Teaching Green

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 ourenvironmental awareness and how to live more "green". I'll suggest seasonalactivities that can help our children get closer to nature and givesuggestions on how to encourage them to be loving caretakers of our greatplanet earth. I want to encourage our children (and ourselves) to fall inlove 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. > 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 theend of this site.


Questions and Answers

Question: Where's the best way to find school supplies made from recycled products, ie paper and plastic, etc.? Thanks, Barbara

Answer: It is so important to encourage our schools (and offices and homes) to BUY recycled products, as well as instituting a good recycling program.

Most school systems purchase in bulk from the company that gives the best bid. When you (teachers) place your school orders for the year, request recycled paper products. A lot of the big companies do have recycled papers in their lines. You can also try searching the web to find more specific companies.

There are many reasons to recycle and purchase recycled products for our homes, schools and offices. Instituting solid recycling programs in your school, will in the long run save your school money. Recycling doesn't always refer to how you throw things out. It refers to how you use things again.

Here's a check list for environmentally conscious school supply shopping. Shopping with the planet in mind can, also, protect your child from potentially hazardous chemicals (especially found in art supplies).

What to buy:

What to avoid:

Remember to:

Environmentally speaking, using supplies made of natural ingredients is always preferable. Petroleum oil is used in the manufacture of chemicals and plastic. Petroleum oil is a non- renewable resource and when the world's oil supply is depleted, it is gone forever. Recycling paper products should be common practice.

Health-wise, using art supplies made with natural ingredients, avoids any kind of exposure (ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through skin) of any possible hazardous ingredients and solvents such as lead, asbestos and cadmium. When using art supplies, always wash your hands and work area when done, and never eat while using art supplies.

The Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) has created a labeling system to protect children and artists from long term health effects of art supplies. Their two labels are, AP, Approved product Nontoxic and CP, Certified Product Non-toxic. CP labels are safe for pre- schoolers on up.

And for further environmental health safety, contact Childrens' Health Environmental Coalition at www.checnet.org.


Get organized!
Setting Up Your Stationery Supply Station

Save wide mouthed jars, like pickle jars, or save tea boxes, yogurt containers and baby food jars. Make fancy labels. Now start collecting! Paper clips, thumb tacks, paper fasteners, pens, pencils, safety pins, twist ties, rubber band, etc. You will be surprised and amazed at how much you will accumulate once you put your mind to saving.

For your paper products, use a box that is big enough for paper that's been used on one side. Check your mail everyday for one sided printed paper. You can reuse the envelopes that were intended for return mail. Many organizations send greeting cards and address labels. Save them and reuse them. Save and reuse the giant manila envelopes you get in the mail.

Every home and every classroom should have a Stationery supply Station! The true key to success of this project is to find a special place to set up your Stationery Supply Station. Every one in your home can benefit, and you'll find it will save you money!


Simple, Fun Activity:
Rubber Band Balls

Crumble up a piece of paper and wrap a rubber band around it. As you collect rubber bands, wrap them around the paper until you have covered the paper. Now as you wrap the new bands, you can watch your ball grow and grow. Reuse the rubber bands when needed.


EARTH PATROL KIDS

I want to hear from you Kids! E-mail your poems and stories about nature,ecology and our great Planet Earth, to Teachgreen@aol.com and I will share yourfeelings with other kids in this Earth Patrol Kids section. I'm lookingforward to hearing from you!


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Carol Baxter is a free-lance writer specializing in articles regarding environmental issues, with special interest in how environmental negligence impact on the health of our children, family and the planet. Her articles have appeared nationwide in parenting magazines and newspapers and in environmental publications. In 1989, she founded MY FAVORITE PLANET, INC, a company selling products that have a positive environmental impact, inspire the love of nature, and encourage kids to take care of our planet. She is currentlyworking on the book Teaching the Green which will be an "at your finger-tips"resource guide for educators and parents, that will make accessingenvironmental educational materials convenient.

She is a co-developer of the Nyack Farmers' Market and presently serves asits Market Manager and Program Coordinator. She is a very involved member ofthe New York City based Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet and is an activevolunteer for the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Rockland County. She isalso a 4-H leader. Her club the Hudson River Mermaids, are focused on learningand discovering "how things work" in the natural world and are energetic caretakers of the world around them.

In 1993, she became an ardent activist against the use of rbGH hormones inmilk production and was co-founder of the New York City Safe Milk Coalition,which set out to convince the New York City Public School System to join thehundred school districts nationwide to ban rbGH-treated milk in the schools.

Prior to writing, she was a professional dancer in New York City for fifteenyears. She currently lives in the Hudson River Valley with her husband and twochildren.

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