The urban legend is that if you toss some pennies into a birdbath, the copper will help prevent the growth of algae. But any gardener who has tried this trick recently may be in for a surprise. Pennies minted after 1982 are not pure copper. In fact, they are made mostly from zinc, with just a tiny bit of copper. If you want to prevent algae growth in your birdbath or vases, try this instead: Pick up some copper wire or copper plumbing pieces from the home improvement store. The concentration of actual copper is higher, and it will do the trick of keeping the water clear.
There is a major movement to help honeybees, who are losing valuable habitat all over the world. Bees are the most important part of the pollination process, and it's important for all of us to make small changes to protect, nurture and support bee populations. One easy way to help is to beautify your lawn with untreated flower and plant varieties that bees love. Consider flowers like lilacs, lavender, verbena and sage. Also, plant vegetables and herbs like tomatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, oregano, mint and rosemary. Not only do honeybees love them, they are all fairly easy to grow, too.
When going on vacation or leaving home for long periods of time, there are simple steps you can take to avoid wasting energy at home. In the warmer months, set your thermostat at 85 degrees, but never completely turn it off -- it will force your refrigerator to work harder. For the water heater, turn it down to low (or turn it off at the circuit breaker if you have an electric one) or onto vacation mode if it's gas. Unplug large electronic equipment like TVs, DVD players, cable boxes, coffee makers and computers. And if you have a pool, lower the temperature setting and reduce the filter run times. All of these steps will add up to significant savings.