Sunday, April 22, 2012

fostering a love of the Earth

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival
This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction.  Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!


Robbins Farm Garden

Happy Earth Day! I've been looking forward to Earth Day this year because it's the first time Vivi--at almost four years old--understands the word Earth and what it means to protect it. I'm certain my children's understanding will grow and change with age, and I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and passion for environmental stewardship with the girls over the coming years.

Toilet paper roll seedling starters in upcycled "greenhouse" 
Today we are headed out back to put together our first garden. We are opting to go with a raised bed, both because we are renting our home and because it seemed easier and less expensive than attempting to till and fertilize the ground. April is still a bit early for our seedings to go in the ground,  so we aren't quite setting up the bed yet. I threw some leaves and compost on the spot where the bed will go, in hopes that it will discourage new green growth. We'll see. Because I was a tad too enthusiastic back in February, our seedlings are once again getting too big for their tiny pot britches. So today we are in phase two of the "Move the seedlings" project.

Success! It's the little things, right?

I have prepared Vivi for what it means to make a garden, first by sowing seeds and then by using our community garden as a source of education for both of us. I highly recommend taking your kids to your community garden if you have one. Ours is tended by the members at least twice a week, on Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings. They are happy to answer questions about the project and even give general gardening tips. I've been known to bend the ear of a gardener or four about my plans for a backyard garden, and they are just as sweet and patient as they can be with novices like myself.

Even more than the talks and planting of seeds, I think the best way to instill a sense of conservationism in my children will be to give them lots of time outdoors to explore, experiment, get dirty, and watch the plants grow. Although it was by accident that we are having to do all this repotting, Vivi adores every second of the event, loving nothing more than mixing compost and soil together in a big pot. Digging is a beloved activity, with no specific purpose in mind other than to put shovel to soil. Recently she found a millipede, named it Giggle, and carried it with her everywhere in a plastic cup. She talked to it and genuinely loved it as a best friend for several hours before reluctantly returning it to the dirt. Oh, the tugging of my heartstrings!

When I taught summer camp, I adored my nature classes, when I had the brief opportunity to instill in my campers a lasting love of nature. I'll never forget the children with autism I taught; one non-verbal camper who had never smiled nor made eye contact with me in weeks of interaction did both for the first time as he pulled a carrot out of the ground. No words are necessary to convey to joys of gardening; they are self-evident.

If you have older kids, I think a great idea for an Earth Day project is to find a way they can give back to their community. Friday, April 20th was Global Youth Service Day, and the projects continue through today. As a camp counselor-in-training, I spent what felt like an eternity one summer (perhaps it was only a day or two) creating a switchback trail in the woods to prevent erosion. Although it was seventeen years ago, I remember the feeling of pride I had on the project's completion as though it were yesterday.

Thank you for stopping by the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival! Please relax and take time to read these other great eco-living posts: Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction
  • You are a Child of the Earth - Using the Earth as their classroom, Patti from Canadian Unschool teaches her 4 children their spiritual connection to the Earth and she accepts that loving the Earth can get really, really messy.
  • Cutting Out Paper - Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went from curiosity and concern to actually cutting out the use of paper towels in her household. She is proud to be "greener" as each Earth Day passes.
  • The World is Brown - Debra Ann Elliot of Words are Timeless believes in keeping the Earth green, but because so many people inhabit the Earth it is turning brown because people aren't doing their part by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
  • 7 Child And Eco Friendly Activities To Honor The Earth (Plus Some Environmental Books For Kids) - Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her favorite books that help children become more aware of the importance of respecting and caring for Mother Earth. In addition, she hosts a guest post outlining seven child and eco friendly activities to honor the earth.
  • 5 Ways We Teach Our Children To Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle - Valarie at Momma In Progress shares a few tips for encouraging young children to care for the earth.
  • Little Changes - Big Results - Meegs at A New Day talks about how sometimes it’s the little decisions and changes that can lead us to find big results, and how she's baby-stepping her way to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
  • Inspiring the Next Generation - aNonyMous at at Radical Ramblings hopes to inspire her daughter to live a green and sustainable lifestyle, in the same way she was inspired by her high-school science teacher, and talks about the changes her family are making towards this vision.
  • Eco-Friendly Cleansers: Safe For the Environment, Healthy For Every Body - Rebekah at Liberated Family writes about safe and natural alternatives to toxic, household cleaning products..
  • Lightening My Footprint with Cloth Nappies (Diapers) - Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares the biggest eco-choice she has made so far, and why she is so passionate about it.
  • Clutter Free for a Cause - At Living Peacefully with Children Mandy's penchant for decluttering and simple living cuts down on consumerism, taking less of a tole on the Earth.
  • Eco-Parenting: Homemade Bug Spray - Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares a homemade bug spray recipe that helps her family to enjoy the natural world while taking precautions against bug bites.
  • Let the Scales Fall From My Eyes...Just Not Too Quickly - Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about the discomfort of no longer being able to live in denial over how her choices affect the world around her.
  • Fostering Love of Earth - Justine at The Lone Home Ranger instills a love of nature in her daughters by embarking on their first backyard vegetable garden together.
  • Being in Nature - Carrie at Love Notes Mama knows that just being in nature is more than enough.
  • 5 Ways to Pass Down Environmental Values to Your Children - Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares how easy it can be to instill environmental values in your children.
  • Viva Portlandia - Amy at Anktangle writes about the place she lives and loves in: Portland. She describes the ways this green city makes it easy for her family to take care of our earth, and also the steps she's taking to further lessen her family's environmental impact.
  • Conspicuous Conservationism - Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction examines the phenomenon of eco-conscious behavior as a status symbol.
  • Time for Radical Sustainability - Terri at Child of the Nature Isle ponders how she can model a truly sustainable lifestyle for her children and raise them in a way their environmental consciousness is as natural as breathing!
A big thank you to all of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival participants!

Editor's note: This post was shared with Frugal FridayYour Green ResourceFrugal Days, Sustainable WaysSeasonal Celebration Sunday and Natural Parenting Group's Monday Blog Hop.

Image Credit [top pic of signs]: Robbins Farm Community Garden.


Jacqueline Pointer said...

Obviously we all put our own personal spin on how we garden , as is evidenced by Vivi's skirt ( pic ) . Do you think that would look funny on me ? Wonder what the clients would say . I love it !

BecomingCrunchy said...

lol I'm glad I'm not the only one who has been too enthusiastic with seedlings! I'm so hoping mine will be OK for another few weeks!

We are doing our second garden this year (my first time starting plants from seeds - obviously!) and also using raised beds - I used straw bales with great success last year and am doing the same again. Now just looking forward to warmer weather!

Good luck with your garden and thank you for sharing!

Patti @ Canadian Unschooler said...

I love the gorgeous skirt on your daughter! That's the way my kids work outside too--first get pretty, then get dirty! I love it!

Jenn Collins said...

Very cool post!

The Lone Home Ranger said...

Thanks Patti. I let her wear what she wants, figuring if she doesn't mind it getting dirty, why should I? Her sense of style cracks me up, and it's a joy to see her come downstairs in her newest creation every day.

The Lone Home Ranger said...

Thanks, and good luck to you too! Straw bales are a great idea I hadn't considered. So the dirt doesn't just wash away in a storm? I will have to think on that one. When you do finally make the transfer of seedlings, you might appreciate <a href=">this post</a> on how to "harden" them first.

The Lone Home Ranger said...

That would be a great April Fool's joke for a client with a sense of humor. Now, where to buy you the right tutu...

Amy @ Anktangle said...

Oh, the toilet paper tube seed starter idea is so cute (and useful)! I'm also over-enthusiastic with my seed starts, but this year I'm a bit behind because we just moved. Thanks for this post!

African_Babies_Dont_Cry said...

I love this, my son also *loves* gardening, and by that I mean aimless digging too :) Love how she carried the millipede around.

Emily Sefcik said...

I love it! I'm slowly catching up on my reading and am adding all these to my list! Glad you had a lovely earth day!

IThoughtIKnewMama said...

I love the toilet paper roll garden! It must be so fun to have your daughter understand so much about Earth this year. 22 month old Baby loves nature so much, and I can't wait to see what he's like when he is Vivi's age!

Kerry @ City Kids said...

Justine, such a great post! And how fabulous that you have started a garden as a way to connect more deeply with food and soil. So great!

The Lone Home Ranger said...

Thanks Kerry. You have a way of beautifully synthesizing my jumble of words into one coherent thought. It's a gift!

Terri Henry said...

Love the reuse of the toilet paper insides - totally using this idea for seedlings. Gardening is just the best for connecting with Earth and I loved to see that my daughter isn't the only one who get's dirty in frills! Thanks for participating in the Earth Day Blog Carnival.

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sarah saad said...

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