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Living the Green Life

Be a Friend of the Environment: December 2022

Two people fishing in colder weather with their catch
Catch the spirit of the season -- give the gift of an outdoor adventure.

Looking for the perfect gift? Forget wrapping paper and bows. Instead, it is time to think outside of the box and gift adventures instead of material things. By doing so, you will gift lasting memories. Need inspiration? Looking for the perfect idea, here are some tips to match the right adventure for your gift recipient.

If your recipient enjoys outdoor adventure, then they may like to go:

  • Hiking - pick a trail when weather permits -- based on your recipient's hiking experience and the time allotted. Remember to pack the 10 hiking essentials. Consider a DEC First Day Hike and get ready to enjoy the views.
  • Camping - gift a camping reservation gift card. Other gift ideas include gear rentals. Remember to use only local firewood. Pick a s'mores worthy site and campfire memories will be waiting.
  • Fishing - find the perfect fishing hole in New York and take your gift recipient on a quest to catch the big one. Gift a Fishing Trip Coupon (PDF) to spend time with your favorite angler. Remember appropriate licenses are needed and can make a much-appreciated gift as well. Check fishing regulations (freshwater -- saltwater) to make sure your catch is in-season.
  • Hunting/Trapping - take a Hunter/Trapping education course with your gift recipient if you haven't done so already, and remember lifetime licenses also make great gifts. Remember to follow hunting regulations and seasons. First harvest? Check out the PDF certificates you can personalize to mark the occasion.
  • Boating or Paddling - plan to visit a favorite or try a different New York State waterbody and consider a gift of boat, canoe, or kayak rental fees - unless you already have your own.
  • Birdwatching - grab a pair of binoculars and plan on visiting one of the many sites on the New York State Birding Trail. Don't forget to take photos and log the types of feathered friends you encounter.
  • Geocaching - go on a real-world, outdoor treasure hunt with GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates using a GPS-enabled device and attempt to find the hidden container - known as the geocache - at that location. Caches can even be virtual. Bring your detective skills and sense of curiosity on this outdoor excursion.
  • Horseback Riding - check out the scenic New York State horse riding trails. Check with an area Chamber of Commerce for names and contact information of stables that take people on public trail horseback rides.
  • Rock and ice climbing - for those looking to go to new heights - rock and ice climbing are physically and mentally demanding sports. Enjoy the challenge and be safe.
  • Biking - is great for all skill levels from gentle off-road biking or hard-core single-track mountain biking. Get in gear with this gift selection.
  • Snowmobiling - plan a trip on a portion of the state's 10,500 miles of snowmobile corridor. Remember protective gear and to bring your sense of adventure.
  • Skiing and snowshoeing - visit a New York State skiing destination and hit the slopes. Your gift can include ski lift tickets and ski or snowshoe equipment rentals. New York State owned skiing opportunities:
  • Swimming -- plan a trip to your favorite New York State beach -- or discover a new one next spring/summer. Remember to carry out what you bring in to keep our beaches clean.

Make your adventure list and check it twice. And remember, while adventures make great holiday gifts - they are a year-round gift option for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Looking for the perfect location? DEC provides additional information on State Recreation Lands. If you don't have gear -- look to rent or borrow. But make sure all gear is safe and in good working order. This holiday season -- adventure awaits in New York State.

Did you know that?

Be a Friend of the Environment

Conservationist Magazine Holiday Advertisement
Enjoy reading Conservationist Magazine year-round.

Draw names - looking to save some time and money this holiday season? Consider drawing names - that way everyone is just buying for one person instead of several. This will reduce cost, wrapping waste, fuel used in shopping, and once again -- time.

Gift a culinary experience - consider packing a picnic to accompany your outdoor gift adventure. Remember to pack reusable plates, cups, and silverware. Another gift option is to take your recipient on a dinner excursion at a local restaurant. Look for a farm to table local restaurant or other venues with sustainable practices.

Curl up with a good e-book (or New York State Conservationist Magazine) - gift an e-book to be read digitally - reducing print and paper usage. Looking for a print magazine - consider a subscription to the New York State Conservationist -- DEC's magazine with interesting articles and stunning photography. Check out the Holiday Subscription Special (leaves DEC's website) which runs until December 31st. Buy now and pay later. You will be billed and only checks or money orders are accepted at this time. Digital versions of the New York State Conservationist are also available on DEC's website.

Donate - give a gift in honor of your friend or loved one by giving to a favorite charity or cause.

Types of gift wrapping and if they should be recycled, composted, or put into the garbage

Holiday hellos - save materials, stamps, and fuel by sending electronic holiday greetings instead of traditional paper cards. E-cards or seasonal emails are just as appreciated and well-received.

In the spirit of the seasons - looking to decorate this holiday season? Make sure to use energy-efficient LED lights. Candles operated by reusable batteries are another festive way to celebrate. Looking for a change in holiday décor? Consider swapping items with family and friends instead of purchasing new. Remember holiday decorations do not go out of style - and reuse promotes holiday traditions.

Holiday meals - plan your holiday meals to minimize food waste (leaves DEC's website). Compost, when possible, but remember items such as turkey bones and meat do not go in a home compost pile. If you have any extras, make the leftovers part of your weekly menu - or send servings home with guests in reusable containers. Also, set the table with reusable tableware. Looking for a centerpiece? How about a fruit bowl or basket - this will look beautiful and provide a healthy snack. Oranges and bananas are fun to unwrap and enjoy for the holidays - and every day.

Reduce, reuse, recycle - gifting adventures can reduce the amount of material items and related waste during the holidays. But if you receive a material item to replace something you already own - such as getting a new sweater - remember to repurpose or donate the old one. Also, remember to reuse or recycle wrapping paper (see the chart on this page as a guide) or other wrappings when possible. Save gift bags and bows for future use. If you are wrapping - make the wrapping part of the gift such as wrapping with a scarf, dish towel, basket, or other reusable items. Minimize waste while enjoying this holiday season.

Like our holiday tips? Then remember to visit this page next month as we start the New Year by providing information on sustainable clothing. Share your holiday ideas and tips to be a friend of the environment with us on social media using #LiveGreenNY.

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