EarthConscious2
For those of you who want to entertain your childhood dreams of being a cowboy, look no further than Rocking Z Ranch in Montana. A family-owned horse ranch, the Rocking Z accommodates riding experts and novices alike by offering everything from riding lessons for people just starting out to the 28-mile trail through the mountains. Staying with owners Zach and Patty Wirth and their family gives you the City Slickers experience you’ve always wanted, minus Billy Crystal’s hilarity and a creepy Jack Palance-like trail guide. Hey, you can’t have everything you want all the time! Home-cooked meals served family style, cookouts by the campfire, and spacious suites with fireplaces in a room are just some of what the ranch has to offer.

What makes the Rocking Z Ranch really cool is the collection of eco-friendly practices adopted by Zach. There’s a bio-diesel plant located right on the ranch that creates about 80 batches of fuel that is then used to power tractors and earth moving equipment on the ranch. The irrigation pumps are fueled by 100 percent straight waste vegetable oil (SWVO), offsetting 4000-plus gallons of diesel fuel each year. Zach has even rigged up solar powered mowers for exclusive use on the land.

That’s not all though. The Wirths have worked with Montana Fish and Wildlife Parks to combat erosion of Little Prickly Pear Creek, the waterway that runs through the ranch. They’ve already seen a reduction in erosion and a drop in water temperatures thanks to their efforts. Anything that can be recycled on the ranch is and every scrap of food waste that can go into the compost pile is reused as fertilizer. So grab a group of friends, try your hand at some horsemanship and feel good about it in the process.

Is Napa more your thing? Consider stopping by the Harvest Inn in St. Helena, California. Not only has the inn reduced its water use from the St. Helena water system by two million gallons a year, the destination also gives ultimate greenies the chance to recharge their electric cars for free, right on the property. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast on the terrace featuring sweeping views of Napa vineyards and Mayacamas Mountain, knowing that if you leave a few bits of food on your plate, the waste will go right into the compost pile.

By Megan Winkler

Eco-nerd, solar power enthusiast, DIY diva and professional coffee drinker, Megan has written everything from courses in healthcare and psychology to interior design and cooking advice. She has a master’s degree in military history, owns two chainsaws, is a collector of strange trivia and a world renowned Pinterest pro. She is constantly looking for better ways to do things.