December 3, 2008
- Green Holidays
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
In between Thanksgiving and the New Year, an extra million tons of waste are generated nationwide each week. Enough ribbon is thrown out each year to tie a bow around the earth. Nearly one billion Christmas cards are sent, only to be tossed in the garbage after the holidays are over. Christmas lights make our neighborhoods look festive, but if left on for ten hours a day over only twelve days, they will produce enough carbon dioxide to inflate 12 balloons. Increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have caused a dramatic change in the current climate system.
More and more people are looking for ways to reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly throughout the year, but particularly during the winter holiday season. Here are some ideas for you to try:
-Send cards only to those people that you won't see over the holidays or send e-cards or photo cards that people will keep.
-Don't use paper to wrap your gifts, but put them in some type of reusable container, such as a terra cotta planter or canvas bag, either of which you can decorate yourself.
-Buy a live Christmas tree and replant it after the holidays, or recycle your cut tree.
-Give handmade gifts or the gift of an experience (children can create their own "tickets" for a free event such as a family trip to a museum or a promise to wash the car).
-Decorate your home with natural ornaments that you find outside: holly, evergreen, pine cones.
-Make your own garland and use it instead of Christmas lights (you can use cranberries, popcorn, dried fruit slices).
Visit DEC's Holiday Recycling webpage for more ideas.
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It's in the Bag
Want an idea for a "green" present that everyone can use? Decorate a reusable shopping bag with a favorite photo or even your own artwork! To start, purchase a canvas, light-colored reusable shopping tote (many supermarkets and design stores sell them) and some t-shirt transfer paper. After you find a favorite photo or create your own masterpiece, enlarge or reduce the image on a color copier to fit on the t-shirt paper. Follow the instructions on the t-shirt transfer package to transfer the image onto the tote. Have an adult iron the transfer onto your bag. Use the iron's synthetic setting, and only iron the area that the transfer covers. Now you have a useful and personalized gift for just about anyone!
An Edible Vase
Want to create a gift that is environmentally friendly, beautiful and tasty at the same time? You will need about 40 candy canes, a clean tin can or glass jar, a strong rubber band and some evergreen trimmings such as cedar, pine, juniper or holly. Place the rubber band around the can or jar, about halfway from the top. Begin placing candy canes under the rubber band so that the hooked part of the cane faces outward. After you add all the candy canes, they will stand upright, or you can add another rubber band. Place the evergreen trimmings into the jar or can. If you like, you can hide the rubber bands with a (reusable) wire-edged ribbon tied in a bow.
Many people have an evergreen tree in their yard or somewhere nearby. Decorate your tree for winter and help out the animals at the same time by making an evergreen tree feeder. String cranberries, dried or fresh fruit, plain popcorn, small mesh suet bags (suet placed in an old onion bag) and pine cones slathered with peanut butter or shortening and rolled in bird seed to decorate an evergreen tree in your yard. To make it more festive, use a cookie cutter to cut holiday shapes out of stale bread. Spread the bread with peanut butter and press it into a tray of birdseed.
Check out Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Upcoming DEC Events
Get Ready for Winter
Saturday, December 6 at 2:00 PM
Explore the world of winter survival in Stony Kill's woods and hunt for clues to winter wildlife activity with a Stony Kill naturalist.
Light my Fire
Saturday, December 13 at 2:00 PM
Learn how to start a fire using a variety of methods-ancient, traditional and modern- even under adverse weather conditions. Bring marshmallows for roasting!
Friday, December 5 at 7:00 PM
Learn about how different nocturnal animals cope with the unique challenge of darkness.
Saturday, December 6 at 2:00 PM
Join us on a walk to learn some basic tree identification skill as we search out evergreens.
Backyard Animal Series: Birds
Saturday, December 13 at 2:00 PM
This family-friendly program will feature a book reading, a craft project and an outdoor walk to look for birds. A fee of $3 per craft maker ($2 FFR member) will apply. Pre-register by Dec. 11.
Tuesday, December 9 from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Wednesday, December 10 from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Learn the American Sign Language signs for many animals, plants and other words related to the Pine Bush in this program for preschool-aged children. Please call 518-456-0655 to register.
Soy Candle Making
Saturday, December 6 at 11:00 AM
Looking for an environmentally friendly gift this holiday season? You will see a demonstration of the candle-making procedure and then you can make your own candle to take home. Cost: $5 per participant. Call to register: 607-674-4017.
Decorate a Bag or Bandana
Saturday, December 13 at 11:00 AM
Be a friend of nature by making a gift that can be used over and over. Decorate a canvas bag or bandana with prints of animal tracks or tree leaves. All ages welcome, but children younger than 6 should bring a helper. Cost: $5 per bag, $4 per bandana. Call to register: 607-674-4017.
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Winter Crafts for the Birds
Saturday, December 6 at 10:30 AM
Join us to make two bird feeders from natural items found in the woods. Afterwards, we will look to see what birds visit the Education Center bird feeders. For adults and children age 8 and older only.
Full Cold-Moon Walk
Friday, December 12 at 6:00 PM
Enjoy a walk in the woods by the glow of the full moon. Learn about the craters on the moon and the planets that are visible during December. Bring binoculars if you have them. We will use snowshoes if there is enough snow. Cost: Snowshoes can be rented for $2/free for FORNP members.
For the Birds
Saturday, December 13 at 10:00 AM
Find out how to attract birds to your yard in winter and identify them. For adults and children age 12 and older only.
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