Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cancel Your Catalogs, Help the Environment

A local paper here sends out a weekly catalog featuring products from local merchants. Groceries, home improvement supplies, and electronics sales are advertised. I might page through the thing once, and then it goes into the recycling bin immediately after.

I'm sure some people hold on to these and scan carefully through the weekly deals and then responsibly dispose of them in the recycling bin, but I'd rather my copy wasn't printed at all, personally.

Catalogs for department stores, clothing retailers, household items, and other prodcuts fill mailboxes across America, and a lot of them go directly into the recycling bin -- or worse, the garbage can. According to the NRDC, 19 billion catalogs are mailed in the U.S. every year, and 95% of those are made from virgin forests instead of recycled materials. Producing that many catalogs translates to 53 million trees cut down, 3.6 million tons of paper, enough energy to power 1.2 million homes, 5.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and 53 billion gallons of water every year. Not only are unwanted catalogs a nuisance, they are destructive to our environment.

The Catalog Canceling Challenge, organized by 4th grade teacher Ted Wells, is an initiative to eliminate the waste of unwanted catalogs. In 9 Steps, schools can join "over 7,800 children in 21 states who have canceled 53,400 unwanted sales catalogs to save trees, water, energy, and our climate."

Another great resource to assist in canceling catalogs is from Catalog Choice, a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to cut down on the waste of unwanted junk mail.

On the back of our local paper's advertisement circulation, the one I might page through once before recycling, is an email address and phone number to reach the company and be removed from the mailing list. It took me five minutes to help preserve Earth's resources, save energy, and reduce waste.

The Catalog Canceling Challenge
Switchboard: Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog - "Today Show boost for Catalog Choice"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kids for Saving Earth Art Call!

Attention teachers, parents, and other educators! Spring is here, and it's a great "artistic muse" for your students and children!

The artwork on our website and our programs is from kids from all over the world. We need spring and summertime artwork for our website, programs, and this blog -- pictures of warm weather, nature, parks, and lakes in watercolor, colored pencil, or crayon.

If you're a parent or teacher, have your children or students draw their favorite Spring or Summer scenes and send them to us and we'll feature them on here on the blog, as well as on our website,

You can scan and email the submissions to or "snail" mail the artwork itself to:
Kids for Saving Earth
37955 Bridge Road
North Branch, MN 55056

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's (Meteorological) Spring!

March 1st, this year and every year, marked the first day of meteorological spring in the Northern Hemisphere. (This is of course different than astronomical spring, which begins March 20th.)

As the snow begins to melt, it's time to gear up for springtime Earth-saving activities. KSE has several educational materials and activities for the new season. You can bundle all these into a springtime curriculum, or use them individually.

When the snow melts, we start seeing all the litter that had blown around before the snow fell. A great activity for kids is to go on a Garbage Walk. Get outside, take a walk, experience the new beauty of spring, bring some gloves and a garbage bag and help clean up the Earth! Here's a KSE worksheet to get you started: Take a Garbage Walk! (pdf)

With the Earth's tilt moving to an angle where we can really start to feel the sun's heat, now is a great time to teach kids about Sun Power, a great, simple article to teach kids about the solar power alternative to suit our energy needs.

Speaking of alternative (and renewable!) energy, KSE's News That Will Blow You Away! (pdf) is a great article for kids to learn about renewable energy and wind power.

As spring slowly comes around, so do the birds, back from migrating south for the winter. KSE has an Eco Activity for kids to simply build their own bird feeder. All they need is an egg carton, a paper hold punch, and some yarn, twine, or string. Make Your Own Bird Feeder (pdf)

After kids have their bird feeder set up, they can observe the kinds of birds that come along and Become a Bird Buddy (pdf), a KSE program to observe, research, and report on a species of bird.

A bird feeder is a great way to create a Backyard Habitat for birds, but there are ways to create a habitat for other animals as well. KSE's original program Clinton's Backyard Habitat (pdf) is a great two-page article for kids to learn more about creating a safe and lively habitat in their own backyard! It's a great activity for the whole family to participate in.

Another activity for the whole family is taking a Trip to the Forest. This KSE-original book, available at the KSE Green Shop, provides kids opportunities to read, write, observe, and draw. When the family takes a hike through the forest, provide this book to your children to engage them in the beauty of Earth's trees, flowers, and animals.

Spring is a great time to appreciate the wildflowers that start blooming. KSE kids, clubs, and schools can join the KSE Wildflower Team. Have kids draw or take pictures of wildflowers they see, and then submit them to KSE so we can post them in our wildflower gallery!

Lastly, no discussion of spring is complete without bringing up spring cleaning. Adults and kids together can use the KSE Inspector Checklist to clean and inspect their homes to make them more energy-efficient, toxic-free, and Earth-friendly.

Spring is a great time to get outside to appreciate nature. With appreciation comes respect, and with that respect we can work together to create a happier and healthier Earth!

Do you have any other Earth-friendly ideas for the springtime? Share them in the comments, or email us at

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome to March! A Message from Tessa Hill

Welcome to March. This month and every month be sure to stay connected with Kids for Saving Earth.  We're seeking KSE Clubs and classrooms to contribute to our blogEmail us for more information! Be sure to "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

This March calendar is filled with many uncomplicated but very effective environmental activities for kids.

Wind power is the theme for March, the windy month, so check out all the wind-related activities we offer.  Click through all the other eco-activities and choose a couple to help turn your students into Defenders of the Planet.  Then you can print out the Defender of the Planet Award to give to them.

We do have a very special group of 4th-grade Defenders that we would love to have you help out. This is a Kids for Saving Earth member group. It is one of six finalists in National Geographic's nationwide "Find-Your-Footprint" contest! All the contestants are doing wonderful things for the Earth. You should check them all out and vote. Of course we would love for you to vote for the Catalog Canceling CampaignClick here to go to teacher Ted Wells information about how to vote and how to start your own Catalog Canceling Campaign. 

We need feedback about your environmental activities. We want to tell the world what you are doing to help protect the Earth. Email us to let us know. If you have photos, drawings or stories from the kids, all the better. We will be excited to blog and twitter about your activities as well.

Have you ordered your membership materials yet? Now is the time to do it. Earth Day will soon be here.

Don't forget to learn about the ionator. One Earth and health-concerned teacher/member sprays her students' hands with the ionized water before they go to lunch. This way she ensures their hands have been safely sanitized with no chemicals involved. The kids love cleaning their desktops and blackboards, too, and compete for the chance to use the ionator. Read about the science of the ionator and then order one. We are having a discounted rate through Earth Day. If you want to order more than two, email us to discuss discounted prices. 

Don't forget to tell other instructors about us to help spread the message and spirit of Kids for Saving Earth. Thanks so very much for all your support.

Tessa Hill, President, Kids for Saving Earth