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My Vision

    As a college student in the late 1970¬ís I dreamed of living a self sufficient lifestyle. Cooperating with the natural ecology is the goal of a sustainable co-existence. My grandfather Sigmund Harnstrom lived such a life in Northwest Wisconsin; he inspired me to grow my own food. Reading books and periodicals I developed a plan to develop my future homestead in a natural way using Native American principles blending in modern technology. In 1979 after searching extensively, I found my land. This spot is known as the Owley community near Mount Ida, Arkansas in the Ouachita National Forest. The 200 acres has a year round stream, an artesian spring, great soil, 3 ponds, forest land and open pastures. This was old homestead land that the previous care takers loved. The energy in this sacred space hidden between four mountains is powerful. I knew from the first step onto this land that I was home.

    The wood and stone was available to use in building my 700 sq ft log cabin. The old hand dug well had sweet pure water. The large garden spot was beckoning me to come and play. The old house place foundation was perfect to build on top of. The family before named Vines left a legacy I hope to follow, as they funded the 4-H village for children to stay and grow at in Little Rock, AR. The Vines family cared about their land and about the future generations to come.

    While building my home, I ventured off and explored my land which is surrounded on two sides by National Forest.

    My dreams of improving the land were forefront and I focused on 100 acres of land that was harvested for the trees. I found out the government programs would help replant the cut over acres. Soon over 100,000 seedling trees were reaching for the sun and removing the carbon dioxide from our air.

    I hoped for more water impoundment and found programs to help me build ponds 12 in total. My dreams for energy production took 30 years to come to fruition but in 2010 two wind turbines went online. Then in 2012 my solar panel array began to produce enough electricity for our property and uses.

    Early on we had a pow-wow on this land held by the Ouachita Indian Nation. It was a wonderful time with many special people from around the country. One morning we held a blessing of the earth and set our intent to be an asset to the Mother Earth and not a liability on this land. This influence stays with me until today in that I wish to be an earth keeper and guardian in my days walking our planet.

    My college days inspired me to pursue green house propagation of bedding plants to earn my living. These methods use chemicals and are contrary to natural methods. This created a dilemma which I meditated on for direction of career choices. Soon I discovered the beautiful crystal gemstone deposit on my land and having the mineral rights allows me to utilize this resource. A blessing arrived in the form of a new career choice. This has developed slowly over 32 years to the point where I am giving back to the earth and my community by making green choices. I am very open to new ideas and suggestions should anyone wish to help in this endeavor to create a better planet for future generations.

    Many wonderful times were had by the visitors that come by the thousands to play in the crystals found on my land. A traveling three ring circus came and set up on the land for two days complete with elephants and other animals. We gave out free circus tickets to all the surrounding schools in our area because of the kindness of the circus company.

    My vision is still unfolding and wisdom shows me that dreams unfold as the time is right. It is important to keep ones intent and dreams forefront and to believe that one day these will come true.

Blessings,
Richard Wegner


CONSERVATION

The preservation, protection or restoration of the natural environment,

natural ecosystems, vegetation and wildlife

    We foster the science and art of managing our natural resources for sustainability by protecting land and water resources. We work in harmony with several governmental agencies toward mutual goals. We have reclaimed 7 mine sites after mining and have also designed water settlement ponds to prevent sediment run off from reaching surrounding streams.

    The photo above shows a reclaimed mine site. The light green at the top center of the photo is young replanted trees used to stabilize the mine tailings. The middle section of the photo shows a tree plantation/farm, which helps to retain soil moisture and converts CO2 to oxygen. In the forefront of the photo is a pond: very low due to drought. The pond catches any run off of sediment from the mine and traps it before reaching the stream below.

    The photo below shows one of our established ponds, which maintains a healthy aquaculture. All soil uphill has been stabilized. Therefore, sediment erosion kept at a minimum.

WATERSHED

Creating or maintaining an environment to protect water resources through planting trees, impounding water & erosion control

 

    The photo above was taken from one of Wegner’s reclaimed mine sites. Looking down over the property one can see several watershed ponds. The concept is to prevent drought and other severe weather patterns from changing the environment. Tree and water impoundments offer a buffer to prevent the ecosystem from drying out and becoming arid. An example of what Wegner is trying to prevent can be seen in rainforests around the world. Many of Earth’s rainforests are diminishing and drying out at such rates that it may be affecting worldwide weather patterns.

 

 

REFORESTATION

Replanting of tree seedlings to renew the land to its natural state after

original trees have been harvested, damaged by weather or removed for mining.

 

    Over the past 32 years, Wegner has planted over 150,000 trees and is a member of the Tree Farm Association. The picture above is located at the entrance to Wegner Crystal Mines. Several governmental programs were utilized to supply planting information, provide trees, and help pay for the labor to plant them. The extensive planning and execution of these endeavors and their success caught the attention of the Arkansas Forest Service, who decided afterward to use Wegner’s Wheeler Mountain Mining plan as a reclamation business model to serve as an example for others.  This practice encourages wildlife to reside on our property and flourish.

    Reforestation or planting trees is exceptionally eco friendly and can be done by anyone, almost anywhere. It is considered to be the best way to become carbon neutral.

  • Arkansas Forestry Conservation supplied information and trees.
  • Soil and Water Conservation provided cost-sharing for the planting labor.

 

WIND POWER

The conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy

such as using wind turbines to make electricity.

 

    The photo below shows Richard Wegner, (without a hardhat) and Mike Wallace (rear right) along with other Entergy employees.  Mike is our Entergy engineer. He was onsite to inspect for safety and the installation.  When done, he formally approved and contracted with us to sell our excess electricity to the power company.

    In 2009, Wegner acquired and installed two Skystream 3.7 wind turbines from Southwest Windpower Corporation. Each of the turbines generates up to 2.5 kilowatts of electricity per hour, and begins at wind speeds of 8 miles per hour.  They reach an optimum output at 20mph wind speed.  We built the 70 foot towers.  They are designed to fold down to the ground for servicing.  We also installed all electrical wiring to each of the two meters.

    Wegner has a “Net Metering Agreement” with the electric company that allows the business to sell the excess electricity back to them at retail value. This agreement allows for the kilowatt-hours produced by Wegner and supplied to the grid to be offset against the kilowatt-hours supplied to Wegner in a given month (net kilowatt-hours). If Wegner sends more kilowatt-hours to the grid than is used in a month, the kilowatt-hours charge is zero for that month. The kilowatt-hours generated by Wegner in excess of the kilowatt-hours used are accumulated and credited to Wegner in subsequent billing periods during the calendar year  through December or until the accumulated balance has been depleted. Any accumulated net excess generation credit balance will expire at the end of each calendar year.

    The purchase price was offset by Federal tax incentive credits. The amount is determined based on kilowatt-hours produced. This particular credit helps to make this an affordable endeavor and payback is estimated at 15 years.

 

 

SOLAR POWER

The conversion of sunlight into electricity directly using photovoltaic panels to harvest the sunrays and convert them into useful electrical energy

 

    In 2012, we installed an array of “Evergreen” photovoltaic panels that were purchased from Sun Electric Company. The array has a combined total of 5kw/h, which is enough to run a small household. The cost of the panels was 78 cents per watt and was offset by Federal tax incentive credit. The return on investment of the panels is estimated to be 10 years.  They have a 25 year warranty.

    They were installed near the ground for easy cleaning and servicing.  The panels produce direct current voltage which is converted into alternating current voltage at the meter, useful at household current.  We use a Sunny Boy Inverter to change the current.  They are made in the USA.

    The solar panels were placed right beside the new Diamond Experience building due to the full day of unobstructed sunlight that shines there each day.  Our longitude and latitude has a great deal of sunny days which is ideal for solar application.

 

ORGANIC GARDENING

Growing without chemical fertilizers & naturally building the soil

 to support healthy plant life using sustainable growing

methods and available natural resources.

    Wegner’s organic garden has always been a priority. The garden was developed using only organic gardening practices (chemical free). The raised beds are filled every year with enriched soil that is always improving with the addition of compost made on-site. The compost is created using free natural resources such as oak leaves, rotten hay, barnyard waste, rock powders, all household kitchen waste and more.

    Watering is provided by pond water collected and pumped to the garden.  This pond water contains many nutrients and helps to fertilize the plants.  Thereby, saving our fresh well water for drinking and bathing.

    The bountiful harvest of non-genetically engineered fruit and vegetables are enough that the excess is donated to a local food pantry/charity.  AmpleHarvest.org enables you to use the Internet to connect growers with local food pantries should you have excess produce, as we often do.  This provides clean, nutritious organic fruits and vegetables to our needy fellow citizens.

 

 

HOME - GREEN LIVING

A sustainable lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individuals

or societies use of the earth’s natural resources.

 

    The log construction used in the building of the Wegner house was inexpensive and provides excellent natural insulation value.  There is approximately 10” average thickness in walls.  Also local rock collected is used in the foundation.

    Many other green ideas were introduce into its construction. Among them, passive solar heating and light is provided by the large greenhouse. In the picture above, the greenhouse is located to the right side of the front entrance to the Wegner house. The structure itself is facing to the South with wind barriers and small windows on the North side. Cool produce storage is free in the basement.  Notice the old hand dug well at the far left of the home.  It is 50 foot deep and has sweet pure water.

    Heating is provided to the entire house by way of a wood burning stove that is fueled by naturally downed trees in the winter and shade cloth on the greenhouse helps in cooling for the summer.  An air source heat pump was recently installed, which is a device that transfers thermal energy from outdoor temperature into Wegners’ house for heating purposes. Most of the energy for heating comes from the external environment, and only a fraction comes from electricity.  The heat pump and air conditioning is zoned so only the space in the home currently used is temperature controlled, saving energy.  There are energy tax credits available for this as well.

 

 

BUSINESS – GREEN AT WORK

An enterprise that through it’s efforts, puts little to no negative impact on

the global or local environment, community, society or economy.

 

    Wegner Enterprises, Inc. was established in 1980 and began as the creation of harvesting, yet another of the lands natural resources – Quartz Crystal.  After buying 200 acres in 1979 and while building a home on this old homestead.  I discovered a deposit on my land that produced gleaming gemstones.

    Intent was set from the beginning to extend personal green living practices into all aspects of the business. The Native American Indian traditional balance between give and take in interacting with our planet and nature has always been one of the utmost priorities at Wegner’s.  It is always a matter of routine that business at Wegner’s always includes the three Rs’ (reuse, recycle, and reclaim). A few are covered below: 

WAREHOUSE

    • Built with logs taken from property and milled locally.
    • Repurposed old barn into Wegner Crystal Mines’ Museum, wholesale warehouse, offices and tourist destination.

Green Practices Employed within the Business-

    • Recycle area for employees and customers
    • Reclaim boxes from local stores to pack and ship orders
    • Reuse bags and boxes for tourists’ to take home rocks
    • Do not use chemicals for cleaning
    • Use leftover paper from print company for wrapping rocks
    • Shred used paper and use as cushioning for packed orders
    • Lights Out policy when customers are not present
    • Crystals are cleaned with collected rainwater
    • Toilets flushed with collected rainwater
    • Reuse, Recycle, wood when possible for projects/ repairs
    • Use efficient LED and fluorescent lighting
    • Buy bulk, lessening carbon footprint
    • Use solar and wind powered electricity

  

Contacts & Further Information:

  • Conservation

Americas Great Outdoors
http://americasgreatoutdoors.gov/
Americas Great Outdoors provides beneficial information concerning conservation and volunteer opportunities. AGO takes as its premise that lasting conservation solutions should rise from the American people – that the protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective shared by all Americans. One can also compare and contrast how well each of the 50 states are doing in terms of conservation on this unique site.

Bionomic Fuel
http://www.bionomicfuel.com/top-10-energy-conservation-ideas/
This website is beneficial in offering conservation ideas, definitions, information, and also links to other eco-friendly websites.

 

  • Watershed

Environmental Protection Agency (water)
http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/index.cfm
This is a governmental website aimed at doing numerous things that deal with national and local watersheds. On this site you can find local and national laws and regulations, adopt a watershed, find grants and other funds for watersheds, and many access many other links and resources dealing with watershed. 

Soil and Water Conservation
www.anrc.arkansas.gov
ANRC Mission Statement: To manage and protect our water and land resources for the health, safety and economic benefit of the State of Arkansas. The site provides information, maps and opportunities encompassing all aspects  of soil and water conservation. 

Polk County Soil Conservation Service
http://www.polk-swcd.org
Local website aimed at providing programs, services, education, and outreach to community members for the specific purpose of protecting watershed and soil erosion.

 

  • Reforestation

State Conservation
http://www.stateconservation.org/
StateConservation.org websites are providing landowners in five states free, one-stop-shopping access to vital land-management information. Arkansas is the latest addition to our interactive marketplace, giving landowners there advantages already enjoyed by those in California, Maine, Mississippi and the Houston, TX region. Next in line: Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

Tree Farm Association
www.treefarmsystem.org/in-your-state
The Tree Farm Association provides contact information specific to what state you live in for additional information on reforestation and other conservation efforts.

USDA Forest Service
www.fs.fed.us/geology/reclamation.html
The Forest Service manages the reclamation of lands disturbed by mineral and associated activities in order to:
1. Minimize the environmental impacts resulting from such activities.
2. Ensure that disturbed lands are returned to a use that is consistent with long-term forest land and resource management plans.

Arkansas Forestry Commission
www.forestry.arkansas.gov
AFC works with agencies, organizations and residents to prevent and suppress wildfires, control forest insects and disease, grow and distribute trees, and gather and disseminate information concerning the growth, use and renewal of forests.

 

  • Wind Power

National Atlas
http://www.nationalatlas.gov/articles/people/a_energy.html
National Atlas addresses 5 different types of energy in the United States.

  • Hydropower
  • Wind Power
  • Solar Power
  • Geothermal Power
  • Biomass Power

The website provides many detailed forms of maps for these five energy sources with various links to specific information concerning each of them.

 

Southwest Windpower

www.skystreamenergy.com

This sites provides information on where and how to buy wind and hybrid systems. The site also outlines the company’s products and provides an assessment for serious consumers who want to see if wind power would work for them or in the area they live or work.

 

Entergy Net Metering Agreement (also see your local electric company)

www.entergy-arkansas.com/your_home/net_metering.aspx

Net Metering is a means of crediting these customers for energy they supply to the grid while billing them for energy they consume from the grid.

Internal Revenue Service (Energy Tax Credits)
www.irs.gov
This site allows users to search for national energy tax credits as well as search for additional credits depending on the state one resides.

 

  • Solar Power 

Sun Electric

www.sunelec.com

Sun Electric offers a very broad product line when it comes to solar power. They provide the world’s lowest prices in solar panels.

 

Energy

http://energy.gov/science-innovation/energy-sources/renewable-energy/solar

This site provides maps, news, blogs, and information about your town or city specific to solar power.  The website also offers a large variety of services in a multitude of categories concerning science and innovation, and offers opportunities and assistance for anyone wanting to go green in any way.

 

Solar Energy Industries Association

http://www.seia.org/

The SEIA’s aim is to provide beneficial information to the public concerning individual state solar policies and other resources in order to help grow and expand renewable energy sources, specifically solar sources.

 

Energy Tax Incentive

www.irs.gov

Provides tax credit information.

 

  • Organic Gardening

 Ample Harvest
www.ampleharvest.org
Ample Harvest is an online resource that matches various food pantries with local gardeners wanting to donate a surplus harvest.

Organic Gardening
http://www.organicgardening.com/
This site provides an ample supply of information, discussions, newsletters, free downloads, and advice on organic gardening be it your home, business, or community garden.

Mother Earth News
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening.aspx
Mother Earth News lends expert advice regarding how to incorporate green living in your everyday life for all levels.  . This site also has many other great links specific to whatever you wish to type into the internal search bar at the top right hand corner of the site. 

 

  • Home- Green Living

 Internal Revenue Service (Energy Tax Credits)
www.irs.gov
This site allows users to search for national energy tax credits as well as search for additional credits depending on the state one resides.

Environmental Protection Agency
http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/
Web site identifies the key environmental and energy issues at hand, and suggests solutions that will add value to your home, reduce energy use and energy costs, fight climate change, and help protect your health. 

 

  • Business- Green at work

Rodale Press
http://www.rodalepress.com
We recommend any publications by them, such as

  • “Keeping Your Company Green” by Stefan Bechtel
  • “Keeping Your Company Healthy” by Kirk A. Johnson

You can find these books and more at
http://www.bookfinder.com/author/rodale-press/  

World Business Council for Sustainable Development
http://www.wbcsd.org
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development developed a framework to help businesses understand how they impact the societies in which they operate.

Measuring Impact Framework
http://www.wbcsd.org/web/measuringimpact.htm
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development developed a framework to help businesses understand how they impact the societies in which they operate.