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As Earth Month Comes to a Close…

April is Earth Month and as it comes to a close, I wanted to share some final thoughts.

Did you know Earth Day, April 22nd, began in 1970? It began as a “teach-in,” modeled after the civil rights and anti-war movements. As parents, we are our children’s first teachers. The world we live in is what we are leaving to them, so it is our responsibility to teach them how to care for, preserve, and love our earth.

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While today’s children are more more “eco-friendly” and educated on the importance of being “green” and environmentally sound, Earth Month is yet another opportunity to reinforce why we take steps like recycling, turning out lights, and not letting the tap run, etc.

The Nature Conservancy is an excellent resource and a leading conservation organization that works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. If ever you want to donate your time or money, join them. You can adopt an acre, adopt a coral reef, plant a tree – and they have so many other ways to sustain our environment.

The Nature Conservancy’s theme for the month of April is ‘sustainability and food sources.’ They offer interactive activities, such as pinning your picnic on a virtual map and uploading photos of your family enjoying the time outdoors.

Not everyone will have a chance to participate in the event, but it’s the time of year where planting a garden – whether you have a large yard space or a small window pot – will help teach your children where food comes from. A child of any age will benefit from getting their hands dirty in the garden!

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Great things to plant this time of year include: string beans, tomatoes, a variety of squash & many others depending on your region. As you plant, talk to your kids about the Earth and what your garden needs to grow – soil, sun, water, and love.

You can even turn it into a science activity for the older ones. Have them measure the growth of your plants, keep a progress chart and observation log. As younger gardeners may be a little more impatient, they can draw pictures of what their plants may look like or read a book about gardening. This may satisfy their minds before they’re able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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I absolutely adore Stacy Torino’s book ‘Project Garden.’ Her Web site, Stacy Grows, also has tons of family activities and projects for garden time fun! I actually found this book at Whole Foods.

Some other excellent gardening books for kids:

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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