Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Sit Back Chat with President Obama & Bill Nye The Science Guy

It's Earth Day, and you're the President.  What do you do?  Well, sit back and chat with Bill Nye the Science Guy, of course!

And where do you do it?  The Everglades.  Duh!

Topics du jour:  
  • The magic window to get "nature under your skin," grab a "life long passion (for anything),"  & "science in your blood & excited" is age 10.  Do it by then, and you've got'em hooked!!
  • Bill Nye's view on being a patriot.  Obama's questions on why schools aren't more successful in getting kids excited about STEM topics:  Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math.
To watch all 6 minutes of this brain trust, watch it below, or click here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Really Paying Attention: Outdoors & In a World That's Gone Haywire

Despite already reaching my daily goal of 10,000 steps, I'm walking circles around the soccer field during my daughter's practice, begrudgingly giving the dog some exercise.

Yet as I walk circles tonight, I find my mood shifting.

When I get past my own lethargy, and really pay attention, I notice that it is truly a lovely night. The weather is quite mild and it seems spring has finally sprung. Black squirrels are romping through the woods where just last week, I saw a deer.  People of all sizes and ages are running about, engaged in their sports: my soccer girls are zipping across the field, lacrosse gents are running stamina drills, both wee ones and adults are playing baseball on both ends of the athletic complex. The swings are filled, and the whole area is abuzz not only with the freshness of spring, but also the innocence of youth.  It is as it should be, and the dog and I are maximizing our number of steps, and soaking it all in.

Yet meanwhile, not terribly far from here at all, riots, violence, & destruction abound in Baltimore. There is no springtime innocence or freshness there now, thanks to people who feel such a lack of respect that they turned a peaceful protest on its edge, destroying their own neighbors & neighborhoods. They created fires and then sabotaged the extinguishing efforts by slicing hose lines of water sources. People who will never grasp resolution at this rate due to the violence begetting just more violence. More than once has Martin Luther King, Jr been mentioned, and I literally see him shaking his head in my head, ashamed in Heaven of the horrible waste & mess people are making of Maryland's Baltimore.

I believe it's more than a racial issue: it's an American issue. Americans are turning on their fellow Americans. It's a senseless waste by unthinking people.

I also am ashamed that all this local self-inflicted destruction has led to such unsafe and scary
circumstances.  Stupidity-induced circumstances. Needless drama that has eclipsed the natural disaster and destruction of the Nepalese earthquake. THAT is a true disaster. (Well, Baltimore is unfortunately disastrous now too--but that is all man-made and could have been prevented through the choice of many.) Nepal, on the other hand, was blindsided. At last count there were over 5,000 deaths with the potential of 10,000.  Saddening and tragic.

In both places, there are innocents who have fallen in harms way. And thankfully, there are generous people in both situations who are working mightily to offer help and support. Rebuilding will be necessary in both places. But both of these situations aren't the same. One was preventable, if people would have been governed far more by love and kindness than hatred. When I think of all of this, I am ashamed of how it makes us look to the rest of the world--as Americans, turning on ourselves. What the people of Nepal would do to have such frivolous choice--and I am sure it wouldn't be to choose purposeful destruction.

So as I walk my circles around the field, I am past my initial exhaustion and desire to not be here. Instead, I am grateful for the simplicity of the green fields, and the laughter of the children that are here...and wish all of that could extend locally, nationally, and globally.

To assist with Nepal, Time Magazine offers 6 charities to check out, and a friend of mine also suggested ShelterBox USA.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day 2015

As a person who has come to travel the path o'green (the one that has nothing to do with the Blarney Stone), Earth Day is a favorite holiday of mine.  Earth Days in school are particularly fun because you see these little human sponges just soaking in the knowledge.  They "get" it.  They see it.  They innately see the importance of talking about saving the environment & its resources. The environment a lot of time is the place that holds kids' play places (even in this TV-tech realm), their animals, the places they want to be barefoot outside in.  The place where their curiosity is ripe, and the place where hands-on learning just comes naturally.  Naturally in nature...naturally, of course.

Today at my school, we had a pretty neat (& new) event called the "Earth Day Family Maker Night."  It was a fabulous night of invention, upcycling, reusing, creating, & celebrating Earth Day.  It's something definitely worth sharing, and will be featured here sometime soon.  Additionally, a week ago, we had Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, come to campus as part of a commemorative lecture series. That's another dynamic eco-piece I'm eager to write about as it was fascinating.

But for tonight, this most sacred of environmental holidays, I'm wanting to pay tribute to the most greenest of schools I've ever known, a school that holds many a memory, but yet unfortunately is now a memory itself.  Tonight, I'm honoring the 8-year MD "Green" School Eagle Cove, which closed its doors the last time last June, shortly after its final 5th grade Graduation.  Eagle Cove School was a place where "Earth Day" was not a just day, but a week, an annual event, & a lot of fun.
It was the place:
  • Where Earth Day musicals happened every year as created by our amazingly creative science & music teachers;
  •  Where a marvelous musician named Linda Richards came every year & brought her talent to our troops to create eco-parodies and a fabulous musical show (that was often held outdoors, river-side);
  • Where children's book writer and environmentalist Jennifer Keats Curtis always came and shared her writing wisdom with our young learners;
  • Where solar car races happened, birdhouses were put up, vegetables were planted in the greenhouse, animals were introduced to us, and we might even get a bit wet in the campus-side river;
  • Where we all were outdoors, doing so much, and kids were learning to become young naturalists and young activists.
Cheers to Eagle Cove, and my school family and friends.  Click here to relive some of the mighty memories of ECS's Earth Days & Weeks over the last several years.

"Happy Earth Day" 2015 pic created using the "Pic Collage" app; ECS farewell faculty pic from, ECS "Dive Deep & Fly High" from

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Love Mike Rowe--Taking on Pollution

Part of most days (perhaps more than I'd like to admit to) is spent dabbling around on Facebook. Checking out my little CyberTribe through social media, seeing what everyone is up to.  It's there also that I follow a lot of environmental and educational peeps, and other folks or organizations that I like and believe in.  It was here, tonight, that I ran across Mike Rowe.  No, I don't know him, but I follow him, and I generally really like his no-nonsense way of looking at and addressing things.

Today did not disappoint.  Over on Mike Rowe's Facebook page, this is how Mike's post started, and this is where I got drawn in:  
     "A couple of weeks ago, I was stuck in traffic on Lombard Street, desperate to get across the Golden Gate Bridge for a meeting I was doomed to miss. As I quietly cursed the faceless bureaucrat who approved road work during rush hour, the guy in front of me threw an empty Big Gulp out the passenger window. I watched the giant cup bounce around the street, roll into the curb, and come to rest on the grate of a storm drain. The guy was driving a Prius, and the irony was just too much to bear.
I hopped out of my car, retrieved the trash, and approached his vehicle. Squatting on the pavement, I addressed the gentleman from the passenger side. “Hi there!” I said, grinning my best gameshow host grin. “I think the wind blew this giant cup out of your environmentally friendly vehicle. Here you go....”
From there came 13 more short paragraphs on how this insensitive Prius driver polluted the world, and how perhaps every one piece of garbage out there inspires others to be equally careless and thoughtless, dumping on our world.

But, as only Mike Rowe can do, he spun this tale of evil into a story of good.  He offered up a sneak preview of his latest episode of "Somebody's Gotta Do It" on CNN, which airs tonight at 9 pm EST. Tonight he highlights Chad Pregracke, who was 2013's CNN Hero of the Year award winner.  Founder of Living Lands & Water, Chad has been featured over here at GTG in the past.  Chad is a modern day super hero, or akin to the tall tale hero Mike Fink, keelboater extraordinaire.  Perhaps the only difference being that Chad Pregracke trades in Mike Fink's keelboat for a barge or even something smaller, and works to clean up waterways with a variety of volunteers and a mountain of might.  

As always, Mike Rowe champions the good guys.  The ones who deserve it.
As well they should.

So on that note, I leave you to go set my DVR to check out Chad & Mike.  Along with that, I leave you with some parting words from Mike Rowe's facebook page:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Noah Gru Challenges You to See Through His 6 Year Old Eyes & His 3 Minute White House Student Film Fest Video

I marvel at the fact that we are living in a world where currently 2 states (Florida and Wisconsin) have declared it null and void to mention the words "climate" and "change" together.  I'm not really sure, given our constitution and that "right to free speech" thing how that is even possible.  It is a subject that thoroughly makes me shake my head.  I'm so glad that by not mentioning it, people think it just seems to go away.  

Yes, Sheldon, that's sarcasm!  Ei yie yie yie yie!

Well luckily, all is not lost, and there is still vision and wisdom out in the world.  6 year old Noah Gru knows differently.

That's right, I said 6 years old!

Noah & his family submitted a 3 minute film to the White House Student Film Festival, for students grades K--12.  That film was one of the 15 chose to screen at the White House...with Noah being the youngest one in the bunch.  Here is his film, followed by the CBS news commentary clip on the same subject.

Out of the mouths of babes.  Way to go, Noah.  If a 6 year old can "get" it, why can't politicians and others?!  We need to take care of what we have, while we still have it.

To read more about it, check out Upworthy.

Big Bang pic of Sheldon, Leonard, & Sarcasm from

Obama image from

 Noah Gru's film from; News Video from CBS

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Movin' & Groovin' at the White House Easter Egg Roll 2015

It's definitely off topic, but a great memory all the same. Or maybe not--as it was a great way to spend the day outside, taking part in Michelle Obama's Let's Move movement.

This year we got the opportunity to
participate in the 137th White House Easter Egg Roll.

Part of the beauty of living in the greater Baltimore-Washington corridor is that there's a lot of history all around.  Add in a lot of opportunity.  When this year's White House Easter Egg lottery "rolled" around, we, like many Americans, put in our name. And, like 35,000 people, got picked for one of the 5 daily 2-hour timed sessions to participate.  For us, it was the 2:30--4:30 pm time slot, which made for the perfect opportunity this past Monday to leisurely ride the metro in and get where we needed to officially wait in line to get in.

Unfortunately, we didn't see anyone famous or presidential, nor did we get to dance with Michelle Obama to "Uptown Funk.".  Additionally, the kids were bummed to not see the First Pups Bo and Sunny (luckily though, they had the cardboard cutouts). But the day was beautiful and we couldn't ask for a greater way to be out in the day. We were doing our best to "do what Michelle Obama would do:" getting exercise in a #GimmeFive way, in the great outdoors.

To see some of the official highlights of the day, 

For some historic pics of Egg Rolls of days gone by, 

Lastly, click this link to watch Live With Kelly and Michael at the 

Photos of mine from Easter Monday 2015, in the LiPix app.  Easter Egg logo from

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

May your Easter be filled with hope, renewal, love, newness, dreams, & potential! 

Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, & new life.                            ~ Janine di Giovanni
It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow. ~ Robert H. Schuller

Friday, April 3, 2015

Dishing Up Some Documentaries that are Definitely Food For Thought

We were blessed to have a 2 week Spring Break mid-March.  In part, it's done for travel opportunities.  Here at my house, we didn't go on any major exotic trip, but we did do some local day trips, a long weekend to Philadelphia, and then we enjoyed a week-long visit from my mom.  It was my kind of nirvana.

Also during that time, I managed to start a few health trends for myself, and I also watched a handful of eco-foodie films and documentaries.  Eye opening food facts galore!  After watching, in addition to upping my fruit & veggie intake, diminishing my daily Diet Coke consumption, and upping my water du jour, I've dropped more than a pound or two.

In addition to all of that, I creating the the following infographic about my five newest favorite films. I also linked it to trailers using the ThingLink website.  Click the icons below the movie posters to find the trailers to these flix.