Inspiring Environmental Stewards

Take Our Survey: Bridging The Gap in Environmental Literacy

Friends and Supporters, we want to hear from you!  By giving us two minutes of your time to take our survey, we can use your collective voice and craft our programs to ensure we reach this next generation!
According to a recent National Environmental Education Foundation study, concern and knowledge about the environment is on the decline among Americans. There is a gap in environmental literacy!

Order Summer Flowers Today!

Order bulbs today so you can receive bulbs and seeds just in time for summer planting. The Nature Generation will receive a percentage of the proceeds from your order! Questions?  Contact aware@NatGen.org.

Click here to order – deadline is May 1!

Flower Ad for eblast 2017

Here are some tips to consider when planting summer bulbs:

  • Begin to plant summer flowering bulbs and tubers after the last frost date.
  • Quality bulbs and well drained soil are the key for  a flourishing garden.
  • Summer bulbs require a lot of water immediately after planting – keep soil in your garden moist.
  • Sprouting bulbs are ok – plants are anxious to get into the ground again.
  • Maintain a pH level of 6 to 7 to bring out the true color of flower bulbs.
  • No need to add fertilizer to bulbs and tubers.
  • Flowering bulbs and tubers look great in containers on the patio – plant them closer together for a full look.
  • Summer bulbs make great cut flowers. Try staking the taller varieties.
  • Plant your summer flowering bulbs and tubers within the season of purchase.
  • For colder zones, lift your bulbs and tubers in the fall and replant next spring. Shake off any soil and air dry for several days before storing in well ventilated, cool, dry location. No plastic – plants need to breathe.

Send a friend a “Green” St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock

According to legend, wherever St. Patrick preached, his walking staff would take root and grow into a living tree.  Thank you to all who donated a Shamrock during our “Don’t Count on Luck” campaign, you are helping to plant an idea, too – one that will take root with the next generation.   The funds raised will help us give books that inspire environmental stewardship to kids across the nation.

  • Jenny Schmidt
  • Mary Foley
  • Kathleen Robey
  • Michele S
  • Donna Shibley
  • Bill Balcke
  • Katherine Parkinson
  • Mary Ann Pierce
  • Martha Casassa
  • Sarah Matheson
  • Sherry Booth
  • Linda Manning
  • Amy Newton
  • Rebecca Wright
  • Tamara Teaff
  • Rebecca Tirrell
  • Amanda Dosch
  • Debi McGhee
  • Cindy Shephard
  • shamrock campaign for cc

Culbert Elementary Goes Green

Read Across America

The Nature Generation kicked off Culbert Elementary School’s Read Across America school-wide assembly by showing them our Read Green Festival video featuring some Culbert students! After the assembly, with the help of the girls basketball team from Loudoun Valley High School, Blue Ridge District School Board Representative Jill Turgeon, various Dr. Seuss characters, and other volunteers students went back to their classes to read.  All of the readers were given a Green Earth Book Award Book winner, “Not Your Typical Book About the Environment” to read in classes. The readers included the girls from the LVHS basketball teams along with:

  • Chris Puller, The Nature Generation–Middleburg Bank, Sustainable Partner
  • Kenny Jenkins, The Nature Generation–Luck Stone, Sustainable Partner
  • Katie Kosloski,  The Nature Generation–Luck Stone, Sustainable Partner
  • Karen Jimmerson, The Nature Generation, Chapman DeMary Trail Sponsor
  • Melody Ward, The Nature Generation–Jason Sengpiehl Allstate Insurance, Chapman DeMary Trail Sponsor
  • Teressa Reed, The Nature Generation–Jason Sengpiehl Allstate Insurance, Chapman DeMary Trail Sponsor
  • Amie Ware, The Nature Generation

 

Winner_Gold nottypical book about envir

“Not Your Typical Book About The Environment,” is a 2011 Children’s Nonfiction Green Earth Book Award winner written by Elin Kelsey. Click here to learn more about the books that receive our national stewardship book award.

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EnviroPlay

We recently lead a friendly EnviroPlay games competition with the 4th and 5th graders of the Culbert Green Crocs Club.  Special thanks to volunteers Mark Williams and Nancy Burton from Luck Stone who each lead a team.  Check out the photos that show how the students were waiting with great anticipation to see if they got the answer right. Team 2 won…they got all of the answers right. The groups worked together and sometimes they really worked hard to come up with the answers. Nancy and Mark both helped them think though when they seemed to be challenged, but didn’t give them the answers. There was a lot of enthusiasm, and Team 2 cheered very loudly every time they got the answer right.

Some feedback:

“I was so impressed by my 4th graders!  We read about bottles becoming fleece jackets, eating bugs in chocolate and macaroni & cheese (they loved that), saving fish and sea turtles by using canvas bags instead of plastic and saving gorillas in Africa by recycling video games and cell phones to cut back on coltan mining.  We discussed the information from each page and practical examples of how we can put that info into motion, e.g., using canvas bags, organizing a game swap at school and we even looked up the nearest electronics recycle center online. I’m encouraged by the interest they showed and how seriously they felt toward incorporating positive steps into their lives.”

– Teressa Reed, with Jason Sengpiehl’s Allstate Insurance Office in Purcellville (Chapman DeMary Trail Sponsor)

“The class that I read to was really into the book. One of the stories I read was on recycling plastic bottles, which can be used for making clothing. The kids really got a kick out of that one.”

– Chris Puller,  with Middleburg Bank, Sustainable Partner

“One of the pages I read from the “Not Your Typical Book About the Environment” was the one about bees. The students were surprised to learn that chocolate is one of the things that relies on bees. They were also surprised that one out of every three bites we eat is food that is pollinated by bees. I also read the pages Are Bottles for Drinking…or Wearing and students learned that fleece jackets can be made from recycled plastic bottles. After reading the pages called How Video Games and Cell Phones are Connected to Gorillas, we talked about how they might be able to start an effort at Culbert to recycle old cell phones to reduce coltan mining and save the habitat of some gorillas…and how amazing it is that something we do here can have an impact all the way across the world.”

Amie Ware, Teach Green Program Director, The Nature Generation

 

Taking Photos in Nature with your Smartphone

Early spring is a great time to capture nature as it begins to awaken. Look for the first shoots of bright spring green along riverbanks; budding leaves and flowers on trees, and snowdrops and primroses sprinkled in woods and gardens. Most of us use a smartphone camera to capture images — it’s easy to carry and produces decent quality photos. Here are a few tips to take it up a notch when taking shots of your friends, family, and nature.

Tip: Avoid direct sunlight

An overcast day is a perfect outdoor lighting situation for taking photographs. If it’s sunny, ask your subjects stand in bright shade. Try to get shots during the golden hour before and after sunrise and sunset – the sky is colorful enough for even a camera phone to capture land and sky with good exposure.

Tip: Shoot in landscape mode

Except for tall structures, images look much better in landscape orientation, especially when sharing on most social media platforms.

Tip: Clean Your Lens

The inside of your purses and pockets are not clean and lens gets dirty and smudged. Make it a routine to clean the front and back lens to avoid smudges and specks that will ruin your picture.

Tip: Use the grid lines option

rule of thirds

The built-in grid lines, which are placed in a tic-tac-toe format, break the image so you can apply the rule of thirds in your composition. Place strong lines and divisions on the grid lines and position elements of interest on the intersections.

Tip: Clean Your Lens

The inside of your purses and pockets are not clean and lens gets dirty. Make it a routine to clean the front and back lens to avoid smudges and specks that will ruin your picture.

Tip: Stabilize your camera

Hold the camera phone with both hands and brace your upper arms against your body when you shoot. This technique will give better results and sharper images.

Tip: Get Up close

shutterstock_57277057

Try getting up close to show details or an interesting point of view.

Tip: Crop, don’t zoom

Because of optical zoom shortcomings in smartphones, it is best to take a photo from your camera with no zoom and then edit the image by cropping.

Tip: Ditch the Flash

Since the smartphone flash is so close to the lens, most images taken using it will have glare and unflattering light causing yellow skin, demon eyes and blur.

Tip: Shoot different angles and heights

black vulture

Make something ordinary look more interesting – take shots above looking down or from ground level looking up, or add surprise by creating a distortion or new angle.

Teachers: Free Live Chat with winning author!

Two-time National Book Award finalist and Green Earth Award Book winner Eliot Schrefer has offered to do free live video chats with classes that have read one of his books.  Said Eliot, “Let’s give all of us something positive to look forward to.”

Eliot’s 2013 winner, Endangered, is a compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos – and herself – from a violent coup.  His 2015 winner, Threatened, is a tale of survival and discovery that begins when orphan Luc helps a researcher study endangered chimpanzees.  Eliot has written several national bestsellers for young adults, click here to learn more about him on his website by clicking here.

PM Eliot on Facebook here to set up a chat.

Please pass this offer on to high school and middle school teachers you know – it is a great opportunity for youth to connect with our inspirational winning authors.  With his enthusiasm and first-hand experiences and knowledge of protecting endangered species, Eliot can’t help but inspire stewardship in others.

endangered threatened

Best in Children’s Stewardship Books

We are proud to announce our long list for the 2017 national Green Earth Book Award, which we bestow annually to children’s and young adult literature that best convey the message of environmental stewardship.  Nearly 150 books were nominated this year in five categories: picture book, children’s fiction and nonfiction; and young adult fiction and nonfiction.

For the past 13 years, we’ve bestowed the award to bring national recognition to important works and their authors with its highly qualified “seal of approval” for environmental literature.  The winners are chosen by a panel of literary, environmental and educational professionals.

“This long list of environmental stewardship books helps bridge a gap in environmental literacy by providing educators, librarians and parents excellent, well-vetted choices to keep the love of nature—and the facts about the environment—in the forefront of kids’ imagination,” said The Nature Generation founder and president, Amy Marasco.

“When the facts of science—which must drive national environmental and energy policy—are not valued, how can that policy be effective? When the science of climate change is not recognized, how can we take necessary action? And when environmental data sets are erased from official government websites, how can we know and teach truth?” Marasco added. “Now, more than ever, these books can deliver the message that must to be heard by our young generation.”

The short list will be announced in late March with the Green Earth Book Award winners announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2017.

The Green Earth Book Award Long List:

PICTURE BOOK

  • Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, and illustrated by Evan Turk (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
  • Circle, by Jeannie Baker (Candlewick Press)
  • Did Tiger Take the Rain?, by Charles Norris-Brown (Green Writers Press)
  • Finding Wild, by Megan Wagner Lloyd and illustrated by Abigail Halpin (Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, Random House Children’s Books)
  • Follow the Moon Home, by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson, and illustrated by Meilo So (Chronicle Books)
  • Gaia and the Golden Toad: A Tale of Climate Change, by Joan Muller (Mascot Books)
  • Green City, by Allan Drummond (Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • Green Is Good, by Elizabeth Gorcey and illustrated by Kajiah Jacobs (Bowie Books, LLC)
  • Greenling, Levi Pinfold (Candlewick Press)
  • Jake the Happy Trash Truck, written by Yvonne Osborne and Scott Osborne, and illustrated by Corbin Hillam (Crystal Publishing LLC)
  • Kenya’s Art, by Linda Trice and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell (Charlesbridge Publishing)
  • Mr. King’s Machine, by Geneviève Côté (Kids Can Press)
  • Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs, by Linda Vander Heyden and illustrated by Eileen Ryan Ewen (Sleeping Bear Press)
  • Prairie Dog Song, by Cindy Trumbore and Susan L. Roth, and illustrated by Susan L. Roth (LEE & LOW BOOKS)
  • Rainbow Weaver, Linda Elovitz Marshall and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri (Children’s Book Press/LEE & LOW BOOKS)
  • Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep, by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • The Lonely Giant, by Sophie Ambrose (Candlewick Press)
  • This is My Dollhouse, by Giselle Potter (Schwartz & Wade, Random House Children’s Books)
  • This Is the Earth, by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander, and illustrated by Wendell Minors (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Tokyo Digs a Garden, by John-Erik Lappano and illustrated by Kellen Hatanaka (Groundwood Books)
  • Where’s the Elephant?, by Stephane-Yves Barroux (Candlewick Press)

CHILDREN’S FICTION

  • Ace, King of My Heart, by Lea Herrick and illustrated by Nora Howell, Krystal Colon, and David Herrick (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
  • Maybe a Fox, by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee (Atheneum Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)
  • Pax, by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon Klassen  (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Saving Wonder, by Mary Knight (Scholastic Press)
  • The Wolf Keepers, by Elise Broach and illustrated by Alice Ratterree (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)

YOUNG ADULT FICTION

  • Broken Wing, by David Budbill (Green Writers Press)
  • Dig Too Deep, by Amy Allgeyer (Albert Whitman & Co)
  • KABOOM!, by Brian Adams (Green Writers Press)
  • Keep Her, by Leora Krygier (She Writes Press)
  • Rescued, by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic Press)
  • Up from the Sea, by Leza Lowitz (Crown BFYR, Random House Children’s Books)

CHILDREN’S NONFICTION

  • A Home in the Biome:  A Home in a Coral Reef, by Louise and Richard Spilsbury (PowerKids Press, Rosen Publishing)
  • Ada’s Violin, by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • Adventures in Nature: Creepy-Crawlies, by Cath Senker (PowerKids Press, Rosen Publishing)
  • Adventures in Nature: Pond Wildlife, by Clare Hibbert (PowerKids Press, Rosen Publishing)
  • After A While Crocodile: Alexa’s Diary, by Dr. Brady Barr and Jennifer Keats Curtis, and illustrated by Susan Detwiler (Arbordale Publishing)
  • Animal Planet Chapter Books: Sharks!, by Lori Stein (Time Inc. Books)
  • Because of an Acorn, by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam Schaefer, and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon (Chronicle Books)
  • Conservation of Endangered Species: Saving the American Bald Eagle, by Therese Shea (Britannica Educational Publishing)
  • Conservation of Endangered Species: Saving the Endangered American Alligator, by Jeanne Nagle (Britannica Educational Publishing)
  • Conservation of Endangered Species: Saving the Endangered Blue Whale, by Simone Payment (Britannica Educational Publishing)
  • Conservation of Endangered Species: Saving the Endangered Gray Wolf, by Shalini Saxena (Britannica Educational Publishing)
  • Conservation of Endangered Species: Saving the Endangered Green Sea Turtle, by Sarah Machajewski (Britannica Educational Publishing)
  • Conservation of Endangered Species: Saving the Endangered Grizzly Bear, by Justine Ciovacco (Britannica Educational Publishing)
  • Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our Planet, by Nikki Tate (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Every Breath We Take: A Book About Air, by Maya Ajmera and Dominique Browning (Charlesbridge Publishing)
  • Grow! Raise! Catch!: How We Get Our Food, by Shelley Rotner (Holiday House)
  • Growing Peace, by Richard Sobol (Children’s Book Press/LEE & LOW BOOKS)
  • Journey, by Emma Bland Smith and illustrated by Robin James (Little Bigfoot, an imprint of Sasquatch Books)
  • Maggie the One-Eyed Peregrine Falcon: A True Story of Rescue and Rehabilitation, by Christie Gove-Berg (Adventure Publications)
  • Otters Love to Play, by Jonathan London and illustrated by Meilo So (Candlewick Press)
  • Pocket Change: Pitching in for a Better World, by Michelle Mulder (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Science Comics, Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean, by Maris Wicks (First Second/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • Sea Otter Rescue, by Suzi Eszterhas (Owlkids)
  • Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea, by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raúl Colón (Simon & Schuster Paula Wiseman Books)
  • The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk, by Jan Thornhill (Groundwood Books)
  • Welcome to New Zealand: A Nature Guide, by Sandra Morris (Candlewick Press)

YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION

  • Hopping Ahead of Climate Change—Snowshoe Hares, Science, and Survival, by Sneed B. Collard III (Bucking Horse Books, distributed by Mountain Press)
  • Inside an Osprey’s Nest, by Teena Ruark Gorrow and Craig A. Koppie (Schiffer Publishing)
  • Journey: The Amazing Story of Or-7, the Oregon Wolf That Made History, by Beckie Elgin (Inkwater Press)
  • The End of Life as We Know It: Climate Change, A Threat to All Life on Earth, by Lisa A. Wroble (Enslow Publishing)
  • The End of Life as We Know It: Drying Up, Running Out of Water, by Lisa A. Wroble (Enslow Publishing)
  • The End of Life as We Know It: Starving, by Lisa A. Wroble (Enslow Publishing)
  • The Great White Shark Scientist, by Sy Montgomery and photographed by Keith Ellenbogen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • The Story of Seeds, by Nancy Castaldo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

A shout out to Salisbury /university’s Dr. Patty Dean and Erin Stutelber, for receiving and vetting this year’s nominations.

 

“Love” the Planet

Look around your house to find one new energy-saving step you can take this month– unplug phone chargers that aren’t being used, caulk up a leak around a window, check the air in your tires.  Click here for more eco-tips by season.

Open your seed catalogs and begin planning a vegetable garden, whether it is a big one in the yard or a modest one on the porch, the food we grow for ourselves is healthy, organic, fresh, and requires less of the earth’s resources to get to our table.

Vote for the planet — write, e-mail or call your local and federal representatives in government to encourage them to take action on issues that are important to you and the planet.  Now more than ever, our voices need to count!

Encourage kids to learn more about how they can help the environment.  Your Valentine’s Day donation will allow us to give even more books about caring for the earth to kids at schools in the area.

 

donate button heart earth

 

 

Our Best Photos of 2016

Check out some of our favorite shots of kids as they grow to become our next generation of stewards. Through our environmental literature and outdoor classroom programs, these youth are learning what they can do to protect the planet. We know that in the future, their environmental education experiences will have a positive impact on the decisions they will make as adults.  We appreciate the generous financial donations and gifts of time from our supporters and volunteers.

 

We are all born with a natural curiosity about nature.
We are all born with a natural curiosity about nature. Pictured here, kids peek under a fallen tree.

All ages are welcome to help out.
All ages are welcome to help out.

We teach the next generation how to protect it - youth testing the health of the Catoctin Creek.
The Nature Generation teaches youth, our next generation of environmental stewards, how to protect nature.  Youth test the health of the Catoctin Creek during our annual Water Quality day.

We made book donations like these to schools throughout the nation as part of the Green Earth Book Award celebration.
We donated award-winning books to schools throughout the nation as part of the annual celebration of our Green Earth Book Award.

These kids are talking about award winner "Hey, Not Your Typical Book About The Environment" in our new video.
These kids talk about award winner “Hey, Not Your Typical Book About The Environment” in our new video.

Learning first hand how to maintain the delicate balance of nature - young volunteer picks up trash on our Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, Va.
Learning first hand how to maintain the delicate balance of nature. A young volunteer picks up trash on our Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, Va.

Trail, Water Quality Day, Hannah with water and boot, June 2016
High school student literally gets her feet wet during water quality testing day at the trail.

Students are always inspired when they meet our award winning authors face to face - Green Earth Book Award Winner Ali Benjamin is greeted here with life-like jellyfish hanging from the library for her presentation about her book "The Thing About Jellyfish."
Students are inspired when they meet our award winners face-to-face: Ali Benjamin is greeted with life-like jellyfish hanging in the library for her talk about her book “The Thing About Jellyfish.”

Author of winning book “One Plastic Bag,” Miranda Paul, shows kids how others did their part to change the world.

The birdfeeders that this student and her class made ended up as morsels for birds on the trail this winter.
The birdfeeders that this student and her class made ended up as morsels for birds on the trail this winter.

Messy but rewarding.
Messy but rewarding – planting in the pollinator plot on Earth Day field trip.

Here are more highlights of 2016…

Click here to support our programs with your generous donation.

 

 

A Clean Slate?

By Amy L. Newton – January 2017

Our January rituals encourage rethinking and resetting annual goals; through our resolutions we set aspirations and enjoy the ritual of fresh beginnings. We use this time of year to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. For centuries this term has marked the end and the beginning. During Victorian times, customers kept accounts on slate boards in grocery shops and taverns for their purchases. When they paid back the grocer or tavern owner on payday, their slate was literally wiped clean. School children also used slate to write their letters and figures—and then wiped it clean when the lesson was finished. A nautical derivation relied on the term, too. The course of a ship was recorded on a slate then entered into the ships paper log as the official record at the end of each watch — —slate cleaned, ready for the next watch and thus a new fresh record.

But what if the slate is not cleaned to wipe out the past—but actually to build upon our investment of time and energy that we put into every morning, every day. Though the slate was wiped clean didn’t the tavern customer pay their way?  Didn’t the school child learn their lesson? Didn’t the captain move the ship forward? So perhaps January and new years and fresh starts are not so much about wiping away the past, but to appreciate all the history that got us to where we are , and then giving us a chance to make new beginnings.

Like newly fallen snow that covers our landscape and cleans and refreshes— all things look possible. But under that blanket of new soft snow are rocks and boulders that are the patterns of our lives. Areas of rough patches and yes, areas of green pastures and soft landings are the patterns under the snow form our character, define who we are becoming. Our history is chiseled and cannot and must not be forgotten. Both painful and joyful memories all have their place in our life story. All should be honored.

What are those memories we cherish, the ones that make us laugh or cry or cringe? The times we were embarrassed, the times we laughed so hard, the times we opened ourselves to love, the times we said goodbye the times we said hello? As I get older, I no longer make resolutions, as I don’t care to clean my slate. I thank the year that ended for all its joy, love and pain. I instead chose a word to guide my new year, a word to be my compass for the path I walk upon and how I greet the morning.

My life lesson may not be about wiping the slate clean it might instead be more about recognizing the patterns that lead to happiness. It might be about being more sensitive to the patterns that end in problems and either detouring or figuring out how to traverse with less pain and hurt. It might be more about recognizing and hopefully not repeating the mistakes I have made.

Can we learn? Do we always have to walk again on the paths we have already trodden? Must we fall into the same crevices? Or perhaps can we learn from our mistakes, learn from the rough terrain and strive to be healthier.  Can we honor these wounds so healing begins? Is a clean slate a way to forgive and forget and to start a new? Is it a way to encourage us to live in the present? Can we relish the happiness and look at the paths that head us in this direction. Can we face a new morning with hope and grace?

My word for 2017 is ready—ready to embrace, to love, to look at the path of happiness and choose it every moment, every day, every morning. That is the slate upon which I choose to write my life story.

What is yours?

 

 

On the Pulse of Morning

Excerpts……

“I, the rock, I the river, I the tree

I am yours—your passages have been paid.

 

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need

For this bright morning dawning for you.

 

History, despite its wrenching pain,

Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,

Need not be lived again.

 

Lift up your eyes upon

The day breaking for you.

 

Give birth again

To the dream.

 

Lift up your hearts.

 

Each new hour holds new chances

For new beginnings.

The horizon leans forward,

Offering you space to place new steps of change….

 

Here on the pulse of this new day

You may have the grace to look up and out

And into your sister’s eyes,

Into your brother’s face, your country

And say simply

Very simply

With hope

Good Morning.”

— Maya Angelou

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