Go Green Times Three This St. Patrick’s Day

from Wildlife Promise

Guest Post By Susan E. Goodman

There’s a saying that everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks and leprechauns are one way to go green on March 17th, but there are other ways, too… like getting a head start on Earth Day with some environmentally friendly activities. And, what could be greener than getting outdoors?!

Get More Green in Your Garden

Reuse toilet paper rolls by recycling them into seed starting pots. Simply make one inch cuts an inch apart all around one end of each roll. Fold the tabs into the center to form the bottom of the pot. These bottoms will be a bit uneven so, when finished, cluster your pots together and tie some string around the group to keep them upright.

Have your child place the pots on a tray and fill them with soil. The next step? Water the soil and pots a little, then plant whatever seeds you want. Make sure you remember to water the pots regularly, treating them just like other indoor plants. When it’s time, your child can plant the seedlings in the garden, tube and all! Then cut any cardboard above the surface that will wick water away from the roots.

Adopt a Nest

March is a great time to go nest hunting, before trees completely leaf out. Grab your kids and binoculars to scour neighborhood trees and shrubbery for nests. You can also look for birds carrying twigs or grasses and follow them “home.”

  • Be budding scientists by watching your chosen nests carefully. Go back every 3 or 4 days to see if anything new is happening. Have you found any birds? What are they doing? Listen carefully, your ears may tell you if some chicks are close by!
  • Be a photographer. Record your findings by taking pictures of your adopted nest and birds, as well as the tree, other animals living in that tree, and any avian neighbors nearby. Your child might enjoy making an album or writing an illustrated story about this adventure.
  • Be a citizen scientist, too. NestWatch is a project where people all over the country help track breeding bird populations. By observing nests and reporting what you find, you can help scientists study the effects of changing habitats, weather, and urban expansion. To learn more, visit www.nestwatch.org.

Community Projects

Going green often means keeping things green. Spend an afternoon as a family doing restoration or clean-up at a nature area. Call your town hall or local parks to see if any projects are scheduled and if volunteers are needed. If your kids feel a sense of attachment to the green spaces around them, they will enjoy spending time in them more.

If nothing is already scheduled, consider organizing a local clean-up day. Are there places near you where trash collects on roadsides or in vacant lots Cleaning them up can protect animals, birds, and plant life, and make them look nicer, too! If you gather a crowd, you and your kids could meet some new friends and neighbors.

3 Steps for a Fun Community Clean-Up Day

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Learn more about Community Clean Up from Carla.

More Ways to Go Green

  • Bring the outdoors in. Help your child find some well-budded branches and help them bloom early for a spring bouquet. Cherry, forsythia, witch hazel, pussy willow trees, and shrubs are good for early blooming. Cut the branches and gently smash the ends so they will absorb water. Change the water as needed.
  • Make a rock rainbow. There might not be too much green in this rainbow, but your little leprechauns will love making it anyway. Grab a jar or bag and comb your backyard and neighborhood for different colored rocks. Back home, your child can have lots of fun aligning them by their changing shades or sorting them into different categories.
  • Play Outside. Save one kind of energy by using another. Have your child turn off the computer or game system. Playing outside is a fun way to go green, while cutting down on your electric bill.

Visit NWF’s Activity Finder for more ways to Be Out There and to be green this St. Patrick’s Day!

Susan E. Goodman is an award-winning author of nonfiction books for children, including It’s A Dog’s Life: How Man’s Best Friend Sees, Hears, and Smells the Work and All in Just One Cookie. To learn more about Susan and her books, visit www.susangoodmanbooks.com.