Sunday, February 27, 2011

3rd Grade Activists!

This week, my kids 
(the classroom variety) 
were activists.  
They wrote on Earth Hour.  
and seeing the  
we wrote compositions.  
And I, their teacher, 
was impressed.  
These are the letters
we will be forwarding to our delegates. 

By the way... 
Earth Hour is 4 weeks from tonight.  
One month.  Take part.  It's important!

Letters from the 3rd graders at Eagle Cove School 
to the House of Delegates on the 
Health & Government Operations Committee regarding
House Bill 223:  Earth Hour       
February 25, 2011

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I feel that Earth Hour should be a Maryland law.  Earth Hour is on March 26 this year from 8:30--9:30 p.m.  It is when you turn off your lights for one hour.  In 2007, Sydney, Australia turned off their lights for one hour.  In 2008, 35 countries took part in Earth hour.  Then in 2009, 88 countries took part.  Finally in 2010, 128 countries took part!  On February 16 of this year, our teacher talked to you and the committee with Delegate Jill Carter.  I hope you see the importance and make Earth Hour a Maryland law.
                                Sincerely, P.K., age 9

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                Earth Hour should be a law in Maryland or anywhere else.  If nobody in the whole world took part, then our home, the Earth, would not have a holiday, which it deserves.  Earth Hour is on March 26, 2011.  It will be from 8:30--9:30 p.m.  Earth Hour started in Australia in 2007.  During Earth Hour, you can use candles, flashlights (eco-friendly ones), bonfires, and eco-friendly booklights.  Our teacher, Mrs. Dabrowka talked to you and the committee on February 16th, 2011 about our school (Eagle Cove School) and about Earth Hour.  Last year 128 countries participated.  Earth Hour is important which is why you should vote to make it a law.
                                Sincerely, M.B, age 9

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I think you should make Earth Hour a law.  Earth Hour is a 60 minute event on March 26, 2011 from 8:30--9:30 pm.  During Earth Hour, all you do is turn off the lights to show you care about the Earth.  In the four years there has been Earth Hour, the population of people who took part grew.  One little action can make a difference.  I think Earth Hour should be a worldwide law to make a difference.  You can help by having Maryland take part and make it a law.
                                Sincerely, K.Y., age 8

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I agree with Delegate Jill Carter and Mrs. Vicki Dabrowka that the House of Delegates should make Earth Hour a law.  Earth Hour is on March 26 from 8:30--9:30 p.m.  It is 60 minutes where you turn off the lights.  It shows that individual actions can lead to big things.  Also with Earth Hour, you can do lots of things in the dark like using candles or flashlights, making bonfires, going on moonlight walks, and playing games without TV’s, DS’s, the Wii, and the PS3.  Last year 1.3 billion people took part.  I will take part in Earth Hour along with many other people.  For all of these reasons, I really think you should make Earth Hour a law.
                                Sincerely, M.K., age 9

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I feel Earth Hour should be made into a law.  Earth Hour is when people turn off their lights for an hour on March 26 from 8:30--9:30 p.m.  It started in Sydney Australia.  The first year in 2007 there was just one city and one country that took place in it.  The second year there were 35 countries.  The third year there were 128 countries.  Who knows how many there will be this year.  Please vote to make Earth Hour a Maryland law.
                                Sincerely, J.B., age 8

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I feel Earth Hour should be a law, and Maryland should participate in it.  If you do make Earth Hour a law, it will inspire other states, which would inspire other countries.  Then pretty soon the whole world will be turning off their lights for one hour, one day, March 26th, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  I hope you really think about this because it could really help the world.
                                Sincerely, T.D., age 9

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I agree with Delegate Jill Carter and Mrs. Vicki Dabrowka who visited your committee on February 16th, 2011.  I think that on Earth Hour, March 26, 2011 that we should make Earth Hour (turning off your lights) a law.  I know that a small group of people may not make a big difference, but if you make Earth Hour a law, that bigger groups may make a growing difference.  Last year 128 countries participated.  Wouldn’t it be cool if we could turn 128 into 129?  I think that if we enforce this law, Maryland will become part of something big.
                                Sincerely, L.B., age 9

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I know that my teacher went to talk to you and the committee on February 16th, 2011 about Earth Hour.  I think that Earth Hour should be a law so everybody has to turn off the lights for an hour.  Earth Hour is March 26, 2011 from 8:30--9:30 p.m. this year.  By turning off lights, that saves you energy and it will also save money, which is another reason you should turn off the lights.  Individual actions can add up to big things.  At the first Earth Hour there was only 1 country, then 35 countries, then 88 countries, then 128 countries.  Earth Hour is important for our planet, which is why Maryland should vote to make it a law.
                                Sincerely, S.T., age 9

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I know that our teacher Mrs. Dabrowka came to talk with your committee on February 16th, 2011.  We think you should make Earth Hour a law.  Our school did Earth Hour in 2009.  Baltimore did it last year.  Earth Hour is 60 minutes long on March 26 when you can turn the lights off from 8:30--9:30 p.m.  It would save energy, electricity, and money.  One action can do a lot.  1.3 billion people did it last year.  It’s easy.  Just turn off unnecessary lights!  I think you should make Earth Hour a law because it will save energy and give a big message.
                                Sincerely, E.A., age 8

Dear Delegates of the Health and Government Operations Committee,
                I think Earth Hour should be the law.  It started in Australia.  One country made Earth Hour special.  Earth Hour is March 26 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.  Everybody should take part.  Last year 1.3 billion people took part, and 128 countries took part too.  During Earth Hour, you turn off the lights for 60 minutes.  If you are planning to be involved, your family can play in the dark.  You can make a statement to save money, save energy, and show it’s important to help the Earth.  If you want to learn more, go to .  Individual actions can make up to big things.  If you can, celebrate Earth Hour by making it into Maryland law.
                                Sincerely, D.D., age 8

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

GTG's One Year Anniversary ♫

I'm not sure when I became an activist.  However, given that fact that within the last year I've started an environmental blog & a companion GTG Facebook, I've signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3-day/60 mile walk for Breast Cancer, and I testified on behalf of Earth Hour and House Bill 223 last week at the Maryland House of Delegates
I think those four items right there are enough to tip the scales for "activist."

Not to mention I've been known to tote our compost bucket to the mini-golf place for my daughter's bday party or dress like Michael Recycle or in a dress of 200+ Capri Sun juice pouches for the school Halloween party.

Yup...activist it is.

Again, I'm a bit befuddled as to how or when it happened... especially given how (as a general rule) I was pretty darn apathetic in both high school and college.  Perhaps it comes with becoming an adult, a mom, or just solidifying any opinionated tendencies.  Perhaps it's a mere offshoot of "every little action, when combined, culminates into a lot of action."  Everything does indeed add up to make a big difference. 

No matter when it happened, it has seemed to make life a little more exciting, a little more meaningful, and a lot more informed.  Hopefully my sharing of environmental tidbits has done a little bit of all of that for you too.

One year, and it's  " Happy  Anniversary   toGTG  ♫ ♪ ♫."  It all started the weekend of February 20th, 2010, with the first official blog entry on Feb 26th.  Thanks for everyone along the way who has been there!

Images:  GTG logo; and cake pic from .

Monday, February 21, 2011

Standing Ovation to More Animation

Cheers to... ideas, technologies,
...and this new animation video from WWF about climate change, green energy, and taking action.

Click here, the title above, or go to :
Image = World Wildlife Federation logo

An Answer to Your Earth Hour Commercial Cravings!

Given last week with my testimony & speech at the Maryland House of Delegates...last week was essentially "brought to you by Earth Hour" here's the perfect Earth Hour commercial to keep the idea alive!!  It's the perfect-sized snippet to introduce the idea to your kids or your classroom!

For the making of this video, take time to watch this--pretty interesting!
Video from

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sustainability Defined via Animation

Animation always does a great job of bringing everything to an easy-to-understand level...especially in the classroom.  Here, Real Eyes Video defines "Sustainability."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Neat Surprise That Doesn't Happen Every Day

Here's what got delivered to my mail today from Delegate Nicholas Kipke, who was at the Maryland House of Delegates in Annapolis Wednesday (when I testified on behalf of Earth Hour ~ House Bill 223). 
Yep...a neat surprise that doesn't happen every day!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Written Testimony for House Bill 223: Earth Hour

Here is my written testimony that I prepared for 

House Bill 223: State Government -- 
Commemorative Days -- Earth Hour
Assigned to: Health and Government Operations
February 16, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your invitation to testify before you today on the subject of Earth Hour

My name is Vicki Dabrowka. For the past 4 of my 18 years of teaching, I have taught 3rd grade and served as one of the two “Green Team” leaders for Eagle Cove School in Pasadena, Maryland. Eagle Cove School (previously named Gibson Island Country School) has been a Maryland “Green” School since 2006. Outside of school, I write and maintain an environmental blog entitled “Green Team Gazette.” In it, I share environmental resources with other educators, parents, and eco-minded individuals. I also write a monthly newsletter that is shared on three websites: our Eagle Cove website,, and It is through our affiliation with the latter two that Eagle Cove School connected with the Alain L. Locke School in Harlem, New York. In 2008 we helped Alain L. Locke start its first environmental club, and we recently partnered together become “Sister Schools.” My children also attend ECS. Needless to say, I take environmentalism rather seriously, both personally and professionally.

As a Maryland “Green” School, we at Eagle Cove are highly committed to many of the “hot topics” of environmentalism: sustainability, environmental literacy, restoration, energy consumption and conservation, resource management, and more. Of course, to your average 4 to 10 year old student (the PreK to fifth grade population we serve), these terms mean very little. However, our students do understand when you put “these BIG issues” into “their” terms:
      · Helping the Earth;
      · “Going Green;”
      · Reduce, reuse, recycle…even compost;
      · Respect all living things;
      · Save energy by turning out lights. (One of my classroom jobs, in fact, is “The Illuminator” who’s big job is to “de-illuminate” and turn the lights off.)

These words…and their meaning…the children understand. At ECS, we hold Morning Meetings three times a week with the entire student body to share announcements, birthdays, songs, and presentations on all of the above environmental issues. We often talk about “taking action” and the idea of “accomplishing more when you work as a team.” These two principles are at the heart of Earth Hour, and they speak strongly to both young (and old) children alike.

This year will be our third year of being actively involved with Earth Hour at ECS. As a pre-learning activity during the 2008-2009 Winter, my 3rd grade class monitored the amount of “saved electricity” we did NOT use whenever we could use natural sunlight rather than interior lights. We recorded this on a grid the shape of a light bulb.

In March of 2009, we researched the website and watched the videos with our “Roots And Shoots” club (an environmental program for students sponsored by the Jane Goodall Institute). The students and I created an Earth Hour invitation in the form of a poem that was later presented to our student body. (This poem is currently on our Eagle Cove Website in our “Past Environmental Activities” section.) Our Earth Hour event was held on the school’s campus under the guidance and organization of both myself and our science teacher, Tim Decker on March 28, 2009 from 8:15 to 9:30 pm…just enough time to get there, get organized, and ceremoniously turn out the lights. Had it been an evening of delightful weather, we would have found ourselves outdoors playing games such as “Ghost in the
Our Earth Cake for Earth Hour 2009
Graveyard” by flashlight. As it turned out, the March Maryland weather did not cooperate; however, based on the candlelit revelry indoors, no one seemed to mind.

Plans were to make Earth Hour an annual ECS tradition, yet we found ourselves recovering from a February fire almost 1 year ago today. Given that fact, an on-campus event was impossible due to portable classrooms and a lack of space. However, we again educated our student body with the online videos, discussions, and online activities from the EarthHourKids website. We challenged both our student and adult population to take part in Earth Hour 2010 by turning out the lights together, as a family, a neighborhood, or a community. The following week, students came to share the many ways they “unplugged” that hour: by taking nature walks, roasting marshmallows outdoors, picnicking by moonlight, playing board games by candlelight, and more. In fact, more than one parent reported to me that their children wouldn’t dare let them even think about turning on the lights! 

Earth Hour 2011 is upon us and plans are in the works. The initial plans were to return to our on-campus event; however, our head of school Laura Kang, and the two “Green Team” members (Tim Decker and myself) will be returning to Maryland earlier that Saturday morning (March 28th) from visiting Alain L. Locke, our Environmental Sister School, in Harlem, New York. In lieu of an on-campus event (and namely the event coordinators), we will again be inspiring students to create their own “lights-out, taking action” adventures, and urging them to report about it during a special Morning Meeting the Monday following Earth Hour.
Photo from our 2009 ECS Earth Hour Event

It is our job as educators to instill in our students--our children--many strong characteristics. Through the lens of environmentalism at Eagle Cove School, we are able to address all of these: respect, responsibility, critical thinking skills, the ability to solve problems proactively, character skills such as empathy and compassion, and the importance of acting as stewards to care for our Earth.

Earth Hour too does that same thing. It nods its head at the understanding that yes, one small act is just that, a small deed. But those deeds can serve as the pebble in the pond, and extend out a vast number of ripples. Additionally, you have the sum of many individual actions acting as a multitude of pebbles. Through that, the difference is most certainly seen and felt. One hour is not going to make a difference in terms of wattage or major savings on anyone’s electric bill. One hour in one house--or even many--is not going to stop climate change. However, it speaks volumes of the desires of people to be a part of something bigger than themselves--to be proactive for the planet. 

And yes indeed, one little action can make a huge difference. 5 years ago, one small action occurred in a town called Sydney, Australia that chose to take a stand. They chose to unite, turn off their lights, and speak a simple, yet poignant message. Each year, the spirit of the message grew. Last year, a mere 4 years later, over 128 countries took a stand. Last year, the Earth Hour message reached approximately 1.3 billion people. That is nearly 1/5 of our world’s population as it nears 7 billion citizens (slated to occur by the end of 2011). Numbers of this size are often difficult for children to grasp, yet even they can sense the enormity of 1 out of every 5 people on the planet. It is in the exponential growth of a global event such as this that you feel the momentum and magnitude of this “grassroots” message.

Additionally, our students--our future leaders--need to see our emphasis on the importance of such global concerns. They need to be educated and encouraged to participate--as perhaps their parents do as well. Then after Earth Hour, when they see photographs of darkened landmarks that they know (such as the Taj Mahal, the Sydney Opera House, and the Eiffel Tower)—especially if they were a part of Earth Hour--they will feel the significance of Earth Hour’s message: “If you can do this, imagine what else you can achieve.” Such a powerful message of hope, inspiration, and community is meaningful when the nightly news isn’t always so inspired. People enjoy feeling empowered. Earth Hour is a simple way to spread education, information, and optimism. Given that, my question to you is why would you NOT want to participate in this global event and inspire people to be a part of something bigger than themselves?

The Maryland Government should be part of that message and should vote to be a part of Earth Hour. As Chief Seattle said over 150 years ago, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” Maryland’s Government needs to pass this legislation in order to return this gift to our children, our future leaders of both our state and our nation. For if we do not, and we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem. As an educator of our youth, I feel as though that is not an option. I hope you, as our political leaders, feel the same.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Day In Court ~ MD House Bill 223: Earth Hour

"Hey, what did you do today?"             "Oh...Nothing." 

THAT most certainly is NOT my answer for today.

Today, I trekked down to Annapolis, Maryland to the Maryland House of Delegates. (Definitely not your normal, run of the mill, average day in 3rd grade!)  Yesterday I was invited to testify today at the House Health and Government Committee today on behalf of the importance of Earth Hour from the perspective of an organization that has participated in this global event.    

Delegate Jill Carter of Maryland's District 41 (Baltimore City) was proposing that House Bill 223 (Commemorative Day: Earth Hour) be put into the legislative docket for future vote (especially since it had failed to pass last year).  This bill would issue an annual observance to Earth Hour in order to turn out lights in selected Maryland governmental buildings during the global "lights out" event of Earth Hour.  (This year's Earth Hour event is Saturday, March 26th, 2011 from 8:30--9:30 pm).  Given our on-campus Earth Hour 2009 Event, and our at-home challenge for Earth Hour 2010, she and her legislative team felt we at Eagle Cove School might be a perfect match, which is why they initially approached us.

(As an aside...When you are invited to testify on behalf of something you firmly believe in, you hurry and scurry & get organized in order to attend and do just that, regardless of the fact that the hearing is the very next day...which is exactly what I did!!)

Myself, legislative intern Fabion, & Delegate Carter
So today, February 16th, 2011 around 1:30 pm, following Delegate Carter's introduction of the bill (behind the sole light of a candle for dramatic emphasis), I was invited to speak.  Being a girl more comfy with the written word than a debate or speaking off the cuff, I had prepared a speech which I was all ready to read.  However, since it had been copied, collated, and passed out the the 20 or so committee members, and given the elements of time and the structure of the hearing (and the encouragement from Delegate Carter to "speak from the heart,") I went renegade and tried to do just that!   

Since pictures most certainly speak 1000 words...especially when accompanied with audio and live action, I can't even begin to describe it.  Check out  the link here or see the website choices below to view the today's experience on the House's archived hearings.

Though butterflies were definitely fluttering in my tummy, it was most certainly a rare and memorable experience to be a part of the political be part of the gears that make the governmental decision-making process work.  It's definitely a tad different from your typical day in 3rd grade!  As of now, we're waiting to see which way decisions and potential future votes will be made.  I'll most certainly keep you posted. 

Special thanks to Delegate Carter and her two legislative assistants Fabion and David for finding us at Eagle Cove School and inviting us to be a part of something big--promoting the global climate change awareness-initiative of Earth Hour.  It is my hope that the committee votes to make Earth Hour a regular part of our Maryland calendar!

To witness the hearing, you can go to one the Maryland Government House link
with Eagle Cove School's district Delegate Nic Kipke

To be a part of making government happen, write your delegates!  You can also go to the Maryland House Health & Government Operations page to find a list of Maryland's committee members.  Make yourself be heard to make the global message even louder!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day ~ Love Boat Style & Eco Smiles

When you're a 3rd grade teacher, you have a tool belt of "teacher tormenting tidbits." 

True terrorism? 
Oh heavens no!!  
Just things that you do just for the soul purpose of creating your own personal smirk because you know it'll send your 8 and 9 year olds into a "ooh, yuck" tizzy.  Of course, it's a win-win for all because it secretly adds humor and levity to the group.  

My tidbits usually revolve around kissing, love and romance.  One of my personal favorites is breaking into song during romantic chapters with the theme of 1970's pop TV favorite, "The Love Boat."  Oh, squirm they do!  Hee hee hee! 

Ergo, Valentine's Day is ripe with opportunity to playfully harass and see kids hide their faces in the shock of the subject level!  So on a holiday centered around love, how could I not show "The Love Boat" intro video.
(And yes, I had students on the floor (seemingly in pain), and entire heads disappearing inside shirts.  Hee hee hee.)
But, upon finding a great little gem of an article on Twitter from "Our Everyday Earth's" website on cruises, how could I pass up "The Love Boat" connection??

When you go to, you find the following article: "3 Cruise Lines Focused on Eco Improvement."  In it, you get the inside eco-info on 3 cruise lines and their Environmental Report Cards.  I don't want to spoil the ending for you, so go over to "Our Everyday Earth" to check it out.  If you're planning a spring time cruise, one of these three might be ones with which you fall in love!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Heart image from and Cruise image from "Our Everyday Earth's" webpage above!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Today's Version of Noah's Ark: ARKive!

This past Friday and Saturday I attended the MAEOE Conference ~ Maryland's conference for outdoor educators where over 600 people attended (making it the nation's largest "green" conference.). 

Being the eco-geek that I am, I was essentially in nirvana! 

One of my favorite highlight's of the entire conference was my first session Saturday morning where I swear, I visited Noah's Ark!  Internet style.

In order to tell about, I think I need to start in just the same way as Liana Vitali (the fabulous Arkive science outreach and education officer who presented) did--by showing this brief video that's on Arkive's home page and narrated by one of their major patrons, Sir David Attenborough:

ARKive has a collection (as of numbers on February 9th as their stockpile grows continually) of:
     ~ 12,201 species profiles
                [most of them threatened, endangered, or even extinct!],
     ~ 7,416 videos, and
     ~ 66,605 photographs. 

In addition to images and animal fact sheets, there are lesson plans (, maps (as it is tied in with Google Earth), and interactive games kids will adore.  You can explore animals by category, geography, or simply using the search bar. It's an educational resource meant (in ARKive's words) to "enthuse...engage...and inspire." 

And it does!  Most definitely!

Best part (as if there's a better part than "all of the above,") is that it is a free resource, where no user names or passwords are needed.  I had to drag my own kids away from their own endless investigations this afternoon! 

My teacher-wheels were definitely spinning about all the number of ways I could use this in my classroom!  It's going to want to be a site you want high on your "bookmark" list!

If you cannot click the video above, click the title above, or see it on Arkive's home page at the way...their other major patrons are oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle and Professor E.O. Wilson.  That's quite an alumni of major conservationist supporters!! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting the Most From Our Compost Hosts

There's nothing like starting the morning in the crisp outdoors, fragrant aroma wafting about as you walk downwind from about 50 rows of steaming compost housed on approximately 52 acres of land in Prince Georges County.

Of course, being a greeniac, this out-in-the-field experience was self-invited and truly fascinating.  Additionally, being that it was purely yard waste (with no food waste at this time...tho the county is looking into that as a future option), my nose was far from traumatized and there were no critters anywhere in the fenced facility!

Being a teacher at a green school that composts, I know a bit about compost.  Yet I learned that there was so much more to learn about the "science of compost" from our Prince Georges County Composting Facility yard waste specialists, Randy & JR.

The science at this windrows (rather than static) composting site involves many pieces of equipment.  All sorts of measurements are taken using oxygen sensors, thermometers (the desired temperature is approximately 140°F), water (lest the compost get too dry), microorganism (which do the bulk of the breaking down work), and heavy machinery to rotate and grind to get the compost to the proper particle size.  Carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen are all at work in their proper amounts!

Being one of the two large composting facilities in all of Maryland (the other one being in Montgomery County), this PG County facility tackles approximately 80,000 tons of lawn waste state-wide and keeps it out of the landfills per year.  In turn, they make 55,000--65,000 tons of "LeafGro" composted soil over the course of its 6--7 month transformation.  As money comes in from the yard waste drop off and comes in again when people purchase the soil, revenue is generated from waste products.

Kind of brings to mind Tom Szaky's book Revolution in a Bottle on the ecocapitalism story of Terracycle. 

The Peterson Grinder (see below) even finely chops the plastic bags that the curbside lawn waste comes in...which even that is used!  It is collected and used for nightly landfill coverage, with a thin layer of dirt holding it down. (As dictated by law, landfills must be covered and sealed each night.)  Of course, that brings about floating plastic caught in the fences and trees; but even with that, the Composting Facility has a cleaning plan in place to keep that plastic from escaping into our waterways.
Seeing 50 rows of composted "dirt piles," some as short as 450 feet but most ranging 800--1000 feet long is pretty impressive.  Even more so is seeing it at the various stages, especially the final product:  thick, rich soil.  Not to mention, the mountain of mulch made from Christmas trees was equally impressive.
For more information or to schedule a field trip (as they openly welcome visitors  & kids of all ages to come and check it out,) click on the title above, go to, or call Randy Bolt (the operations manager) at the numbers below:

Prince George's County  Composting Facility
6550 S.E. Crain Highway
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
301-952-9386 or 301 627-6487

Plus, a bonus for locals:  
Mark your calendars for April 16th = "Free Mulch Day."  
Bring either your pick up truck or your own shovel and bags to PG County's Composting Facility from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Here, you'll be able to obtain some of their "black gold" on their one day where you don't have to pay.  Last year, 1018 pick-up trucks circled through the six-hour window of mulch opportunity. What a great service PG County's Composting Facility offers to homeowners.  (Commercially labeled trucks, don't bother to arrive as you'll be sent away!)

~ The steamy compost picture is the only picture I successfully took that turned out this morning (despite the dozen or so other attempts in the bright sun).
~ Composting graphic from
~ The blue Peterson Grinder image is from PG County's Composting Facility website:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Green Chicks 4 Pink

One of my favorite quotes is from Dewitt Jones, National Geographic Magazine freelance photographer, speaker, and author of a number of books on leadership and creativity:
"Take yourself to your own edge."
Today I did just that:  I stepped (or perhaps dove head first) outside my comfort zone, and perhaps right over my own edge!

But I think my pedometer shall be pleased, as I embark upon my new adventure.  I have joined a team of outdoorsy gals who have decided to find their own edges for the sake of a worthy cause.  It's official ~ we've signed up as "Green Chicks 4 Pink" to take part in Washington, DC's "Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure" for Breast Cancer.  Come this September 23rd to the 25th, we'll be donning our pink shirts, our walking shoes, our pedometers, and hopefully our padded donation envelopes to tackle the 60 miles trek to work to eradicate breast cancer.  
 Funny.. it is either the 7 months to the event or my own naivety, I'm not so worried about the walking itself.  I have decent endurance, and I'm not running (oh, the horrors that would be!).  My hope is that hefty training (and a lot of willpower) will help with that as well...not to mention helping to shed a pound or two.

It's the $2300 funds that I need to raise in order to participate that leave me feeling a tad daunted.  However, a former teacher friend of mine told me it was kind of like "Field of Dreams," in that it was one of the best experiences that she's ever had, DO IT, and everything else will fall into place.  

It's at that place where you start to leap.  And with gung-ho partners in crime, how can you help but  do anything other than leap?

Here's a powerful video speaking vividly of Breast Cancer Awareness that I placed on my fundraising webpage:

Video from

Stay tuned periodically while I'm leaping over here with my "Green Chicks 4 Pink." I see it as my own personal quest and invitation for outdoor education!  (Perhaps it should be Richard Louv's sequel:  "No Moms Left Inside.")  I'll keep you posted...and with any luck, have pictures galore from my September adventure for a very important cause.

In the meantime, keep this quote in mind:
"Approximately 1 in 7 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and more than 2 million Americans are living with breast cancer today."  
~ Sheryl Crow, singer, songwriter, environmentalist, breast cancer survivor
Pink ribbon image from

Saturday, February 5, 2011

No Need to Jump Thru Hoops for "Loop Scoops!"

LOOPS SCOOPSMy latest Internet discovery:  A super duper troupe of groovy mini movies!  Backed by PBS & Annie Leonard of The Story of Stuff, you can't go wrong!

Entitled "Loop Scoops," these video snippets were created to stimulate the minds of youngsters, and get them critically thinking about the "stuff" that's in their lives.

From the Story of Stuff website:
Each SCOOP tells the story of something kids use or see everyday — a juice box, a magazine, an electronic gadget, a glass of juice, a pile of garbage. Our goal is to get kids thinking in new ways and asking new questions, like: What is this made of? Where did it come from? Who made it? What happens when I throw it away?
To see a sample Loop Scoops on "Garbage," click below or go to
Your true wealth though, will be if you go to where you'll also find "Garbage" (above) and also see their other "Loop Scoops" videos on the subjects of:
  • electronic gadgets
  • juice boxes
  • magazines
  • orange juice
  • frogs
  • happiness
  • velcro
To learn even more about this new gem, go to the article "Introducing Loop Scoops" where it details Annie Leonard's involvement. (You may remember Annie Leonard from Internet sensation of educational animation: "The Story of Stuff.") To read all about it, go to

With all of this, I'm sure you're finding yourself asking, "What could be better than 'Loop Scoops'?"  

The answer:  Teacher Resources & Lessons Plans to go with "Loop Scoops!"

Each video montage has it's own associated lesson plans (also influenced by Annie Leonard) at  Geared for classrooms teaching grades 1--4, these lesson plans give broader depth to many topics, often times combining videos for greater connections when used together. 

Lesson plan topics at the TeachersDomain website that integrate the Loop Scoop videos include:
  • Biodegradation ~ for grades 3-4
  • Electronics gadgets ~ for grades 1-4
  • Frogs ~ for grades 1-4
  • Happiness ~ for grades 1-4
  • Garbage ~ for grades 1-4
  • Juice Boxes ~ for grades 1-4
  • Magazines ~ for grades 1-4
  • Needs & Wants ~ for grades 1-2
  • Orange Juice ~ for grades 1-4
  • Product Life Cycle ~ for grades 3-4
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ~ for grades 1-2
  • Velcro ~ for grades 1-4
Bottom Line:  If you are looking for a way to infuse more environmental education and critical thinking in your curriculum, and are 2 great places to go!