Eco-Friendly Explorers: Instilling Forest Awareness in Children

 

Forests are a big part of what makes Oregon such a special place. Quite literally, as forests cover almost half of our state, having access to the many beautiful Oregon forests provides wonderful opportunities for residents of all ages. Especially for children who are learning about the world. This education has countless benefits for kids of all ages and the state of Oregon as well.

The forests will continue to thrive if we impart their importance to future generations. So, if you’re passionate about this subject and want to pass that love down but aren’t sure where to start, read on for some helpful tips and resources.

 

Who Is Qualified to Teach Forest Awareness?

You don’t need to be an expert in Oregon’s forests to instill awareness in children. But whether you’re a schoolteacher, camp counselor or passionate parent, your lessons should be based on what the experts say. It’s important to have the facts straight and to know the research you’re passing on is up to date.

Gone are the days of having to scour through a library or endlessly Google to have expert resources on hand. The Oregon Forests Research Institute makes it easier. The institute has an online Learn Forests resource, which includes guides for forest education and awareness. This also includes guides for parents to teach their kids about forest awareness at home.

Know Your Audience

When you teach any subject, you want the students to be engaged. Especially when you’re teaching important topics like wildfire prevention.

Of course, there are a lot of differences between age groups. The ways you keep elementary-school-aged children interested probably won’t work for high school students. Thankfully, the Learn Forests resources provide materials from kindergarten up to the senior year of high school.

Students in kindergarten through second grade will benefit from learning the essentials about forests. This includes learning about the different animals that live in Oregon’s forests.

Kids in third through fifth grade will need more advanced material than early readers in younger grades. At this stage, reading materials can include graphs and stories about how forests bring many benefits to Oregon.

The materials naturally get more complex once kids are in middle school and high school. For high school students who are especially interested, you could teach a more robust curriculum that even includes labs.

Ensure Safety

One of the essentials of forest awareness is safety. Ensure you instill safety measures and set boundaries and ground rules. Especially if you are teaching your lessons in the natural classrooms of the forests. Here are a few examples of how you can stay safe in any forest:

  • Make sure you stay off of any unofficial trails. This keeps kids safe from poisonous plants and unsafe terrain, while also keeping the trees safe from human damage.
  • Pack a first-aid kit no matter how brief your trip into the woods. While Oregon’s forests are a beautiful place to visit, emergencies can happen.
  • Know what to do if you get lost. Have a game plan with your group of where you will meet or how to get in contact.
  • Plan your forest lesson during the daylight to better avoid slips and falls or getting lost. Take precautions around waterfalls and caves.

These are just a few ways to stay safe in the forest. Don’t forget to get the kids involved in your safety preparations to help them be more aware of forest safety too.

Choose the Most Enriching Activities

There’s a lot of important information about forests that the kids should know. But it won’t get through to them if you try to instill awareness solely through lectures. Your lessons can include demonstrations, field trips, videos, experiments and more. Again, you will tailor specific activities depending on age group.

With the youngest children, especially early readers, you don’t want to overwhelm them. Instead, they can start to learn through coloring books, sticker sheets, activity sheets and books that can be read aloud at storytime.

High school students are more likely to want to learn how they can turn their passion for trees into a career in a field like forest management. There are hundreds of jobs in the forestry industry. In an area like Oregon especially, this field is ever-growing and presents endless opportunities. Those who are seriously interested in a forestry career will want to hear from and ask questions of real people who work in that field.

Teach Kids to Keep Forests Healthy

An important part of your lessons will be the health of the trees. You don’t have to be a professional arborist to tell when a tree has seen better days.

As part of a lesson in forest management, teach kids how they can make a difference and keep the trees healthy. Knowing how to monitor a tree’s health and the signs something is wrong, will already be a big step forward. Some tips to monitor a tree’s health include:

  • Understanding how to spot crown dieback, invasive species and the different kinds of infections or infestations.
  • Explain how figuring out the cause of the damage can save the other trees in a forest.
  • Monitor the tree’s roots for damage.

Likewise, it is important to instill kids with the knowledge of preventing further damage to trees. Emphasize the importance of being delicate to exposed tree roots. Once they know how the roots are crucial for a tree’s nourishment, they’ll know to avoid causing any damage or scratches. That’s another reason why, in addition to ensuring everyone stays together, the kids must stay off undesignated hiking paths in the forests.

Encourage Kids to Plant More Trees

In addition to learning about existing trees, kids who are passionate about forests thriving are more likely to be interested in planting new trees. When doing this, make kids understand the nuances. lessons should include how different trees require different environments and have different needs for growth. This ensures that they’ll be more aware of what conditions specific species need to thrive.

How to Talk About Wildfires

Unfortunately, kids these days are more familiar with wildfires than generations before them. Although talking about wildfires might be a difficult topic of conversation, avoiding the topic could have future negative impacts. Lessons should instill information about fire suppression and efforts to prevent wildfires when going into any forest. Emphasize how important proper forest management is when it comes to these efforts.

A child’s forest awareness doesn’t end with your lessons. These lessons just might inspire them to seek out even more knowledge and they may even dedicate time and energy to caring for Oregon’s forests as they grow older. There are plenty of helpful resources for every stage of forest awareness. One way the kids can get more involved is by joining the Oregon Forests Forever campaign and browsing its website.

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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The Juggling Act of Multigenerational Living

Buckle up, buttercup, and dive headfirst into the chuckle-fest that is multigenerational living! It’s like being stuck in an unaired TV show where the cast is your family, the script is made up on the fly, and every day’s antics are worthy of an Emmy. Forget the straight and narrow; life’s a wild ride concocted by your lovably eccentric clan, with more twists and turns than a whodunit written by a gang of jesters on a sugar high.

Via Pixabay

Mixing Masterclass: The Family Edition

Imagine, if you will, a bold soul attempting the unthinkable: marrying a dignified, aged whiskey with a zesty, neon-blue energy drink. Sounds like a recipe for a night to remember or a morning to forget, right? That’s just a regular Tuesday in the multi-gen household, where merging sage wisdom with youthful exuberance is the name of the game. Think of yourself as the world’s most ambitious mixologist, serving up generational cocktails at a time-traveling soiree!

Breakfast Buffet: The Ultimate Challenge

As the sun peeks over the horizon, the kitchen turns into a battlefield, reminiscent of a culinary game show where the grand prize is satisfying a motley crew of taste buds and dietary needs before the clock strikes breakfast o’clock. From sugary-cereal aficionados to fiber-worshiping elders, whipping up the morning feast is like competing in the breakfast Olympics with a ticking timer.

Emotion Commotion: The Family Funhouse

Strap in for the rollercoaster that is family feels, where the peaks of joy are sky-high, and the drops into drama are lightning-fast. One minute, granny and the teen might be giggling over their shared tech troubles, and the next, World War III, breaks out over the TV remote. It’s a whirlwind of chuckles, sniffles, and the odd “what’s it all about?” moment, all blended into one delightful chaos.

Work-Life Circus: The Juggling Act

Trying to balance professional duties with family shenanigans is like walking a tightrope in a tornado. Picture this: you’re trying to ooze professionalism in a Zoom call while, in the background, someone’s belting out a ballad about the baffling internet router. It’s a madcap dance of mute buttons and desperate signs, where every day is an audition for the “Keeping It Together Champion” award.

Guilt Trips Galore: The Emotional Rollercoaster

Sailing the seas of family duties and personal dreams is like navigating an ocean with a map sketched in lemon juice. The guilt trips are complimentary, adding an extra layer of emotional acrobatics as you strive to distribute your time and affection evenly. It’s an adventure where every stumble is a learning curve, and every triumph is a saga-worthy milestone.

Midnight Snack Skirmish

Just when you think the house has settled for the night, the kitchen turns into the arena for the ultimate secret snack showdown. Amidst the hush, a lone figure’s quest for a humble PB&J becomes an epic saga, entangled with a ceremonial tea brewing and a countdown to pizza. These nocturnal nibbles add that extra zest to the family sitcom, proving it’s the medley of characters that conjures up the real magic.

Casting Call: The Caregiver Chronicles

Thinking of introducing a professional caregiver into the mix? 24-hour in-home care can bring you, and the grandparents some good peace of mind, especially if you’re trying to juggle work, family, and, well, life. It’s like holding tryouts for a new character on your family’s sitcom. They’ve gotta have the skills, for sure, but they also need to vibe with the current cast. Brace yourself for a slew of quirky “audition tapes” as you search for the perfect addition.

Grand Finale: Hug the Mayhem

At the close of the day, transforming your abode into a multi-gen sanctuary is akin to directing and starring in your personal reality extravaganza. Sure, you’ll hit sitcom gold now and then, like when Grandpa mistakes the printer for a futuristic cooking gadget, but it’s these snippets that make the whole shebang priceless. Treasure this moment cause we don’t have many of them in life

Encore! Keeping the Laughter Alive

To all you daring adventurers already knee-deep in this wild journey, remember: a juggling mishap here and there only adds to the intrigue and the giggles. What’s a top-notch show without a dash of suspense and a heap of heart, after all? So take your well-deserved bow, keep those juggling balls airborne, and never forget, in the wacky circus of multigenerational living, it’s the love and laughter that are your true safety nets. Who knows, you might just snag a standing ovation from the toughest crowd around—your very own family!

 

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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DIY Crayon Hearts and Valentine’s Day Cards Craft for Kids

Originally posted 2/6/2014

Valentine Crayon Art

I was talking to my physical therapist two weeks ago and we were talking about crafts and kids. She told me o a craft she has done twice with her daughter for Valentine’s Day. I decided to try it out and am so happy I did!

 

Basically you will need:

CrayonsSharpieCardstock – Heart shaped silicone mold ( I found mine at Joanne’s) – Glue Dots ( I got Elmer’s medium thickness.)

 

Supplies for Valentine Crayon Art

Everyone has broken crayons laying around. Okay maybe not everyone. But if you have kids you most likely do. This is a great way to recycle and reuse those crayons. Just peel the paper and break into small pieces. After I did mine I read that if you soak the crayons in water the paper comes off easier. My nails wish I would have know that before…At least my daughter helped me!

Recycle your old crayons

 

Valentine's Day Crafts

I did end up cutting some of the crayons with a knife. We tried to get a red and pink crayon in each heart. Then make sure to read the directions on your silicon mold. I put my mold on a cookie sheet and baked 15-20 minutes at 250. Let cool on rack or place in the freezer to cool. Then the hearts just pop out of the mold.

012 Valentine's Day Art

Then take the cardstock and cut into squares. Write whatever saying you like. We choose “You make my world colorful” But you can also use, “You color my world” or “Happy Valentine’s Day”. Then place a glue dot in the center and place the heart on top!

It’s that easy! I will use this again and again. It was fun and my daughter is so excited to give these to her classmates. I’m thinking I might make some for a craft fair…

                                                                     What Valentine’s Day Craft are you working on?

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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CURVID Earplugs

 

We recently talked about using technology to help with education.

One thing that I’d like to add is the ever changing environment my daughter studies in. As a teenager she is making the most of her portability while boosting her productivity by utilizing CURVD earplugs. She has noticed a significant improvement in her ability to focus and cut out loud distractions.
CURVD earplugs are comfortable, reusable and allows my daughter to maintain a calm environment even in a noisy cafe. I’ve also found them practical for myself when I have some time to read and unwind but also need to be aware of my home.
They don’t block out all sound but rather filter it out. In this way you can still hear speech and music clearly, just a lot more quietly.
CURVD earplugs come nicely packaged and have a quality look and feel to them straight out of the box.
Finding an environmental responsible earplug was a challenge when we looked at adding these products into our home. I had to dig a little deeper and found on the CURVD website they put in the effort with using 100% recyclable materials in their products as well as offering a silicone take-back program.
At CURVD, they are not just creating amazing products – they are working to build a better future for all.
Now I’m off to go try to read a book. When you do get the chance to find a little bit of peace and quiet you need to take it.
  – Nikki Valenzuela

Beyond NYC: Incredible Ways to Enjoy New York State

 

Image from Pixabay – CC0 License

 

New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations for travelers of all kinds. It’s a bustling city with so much to see and do, so it’s understandable that so many people flock toward it. But NYC isn’t everything that the state of New York has to offer. There’s so much more to see throughout the whole state, whether you’re looking for other cities or more of an outdoor experience. You could miss out on a lot if you only stick to NYC and, believe it or not, the city actually isn’t for everyone. So where should you go instead?

Head to the North

New York City lies in the southeastern corner of New York State, so pretty much everything else is north of NYC. So by heading north, you’re going to discover somewhere new. But if you keep going to the northern part of the state, you could find yourself especially delighted by what you find there. Next year is the perfect time to visit because the 2024 total solar eclipse in the Adirondacks is going to be an incredible sight to behold. There won’t be another for 20 years, The region is full of stunning scenery and offers beautiful towns, ski resorts and much more.

Summer in the Hamptons

When you hear “the Hamptons”, you probably think of rich people and their second homes. And it’s true that a lot of wealthy people spend their summers here, but you don’t have to be rolling in dough to plan a visit there. You can find affordable accommodation for a comfortable stay, or maybe go for something a bit more luxurious if you’re willing to stretch your budget. The beautiful beaches of the Hamptons are definitely worth checking out. In Montauk, you’ll find so much happening during the summer too, including festivals, markets and more.

Explore Towns and Cities

Outside of NYC, there are so many different towns and cities to explore across the state. Places like Rochester, Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse all offer something different to anyone who wants to explore New York. You can discover history, culture, great food and much more by expanding your horizons and stopping at some of these places. Some might only be worth a day trip, while others have plenty to offer if you want to stay for multiple days. They can make great bases for exploring different parts of the state too.

Visit Wine Country

People might think of California more when they consider US regions famous for wine. But the east coast has plenty of winemaking too, and New York is no exception. Finger Lakes Wine Country offers more than 100 wineries, distilleries and breweries, making it perfect for wine lovers or even people who prefer beer, whiskey and more. Taking a tour is a good way to get a snapshot of the region and there are even wine cruises you can take.

NYC might be amazing but it’s not the only place in New York. Look beyond the Big Apple and you can discover so much more.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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