plants healthier. They absorb a lot of CO2. So basically, mushrooms really can save our world.

Topics: environment do-good green-team
3 min read

Three Reasons Why Developers Love Docker

By Praecipio Consulting on May 6, 2016 11:00:00 AM

A smooth running production environment is a beautiful thing. But how do we get there? And how do we ensure that all of our production, staging/test, and development environments stay in sync in order to get there? Today, it seems like everyone in software development is talking about Docker and containers. In fact, according to the 2016 State of the Cloud Survey by RightScale, Docker adoption doubled from 13% to 27% in just one year. Furthermore, 35% of the organizations surveyed reported that they have plans to adopt it soon. 

Why has Docker adoption skyrocketed and how can those using Bamboo for continuous deployment reap the benefits? Check out three reasons why developers love Docker, and how it can provide value for your dev team. 

But first... 

What are Containers?

A Docker container packages software in a complete filesystem with everything it needs to run – such as code, runtime, system tools, system libraries – guaranteeing that it'll always run the same on any environment. Docker is all about creating consistency and encouraging collaboration. It revolutionizes how we share our environments the same way Git has changed code collaboration. At its core, Docker is about utilizing the least amount of operating system resources and dependencies needed to run an application. This focus on maximizing efficiency leads to a painless, more collaborative, and seamlessly integrated environment to test and deploy applications. 

Sourcewww.docker.com

1. Test without surprises

A crucial part of the development process is testing, whether on a local machine or in a virtual dev environment. With containers, every environment is exactly the same so changes and unexpected dependencies won't interfere with testing – saving developers time and energy from tweaking problematic environments and instances. 

Running containers on your local machine using Docker Quickstart Terminal lets you test in a consistent environment.  

2. Collaborate with consistency

Unexpected dependencies are already a hassle for one developer and becomes an even bigger headache when other devs enter the picture. Unknowns in an environment are amplified with each new team member – who knows what's on their machine or which version of Java they're running? With Docker, consistency facilitates collaboration. By starting with a known configuration in a common container, devs are always on the same page about which version to use; it's right there in the container.

Share your Docker Images with a registry like Docker Hub.

Source: https://hub.docker.com/_/hello-world/

3. Integrate with Atlassian 

Atlassian, the leader in enterprise software for collaboration and issue tracking, is the perfect complement to Docker. By pairing Docker's consistency with Atlassian's integration and automation, collaboration between development and IT ops becomes seamless. Using the new Docker Hub 2.0 with Atlassian's Bamboo, source code can be automatically built and deployed to an identical development, test, or even production environment. No more requesting environments from the IT ops teams; triggers will automatically fire from your approved pull request in Bitbucket to spin up a lightweight container in your QA environment almost instantly. Without the excess back and forth, you can go from source code to a running application in minutes. 

The Docker Task in Atlassian's Bamboo let's you run, build and deploy images and containers with ease.

Docker is picking up a lot of traction today and rightly so. Docker containers provide consistency in the turbulent world of software development environments. They allow dev and operations teams to get customers the applications they need now – all while providing a consistent environment that makes working together a whole lot easier. 

To learn more about how Docker and Atlassian can help your dev team work faster and smarter, contact Praecipio Consulting.

About Brendan Kelly

Brendan is a Consultant & Solutions Specialist at Praecipio Consulting where he enables the sales team through technical discovery, training and product demos. When Brendan isn't delivering best-in-class business technology solutions, he can be found in the Austin Green Belt hiking and bouldering. 

Topics: atlassian blog automation continuous-delivery bamboo docker optimization process standardize testing continuous-integration deployment development environment integration cicd
4 min read

Hey Atlassian Users: Easy Release Management with Bamboo 3.2!

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 28, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Bamboo 3.2 Now Available

Automate your complete release process down to one-click, add manual Stages to your deployment process, and re-run failed Stages with the newest version of Atlassian’s continuous integration server, Bamboo 3.2.

What’s New in Bamboo 3.2

1. Release Management
The dream scenario with any release process is to automate all of your release activities down to the click of a single button. Bamboo 3.2 and the new Release Management plugin for the Jira bug tracker aims to do just that – one-click release management.

  • Prevent mistakes from being made as part of a long, manual release process
  • Remove the barrier to release
  • Speed up the release – the more often you do it, the faster you will make it
  • Manage all your releases from a centralized and controlled location
  • Use the same streamlined, automated process every time you release

Release in Jira, build in Bamboo! Create a release pipeline in Bamboo to automate your release process: use Stages, Jobs and Tasks to build, run tests, generate release artifacts, publish and deploy your release. Then initiate your release activity or event with one-click directly from Jira when you’re ready.

Run a release build in Bamboo from the Jira Versions tab without leaving Jira. 

When releasing a version in Jira you will have the option to run Bamboo builds.

If the build is successful the version will be released in Jira.

Automate the steps that traditionally are performed to release an application:

  • Building and testing
  • Tag the releases, assign a version
  • Create and populate the release branch
  • Deploy the release to a a deployment server or production environment
  • Release the new version in Jira, move the unresolved issues to the next release
  • Release or activate the new version in Production

Bamboo ships with a number of Tasks to build and deploy including Tasks to tag or branch a repository.

For Jira-Bamboo users the latest release of the Bamboo-Jira plugin is now compatible with Jira 4.3 and provides this release management functionality.

2. Manual Stages
Manual Stages allow you to interrupt/halt/suspend automatic build execution at a specific Stage in the build plan. For Plan execution to continue a user must manually trigger the Stage.

  • The default behavior of any Build Plan in Bamboo is to go to the next Stage upon successful completion of the current stage. Depending on your needs you may need to introduce a manual checkpoint into your build plan before going on to the next Stage:
  • Use a manual stage for deployment to give your QA team a chance to perform a few manual tests before your software goes into production
  • In a release pipeline, you may want to separate your ‘publish’ step from your ‘install’ step and install only after backups or clean shutdowns have been confirmed
  • Introduce a ‘quality’ gate, between build and deploy stages, to allow members of your team to approve and promote a particular build
  • Any other step that’s difficult to automate or that requires special attention

 

 

3. Re-run Failed Stages
It’s not always the code that is broken. Infrastructure problems and other issues can cause a Job, and therefore the Plan, to fail. In these scenarios Bamboo can re-run failed Jobs without having to re-run the entire Plan once you’ve resolved the problems. This can save heaps of time and build resources.

 

4. Filter Bamboo Dashboard by Labels
Bamboo now allows you to label your build Plans. The Bamboo Dashboard can be filtered to only show plans with labels that you are interested in. Filter out the noise on your Bamboo Dashboard.

Hint: When viewing a Plan use the keyboard shortcut “l” to bring up the label dialog for the Plan. When viewing the Bamboo Dashboard press “l” to filter the dashboard by label.

And More…

  • Improved Jira integration – delegate user management to Jira, easier application linking
  • EC2 improvements

This release has over 50 new features and improvements implemented. Check out the full release notes for more details.

Also make sure to check out the new agile testing tool for Jira, Atlassian Bonfire.

Ready to download?

Download Bamboo 3.2 now to get started with a 30-day FREE trial or upgrade your current instance.

Topics: jira atlassian blog automation bamboo confluence dashboard management plan process release software deployment environment integration marketplace-apps
1 min read

Happy Earth Day!

By Praecipio Consulting on Apr 22, 2011 11:00:00 AM

From the team at Praecipio Consulting, Happy Earth Day 2011! Since 1970 Earth Day has reminded folks of environmental issues they have the power to resolve. Consider today what you can do to consume less energy, reduce waste and pollution, and live more sustainably.

Here’s some fun stuff to spark your Earth Day spirit:
01. 10 apps that make it easy to “go green”
02. Free coffee at Starbucks (with a re-useable travel mug)
03. 40 Earth Day deals from stores across the country

And some ideas from our environmentally-oriented business ventures on sustainable living:
01. Glean Organics
02. in.gredients

Enjoy!

Image courtesy of Patrick Lane Photography

Topics: blog issues reduce sustainability waste energy environment marketplace-apps
1 min read

Giving Back by Promoting Healthy Communities

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 28, 2010 11:00:00 AM

At Praecipio Consulting, we care about promoting sustainability. By reducing organizational waste and making businesses more efficient, we can make a company more profitable while lessening its environmental footprint.

Promoting sustainability is a key component of our mission. Giving back to our local and global community is a product of this. We’re all responsible for maintaining healthy communities – businesses and individuals alike. We’ve chosen to spend a portion of our time developing communities at home and abroad, including our latest service trip to Nicaragua and soccer camp in Chattanooga. Through our parent company, we’re also partnered with Durham, North Carolina-based Glean Organics to gather food waste from businesses in the Research Triangle to divert landfill-bound waste and compost it for re-use.

We do our best to work on projects that align with our mission. We helped the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga prepare and activate for their fiber-optic SmartGrid implementation – the first fully-functional fiber-optic SmartGrid in the US – which now serves as a testing ground for future SmartGrid and sustainable energy initiatives.

In the same vein, we’re now involved with Envision Charlotte – a project that ropes in talent from Cisco, Duke Energy, and our client Intelligent Buildings to create the nation’s most environmentally sustainable urban core. We really enjoy being involved with these types of projects. Lessening our dependency on energy and the environment is critical to ensuring the health of our communities in the future.

There are indeed plenty of places you can spend your money. Many firms offer the services we offer. We’re proud to say the money you spend on us, however, is going to good places – be it a soccer camp, an orphanage, a local non-profit, or the time we spend helping develop sustainable solutions that enable businesses and their local communities to succeed.

Topics: blog implementation reduce sustainability smartgrid waste community environment intelligence

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

This means that we have the most experience working with Atlassian tools and have insight into new products, features, and beta testing. Through our profound knowledge of Atlassian environments and their intricacies, we can guide your organization as you navigate these important changes.

Atlassian-Platinum-Solution-Partner

In need of professional assistance?

WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK

Contact Us