Tiles, Clay & Ecology
I hear many tile makers speak about respect for the land, nature, and the environment. They are conscientious at heart—mindful of recycling materials whenever possible, and being careful about how to dispose of glazes and waste. However, there is much more each of us can do. For generations, Minnesota, like many areas in North America, has had a huge abundance of
But a change is in the wind, especially in the prairie. Quoting from the Natural Resource Conservation Service: “At depleted aggregate mining sites (sand, gravel, clays) in areas where tall grass prairie occurs, it has become reasonable to consider re-vegetating with native prairie plants. Certain key characteristics of prairie plants make them a good choice for former mining sites. Because they are perennial, native prairie grasses, once established, can provide long-term cover that is self-sustaining and requires little maintenance.”
We can all be part of the solution by finding out who is already taking steps to engage in this constructive ecological effort. Find out where your clay comes from. Engage in a dialogue. Educate your clients who buy your tiles. Share your knowledge and desire for good stewardship of the land. In this way you will leave a double legacy, your beautiful tiles and a sustained environment. Contact your local Department of Natural Resources office at www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.html.
Sheila A. Menzies
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