Saturday, February 27, 2021

Jordan Sprigg's Repurposed Sculptures

When it comes to the green chasing arrow recycling symbol, the "reduce, reuse, recycle" are purposely in the order that they are. But more and more, I think the symbol really should be a square with "repurpose" in there just before "recycle." Some might argue that "repurpose" and "reuse" are synonymous... and perhaps they are. But I like the "purposeful" part of "repurpose." It's not by happenstance. It's done by design.

Speaking of design, metal artist Jordan Sprigg knows a lot about it. For the last 7 years, Jordan, who is based in Western Australia, has used scrap metal from retired machinery as his sculpture medium of choice. The antiquity that comes from some of the earlier settlers to Australia gives his wildlife animal creations a rusty and rustic appearance. He purposely keeps them in that state to showcase the history. Looking at his life-size (and sometimes larger than life-sized) creations, you'll see anything from gears to yard tools to complete machine parts. Making what once was trash into treasured pieces of art, Jordan brings history to life. I must add... the Outback makes for the perfect backdrop for his amazing art, on display in his website gallery.

You can learn more about Jordan and see his amazing creations, be sure to visit his website, Facebook page, and his Instagram

Additionally, for an excellent article on repurposing, check out this post at Thrive Global, which is where I got the art above.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Frosty Inspiration from Robert Frost this Winter

My son has a poetry analysis assignment for school. Ahhh, the joys of English Literature.

His assigned piece: a tried and true Robert Frost classic that speaks to the wintery wonderland we've been encountering. In fact it inspired a winter walk a week and a half ago on Valentines' Day and the images in this poetic presentation. A great way to get in a wintery walk and unplug with some of my loved ones.

Poem text from, slideshow at

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Holly's Hiking Manifesto

As I mentioned in my last post, I learned about the 52 Hike Challenge from my colleague Holly. With her permission, I am sharing her astute, sharp-witted, endearing writing about hiking, getting out in the great outdoors, and insights from her treks thus far. I'm definitely inspired and making plans to accompany her in the future.

I have always loved going for a long walk in the woods and with 2020 being what it was, getting outside and going for a hike was one of the few things I could do to maintain some sense of normalcy. Honestly, there were days when a long hike to a beautiful view was the only thing that allowed me to breathe deeply and feel like everything would be okay. When I started looking ahead to 2021, I knew that finding a way to hold myself accountable for regular hikes would be great for my mental and physical health, but I also knew I didn’t want to participate in any challenge that was focused on specific mileage, speed, or weight loss etc. The #52HikeChallenge is great because it’s about each individual pushing themselves out of their comfort zone - whatever that looks like for them - and just enjoying every mile and seeing where the journey takes them!

Sometimes my hikes are short, and sometimes they are long. Sometimes they are easy, and sometimes they make every muscle in my body scream “why are you doing this!?” But at the end of each one, the sense of accomplishment I feel is incredible. Whether it’s just that I got to enjoy some fresh air, or that I got to see some wildlife (on #Hike2 I saw 11 deer running together through the woods!) or that I pushed myself to continue hiking up a never-ending hill - it’s ALWAYS worth it. One of the things I love best about going for a hike is that it isn't about being the fastest or best athlete, it's just about putting one foot in front of the other. Anyone can be a hiker! I definitely used to think that in order to be a "real" hiker you needed to live somewhere with extreme terrain and mountains, and have all sorts of fancy gear, and be really athletic, and that your hikes had to be really high mileage to even count. Wrong! There's a lot of gatekeeping that happens in the world of outdoor recreation, and it can make a lot of people feel unwelcome. The truth is, being "outdoorsy" can be as simple as throwing on a pair of sneakers and going for a walk in your local park, and we should all be working hard to make everyone feel welcome in outdoor spaces!

Although my official #52HikeChallenge started in 2021, my hikes in 2020 pushed me way outside of my comfort zone and are a huge part of why I knew this challenge would be the perfect one to keep me motivated and help me continue seeking out ways to push myself outside of my comfort zone. In 2020, I did multiple overnights on the Appalachian Trail by myself, had my first bear and rattlesnake sightings, completed multiple hikes over 10 miles, enjoyed many mountaintop views, and learned the value of merino wool socks (good for your feet, AND the planet!) and how trekking poles will literally save your knees and possibly your life if it’s raining and there are large slippery boulders! Despite always having enjoyed hiking, if you had told me in 2019 that any of those things were going to be a very regular part of my life, I would have laughed in your face! And while I’ve only completed 6 hikes so far in 2021, each one has included beauty (snow covered trees! A flock of bluebirds!) as well as its own set of challenges: Icy hills? Check. Rude mountain bikers trying to run me off the trail? Check. 3 inch thick mud? Check. But every time I conquer another challenge - no matter how small and silly OR overwhelming it may seem - I’m reminded that I am capable of so much more than I ever imagined for myself and it is always best to just jump right in when something seems difficult.

This #52HikeChallenge will have me doing more hiking than ever and I hope that by sharing my adventures more of my friends will start to see the benefits of getting outside and enjoying a walk in the woods! 

I know I am excited to see what each and every mile brings to my life this year.

Picture 1: You get a patch when you do the #52HikeChallenge! I love patches! This patch is going to see a lot of exciting views this year!

Picture 2: Yes, that is the trail. Yes, those boulders are wet. Yes, this is what I mean when I say trekking poles will save your knees AND your life!

Picture 3: When it’s so foggy in the morning that it seems like it’s raining and you remember why everyone says to ALWAYS carry a rain coat even when there’s no rain in the forecast!

Picture 4: Wintery wonderland! I always prefer snow over mud!

Picture 5: The views always make the sore feet worth it.

Special thanks to my friend Holly for sharing your wit and wisdom and love of hiking and the great outdoors. All pictures are hers!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

52 Weeks Challenges

At the start of the new year, it's often the inspiration to start those resolutions with the hope and promise of fresh starts. Dry January. Fitness regimes and routines. Spending less & saving more. One Words. Eating healthy--"this year for sure."

Here mid-February, it is hardly the start of the year. In fact, by this point, 6 or so weeks later, many of those resolutions are long-left by the wayside. 

But I've been taking notice and inspiration of some 52 Week Challenges on social media that I'm finding more forgiving than a true New Year's resolution. In part, they can start January 1st, but they don't have to--you get to be the ultimate creator of when it all starts. In this way, motivation and magic can happen at any time. 

Additionally, many of them are inspired to get you out of your own rut. After a near-year of pandemic, we all need that.

I am making good headway into my own 52 weeks/52 books personal program. Having fallen in love with Anne With An E on Netflix (and having never read Anne of Green Gables), I am working my way through Lucy Maud Montgomery's series, along with a list of many other fiction and non-fiction titles. I am definitely on track with my book-a-week goal. (Plus, little did I know, there's an actual 52 Week Book Club for that!)

Another 52 Week Challenge that has spoken to me is the 52 Weeks/Ways to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. Given that hanging at home is another peril of the pandemic, this certainly is a good one. If you are itching to become more of a risk taker--a week at a time--a few good sites to investigate are here, here, and here.

But I think the one I'm most drawn to is the 52 Hike Challenge. Being a bit of a winter-a-phobe myself, with less-than-stellar knees, I'm not ready to start this one yet! I need warmer, drier weather. But I'm completely in awe of it. One of my school colleagues is embarking on this one and I'm living vicariously through her and her hikes. It also speaks highly to my eco-educator side as it makes for a great way to hit the reset button. We are so in need of unplugging, now more so than ever before with all the zooming, hybrid/remote classrooms, indoor life, and pandemic perils. Outdoors, and all the health benefits that go with it, is where we need to be.

My colleague who is embarking on this challenge hiked over 200 miles last year... so this is a natural next step. For her, hiking and the fresh air is always the great equalizer. You will get to meet her in my next post. Thinking about it all makes me want to put on some hiking boots and get out there myself. For now, at least, maybe just my snow boots to go take a winter walk (which is where I'm heading next, right after I close my computer).

We all need little nudges along the way. Use the weeks ahead to be yours. 

Art created from, video from, 52 Hike Challenge logo from,

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day. May yours be filled with the following, and may you help make the day of everyone in your life. Planet included.

If you're still looking for an eco-friendly gift or way to spend the weekend, be sure to check out my previous post.

Art created at

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Eco-Friendly Valentine's Day Ideas

This Sunday is St. Valentine's Day....
are you ready?

Whether it's Date Night Valentine's Day, Galentine's Day, or even Palentine's Day you are celebrating, here are a baker's dozen eco-friendly ideas for ways to celebrate this weekend ahead, all inspired from the article "14 Eco-Friendly Ideas for A Sustainable Valentine’s Day" by Tassia Agatowski. 

Of course, given the pandemic, a couple of the ideas I tweaked. For instance, given we're on the 11 month "staycation," I didn't even go there. We've got that one handled!!

Cheers and have a glorious 'Tine's Day, whatever one you celebrate!!

Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Benefits of Being Outside

peacefully reading

Communing with nature. Biophilia. Ecotherapy. Forest bathing. A walk in the woods. Unplugging. Getting out into the great outdoors.

Whatever you call it, it would seem that there is a definite call to you, from nature. As Richard Louv wrote about in "Last Child in the Woods" (published Earth Day 2008) and the more recent "Nature Fix" by Florence Williams (2018), there is certainly a calming and therapeutic effect of nature.

In the vein of "Where's Waldo?" and Bitmoji classrooms combined, check out this clickable Google slide deck I created to investigate some of the tried and true verified benefits of getting outside. 

Then, do your body good and get outside. Take advantages of some of these advantages!! Don't let the winter weather slow you down or stop you in your tracks.

Benefits of Being Outside Bitmoji board created by me & can be found at Benefits images created at and the information found at, Me on a mushroom avatar from

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

A Snowy Day

I'm sitting here on a Sunday, watching the snow fall in my backyard. It's our first official "real" snow. We had a dusting a few weeks ago, but nothing really stuck. This one, though, is "real." No blades of green grass peeking through. We have a solid blanket of white out there. It's been coming down steadily all day.  Plus, we have the promise of several more inches to come. 

It's is leaving all my teacher friends (and no doubt our students) texting about tomorrow, wondering if we will have a snow day. Please, pretty please, we ALL say! 

There's something about the hope and promise of a snow day. Whether it's to run and go slip-sliding and sledding outdoors, or whether it's to stay snuggled in on the couch, by the fire, with a good book, the first snow is magical like that. 

In the age of Zoom, remote learning, and the technology to make school happen at home, we all still--teachers and kids alike--still believe in the hope and magic of a snow day.  We hope our administrators who make those big decisions to do too. Please, pretty please!

The world with its silent flakes falling from the sky blankets us with quiet and indoor comfort. It just seems to slow down life a little. More so with a snow day and the gift of time. Across the board, on teacher chat boards and much of the keynotes at the Future of Education Technology Conference I virtually attended last week, "time" seems to be the common denominator these days of what teachers need. It's been a hard year this year with pandemic-style teaching and teachers are tired. We all could use a little gift of time. Please, pretty please, let us have that wintery wonderland gift of all gifts: a snow day, a snow "yay!"

Follow up: Happy to report the decision came down: snow day, snow yay! And boy, was it delicious!

Image created at with a photo from my backyard.