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.



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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Revamp Your Decor the Green Way

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Decor and sustainability don’t always go hand in hand, but it is possible to revamp your home in a way that is green and sustainable. As we become more conscious of our impact on the environment, it’s not just about recycling, reducing, and reusing; it’s about rethinking our approach to home decor. 

By making sustainable and eco-friendly decor choices, we can create spaces that not only look beautiful but are also kinder to our planet. In this post, then, we will take a look at a few things you can do to revamp your decor in a way that contributes positively to the environment, without compromising on style and aesthetics.

Incorporate natural materials

One of the simplest ways to revamp your decor in a greener way is to incorporate more natural materials into your space whenever you can. Unlike synthetic materials, which often involve harmful manufacturing processes and aren’t biodegradable, natural materials are renewable and have a much lower environmental impact, and can often be recycled by you or someone else when you decide to makekeover your dcor once again.

Take, for instance, the rustic charm of an interior barn door. Crafted from solid wood, these doors bring a warm, organic feel to your space, all while being eco-friendly. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, they are durable and can be sourced from sustainable wood, making them a green choice for interior design.

But the options don’t end there. Other eco-friendly materials include bamboo, which is a fast-growing renewable resource, and natural stone, which requires little processing. Cork and rattan are also excellent choices, being renewable and biodegradable. Natural textiles such as organic cotton, hemp, or linen are great for upholstery, rugs, and throws. Even reclaimed materials like recycled glass, metal, or reclaimed wood can be creatively used in your decor. By choosing materials that are responsibly sourced and have minimal impact on the environment, you can create a home that’s not only stylish but also sustainable.

Choose eco-friendly furniture

Furniture plays a critical role in any home decor – it is the thing that not only make sthe home look attractive, but that also makes it a comfortable space to spend time in too. However, not all furniture is created equal, especially when it comes to environmental impact. Many mainstream furniture items are made using non-renewable resources and may contain harmful substances like formaldehyde or flame retardants. That’s why choosing eco-friendly furniture is an important step in creating a greener home.

When shopping for furniture, it is a good idea to look for pieces made from sustainable materials like FSC-certified wood, recycled metal, or reclaimed wood if being green and sustainable is important to you. Also, consider the durability of the furniture. A well-crafted piece may initially cost more, but its longevity can make it more cost-effective and eco-friendly in the long run.

Additionally, buying second-hand is a great way to reduce waste and find unique, quality pieces because you will not be contributing to the use of finite resources. Visit local thrift stores, antique markets, or online platforms that sell pre-loved furniture, and you are sure to find an intereting piece of two that will probably have ore character than the new furniture you can buy right now, too. Finally, consider companies that adopt sustainable practices, such as using recycled materials, reducing emissions in their production process, or participating in tree-planting initiatives.

Opt for low-VOC paints

When revamping your decor, painting can dramatically transform a space. owever, traditional paints often contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), chemicals that can have harmful effects on both human health and the environment. These compounds can cause headaches, dizziness, and can even lead to kidney and liver damage. They also contribute to air pollution and the formation of smog.

To minimize these risks, opt for low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes. These eco-friendly alternatives have reduced amounts of harmful chemicals, making them a safer choice for your health and the environment. They perform just as well as traditional paints and are available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Make sure to check the labels when purchasing paint, looking for certifications that verify the product’s low-VOC or VOC-free status. This simple switch can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of your home makeover.

Maximize natural light

One of the most eco-friendly ways to brighten your space is to maximize natural light. Natural light not only reduces the need for artificial lighting but also creates a warm and welcoming environment. It can make your space look bigger and can even improve your mood and productivity.

To maximize natural light, consider the layout of your furniture. Arrange your space in a way that doesn’t block light from windows. Opt for light and sheer window treatments that allow light in while still providing privacy. Installing mirrors can also help to reflect light and illuminate dark corners.

For rooms that don’t have windows or lack sufficient natural light, consider installing a solar tube or skylight. These options can bring in natural light while also serving as a unique design feature.

Use energy-efficient lighting too

While maximizing natural light is a key part of green decor, it’s also important to choose energy-efficient artificial lighting for when the sun goes down. LED lights, for example, use significantly less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Consider also using dimmer switches or smart lighting systems, which can adjust light levels to suit your needs, thereby reducing energy consumption. Even small changes like turning off lights when you leave a room or utilizing task lighting can contribute to energy efficiency.

Embracing eco-friendly decor not only contributes to preserving our planet, but it can also create a space that’s uniquely beautiful and healthy. It’s fair to say that each and every choice you make has a dramatic impact on the world around you, as well as youe home, so be suerw to chosoe wisely, but remember, creating a green home isn’t about perfection; it’s about making more conscious, sustainable choices one step at a time.



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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6 Innovative Home Upgrades to Promote Improved Sustainability


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Sustainable living is becoming increasingly important as the effects of climate change become more apparent. Thankfully, there are several ways to make your home more sustainable that won’t break the bank. From energy-efficient appliances to smart thermostats, you can make many simple yet effective upgrades to help reduce your carbon footprint and live an eco-friendly lifestyle. Here are six innovative home upgrades that promote improved sustainability:

Solar Panels:

Installing solar panels is an excellent way to improve sustainability and save money on electricity bills in the long run. Not only do they provide a renewable source of energy, but they also require minimal maintenance once installed. Additionally, solar panel systems have come down significantly in cost and can power a whole house if enough are installed. You can also get creative and use solar panels to power small appliances such as water heaters or lights, making for a more efficient home.

LED Lighting:

LED lighting is one of the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption and improve sustainability in your home. LEDs last longer than most other lightbulbs, so you won’t have to replace them as often. Additionally, they use much less energy and produce less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs, so you can save money on your electricity bill each month.

Smart Thermostats:

Smart thermostats are a great way to ensure that your heating and cooling systems are running efficiently while also saving you money. Smart thermostats can detect when the house is occupied and adjust the temperature accordingly, which helps reduce energy consumption. Additionally, most smart thermostats come with scheduled settings that allow users to control their home’s climate from their smartphones or other connected devices.

Energy-Efficient Appliances:

Energy-efficient appliances can make a huge difference in the amount of electricity your home consumes. From washing machines and dishwashers to refrigerators and air conditioners, there are a number of energy-efficient options on the market that can help reduce your carbon footprint. Additionally, many local utility companies offer incentives for purchasing high-efficiency appliances, so be sure to take advantage of these programs if you want to go green.

Water Conservation:

Water conservation is another important part of sustainable living. Installing low-flow fixtures such as showerheads and faucets can reduce water consumption in the home without sacrificing comfort or convenience. Additionally, collecting rainwater to water plants or cleaning can help conserve even more water. Finally, investing in efficient irrigation systems like drip lines or sprinklers can help keep your lawn looking its best while using minimal water.


Composting is an easy and effective way to reduce food waste while also creating a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden. Invest in an outdoor compost bin and start throwing your kitchen scraps into it instead of the garbage can. With a little bit of work, you’ll have nutrient-rich soil that’s perfect for growing fruits and vegetables in no time.

By taking advantage of these simple home upgrades, you can make lasting changes that will help improve your sustainability and reduce your carbon footprint. As we move towards a greener future, small steps taken today can have big impacts in the long run. So don’t delay – take action now and start living sustainably!


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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Five Top Tips For An Eco-Friendly Backyard


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1. Use Native Plants.

Native plants are well-adapted to your area’s climate and soil conditions, meaning that they require little water or maintenance once they’re established. Choosing native plants and trees for your garden will save you time, effort, and money while also helping to protect local wildlife and resources. Non-native plants, on the other hand, are often more likely to need additional water and fertilizer to thrive. They can also be invasive and harmful to native ecosystems.

2. Use Organic Fertilizers And Pesticides.

Many commercial fertilizers and pesticides contain toxic chemicals that can harm the soil, groundwater, and local wildlife. Organic products, on the other hand, are less harmful to the environment and can still help your plants grow strong and healthy. There are various things to look out for when choosing fertilizers and pesticides, such as choosing those that are not made from harsh chemicals and using them sparingly to reduce their impact on the environment.

3. Reduce Your Water Usage.

Watering your backyard regularly can negatively impact the environment if done during the incorrect times of the day. One simple way to reduce your water usage is by switching to a drip irrigation system, which allows you to control where and when the water goes. Watering plants at night can also help conserve water, as it reduces evaporation and helps the plant’s roots absorb more of the water that gets to them.

4. Consider An Energy-Efficient Outdoor Electrical System.

Outdoor electrical systems are often incredibly wasteful, using large amounts of electricity for lights or heaters that may only be needed occasionally. So by installing energy-efficient lighting and using a solar-powered heater to heat your swimming pool, you can reduce your electric bill while also doing your part to protect the environment. offers various solar power systems designed for homeowners looking to do their part in creating an eco-friendly lifestyle.

5. Recycle And Compost Your Yard Waste.

All of the plant matter and leaves from your garden have to go somewhere, which is why being able to properly recycle or compost this material is so important. You can consider using a compost bin or creating a corner in your backyard for a compost heap where you can easily add yard waste and let it break down over time. This reduces the amount of waste that needs to be disposed of and creates great garden compost that can be used to fertilize your plants.

Whether you want to create an oasis in your backyard or simply reduce your impact on the environment, there are many simple steps that you can take to make your outdoor space more eco-friendly. By focusing on these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating the backyard of your dreams while also doing your part for the planet.


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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Eco Friendly Gift Ideas for Christmas


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Make this Christmas green and ethical by choosing gifts that align with your values and modern expectations. The days of unconscious gift buying could be coming to an end as more people see the benefits and necessities of supporting green supply chains and living a more ethical lifestyle. If you are stuck for green gifts to give this Christmas, read on for some starter ideas. 

Glass Kitchen Set 

Zero waste is a big deal these days as more household attempt to enter the circular economy; the trouble is that changing your lifestyle wholesale can be difficult and unrealistic. However, with the right mindset, you can slowly change the products and homeware you tend to use. 

The perfect gift for a friend, couple, or family member, is a glass kitchen set that is stylish, practical, and completely refillable. How would you like to eliminate the plastic you use for your washing-up liquid and laundry detergent? Glass refillable kitchen sets are the best solution. 

Organic Towel Set 

Sticking with the ideas of practicality and eco-awareness, an organic towel set is an excellent choice for a family member, a friend, or a couple in your life. Towels tend to cut corners in the supply chain and use toxic chemicals in the dye and production methods. So, organic is better. 

Organic towels are made from 100% organic and fairtrade cotton, so you can use your loved ones can use the towels with confidence, knowing that they have come from a sustainable source. The towel fabric is also kind to sensitive skin because it doesn’t use any chemicals. 

Dark Chocolates

Dark chocolate is more sustainable than milk chocolate because it doesn’t contain animal products and therefore doesn’t support a carbon-heavy industry. Not only that, dark chocolates are cruelty-free and vegan. Dark chocolate can be used for easy reindeer chow this winter. 

Fairtrade chocolates ensure that cocoa farmers and growers receive a fair price for their products and support suitable working conditions. Direct trade is even better; with direct trade, the chocolate sellers buy the raw materials directly from the farmers, growers, and workers.  

Eco Clothing 

Clothing always makes an excellent gift for friends and family members; people are always thrilled to receive a Christmas sweater, some hip t-shirts, or a pair of warm winter socks; the trouble is that clothing is one of the most polluting and harmful industries on the planet. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t buy great clothing for your friends and family; it simply means you need to pay more attention to the materials used and the supply chains. A quick internet search online should give you plenty of ethical clothing brands to choose from, such as Patagonia. 

Eco Subscription 

Subscription services have become the norm in recent years, with everything from cars to television can be available on subscription. Subscriptions also make an excellent gift for Christmas; why not buy a loved one a subscription to a service, some monthly food, or support an animal with a wildlife subscription? These make excellent ethical gifts for Christmas.   



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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