These 7 gifts are perfect for nature lovers

Give back to nature by helping restore forests, oceans and wildlife. Your contribution will boomerang back in countless ways, curbing climate change, teaching kids about the outdoors, feeding endangered monarch butterflies, making space for whales and even helping tree farmers. All you’ll get is that lousy T-shirt. (But this year, they’re actually pretty cool.)

Teenager finds a solution to massive food waste by ‘brats who won’t eat that apple’

A student in Omaha, Neb., has identified a problem with school lunches — as well as a solution that could help solve an entrenched food waste issue in school cafeterias across the country.

In order to get the best price for a school lunch, kids are required to take one serving of a fruit or a vegetable to create a full meal. If they don’t, they can end up paying higher ala carte prices.

Kids to Crayola: Help us recycle plastic markers!

Elementary school kids in San Rafael, Calif., are asking Crayola to initiate a recycling program for the millions of markers the company produces every year.
The children, who participate in a green group called Kids That Care, decided to petition Crayola through after realizing that many plastic products, including spent markers, wind up in landfills, said the group’s advisor Land Wilson.

Urban Roots, a film about food and Detroit + a project for schools

In a bygone American era, Detroit shone proudly as a center of industry, home to the Model T and other symbols of American progress. The decline of the car industry in recent decades, though, has cut the city’s population in half and left poor neighborhoods in even more derelict condition. Detroit is now home to thousands of acres of vacant land, most of it unmaintained, left to collect weeds and waste. The result? Many of the city’s residents live in what is termed a
“food desert.”

Redondo Beach SEA Lab enhances nature exhibit with new technology

Los Angeles-area school kids who visit the Redondo Beach SEA Lab this year will get an extra lesson in the dangers of pollution, courtesy of environmental groups that have partnered to create a new exhibit about DDT and PCBs.

The exhibit, set up at a kiosk, will boost nature education with the latest technology, allowing kids to see and experience wildlife in 3D “Augmented Reality”. This new streaming video/3-D technology, supplied by the company Total Immersion, will make the eaglets once imperiled by DDT appear to be live and in front of the viewers, who can “hold” them.

Mother Nature can teach the children well

Kayaking with the LEAF program (Photo: The Nature Conservancy)

The kids are heading back to the classroom – if they aren’t already there sitting in rows in front of a blackboard – and parents are plotting how to give their children an academic advantage. Some are buying DVDs, books or computer programs. Some are paying for tutors or study skill seminars. All well and good. But if you want you kids to be smarter, some experts say, push them out the backdoor to play in the dirt, hunt for bugs and pollywogs, and explore the nearby park.

Pennies for the Planet kicks off 2009 program

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Audubon has announced that its ongoing Pennies for the Planet project will support three specific conservation efforts in 2009.

The projects are:

  • Project Puffin and the Seabird Restoration Program off the Maine coast. The Puffins have been restored to the island after once being driven off by hunters, but they must be protected as scientists learn more about how to save seabirds.
  • Four Holes Swamp, an ancient swamp that supports otters, owls and rare plants in South Carolina as well as cypress trees that are hundreds of years old. Alligators and rare bats live in this soggy setting. Parts of the swamp are protected, but more land could be preserved.
  • Wyoming’s “sagebrush sea,” an endangered habitat for pygmy rabbits, sage-grouse and pronghorns. Scientists are working to reclaim some of this area, to help save the native species, like the pronghorns, from being pushed aside by development and agriculture.

No Child Left Inside Gaining Momentum

kidsatpark.jpgBy Kelly Rondeau

You’ve heard of No Child Left Behind. Now comes a new program with serious educational goals, but a different approach: No Child Left Inside proposes to re-invigorate environmental education by tapping into kids’ innate curiosity about nature. And communities across America are embracing the fresh, bottom-up concept by holding No Child Left Inside events.