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Celebrate the Earth: Five Ideas to Celebrate Arbor Day with Children

leaf rubbingToday is Arbor Day. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated to encourage tree planting and care. Here are five ideas for celebrating Arbor Day with your children:

Plant a Tree and Give it a Name

This is the classic Arbor Day activity. Whether you plant a native tree or an ornamental in your yard, children love to plant trees and monitor the tree’s growth in comparison to their own. In our family, we name our trees, such as Maggie the Magnolia. This little bit of personification causes children to become attached to the their tree and provide it with lots of loving care.

Make Your Own Field Guide

Take your children for a nature hike or just a walk around the neighborhood. Collect a few leaves from the trees you see, then take them home. Identify the trees, attach the leaves to pages, and create your own field guide. We did this my first year teaching for all of the different oaks that grow in our valley. If you don’t have a book that can help you identify the tree species, you can also look it up on the internet. [Read more…]

The Great Copy Machine Epidemic

great-copy-machine-epidemic-launch-photo1.jpgIt’s official: There’s a full fledge Great Copy Machine Epidemic in our children’s schools. American schools are asked to help combat the epidemic by joining a national day of action to stop global warming on April 17th. To participate, schools need to put their school photocopiers under quarantine and pledge not to make or use any photocopies on that day. To participate:

1. Put together a team of the most creative, fun-loving, eco-conscious students and friends that you can find.

2. Perform a proper medical inspection to “diagnose” your copy machine and determine what disease you believe is making it chew up paper at such an enormous rate. Unfortunately, creating paper uses lots of energy, so it creates lots of CO2 that’s contributing to global warming and making the planet sick.

3. Send an email to the copy crisis team at copycrisisteam (@) gmail (dot) com confirming that your school photocopier has been struck by the disease, and include the name of your school, town, state, and the number of teachers and students who are being affected by it. [Read more…]

Green Family Values: Eco Gifts for a Green Father's Day Means Not Buying Anything!

Don't Buy Gifts, Spend Time TogetherSunday is Father's Day, and just like Mother's Day, it was inspired by tragic death. The modern American celebration of Father's Day  began in 1908, when 361 men were killed in a mine explosion in Monongah, West Virginia. Father's Day is celebrated around the world (on different days) to honor and commemorate the importance of male figures in family life. Traditionally in this country, gifts are given by children to their fathers, but does Dad really need another Jerry Garcia silk tie? According the The Green Guide, more than half of dads say they've never received a "good" gift, and the average cost of a Father's Day gift is $89.00. There are plenty of green, eco gifts available to buy Dad. Instead of supporting the overconsumerism in this country spawned by holidays, how about showing Dad you love him with a truly sustainable gift. These gifts don't require you to buy Dad anything, but to spend time with him.

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Green Family Values: Who Speaks For the Trees?

Dr. Seuss wrote The Lorax, the original children’s book on conservation, the same year that Greenpeace was formed. His message, cleverly told with rhymes and silly words, forewarned my generation of the consequences of overusing resources.

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