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Monday, May 25, 2015

Earth Day Family Maker Night 2015

A few weeks ago, at the start of May, I went to a Maryland Educational Technology retreat.  While there, one of the Keynotes, Danielle Martin, shared this image in her presentation which served as a wonderful wrap up to the conference where so much of the focus was on "The Maker Movement."


At our school, we are not new to the "Maker Movement," as it has been a theme for our year.  We have been inspiring creativity and innovation with STEM & STEAM challenges.  Our "Computer Lab" has been transformed with new furniture in invite a more open, new mindset; it is now known as "The Maker Lab."  No longer are students merely learning how to format Word documents, create Power Points, and learn keyboarding.  Yes, that is a part, but much of that integration is happening in the classroom (and why I have my current position).  They are also learning introductory coding, how to create multi-dimensional objects through 123D Design for the 3D printer, and how conductive playdoh works.  Yes, these are elementary students.

This Earth Day, we combined the Maker Movement with a slice of environmentalism.  The task put forth to the children was to use the Design Process to create an at-home, "Family Maker Night" creation (as a family team), making something with Earth Day in mind, through creativity and upcycling. Then, students were to bring both their project in as well as their reflection sheet of how their family worked through the challenge.

The results?  Pretty fabulous.  The tables were filled with a sundry of homemade items.  Class projects were also displayed:  3rd graders had a table of pioneer settlements. 5th graders created interactive games using MaKey Makeys, where they programmed cardboard creations to perform with the help of laptops & the online programming website Scratch).  Kindergartners used iPads & the ReadWriteThink app Timeline to document the Lego building of world structures in the vision of Lego Sculpturist Nathan Sawaya.

To get a taste of what Earth Day looked like in our neck of the woods, check out this Smilebox. Additionally, click here for the Flickr Page of even more--78 more--marvelous pictures from our Earth Day Maker Night.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Free digital slideshow customized with Smilebox


"I am a Maker" photo from a snapshot of my conference, but also found here: http://philippe.ameline.free.fr/wordpress/?p=1215

Additional pictures from my own camera and put into a Smilebox video presentation. http://play.smilebox.com/SpreadMoreHappy/4e4449314f4459344e5442384f4459334d5459784e773d3d0d0a

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy World Turtle Day 2015

You say "to-may-toe," I say "to-mah-toe."
You say "turtle," I say "chelonian" (which sounds remarkably like "colonian").

I don't, but I could.   Especially on World Turtle Day:  May 23rd annually.

World Turtle Day originally hatched in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue (which itself began in 1990).  Given that turtles and tortoises have a number of threats--mostly human instigated--raising awareness is always a good thing.  Threats include:
  • exotic food trade
  • illegal pet trade
  • habitat destruction
  • climate change
  • bycatch from fisheries
  • consumption of marine debris
According to NOAA, all seven world species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered.

To enhance your inside information about turtles & tortoises:

1.  Watch this 2 and a half minute video from The Guardian.
2. Read a good turtle book. My favorite? Turtles in My Sandbox, by Jennifer Keats Curtis. You will find some engaging activities to go along with this book from the publisher Sylvan Dell

3. Check out ARKive.org to learn more about animals of any species--especially if you are curious about their conservation status (vulnerable, critical, or endangered). Here with these links, you are a mere click away from creating your own archive of chelonian knowledge at ARKive:
4. For Lesson Plans, World Turtle Day or any other day, check out the following links:
5. Looking for ways to help out our shelled reptilian friends? Huffington Post's "World Turtle Day" article lists some ideas for what you can do to help.


-World Turtle Day Photos from https://www.facebook.com/WorldTurtleDay
-Chelonian definition a screenshot from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/chelonian
-Video from http://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2015/may/22/world-turtle-day-barrier-reef-preservation-tourism-queensland-video

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend Ahead: Red, White, Blue & Green

Memorial Day:  A solemn day of celebration & remembrance of the many men and women who fought for our freedoms, rights, and American privileges.  We are lucky to have had those people who dedicated their lives to us.

Memorial Day Weekend:  In addition to this day of honoring our soldiers and freedom fighters, it also somewhat serves as the universal start to summer.  Just ask Phineas & Ferb (& then sing it with me):


(Don't get me started on how we are only a mere matter of weeks away from the June 12th, series finale of possibly the greatest cartoon out there for old and young alike! I'm not sure the world is ready for a world without Phineas & Ferb, but I digress).

So you might not be building a roller coaster in your backyard, and your inner-Doufenshmirtz might not be planning the next -inator....but you might be more knee-deep in graduation season, grabbing a bathing suit for the first weekend of the pool opening, heading out camping, or planning a tasty BBQ.

Believe it or not, you can do it all in a "green" sort of way, without going the way of a mega Phineas & Ferb style creation.  With a little inspiration from TreeHugger's "9 Tips for Zero Waste Entertaining This Summer," here are some thing you can do:

  • Invest in some stainless steel straws (check out our Mai Tai welcome to the weekend.  I got mine from Amazon.com).
  • Go real & reusable versus paper or plastic (for plates, cups, cutlery, table cloths & more).
  • Ditch the single serve sodas & waters.  Especially if you are on your back patio, a pitcher of ice cold water, juice, or sun tea can be quite yummy.
  • Make your kabobs with metal skewers, or invest in reusable mini ones to replace your wooden toothpicks.  
  • Use evites versus printed invitations.
  • Do a beach or campsite clean-up while out and about on your ventures.
  • Don't forget to set up your recycling center for anything you may need.  Definitely keep it trash-free if you must branch outside of glass & stainless steel/real!
  • Compost your leftovers and food scraps.
  • Think outside the box, be creative, and come up with your own eco-friendly ways to go about having a zero-waste celebration.

Images from 
Memorial Day:  http://dfwcore.org/when-is-memorial-day-weekend-2015-date-calendar.html 
Phineas & Ferb: http://phineasandferb.wikia.com/wiki/File:104_Days.jpg
Mai Tai pic taken from my back yard, and put in the Motivational Poster app--complete with reusable stainless steel straw.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Perils of Plastic

Pathetic Plastic & Evil Styrofoam.  Ask my 3rd grader what I hate, and he'll come up with one or the other.

It's amazing too, regarding plastic, as it is everywhere.  A trip to the grocery story will confirm it. I've gone off before on plastic wrapped apples & bananas.

The following video (of the same name) from It's A Plastic World does an interesting and thorough job of showcasing just how prevalent plastic is

 

Additionally, here's a startling article from One Green Planet I just ran across further indicating the perils of plastic.  It's headline says it all:
700 Marine Species Might Go Extinct Because of Plastic Pollution. Here Are 5 Ways You Can Help!
Some of the highlights:
  • The EPA has indicated 32 tons of plastic waste are created a year.          (32 tons?!  Plastic is light, so the vast bulk of that is hard to wrap your mind around!)
  • Only 9% of that is recovered.
  • All known specials of sea turtles and half the sea bird species have had run-ins with plastic (either entanglement or ingestion).
The upshot...a continued course could lead to extinction of multiple species AND toxicity on our dinner table.  But, I like that this article adds some ideas to help turn that around.  Small things each one of us can do to take action from moving to reusable, non-plastic alternatives, taking our own bags to ward off using items like plastic backs which were created to be discarded, and moving away from both synthetic fibers and microbeaded products.  By using our spending dollar as the decision maker, we can make a difference.  


For some more good ideas, check out this "Plastic Detox" poster:



Thursday, May 14, 2015

An Infographic Chronicling Our Recycling Habits

I posed the question the other day as to why on Earth (in this day and age) is it that we don't recycle more?

Apparently, there's an infographic on that.  Click here for a zoomable version of this from Good.is.

Bottom line:  It's lack of good knowledge.  So go forth and educate yourself and others so we can go forth and do Anne Arundel County's motto:  "Recycle More Often."


Infographic a screenshot from http://awesome.good.is/infographics/infographic-why-don-t-americans-recycle/351

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Recover Brothers Recycling Videos

It's 2015, and by now it should be a no-brainer to recycle.  Unfortunately, "should" is the operative Anne Arundel County, Maryland, the goal is 50% recycling, yet overall, the county is at 44% (up from years past where it was in the upper 30's percent).  This is somewhat promising, yet ask yourself how you'd feel about a score of 44% or 50% on a test.
word, and it's still not happening.

In a neat interactive over at the AA Co's "Recycle More Often" website shows some of what is still landing over at the landfill.  Along with that is the number 26% --which is the reported amount of what the county citizens could move over to their recycle bins.

Additionally, their Sesame-Street-esque video series of "The Recover Brothers" puts it into plain and simple terms:






Video from http://www.recyclemoreoften.com/video_2014.php and https://youtu.be/CUOW7hqFd-s

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Story of Microbeads

Annie Leonard from the "Story of Stuff" Project does it again,  She and her team of  activists & illustrators from Free Range Studios have created another in her series of "Story of Stuff" videos.

This time, her focus in on the tiniest of pesky tiny things:  microbeads.  What on Earth are microbeads, you ask? The technical term is polyethylene microspheres, but you know them as the little plastic grit in lotions, face cleansers, exfoliants, makeup, toothpaste, and more.  And, much like the other "Story of's..." we learn they were purposely made to go away and be thrown away. Watch here:



After watching "The Story of Microbeads," you can take it a step further and take action to "ban the bead" with the help of their informational website by learning more there, and also by sending (or modifying) their templated letter to your Senator.

For more "Story of'..." videos, be sure to check out all of these:

The Story of Stuff (Dec 2007)
The Story of Change (July 2012)
The Story of Solutions (Oct. 2013)


The "Story of Stuff:  Microbeads" video is from http://storyofstuff.org/movies/lets-ban-the-bead/; The penny/microbead pic is from http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313157701/why-those-tiny-microbeads-in-soap-may-pose-problem-for-great-lakes (another great article, in and of itself!)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

PBS's Loop Scoops & the Sphinx Tackle Garbage

It's been around the block awhile now, but PBS's "Loop Scoops" are a series of shorts that are designed to help you think about all of your "stuff" and how it affects both you AND the environment.  Perhaps it's not a surprise that "Story of Stuff" creator Annie Leonard is the Content Director.  She definitely has opinions on "stuff."

Here, the Loop Scoops & the Sphinx tackle "Garbage:"



For some other great kid-friendly, eco-friendly & insightful websites, check out the Loop Scoops resources.



Video from:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c5cnM_TdHw;  Loop Scoops banner from http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/lpsc/ (where you can find links to many other great, thought-provoking videos about the "stuff" in your life!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Sit Back Chat with President Obama & Bill Nye The Science Guy

It's Earth Day, and you're the President.  What do you do?  Well, sit back and chat with Bill Nye the Science Guy, of course!

And where do you do it?  The Everglades.  Duh!

Topics du jour:  
  • The new group of climate-deniers (no, that's not new, but there's that group that forbids the words "climate change" in Florida & Wisconsin.  I still can't get passed that concept!  What is up with that!  Not saying the words doesn't make it go away, but I digress!)
  • The magic window to get "nature under your skin," grab a "life long passion (for anything),"  & "science in your blood & excited" is age 10.  Do it by then, and you've got'em hooked!!
  • Bill Nye's view on being a patriot.  Obama's questions on why schools aren't more successful in getting kids excited about STEM topics:  Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math.
To watch all 6 minutes of this brain trust, watch it below, or click here.




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Really Paying Attention: Outdoors & In a World That's Gone Haywire

Despite already reaching my daily goal of 10,000 steps, I'm walking circles around the soccer field during my daughter's practice, begrudgingly giving the dog some exercise.

Yet as I walk circles tonight, I find my mood shifting.

When I get past my own lethargy, and really pay attention, I notice that it is truly a lovely night. The weather is quite mild and it seems spring has finally sprung. Black squirrels are romping through the woods where just last week, I saw a deer.  People of all sizes and ages are running about, engaged in their sports: my soccer girls are zipping across the field, lacrosse gents are running stamina drills, both wee ones and adults are playing baseball on both ends of the athletic complex. The swings are filled, and the whole area is abuzz not only with the freshness of spring, but also the innocence of youth.  It is as it should be, and the dog and I are maximizing our number of steps, and soaking it all in.

Yet meanwhile, not terribly far from here at all, riots, violence, & destruction abound in Baltimore. There is no springtime innocence or freshness there now, thanks to people who feel such a lack of respect that they turned a peaceful protest on its edge, destroying their own neighbors & neighborhoods. They created fires and then sabotaged the extinguishing efforts by slicing hose lines of water sources. People who will never grasp resolution at this rate due to the violence begetting just more violence. More than once has Martin Luther King, Jr been mentioned, and I literally see him shaking his head in my head, ashamed in Heaven of the horrible waste & mess people are making of Maryland's Baltimore.

I believe it's more than a racial issue: it's an American issue. Americans are turning on their fellow Americans. It's a senseless waste by unthinking people.

I also am ashamed that all this local self-inflicted destruction has led to such unsafe and scary
circumstances.  Stupidity-induced circumstances. Needless drama that has eclipsed the natural disaster and destruction of the Nepalese earthquake. THAT is a true disaster. (Well, Baltimore is unfortunately disastrous now too--but that is all man-made and could have been prevented through the choice of many.) Nepal, on the other hand, was blindsided. At last count there were over 5,000 deaths with the potential of 10,000.  Saddening and tragic.

In both places, there are innocents who have fallen in harms way. And thankfully, there are generous people in both situations who are working mightily to offer help and support. Rebuilding will be necessary in both places. But both of these situations aren't the same. One was preventable, if people would have been governed far more by love and kindness than hatred. When I think of all of this, I am ashamed of how it makes us look to the rest of the world--as Americans, turning on ourselves. What the people of Nepal would do to have such frivolous choice--and I am sure it wouldn't be to choose purposeful destruction.

So as I walk my circles around the field, I am past my initial exhaustion and desire to not be here. Instead, I am grateful for the simplicity of the green fields, and the laughter of the children that are here...and wish all of that could extend locally, nationally, and globally.

To assist with Nepal, Time Magazine offers 6 charities to check out, and a friend of mine also suggested ShelterBox USA.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day 2015

As a person who has come to travel the path o'green (the one that has nothing to do with the Blarney Stone), Earth Day is a favorite holiday of mine.  Earth Days in school are particularly fun because you see these little human sponges just soaking in the knowledge.  They "get" it.  They see it.  They innately see the importance of talking about saving the environment & its resources. The environment a lot of time is the place that holds kids' play places (even in this TV-tech realm), their animals, the places they want to be barefoot outside in.  The place where their curiosity is ripe, and the place where hands-on learning just comes naturally.  Naturally in nature...naturally, of course.

Today at my school, we had a pretty neat (& new) event called the "Earth Day Family Maker Night."  It was a fabulous night of invention, upcycling, reusing, creating, & celebrating Earth Day.  It's something definitely worth sharing, and will be featured here sometime soon.  Additionally, a week ago, we had Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, come to campus as part of a commemorative lecture series. That's another dynamic eco-piece I'm eager to write about as it was fascinating.

But for tonight, this most sacred of environmental holidays, I'm wanting to pay tribute to the most greenest of schools I've ever known, a school that holds many a memory, but yet unfortunately is now a memory itself.  Tonight, I'm honoring the 8-year MD "Green" School Eagle Cove, which closed its doors the last time last June, shortly after its final 5th grade Graduation.  Eagle Cove School was a place where "Earth Day" was not a just day, but a week, an annual event, & a lot of fun.
It was the place:
  • Where Earth Day musicals happened every year as created by our amazingly creative science & music teachers;
  •  Where a marvelous musician named Linda Richards came every year & brought her talent to our troops to create eco-parodies and a fabulous musical show (that was often held outdoors, river-side);
  • Where children's book writer and environmentalist Jennifer Keats Curtis always came and shared her writing wisdom with our young learners;
  • Where solar car races happened, birdhouses were put up, vegetables were planted in the greenhouse, animals were introduced to us, and we might even get a bit wet in the campus-side river;
  • Where we all were outdoors, doing so much, and kids were learning to become young naturalists and young activists.
Cheers to Eagle Cove, and my school family and friends.  Click here to relive some of the mighty memories of ECS's Earth Days & Weeks over the last several years.



"Happy Earth Day" 2015 pic created using the "Pic Collage" app; ECS farewell faculty pic from http://www.pasadenavoice.com/school-youth/community-says-farewell-eagle-cove-school, ECS "Dive Deep & Fly High" from http://ecsgreen.weebly.com/

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Love Mike Rowe--Taking on Pollution

Part of most days (perhaps more than I'd like to admit to) is spent dabbling around on Facebook. Checking out my little CyberTribe through social media, seeing what everyone is up to.  It's there also that I follow a lot of environmental and educational peeps, and other folks or organizations that I like and believe in.  It was here, tonight, that I ran across Mike Rowe.  No, I don't know him, but I follow him, and I generally really like his no-nonsense way of looking at and addressing things.

Today did not disappoint.  Over on Mike Rowe's Facebook page, this is how Mike's post started, and this is where I got drawn in:  
     "A couple of weeks ago, I was stuck in traffic on Lombard Street, desperate to get across the Golden Gate Bridge for a meeting I was doomed to miss. As I quietly cursed the faceless bureaucrat who approved road work during rush hour, the guy in front of me threw an empty Big Gulp out the passenger window. I watched the giant cup bounce around the street, roll into the curb, and come to rest on the grate of a storm drain. The guy was driving a Prius, and the irony was just too much to bear.
I hopped out of my car, retrieved the trash, and approached his vehicle. Squatting on the pavement, I addressed the gentleman from the passenger side. “Hi there!” I said, grinning my best gameshow host grin. “I think the wind blew this giant cup out of your environmentally friendly vehicle. Here you go....”
From there came 13 more short paragraphs on how this insensitive Prius driver polluted the world, and how perhaps every one piece of garbage out there inspires others to be equally careless and thoughtless, dumping on our world.

But, as only Mike Rowe can do, he spun this tale of evil into a story of good.  He offered up a sneak preview of his latest episode of "Somebody's Gotta Do It" on CNN, which airs tonight at 9 pm EST. Tonight he highlights Chad Pregracke, who was 2013's CNN Hero of the Year award winner.  Founder of Living Lands & Water, Chad has been featured over here at GTG in the past.  Chad is a modern day super hero, or akin to the tall tale hero Mike Fink, keelboater extraordinaire.  Perhaps the only difference being that Chad Pregracke trades in Mike Fink's keelboat for a barge or even something smaller, and works to clean up waterways with a variety of volunteers and a mountain of might.  

As always, Mike Rowe champions the good guys.  The ones who deserve it.
As well they should.

So on that note, I leave you to go set my DVR to check out Chad & Mike.  Along with that, I leave you with some parting words from Mike Rowe's facebook page:


Monday, April 13, 2015

Noah Gru Challenges You to See Through His 6 Year Old Eyes & His 3 Minute White House Student Film Fest Video

I marvel at the fact that we are living in a world where currently 2 states (Florida and Wisconsin) have declared it null and void to mention the words "climate" and "change" together.  I'm not really sure, given our constitution and that "right to free speech" thing how that is even possible.  It is a subject that thoroughly makes me shake my head.  I'm so glad that by not mentioning it, people think it just seems to go away.  

Yes, Sheldon, that's sarcasm!  Ei yie yie yie yie!

Well luckily, all is not lost, and there is still vision and wisdom out in the world.  6 year old Noah Gru knows differently.

That's right, I said 6 years old!

Noah & his family submitted a 3 minute film to the White House Student Film Festival, for students grades K--12.  That film was one of the 15 chose to screen at the White House...with Noah being the youngest one in the bunch.  Here is his film, followed by the CBS news commentary clip on the same subject.





Out of the mouths of babes.  Way to go, Noah.  If a 6 year old can "get" it, why can't politicians and others?!  We need to take care of what we have, while we still have it.

To read more about it, check out Upworthy.


Big Bang pic of Sheldon, Leonard, & Sarcasm from http://pixshark.com/sarcasm-sign-big-bang-theory.htm

Obama image from http://www.upworthy.com/this-6-year-olds-film-was-so-important-president-obama-showed-it-at-the-white-house?c=ufb1

 Noah Gru's film from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2y8_UDrGjQ; News Video from CBS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88rcSWG_HgU

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Movin' & Groovin' at the White House Easter Egg Roll 2015

It's definitely off topic, but a great memory all the same. Or maybe not--as it was a great way to spend the day outside, taking part in Michelle Obama's Let's Move movement.

This year we got the opportunity to
participate in the 137th White House Easter Egg Roll.

Part of the beauty of living in the greater Baltimore-Washington corridor is that there's a lot of history all around.  Add in a lot of opportunity.  When this year's White House Easter Egg lottery "rolled" around, we, like many Americans, put in our name. And, like 35,000 people, got picked for one of the 5 daily 2-hour timed sessions to participate.  For us, it was the 2:30--4:30 pm time slot, which made for the perfect opportunity this past Monday to leisurely ride the metro in and get where we needed to officially wait in line to get in.

Unfortunately, we didn't see anyone famous or presidential, nor did we get to dance with Michelle Obama to "Uptown Funk.".  Additionally, the kids were bummed to not see the First Pups Bo and Sunny (luckily though, they had the cardboard cutouts). But the day was beautiful and we couldn't ask for a greater way to be out in the day. We were doing our best to "do what Michelle Obama would do:" getting exercise in a #GimmeFive way, in the great outdoors.


To see some of the official highlights of the day, 

For some historic pics of Egg Rolls of days gone by, 

Lastly, click this link to watch Live With Kelly and Michael at the 



Photos of mine from Easter Monday 2015, in the LiPix app.  Easter Egg logo from https://www.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

May your Easter be filled with hope, renewal, love, newness, dreams, & potential! 

Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, & new life.                            ~ Janine di Giovanni
It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow. ~ Robert H. Schuller

Friday, April 3, 2015

Dishing Up Some Documentaries that are Definitely Food For Thought

We were blessed to have a 2 week Spring Break mid-March.  In part, it's done for travel opportunities.  Here at my house, we didn't go on any major exotic trip, but we did do some local day trips, a long weekend to Philadelphia, and then we enjoyed a week-long visit from my mom.  It was my kind of nirvana.

Also during that time, I managed to start a few health trends for myself, and I also watched a handful of eco-foodie films and documentaries.  Eye opening food facts galore!  After watching, in addition to upping my fruit & veggie intake, diminishing my daily Diet Coke consumption, and upping my water du jour, I've dropped more than a pound or two.

In addition to all of that, I creating the the following infographic about my five newest favorite films. I also linked it to trailers using the ThingLink website.  Click the icons below the movie posters to find the trailers to these flix.
 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wrapping up Earth Hour 2015

We're now in the after hours of Earth Hour 2015.  At my house, we turned out the lights and played a riveting game of family "Apples to Apples" by candlelight.


A former teaching colleague of mine in Annapolis had an adult gathering with friends at her house, and embarked on a cookie baking & decorating spree amidst dim lighting to celebrate Earth Hour.  As you can tell, there's a definite pro-go-eco theme as they were armed with icing, creating concoctions that look too good to eat!


A third grade buddy of mine was inspired to write an acrostic to share the news and word of what Earth Hour is all about.

Global landmarks went dark.  Countries broke records. And already, the 10th annual event for 2016 is set.  March 19th, 2016, from 8:30--9:30 will be the day, or shall we say 'the night.'  The night to do it up right, and use your hour for power.

To learn more, about this year and next year's Earth Hour, go straight to the source!  And don't worry. If you missed Earth Hour this year, while you are waiting for next year's, you can practice by doing your own personal celebration, honoring the Earth, one light off at a time!


All photos taken from my friends' & family's Earth Day-inspired handiwork!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Earth Hour: TONIGHT, 8:30--9:30 pm, Lights Out, Your Time Zone


Today's the day.  Earth Hour has begun in certain time zones.  You can go and check out the "Earth Day Live" pics on their website to see it as it unfolds!

If you're still looking for ways to celebrate and be part of the hour long dark "wave" of activism in your time zone between 8:30--9:30 pm tonight, check out the list below. You'll be in good company with over 7000+ cities, 160 countries, historic buildings, and global landmarks world wide have committing to this small symbolic act, unifying a dedication toward building a healthier planet. 

Some ways ways to celebrate Earth Hour this Saturday night:

1. Sit on the coach by the fireplace with a good book or loved one.

2. Go "tech free" and unplug, opting for quality family time by candlelight. (Yes, this coming from the Tech Specialist!)

3. Play board games by candlelight or flashlight.

4. Play backyard games with your kids like Ghosts in the Graveyard, Flashlight Tag, or Hide & Seek.

5. Build a backyard bonfire & toast your toes &/or marshmallows.

6. Go on a night hike.

7. Go camping in your back yard.

8. Enjoy the start of spring by stargazing.

9. Donate to one of Earth Hour's environmental crowdsourcing projects.

10. Use it as an opportunity to teach your loved ones that small gestures & actions can indeed lead to being a part of something bigger.

Earth Hour Screen shot from http://www.earthhour.org/about-us ; Earth Hour "You + Lights Out" image from http://coolimages4free.com/earth-hour-background-and-history/

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Earth Hour is Coming: Saturday, March 28, 8:30--9:30 pm

It's coming!  Earth Hour, that is.  In our mega month of environmental "days," Earth Hour is one of my favorites!  With days-only to go, be sure to set aside an hour of darkness for this Saturday night, March 28th, for 8:30--9:30 pm in your time zone.

Here's a historic infographic I created over at Easel.ly to showcase Earth Hour's growth over the last 9 years!  It shows what once started small, in one country, can grow and become a total movement toward change!



Sunday, March 22, 2015

#WaterIs....Today! Celebrate World Water Day 2015

Wrapping up my series on World Water Day, it only seems fitting to end ON World Water Day.

Given some of my last entries have felt heavy-handed on the "doom and gloom" of the severity of the situation, it seemed like a natural place to end looking at what you can indeed do to conserve water and make a difference!

Watch or track your water intake today.
Or think about how far that water could go for those who don't have it.
Really think about what you can do to reduce your usage.
Limit your bottled water intake, which also wastes plastic.
Donate to a charity like Plan International USA that give gifts of water.

Watch the 21 sH20rts 2015 films.
Also check out the Walk4Wells & Water videos.
Take it to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other Social Media:
Embrace the Hashtag:  #WaterIs, #WalkForWater, or #WorldWaterDay
Remind the people in your house that water is a limited resource.

Dive into the 5 Gallon Challenge.  Can you live on only 5 gallons? That's the
Amount recommended for healthy & hydrated living a day.
You can do it.  If we all cut back a little, we'd save a lot!


World Water Day banner from http://www.unwater.org/fileadmin/user_upload/worldwaterday2015/docs/468x60.jpg;
Today is World Water Day image from http://www.wheniscalendars.com/tag/world-water-day-2015-date/

Thursday, March 19, 2015

#WaterIs...In Global Crisis

My series continues this month on World Water Day 2015.

The infographic below, created by Seametrics back in 2012, is still just as current today. (Interestingly, it was shared on MindBodyGreen on Oct. 31st, 2012--a year [to the date] after the United Nations declared world population hit 7 billion).  The demand for water continues to grow.  If we don't all stand up and take notice, we're going to find ourselves indeed in a Global Water Crisis!


World Water Day logo from http://www.unwater.org/
Infographic found at http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6735/What-You-Need-to-Know-About-the-Worlds-Water-Infographic.html

Monday, March 16, 2015

#WaterIs...Everywhere, But Not Everywhere

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

Here in this continuing series on World Water Day 2015, we turn to Christiana Z. Peppard.  In her TED-ED lesson "Where We Get Our Fresh Water" she has a video just over 3.5 minutes that sums up the limited yet valuable resource of water.  She includes some post-video questions for your students to ponder, as well as some additional links in her "Dig Deeper" section.  

Here's the video--which will make you want to head over to TED-ED!




Friday, March 13, 2015

#WaterIs....A Limited Supply!

Water is the one thing that truly makes the world go 'round.  Just as you don't fully get to see the way the wind blows, you miss the way the water flows, until it goes!  

Here's an interesting infographic investagation on the "First World Problems" of bottled water.  A great infographic to ponder this World Water Day week

Water Information


Image from https://www.plumber24hours.co.uk/water-information.html

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#WaterIs: World Water Day: March 22, 2015

World Water Day is annually every March 22nd.  Sponsored by the United Nations, this day is a day of emphasizing the importance of clean water on our global community.  The UN's overriding theme is "Water Is."  What is water?  All these things, straight from their website:

Water is health.
Water is nature.
Water is urbanization.
Water is industry.
Water is energy.
Water is food.
Water is equality.

Water is at the heart of our global sustainability.

To learn more about the vital importance of water on all 7 of these levels, go to the UN World Water Day Learn page.  You will certainly be struck by some significant statistics as you read this page, from how much water it takes to...
  • produce plastic (some of which sadly returns back to our water ways as marine debris that never deteriorates), 
  • raise beef cattle, 
  • meet the global water demand for manufacturing.
You'll also see the number...
  • and percentage of people who live in cities, 
  • of people who do not have access to clean water, 
  • of hours a day women in developing countries spend retrieving fresh water for their family.
For lessons to use in your classroom, check out Project WET.

Think consciously this week, leading up to World Water Day!  
What can you do to make good choices to conserve water?

Image from https://www.facebook.com/unwater,  

Friday, March 6, 2015

It's Coming: Earth Hour 2015

It's coming and it's just a few short weeks from now.
Here for the 9th year in a row, it's Earth Hour 2015!

Mark your calendar and watch the video to learn more: 

Saturday, March 28, 2015 8:30--9:30 pm 

Turn off your lights in your time zone to be a part of
the global movement for sustainability.

To learn more, go to EarthHour.org


video from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxIMib4e8f8

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

World Wildlife Day: March 3rd Every Year



As mentioned earlier in the week, there are a number of EcoDays here in March.  World Wildlife Day is one of the annual events that The United Nations sponsors.  This year is the 2nd year we've observed World Wildlife Day.  The point is to find ways to make this annual day (and other environmental days) a time and a place to come together as an international community.
"Let us use the 3rd of March as one day we come together to commit to working more actively in the year ahead to combat illegal trade in wildlife and also to create the space and also the understanding for the future of wildlife to thrive."    ~ Quote by Mr. Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General, Executive Director in the UN video explaining World Wildlife Day.
For a list of resources to use in your classrooms or with your children at home, check out these wonderful wildlife conservation websites:



 Videos from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V8DbbqKYDQ and http://www.wildlifeday.org/key-messages
Logo from http://www.wildlifeday.org/content/outreach-material
Social Media image from http://www.wildlifeday.org/content/social-media-images

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Is an Eco-Mecca

March is a mecca of global eco events.  In the upcoming weeks, I'll be focusing on some of these eco-days.  But in the mean time, take some time and mark your calendar!

World Wildlife Day
Tuesday, March 3
Goal: To value & protect all animals & plants, especially those that are endangered

Daylight Saving Time
Sunday, March 8th
Turn Clocks ahead 1 hour






International Day of Actions for Rivers
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Goal:  To protect and cleanse our rivers, and celebrate river restoration







World Consumer Rights Day
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Goal:  To raise global awareness of our rights as consumers



First Day of Spring
Friday, March 20







World Water Day
Sunday, March 22
Goal:  To celebrate the vital resource that water is, and promote its multi-faceted role in our sustainability.





Earth Hour 
Saturday, March 28th, 2015
8:30--9:30 pm in your time zone
Goal:  To turn off your lights for an hour to be part of a global "wave" of movement in support of a multitude of environmental issues.








World Wildlife Day image from http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/world-wildlife-day-march-3
World Water day image from http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday
Daylight Saving time image from http://www.roswellstreet.com/announcements/daylight-savings-time-begins, 
1st day of spring http://clipartmountain.com/clip8/firstspring1.htm,
World Consumer Day image from  http://www.consumersinternational.org/our-work/wcrd/
International Day of Rivers image from http://www.internationalrivers.org/international-day-of-action-for-rivers
Earth Hour image from http://www.earthhour.org/