Inspiring Environmental Stewards

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:


  • 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)


  • 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)


  • 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)


  • 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)


  • 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.


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.



BLOG: Why I Support The Nature Generation

December 1, 2016:  by Nick McCarter

For me, The Nature Generation mission encompasses three things that are very important in my life, Environment/Nature, Education, and Children. I actively participate in and support many nonprofit organizations that support one or two of those things, but none that support all three.


I grew up with the Chesapeake Bay only a few steps out my back door. My best childhood memories all include some form of being immersed in nature, on the beach, or in the water. Leaving the beach for Northern Virginia seemed like a nightmare. However, having now lived on “our little farm” in Loudoun for 6 years, we love this new flavor of nature that we get to experience daily. I want my children and future generations to be able to have those same experiences.


Most of the people we interact with in our business are extremely fortunate, far more than they even realize. We’ve been given a gift of an education, which is such a powerful and necessary tool for driving positive change both in the environment and elsewhere. We have to continuously work on improving the quality and availability of an education in order to sustain everything we are working so hard for.


Our children had no choice of the environment they were born into, they simply deal with the decisions and results of all the adults before them. We do our best to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for them today. However, the best thing we can do is empower them to make educated decisions long after we’re gone. And hopefully that will allow future generations to enjoy the same environment we do today.

The Nature Generation brings people, businesses, and the community together to simultaneously improve the Environment, Education, and Children. That’s an effort that I’d love to be part of.

Plus, The golf tournament is a pretty good time.

Nick McCarter is the founder and CEO of Chartis, a leading provider of innovative and cost-effective IT solutions for the United States government. McCarter launched Chartis in 2008 with a single project for the Department of Energy and has since grown the firm to more than 100 professionals, supporting 18 public-sector organizations and reducing government spending by millions of dollars. Chartis, translated “map” from Greek, works with clients to strategically map IT investment plans to business needs. Washington Technology, CIO Review and Inc. Magazine have all recognized Chartis for its growth, potential and success as one of the country’s top private companies.

McCarter began his career with Blueprint Technologies as a strategic planner, where he also learned to run a small business. Prior to founding Chartis, he helped develop the enterprise architecture practice at Project Performance Corporation and grew it into a multimillion-dollar practice. 

McCarter lives in Leesburg, Virginia with his wife and twin boys. He has been recognized as one of Loudoun County’s 40 under 40 due to his appreciation for the core American values of hard work and community service coupled with his investment in other small businesses and the local community.  He is a strong supporter of non-profit organizations including The Wounded Warrior Project, Border Patrol Foundation, The Nature Generation, Operation Smile, Trekking for Kids, The Arc of Fairfax, and The Lombardi Foundation. McCarter also serves on the Executive Advisory Board for Computer Science at James Madison University, from which he holds a bachelor of science.

Support The Nature Generation!


Families Flock to Hail to the Trail Event to Learn More about Nature

More than 100 people enjoyed a beautiful fall day in the woods exploring nature and listening to live music by Willie White at the second annual Hail to the Trail event at the Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville.

We co hosted the November 6th event with Town of Purcellville and many local organizations and businesses came out to the trail to show the community how to connect with nature and how to protect our natural resources.

Several activities focused on water.  People got their feet wet and caught and identified creatures in the South Fork Catoctin Creek with the Audubon Naturalist Society and were amazed at the discovery of all the small creatures that live unseen under water.  Piedmont Environmental Council showed how our actions can either help (planting trees) or harm (overusing fertilizer) our watershed.

The Nature Generation table was crowded with people who tested their knowledge about water with a trivia game and many others used our “TreeTrek,”  “I Spy Trees,” and “Find the Sign” scavenger hunt guides to help them slow down to truly see and appreciate the beauty of our natural environment.

Kids of all ages created works of art using nature; they used sticks to paint masterpieces at the Purcellville Arts Council table and made pet rocks with trail sponsor Jason Sengpeihl of Allstate.

The Purcellville Library mascot owls brought a sampling of the many environmental books available at the library.  Culbert Elementary School Green Crocs environmental club displayed what they learned in the environmental books we donated to them and how through their partnership they have been helping to keep the trail litter free.

People of all ages enjoyed learning ways to identify animals with molds of tracks and scat from the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. Wildlife Ambassadors were a big draw with the snakes, lizards, turtles, ferrets and ducks demonstration that allowed people to get close up observations of these animals that live in the wild.

Keep Loudoun Beautiful ran a game to teach people the difference between trash and recyclables, and handed out reusable bags to encourage everyone to use them instead of plastic bags.  Trail sponsor The Maid Brigade collected several box loads of plastic bags to pass on to Trex, who will turn them into outdoor benches. Trail sponsor Middleburg Bank once again showed their support by handing out a variety of free giveaways to attendees.

The Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship displayed samples of plants and seeds that they are found on the Chapman DeMary Trail, and the Loudoun County Tree Stewards showed the many ways trees benefit the environment by cleaning water through filtration, and by cleaning air by absorbing pollutants and providing oxygen, to name just a few.

Three guided hikes were led by Gina Faber, winner of McGranaghan Stewardship Award; Carol Ivory of the Loudoun County Tree Stewards; and Paul Miller with the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship.

Several individuals and businesses who support the trail were recognized.  We bestowed the McGranaghan Stewardship Award to Gina Faber Gina for her dedication of time and talent to enhancing the trail and educating others about this natural habitat. Two boy scouts whose trail projects earned the rank of Eagle were praised: Joshua Eager (Troop 39) built a beautiful arched foot bridge at the entrance to the nature park; and Adam Broschkovetch (Troop 969) built a long boardwalk over part of the trail path that was often too muddy to pass.

Trail sponsors were also recognized for their generous financial contributions:  The Dominion Foundation, Middleburg Bank, The Purcellville Gazette, Jason Sengpiehl with Allstate, Maid Brigade, Bank of Clarke County, Cabinet Showplace, Fieldstone Farm Bed and Breakfast, Purcellville Copy, Purcellville Rotary Club, Wholesale Screening Solutions, Browning Equipment, It’s a Piece of Cake Catering, Hudimac and Company, The Jimmerson Family, The Robic Family and Zicht and Associates

Another major announcement at the Hail to the Trail was The Dominion Foundation presentation of a grant check for $10,000 for a project designed to “Enhance Environmental Stewardship and Access to Nature” at the Chapman DeMary Nature Trail.  Tim Sargeant with Dominion, presented the certificate to Amie Ware, Teach Green Program Director with The Nature Generation.

Mayor Kwasi Fraser of Purcellville was joined by children who planted three red bud trees near the new bridge. He then read a Proclamation for 2016 Arbor Day. Jim McGlone with the Department of Forestry talked about the value of trees and congratulated the Town for keeping its Tree City USA designation for the 9th year.

The Chapman DeMary Trail is part of a sustainable education partnership among The Nature Generation, Loudoun Valley High School, the Piedmont Environmental Council, and the Town of Purcellville. The Nature Generation is a nonprofit that manages and implements projects at the trail to provide environmental education and hands-on opportunities for students, scouts, and residents.  The organization relies on the support of individuals and businesses in our community to bring these programs and opportunities at the trail.


Gina Faber is 2016 McGranaghan Stewardship Award Recipient

We established the McGranaghan Stewardship award to recognize volunteers who help care for and enhance the habitat, educate the next generation about the habitat, and encourage youth to be good stewards. This year, the award was presented to Gina Faber.

Mrs. Faber was given the award for her dedication and enthusiasm in volunteering at the Chapman DeMary Trail. Over the past year, she has helped students, youth groups, scouts, and other volunteers who have come to the trail for field trips and trail enhancements. During events at the trail, she has led nature hikes and shown kids what to look for at the trail, how to identify plants, and how to plant plants so they will thrive. She has also dedicated hours to help with projects that include enhancing the pollinator plot and working with students on a project to reduce the negative impact of invasive plants in the habitat. Her passion for plants and caring for habitats come through in all the ways she helps at the trail and teaches the next generation.

Mrs. Faber learned how much she enjoyed sharing her love of nature with children during her time as a preschool assistant teacher at the Loudoun Valley Community Center in Purcellville with “Mr. Garth” Adams, who was a role model for her. When she became a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener in 2011, she built on that enthusiasm by revitalizing and co-chairing the Children’s Education Team for several years. She is also an active member in Loudoun Environmental Stewardship Alliance (LESA) and the Green Team of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun (UUCL).

She is a talented musician who has played all over the county as a classical and tradition music performer on percussion, mandolin and guitar. She owns her own edible landscaping company and has recently started a gluten-free baking business, Gina’s Pies.
Mrs. Faber grew up in Virginia Beach, VA, graduating from University of Virginia with degrees in Math and Math Education.  She has lived in Loudoun County since 1988. She currently lives is Round Hill with husband Joe and daughter Julia who attends JMU. Her hobbies include music, nature, gardening, meditation, cooking, knitting, environmental activism and reading.

The McGranaghan Stewardship Award is named after Loudoun Valley High School Environmental Explorations teacher Liam McGranaghan. He demonstrates what it means to be a good steward of the environment with his students and with the community through his work at the Chapman DeMary Trail and other areas. He and his students were instrumental in establishing the nature trail and serve as stewards of the area.


2016 Winning Authors are Honored, Meet with Students

The Green Earth Book Awards events last week were FANTASTIC! Our authors connected with over 2,000 students during visits to schools in Arlington, Chantilly, and Hamilton, Virginia, as well as Washington, DC and we donated several hundred books to the schools and students! Our authors were inspiring, too – hearing them speak to students and seeing their direct impact, and listening to their moving words as they accepted their awards was just amazing!

Our 2016 Winners:

Picture Book –The Stranded Whale, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Melanie Cataldo (Candlewick Press)

Young Adult Fiction- The Beast of Cretacea, written by Todd Strasser (Candlewick Press)

Children’s Fiction –The Thing About Jellyfish, written by Ali Benjamin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Children’s Nonfiction – Mission: Sea Turtle Rescue, written by Karen Romano Young and Daniel Raven-Ellison (National Geographic Society)

2016 Honor Award Winners:

Picture Book – Crane Boy, written by Diana Cohn and  illustrated by Youme (Cinco Puntos Press)

Picture Book –The Seeds of Friendship, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman (Candlewick Press)

Young Adult Fiction- A 52-Hertz Whale, written by Bill Sommer and  Natalie Haney Tilghman (Carolrhoda Lab™ – Lerner Publishing Group)

Children’s Fiction – Sydney & Simon Go Green!, written by Paul A. Reynolds and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Charlesbridge)

Children’s Fiction – The Order of the Trees, by Katy Farber (Green Writers Press)

Children’s Nonfiction – One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Millbrook Press)

Children’s Nonfiction – Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall, written by Anita Silvey (National Geographic Society)


We announced our winners during an Earth Day field trip to the Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, a group of 75 2nd graders helped announce the winners and gave their reactions to how the books inspired them to be good environmental stewards. The National Environmental Education Foundation was on hand to present a water testing activity to show the students the importance of keeping our streams, rivers and oceans clean.


2014 Read Green Festival 094

Each year we donate these award wining books to schools, hospitals and youth groups. Please consider making a contribution to The Nature Generation so we can give more of these inspirational books to our next generation of environmental stewards.

Your Support Makes a difference! CLICK HERE TO DONATE  





Hands On Learning on the Trail

We are proud to report our recent activities on the Chapman DeMary Trail that provide youth and communities the opportunity to learn first hand about how our our actions can impact the environment:

Stormwater Stewards

(Funded in part through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.)

Students from Loudoun Valley High School learned how to be Stormwater Stewards through hand-on activities in the classroom and on the Trail.  They monitored the water quality of the South Fork Catoctin Creek that runs along the trail; researched water issues; recommended a plan of action on how to improve the buffer zones along the bank; and then created informational materials to educate hikers on the trail.  With guidance from local experts and their Environmental Explorations Teacher, students came up with six recommendations to enhance the riparian buffer in the pollinator plot located on the trail.  One of the lead students, Jennifer Betz, presented the recommendations to the Town of Purcellville and the land owner.  After discussion, they agreed on a  plan to plant trees and shrubs to enhance the riparian buffer in the pollinator plot, which is very close to the creek.  Three criteria were used, the plants must be native; appropriate for riparian buffer zones; and able to provide food and shelter for pollinators and/or be a host plant. The Nature Generation purchased the 60 trees and shrubs with funding through the grant, and students planted them in the pollinator plot. Through this grant, informational flyers and posters about the trees and shrubs planted, about native plants in general, and about riparian buffers was created and is displayed at the trail.

Many thanks to the organizations and experts who helped: Loudoun Watershed Watch, Loudoun County Tree Stewards, Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Loudoun Valley High School, the Piedmont Environmental Council, The Cadmus Group, and The Town of Purcellville.

Click here to see the Stormwater Stewards Recommendations and Plan



Weed Warriors

(Funded in part by the Captain Planet Foundation.)

Boy Scout Troop 961 and the Virginia Native Plant Society removed invasive plants that were choking out native plants in the pollinator habitat at the Trail and replaced them with native plants to provide food and shelter for wildlife. This also enhanced the riparian buffer at a portion of the South Fork Catoctin Creek, part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  We also planted 62 shrubs and flowers. In addition to making great progress in removing and deterring invasive plants, we were able to establish monthly Weed Warrior maintenance days at the Trail; an effort that will continue through the years.

The Boy Scouts join us each month for Weed Warriors and also participated in our annual water quality days as volunteers providing information about invasives. You can join us the second Tuesday of every month from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and help us with this effort! Just stop by, or sign up online to get an email reminder:





Blog: Empowering the Next Generation of Ocean Stewards

May 23, 2015

by Patricia Newman

Let’s face it, ocean plastic depresses people. Many feel helpless to affect change. Others don’t see the connection between their habits and the health of the ocean. So when I speak with children about marine debris, I empower them to make a difference.

First, I ask kids how they use the ocean. Popular responses include boogie boarding and fishing. With a little prodding they add transportation to the list. And some child prodigy always quietly raises a hand to say that the ocean provides nearly two-thirds of our oxygen.

Few kids are familiar with the complex ecosystem that exists below the surface, so I show them Plastic, Ahoy! photographer Annie Crawley’s video, “Blue Heart Ocean Soul.” Manta rays fly across the screen. Reef sharks patrol rocky crevices. Schools of fish dart and swerve as one. The kids’ faces beam with every shift in color, size or shape.

At the same time, I perform a live demonstration with a “model” ocean to illustrate our legacy of whaling, chemical fertilizers, fossil fuel pollution, overfishing, litter, and global warming. What was once clear salt water becomes a murky, congested mess.

Right about this point I see desperation in their eyes. They want to know how they can help. But they don’t drive, they don’t vote, and they’re still sheltered by the adults in their lives. So I share a secret—they can make a HUGE difference by focusing on single-use plastic, plastic that’s used once and tossed. Water bottles. Plastic utensils. Styrofoam lunch trays. Lunch baggies. Straws. I ask questions to encourage them to take note of the single-use plastic in their lives. We brainstorm ways around the plastic. Stainless steel water bottles. Bamboo utensils or metal utensils from home. Reusable lunch trays. Wax paper or reusable baggies. Paper straws or no straws at all. And I leave them empowered to make changes at home or in school.

One teacher wrote to say, “<em>Plastic, Ahoy! </em>inspired [my] sixth graders to become change agents.” A group of fifth graders in San Diego made reusable shopping bags from old t-shirts and replaced their plastic lunchroom utensils with their own utensils from home. First graders in Alabama measured their lunchroom’s trash output before and after switching to reusable lunch trays. And an eighth grade in Sacramento argued against microbeads during a field trip to the state capitol.

One school that I visited required students to write a short essay about why they wanted to meet with me in a small group setting. A student named Avery wrote, “[Patricia Newman] is a world-changer…She inspires me to help the world become a better place. Her books help raise awareness of the danger that the earth faces.”

I’m grateful that students like Avery think it’s possible to change the world through the written word. When I was in elementary school, my favorite lessons connected to my life in some way. I write about conservation to provide a bridge between students and science, between students and current events, and between students and action. They will become the next scientists who bring biofuels to the mainstream market or find ways to clean up the existing trash in the ocean. Or the next author who takes up the conservation banner.

Patricia Newman is the 2015 Green Earth Book Award Winner in the Children’s Non-fiction category for her book Plastic Ahoy!: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  The book follows three females scientists in a small research ship as they learn about the impact of the Garbage Patch on marine life.


To read previous blogs written by Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Board Members Arthur Gowran and Max Hall, click here.


And the Winners Are…

This Earth Day, we announced our national 2016 Green Earth Book Award winners, given to the authors and illustrators whose books best inspire young readers to care for the environment.

While on a field trip to the Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, a group of 75 2nd graders helped announce the winners and gave their reactions to how the books inspired them to be good environmental stewards. The National Environmental Education Foundation was on hand to present a water testing activity to show the students the importance of keeping our streams, rivers and oceans clean.

“This year’s Green Earth Book Award winners are particularly poignant, introducing young readers to the vulnerabilities of humanity in terms of our connection to the natural world. In these winning books, the adversity and  the struggles to make sense out of life lead to hope and beauty and lay the foundation for stories that inspire us to greatness. They will motivate young readers to view their relationship with nature differently, and to become future stewards of the natural world we live in.”
– Dr. Ernie Bond, lead review panelist, professor at Salisbury University, and leading specialist in children’s and young adult literature

2014 Read Green Festival 094

Each year we donate these award wining books to schools, hospitals and youth groups. Please consider making a contribution to The Nature Generation so we can give more of these inspirational books to our next generation of environmental stewards.

Your Support Makes a difference! CLICK HERE TO DONATE  —-

2016 Winners

2016 picture book winner the stranded whale for web
2016 children's fiction the thing about jellyfish for web
2016 children's nonfiction mission sea turtle for e b;ast
2016 young adult fiction the beast of cretacea for web
2016 green earth book award honor winners for web


Here’s what some of our authors have to say about the award:

Winning authors will receive their awards at the Read Green Festival this fall in Washington, D.C.  The Festival is a three-day event that works to get more environmental literature into the hands of kids through author visits and book donations, and culminates with an Awards Ceremony and Green Tie Reception honoring the winners on October 27.





BLOG: The Storytellers Who Teach Us to Care for All We Hold Dear…

March 24, 2016

By Bob Deans

Our son Robby was about two years old when Disney made its animated classic, beauty and the beast. Robby hadn’t yet learned to read, but he had one of those children’s books with buttons you could push to get a quick audio snippet of key passages, which Robby could then follow along in the book and memorize.

One of those, naturally, was the moral of the story – cast down by Disney as if from on high in a voice of towering strength and rectitude: do not be deceived by appearances.

And, one evening while he was leafing through the pages and mimicking the audio himself, we heard Robby recite with all the force of conscience his own small voice might muster: do not be deceived by your parents.

If we’re paying attention, we learn far more from our children than we might ever hope to teach them. We learn how to become parents. Who will tell our children the truth? The truth about the wonders of this magnificent world. About the boundless universe of potential that exists within each child. About the need to be good stewards of all creation and the common home we share.

One way we convey these eternal truths, from our children’s earliest years, is through stories and the people who tell them. That’s why, we celebrate the storytellers who pass on wisdom to our children, teach us to care for all we hold dear, usher us into the world of imagination . . . and set us free to dream.

Our imaginations were fired and our minds lit with dreams by stories of the discovery in a narrow cave of the fossilized remains of a group of very early humans – thought to have lived more than 2 million years ago in what we now call South Africa. We know that, sometime around then, our distant ancestors began to cook their food. That meant more calories to support a growing brain. It meant fire, preparation and planning; the beginnings of community and cooperation. And it meant the flowering of human communication – early symbols, gestures, pictures and words.

And over the broad sweep of many millennia, over many hundreds of thousands of years, we evolved into communal people, connected and bound through villages and tribes.

Story telling has been central to that journey. Telling stories is how we survive. In telling stories around the communal fire, elders passed on to children the wisdom and knowledge of their time. Hunters warned of hazard and risk in tales of disaster and loss. Mothers advanced understanding of health and home and healing through the memories and experiences they shared. Explorers painted vivid portraits of promise by describing what lay beyond the river bend.

And so we learned from stories of experience how each generation might live better than the one before. And we learned that we could go beyond what we experienced – as individuals and as a group – by listening to stories about things we hadn’t seen and even things that hadn’t yet happened, and then imagining a better way. A safer way to travel great distances; how to build better villages and homes; how to fashion a way to carry an infant while we foraged for food in the fields. We learned how to solve problems, face challenges and move, as a group, to higher ground.

And we learned something even more important than all that. We learned, through stories, who we are, what we do and why it matters. We developed a human identity, as a communal people who depend on the tribe for our shelter, our food and our families. For security in a dangerous world. From the earliest stirrings of human consciousness, we feel that dependence on the tribe, very deeply, even today.

We feel our human frailty. We fear being left alone. Because deep in the innermost recesses of our being we know we’re dependent upon the tribe and that if we’re banished or left behind we will not survive. That’s why stories are so important. To help us to understand who we are, what we do and why it matters.

That is our identity. That’s how we know we belong to the tribe. That’s what we rely on to make sure we’re not left behind. Storytelling helps to shape that identity, to give it clarity and meaning and form. To remind us that we have, each of us, a special place in the great tribe of all humanity. And that we have, each of us, our own unique story to tell.

The young boy who struggles to survive on the streets in Gabon, develops an unlikely friendship with a professor and together they peer into the plight of a complicated animal driven to the brink of extinction. (Threatened, by Eliot Schrefer, 2015 Green Earth Book Awards winner for Young Adult Fiction)

We have our own story to tell.

The wise sage who takes us behind the headlines to tell us what we need to know about the central environmental issues of our time. (Eyes Wide Open, by Paul Fleischman, 2015 Green Earth Book Awards winner for Young Adult Nonfiction)

The mermaid heroine, the writer and the photographer who tell the stories of the threats to our oceans, then set out to save the waters and the wonders of our deepest seas and all that they support. (Deep Blue, by Jennifer Donnelly, 2015 Green Earth Book Award winner in Children’s Nonfiction; and Plastics Ahoy: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, by Patricia Newman and Annie Crawley, 2015 Green Earth Book Awards winner for Children’s nonfiction.)

The poet and the painter who take us into the equally unfathomable depths of the human spirit through a character who testifies, “I held a forest in my arms and my heart was changed.” (The Promise, by Nicola Davis, 2015 Green Earth Book Awards winner for Picture Book.)

Green Earth Book Award winning authors take their place in the long line of great storytellers, telling the great stories of our time. Passing on knowledge to our children. Teaching us to be good stewards of all creation. Ushering us into the world of imagination . . . and setting us free to dream.

Because when we build on the wisdom of others; when we care for all we hold dear; when we are fully free to dream of things we cannot yet see; that is when we know we are truly and wholly human, part of the great global human tribe.

That’s how we find our place in the village that’s been entrusted to our care. Our village today is threatened. The world we leave to our children is at risk. 2014 was the hottest summer since global record-keeping began 136 years ago. Fourteen of the hottest years on record have all occurred in this century. Here’s who says that’s a problem:

The National Academy of Sciences – created by Congress during the Civil War to tell us the bedrock truth about what’s happening in our world, as the best of our science might tell us that truth; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association – the gold standard for climate and weather information worldwide; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – the guys who put a man on the moon; the White House; the State Department; the Department of Commerce; the Pentagon; General Motors Corporation; Google; the Bank of America; and Pope Paul – the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, traveled from the Vatican to come to the seat of American governance to say we have a moral obligation to protect future generations from the dangers of widening climate change.

The pope has put before us one of the most profound spiritual questions of this or any other time: are we going to rise to our moral obligation to protect future generations, or will we be the ones to sit back and preside over the steady degradation and decline of the planet and all it supports?

Our answer will help determine the kind of future we leave for our children. And it will tell them everything they need to know about our willingness to live out our beliefs and to imbue our convictions with purpose and meaning by putting our beliefs into action.

And here’s how we know that matters: seas are rising; deserts are widening; ice is melting; storms, wildfires and floods are raging. The Earth, our home, is telling us every way it can that it’s time to cut the dangerous fossil fuel pollution that’s driving global climate change.

The Earth, our common home, is telling us every way it can that it’s time to stop poisoning our waters and air and seas with plastic and toxic chemicals.

The Earth, our one and only home, is telling us every way it can that we cannot go on with reckless drilling and exploding oil trains that put the perils of the oil patch in the American backyard; that we cannot go on blasting mountains to rubble in the pursuit of the last lump of coal; that we cannot go on to the ends of the earth in search of more oil and gas than we can afford to burn without firing climate catastrophe; and that we cannot keep turning vital habitat into industrial wastelands boreal forest of Canada, the sage grass prairies of the American west, the rain forests of Brazil, and all around the world – while we take species that evolved over hundreds of millions of years and wipe them off the face of the planet forever.

This earth, our solitary common home, is telling us every way it can: we have to learn the wisdom of our elders, care for all we hold dear and imagine a better way to do things – or we will not survive.

Because for all the great distance we’ve traveled, and all we have learned to do, our lives remain, as our Green Earth Book Award authors and artists remind us, wedded to the complex yet fragile natural systems upon which all life depends.  And the remarkable story we have to tell, the truth we must tell to our children, is that we can find that better way.

We can turn from the dirty fossil fuels of the past and create clean energy to power our future – and don’t let anyone tell you we can’t. We can invest in efficiency so we do more with less waste – and don’t let anyone tell you we can’t.

We can get more power from the wind and sun; safeguard our waters, wildlife, and lands; and we can build, right here in this country, the best all-electric and hybrid cars anywhere in the world; and don’t you ever let anyone tell you we can’t.

Failure is not who we are as a species. Failure is not what we do best. We are an animal that learns from the past, imagines the future and rises to meet it, to shape it, to create it, with the power and spirit of ideas, innovation, enterprise and hope. That’s who we are as a species. That’s why we’re still here today. That’s what’s been handed down to our village, one generation to the next, since the dawn of humankind.

That’s the great story that guides us as much tomorrow as today. We’re still telling it to our children. Still setting them free to dream. and we’ll keep finding new ways to do it, so long as stories, and storytellers, survive.

Bob Deans was keynote speaker at our 2015 Green Earth Book Award Ceremony.  He is the director of strategic engagement at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Bob joined NRDC as director of federal communications in 2009, following a 30-year long career as a newspaper journalist, starting with the Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina; moving to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and then becoming the chief Asia correspondent, based in Tokyo, for the paper’s parent company, Cox. In 1992, Deans moved to Washington to cover foreign policy, national security, economic affairs and the White House. Deans was president of the White House Correspondents Association from 2002-2003. He is co-author of the 2014 book, “The World We Create: A Message of Hope for a Planet in Peril” with former NRDC President Frances Beinecke. He is the author of the 2012 book, “Reckless: The Political Assault on the American Environment”; co-author of the 2009 book, “Clean Energy Common Sense” with former NRDC President Frances Beinecke; and co-author, with former NRDC Executive Director Peter Lehner, of the 2010 book “In Deep Water: Anatomy of a Disaster, the Fate of the Gulf and Ending our Oil Addiction.” He is the author of The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James, published in 2007. Deans has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.


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