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"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life." Rachel Carson

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Roots & Shoots

We all want to make the world a better place. But knowing where to begin and how to get involved can be a major road block for many of us. As a kid, getting people to take you seriously can be frustrating. And as a parent or teacher, you may want to be leader for your children in making an impact on the environment but don't know how. Roots & Shoots offers wonderful opportunities to join in and get involved. Roots & Shoots teams make positive change happen for their communities, for animals and for the environment through projects, special events and global campaigns. It is a youth–driven network of 8,000 groups in 100 countries guided by the priciples and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall, renowned primatologist, environmentalist and humanitarian. "Her firm belief that young people, when informed and empowered, when they realize that what they do truly makes a difference, can indeed change the world, is at the very heart of our program."

You can either join a pre-existing group or start your own. If you are an educator, click here for information on how to implement a Roots & Shoots program at your school.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Go take a hike!


While visiting Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, I have been enjoying the seemingly endless number of hiking trails on the island. I have gone on 5 hikes in 5 days. (Disclaimer: some were more like picnics in the woods, but others were so long that it all averages out!) I have 2 days left on the island, and I hope to do 2 more hikes. Being a country girl, living in the city, being anywhere near nature is such a thrill for me.

With the summer days winding down and cool fall days just ahead, now is a prime hiking time. Hiking can be as simple as strolling in the woods or as rigorous as scaling a mountain top. All across the country, thousands of beautiful, secluded trails are ready and waiting to be explored. When you step away from the daily sights and sounds of your life and into the woods, the desert, or the field, you will begin to notice the incredible diversity of life we have on our planet. Hiking is a fantastic way to strengthen your relationship with nature, and a rousing reminder of what is at stake if we don't take care of the environment.


For a helpful guide to hiking and information on taking a volunteer hiking vacation visit This website also has a great
guide to trails across the U.S.
Visit for a beginners guide to hiking.


We need the tonic of wildness…We can never have enough of nature…We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.

Henry David Thoreau from Walden Pond

Friday, August 17, 2007

Create a backyard habitat


Growing a backyard habitat can do many wonderful things for the environment besides halting the use of a polluting lawnmower. You can plant a variety of native trees, bushes and wildflowers that have evolved to live in your area and require virtually no maintenance. Trees grow deep roots that prevent soil from eroding and also conserve water. Your habitat will encourage beautiful birds, butterflies, insects and other wildlife to your yard. Because so many animals are crowded out of their natural habitats by buildings and roads, your backyard will become an important sanctuary for them to thrive in. Wildlife need food, water and shelter to survive. When you plant native trees, bushes and flowers, you have already begun to provide food and shelter.

Here are some more helpful tips to attract creatures to your yard:

–Put out a birdbath. Make sure to change the water in the birdbath every other day so that it doesn’t turn into mosquitoville! Every few days scrub it with a stiff brush or pinecone and rinse it well.

–Choose plants that flower and produce fruit at different times of the year so that creatures will have food to eat year–round.

–Provide shelter by placing logs, brushes and rocks in your habitat.

This is a great opportunity to create a nature journal to record the exciting changes that you will see as your habitat begins to grow and attract creatures!

Activity: The Toad Abode

Get a medium-size clay pot and saucer. Fill the saucer with water and put it on the ground. Close by, put the pot upside-down with one edge propped up with a rock. This will give the toad enough room to fit inside his cozy “abode”. If you can find a broken pot that is missing a chunk then there will be no need to prop it up—all the better!

For more information on backyard habitats, visit the National Wildlife Federation website on gardening for wildlife and click here to watch clips from Animal Planet's show Backyard Habitat.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The grass isn't always greener...

Do you find that you are running out of good excuses when your parents ask you to mow the lawn? They will be surprised to hear that using a lawnmower for one hour pollutes the air as much as driving in a car for 350 miles!

Lawns can pollute in other ways, too. A lot of water is used to keep grass fact, almost one-third of all household water use–more than 7 billion gallons per day–goes to watering lawns. And to make matters worse, we in the United States use 580 million gallons of gas for our lawnmowers, spend $5 billion dollars every year on fertilizers made from fossil fuels and use 67 million pounds of synthetic pesticides for our lawns! Convinced? Good, now here's what you can do:

1) Use an electric lawn mower. They produce less than 1% of the smog-contributing carbon monoxide that gas mowers put out and 1/9000th the hydrocarbons. However, they only produce 6 less pounds of carbon dioxide.

2) So, better yet, use a reel push mower like one of these. With no electricity costs, zero on-site emissions and a much smaller price tag they are a great option.

3) Water your lawn only in the morning or the evening. Water evaporates 8 times faster during the heat of the day!

4) Collect water from downspouts to water your lawn.

5) And finally, turning your yard into a backyard habitat is the best way to make your yard really green. But we'll save that for the next post. So check back in to learn more...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I've been tagged...


I've been blog-tagged. I am having playround flashbacks!

The rules are a little different than playground tag. I have to list 8 little known facts about myself and then tag 8 other unsuspecting bloggers.

So here are 8 things you probably don't know about me:

1) I have a new kitten named Fionn (pronounced Finn). He's a riot. He loves kielbasa and chasing his tale in the bathtub.

2) I love peanut butter. I love to eat any food that has peanut butter in it. My all-time favorite food was Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, which now sadly rests in peace at the B&J's graveyard of flavors.

3) My favorite band is U2. That is a very well known fact actually.

4) I still sleep with a stuffed animal. His name is Opus, he's the penguin from Bloom County. I have had him for 20 years.

5) I have a wonderful family. Two loving parents who have been married for 35 years. A brother and sister-in-law who are now terrific parents to 3 beautiful girls. And I have 2 sisters who inspire me everyday.

6) When I was little I wanted to save all of the endangered species. I still do.

7) I love to ski really fast.

8) I'm an artist.

I have tagged:
Its getting hot in here
The Green
Healthy Child
Groovy Green
Green Girls Global
Rachel Carson 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

What's so bad about carbon?

By now you probably have heard phrases like "climate crisis" and "carbon emissions" being used when discussing the environmental crisis. You maybe be wondering "what's so bad about carbon?" In fact, there is nothing wrong with carbon. It is the building block for life. Yet too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing global warming. This inconsistency can be very confusing. National Public Radio's ongoing program Climate Connections helps makes sense of this contradiction in its great series called IT'S ALL ABOUT CARBON. It's a humorous look at the science behind global warming. Watch the five cartoon episodes and you will be saying "ah–ha" instead of "huh?"

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Artsy reminders for your fridge


Here's a great idea inspired by Real Simple Magazine's article on turning old frames into refridgerator art. If you have any old frames lying around the house--and you probably do--you can make these little friendly reminders with green thinking messages inside.

Here's what you do:

Step 1: Find old frames that are not too heavy.

Step 2: Decorate the frame however you wish. You could paint it, sand it to make it look antique, glue shells on it or cover it with stickers. Be creative!

Step 3: Design your message to go inside the frame. It can say anything that you think is important to remember, like "Turn off the lights!" or just a little reminder to "think green today". Put your message inside the frame.

Step 4: Once the frame is ready, glue old magnets, or new magnet strips, to the back.

Step 5: Put your new message frame on the fridge or somewhere magnetic and you're done. Good job!