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With Carol Baxter

Tips for teachers, parents and kids on how to live "greener" everyday lives.

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Every month, I will answer your questions on how to bring environmental studies into the classroom, how to deepen our environmental awareness and how to live more "green". I'll suggest seasonal activities that can help our children get closer to nature and give suggestions on how to encourage them to be loving caretakers of our great planet earth. I want to encourage our children (and ourselves) to fall in love with nature. When you love something, you will take care of it.

I look forward to hearing from teachers and parents about environmental projects that you've done that have been successful. E-mail me at teachgreen@aol.com and I'll share with others what you are doing.

Also, I want to hear from Kids! E-mail your poems and stories about nature, ecology and our great Planet Earth, to Teachgreen@aol.com and I will share your feelings with other kids in the Earth Patrol Kids section at the end of this site.


Questions and Answers

Q: I'm looking for some hands on reuse activities that kids could doat a booth for the Kids Club at the Ace Hardware Show in March. Something they can make out of waste. I saw a few ideas on your Teaching Greenpage.I'm looking for something not too bulky and that can be made from common materials. Any suggestions you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.Paula West, West Communications, Aitkin, MN

A: One of my favorite, easy to do, recycled art projects ismaking Paper Bead necklaces. All you need is paper from magazines or newspaper (colorpaper ismore interesting), a pencil, some school glue or glue stick (or tape)and astring long enough to make a necklace.

Tear or cut the paper into 1" wide strips. Then cut the3m toabout 6" long. Wrap one piece at a time around the pencil. Close the end with a little glue or tape. Slide the rolled paper off the pencil. Repeat until you have enough"paper beads" to string on the string. Voila! A one of a kindnecklace. (Ifyou are using black and white paper, you can paint the beads before youstringthem.)

Q: We are sponsoring a ecological event and will be distributing favors to children. Do you have any suggestions of what kinds of bags we could use that are ecologically friendly? We are on a budget and we need about 150. Joe from Florida

A: There are wonderful selections of ecologically correct materials that you can use. Small bags, that can be used again as a lunch bag, are now being made using cotton, canvas, burlap, or hemp. These may range in price from$1.50-$3.00 per bag. String bags that start at about $1.50 per bag, a real so, great reuseable possibilities.

If you are really on a budget, you can use brown, recycled paper lunch bags,(about $5.00 for 100). After you've filled it, turn down the top and punch two holes with a paper punch. Thread a piece of raffia through the holes andtie it shut. If you have a label of your organization, stick it on the front.It will make a nice presentation and it can be recycled when the child gets home.


MARCH

March is a wonderful transition month as nature gently awakens to welcome spring. This particular year, March is special because it is a Blue Moon month, one with two full moons (on March 2nd and March 31st.)

Spring Equinox (or Vernal Equinox) is March 20th. On this day,we willexperience an equal amount of day light and night. Thereafter, thehours ofdaylight will predominate. Don't forget to acknowledge this day, bysingingspring songs, dress in spring flower colors (yellow, purple and pink),orbringing daffodils to your teacher.

Also, March is the time for maple syruping and... mud.

If your family or class hasn't done it yet, now is the perfecttime to start thinking of your summer gardens, design your garden plans and order yourseeds.

Traditionally, peas and cabbage can be planted on St. Patrick'sDay. So, getthem in the ground this March to enjoy your first early vegetables of the season.

It's great to let children help in the garden, and even betterif they havetheir very own garden plot. It doesn't have to be big. It can even beacontainer.

Watching germinating seeds.

You will need: a clear glass jar or clear plastic cup, absorbent paper towels, dried beans from your pantry. Line the jar with a few layers of moist paper towels. Slide some beans around the inside of the jar, next tothetowels. Place the jar in a sunny spot. Keep the towels moist bypouring alittle water in the jar daily. In about 10 days you will have anamazingsprout, and be able to watch the roots and stem as they grow.

Windowsill gardening

Use soil that is formulated for indoor, container gardening. Seedlings, of course, need sunshine and water, but the most successful seeds germinate when heated from underneath. You can "boost" their growth by placing them onaradiator. Just make sure that you have a dish or saucer underneath tocollectthe unabsorbed water. You can use the traditional plastic pot (plasticretains water better than clay, which is important to seedlings) or youcan becreative and use these bio-degradeable ideas that can be placed directly in the soil: Peat pots from a garden center, egg shells, and egg cartons. The most rewarding seeds to grow indoors are herbs, lettuce, nasturtiums, and sunflowers.


Ideas for Children's Gardens:

Who to contact for more information on Children's Gardens:


MARCH ACTIVITY: Blossom Calendars

Use either an existing calendar or make a blank one. Every day,children canrecord spring awakenings. Mark down the first blossoming branches,tulips,iris, crocus, narcissus, etc. Don't forget to mark down the rainy days,the muddy ground and the BIRDS! These are all wonderful characteristics ofspring. Continue this calendar through the months of April and May. Be creative. Use colorful markers, or cut out pictures from magazines.


EARTH PATROL KIDS


READ PAST TEACHING GREEN COLUMNS


READ PAST TEACHING GREEN COLUMNS


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