It's one thing to plant a tree, it's a whole other thing to plant a forest.
Landscaping is a beautiful reminder of our connection to nature and we take that connection very personally.
Our name, "Earth First," derives from our commitment to creating sustainable and environmentally conscious landscapes. We are passionately committed to working and building our business in this “Earth First” fashion. That is why we plant as many native trees in our commercial landscaping projects as possible.
Creating these dense “reforestation” areas in our landscaping provides many benefits, especially the revitalization of the local wildlife habitat.
Happy Earth Day from all of us here at EARTH FIRST!
Warmer temperatures mean Texas snakes are out again, and some snakebites have already reported. Two Texas A&M veterinary experts have tips to keep you and your pets safe.
By Keith Randall, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications
FEBRUARY 18, 2019
It’s almost springtime in Texas, which means snakes are beginning to slither away from their comfortable winter surroundings and are on the move.
Dr. Jill Heatley, associate professor of veterinary medicine at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), said active snakes could mean bad news for people and their pets. Heatley and veterinarians in the Small Animal Hospital at the CVM are expect to see an increase in snakebite cases as the temperatures rise.
“If you believe your pet has been bitten by a snake, you need to seek veterinary care and the doctor can determine what kind of treatment is necessary,” Heatley said.
“We have already seen snakebites in dogs this year,” said Christine Rutter, a small animal critical care veterinarian in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. “One pet required significant care after being bitten by a coral snake, but is thankfully going to be fine. Coral snake bites and rattlesnake bites are uncommon, but are life threatening when they occur. Copperhead and cottonmouth bites are extremely common during the summer, as are bites from grumpy non-venomous snakes.”
Beware of the Texas big four
A snakebite on a human can be painful — and also expensive. It is not uncommon for a person bit by a venomous snake to have hospital bills up to $50,000. Hospital treatments can range from one day to several weeks, and include care for damaged tissues and antivenom treatments that can run into the thousands of dollars, according to Heatley. Even nonvenomous snake bites can cause serious infection.
Although snakes are found in most parts of the world — Ireland, Iceland and New Zealand are some of the few snake-free countries — only four types of snakes found in Texas are venomous: the coral snake, copperhead, rattlesnake and cottonmouth (also known as the water moccasin).
“The thing to remember about snakes is that they generally want to be left alone,” Heatley said. “They are probably more afraid of you than you are of them.
“Of the four types of venomous snakes in Texas, the coral, copperhead, and rattlesnake are almost never aggressive unless they are provoked,” she added. “The cottonmouth has a reputation of being less avoidant of humans, so you should be a little more wary of it, especially if you are near a creek or lake where they are frequently seen.” However these snake rarely bites humans and when startled they usually coil and open their bright white mouth as a warning sign. They are much more interested in their prey: small fish and frogs.
Heatley says an inquisitive pet could also be a snakebite victim. If bitten, a dog usually suffers the bite on its face or nose, while cats tend to get nicked on their paws.
“The area that has been bitten will usually begin to swell almost immediately, which is a tell-tale sign of a snake bite,” Heatley said. “Venom can spread quickly inside the animal, potentially resulting in kidney failure within 12 to 24 hours.”
No such thing as a ‘dry’ snake bite
“I would add that weakness, collapse, blood clotting disorders and neurologic changes are also of immediate concern,” Rutter said. “In the emergency department, veterinarians will be immediately evaluating cardiovascular stability, neurologic status, pain level, blood cell counts, organ function and blood clotting before deciding on the best course of action.”
Heatley said it is important to know that not all snakebites are the same.
“Sometimes an animal or person will get just a small amount of venom from a bite, and sometimes it’s much more,” Heatley said. “There is also such a thing as a ‘dry bite’ in which no venom is injected at all. Interestingly enough, larger snakes tend to have lesser amounts of venom than smaller ones.”
Although many of us may be fearful of snakes, snakes do have a useful purpose — they control the rodent, lizard and even bug populations.
“One of the questions we often get in the veterinary hospital is, ‘How can you tell a venomous snake from a harmless one?’” Heatley said. “The answer is that it is difficult because there are numerous types of snakes that are not venomous that look very similar to a venomous one.” Heatley suggests looking for a triangular-shaped head in identifying poisonous snakes but does not encourage getting too close.
Be mindful of your surroundings
Another frequently asked question in the Small Animal Hospital is how to keep snakes away. Heatley explains that most chemicals tested to do this are also quite toxic to pets and people. “It is better to be mindful of our surroundings, especially in places with pets and children. Try to create an open habitat, which will be less attractive to snakes,” she added.
“When cleaning up brush and leaf piles, it’s a great idea to wear closed toed boots, heavy pants and garden gloves for protection against snake bites,” Heatley said
“While we don’t want an owner to put themselves at any risk, having a photo of the offending snake is always helpful for the ER clinicians to help us determine the appropriate treatment and diagnostics for each patient,” Rutter said. “We rely heavily on Dr. Heatley and her team to help us be sure we can tell the venomous bites from the pretenders.”
Just because it's raining outside, that doesn’t mean Earth First isn’t hard at work. Rain days like today are a perfect opportunity for our employees to learn a new skill. Thank you Rudy Esparza, from Rainbird Corporation, for the electrical troubleshooting class today! All of our best irrigators picked up new skills in:
Installation Best Practices
2-Wire cutting and Splicing Best Practices
Voltage Testing for 2-Wire Systems
2-wire decoder installation and programming
Controller Features and ET Calculations for effective run-time programming
The Houston Apartment Association (HAA) is the leading advocate, resource and community partner for quality rental housing providers in the Houston and surrounding area and EARTH FIRST is proud to be a member!
As a member of HAA, EARTH FIRST takes pride in managing the landscapes of some of the 620,000 apartment homes in the association.
EARTH FIRST recently joined the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), the only national organization built by the collaboration of landscape and lawn care industry professionals. The NALP is committed to helping members achieve success through education and training, increased professionalism through certification and accreditation and through stewardship of the industry.
Looking forward to great things coming from this partnership as EARTH FIRST continues its quest to be your premier commercial landscaping company.
National Association of Landscape Professionals - YouTube
We had an amazing time dancing the night away at the annual Community Associations Institute (CAI) Gala, held at the beautiful Omni Hotel in Houston. It was great celebrating our profession, peers and the organizations that help make us all successful.
Community Associations Institute (or CAI) is the only national organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, responsive, competent community associations. CAI provides education and networking opportunities to its members in order to maintain and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. CAI believes that by giving board members, managers and business partners the knowledge they need to better run their associations, they can turn "owners" into "neighbors," increasing harmony and leading to more prosperous, safer communities.
EARTH FIRST is proud to be a member of such a great organization!
Back in August we welcomed our newest client to the EARTH FIRST family! Since this summer, they have gone from blueprints to a blossoming community. We are looking forward to the growth and development of Katy Crossing in the months to come with special help from our partners Pulte Homes, Lennar Homes and Kudela & Weinheimer. Have a look at where they are now!
EARTH FIRST is honored to receive an “Outstanding Service” award from our client “The Groves” community. We take pride in our work and we greatly appreciate this award of recognition. The Groves is a master planned community with over 1000 acres of parks, nature trails and community centric spaces – and in all of these areas, nature is given the highest priority. We truly enjoy being the shepherds of such a natural and “Earth First” based community and look forward to growing and maintaining this natural beauty.