Posts Tagged 'heather doggett'



Thoughtful Thursdays: Get Out & Explore Nature!

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This Summer,  National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There initiative is encouraging families to get outdoors and explore the natural beauty around them!

We all know spending time outside is a lot of fun but did you know it is also great for our bodies and brain development? Since the average 9 – 13 year old child only plays outside 6 percent of their week, it’s even more important than ever to spend time in nature. The benefits are wide-reaching and well documented: playing in nature decreases stress levels, increases creativity, increases focus in school and improves eyesight.

Wow! If the s’mores weren’t motivation enough, those are great reasons to campout with the family this weekend!

When you do camp and explore the outdoors, there are a few simple environmental manners to keep in mind. I find these 7 principles from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics particularly helpful:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
 - Whether it’s your neighborhood trails or a National Park, it’s always best to know the rules when it comes to food, camping equipment, etc.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces 
- When choosing a place to set-up camp or the day’s rest area, keep it to the established trails/site areas. Not only is it in the best interest of your safety, but it ensures that we don’t further disrupt the natural environment you’re enjoying!
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
 - When you’re ready to leave, ensure that all your products, waste and litter leave with you!
  4. Leave What You Find 
- Avoid taking natural objects and organisms with you. The transport of non-native species and cultural/historic artifacts from their natural habitat can have a lasting, negative impact.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
 - Where campfires are permitted, take the precautionary measures to ensure that fires remain small and controlled.
  6. Respect Wildlife - One of the greatest parts of getting outside is being able to experience an abundance of wildlife (sometimes even in your own backyard)! As exciting as those experiences are, it’s important to remember that animals need to be observed from a distance and that feeding animals can be extremely harmful to their health!
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors - Let’s make sure that the families coming after us also have a great experience! By following the above principles, we can all ensure that these natural areas can continue to be enjoyed for years to come!

Planning on getting outside and exploring your natural surroundings this weekend? Share your plans/ideas in the comments section! 

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

Thoughtful Thursdays: Celebrate the 4th of July by Showing Your Red, White, Blue and…Green!

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Whether it’s the heart-racing explosion of fireworks or sharing good food with good friends on the beach, the 4th of July is a great time to have fun with family and friends!

Here are some helpful hints to make your Independence Day celebration eco-friendly: 

Friendlier Fireworks

Although they look spectacular, fireworks spew a “who’s who” of nasty chemicals. From gunpowder, to toxic pollutants and heavy metals, the debris that rains down from exploded fireworks contains lead, barium, cadmium, lithium, potassium nitrate and occasionally arsenic.

To help improve air quality for your family and still enjoy the festivities, avoid setting off your own personal displays, and check out your local area’s show. Some communities are now choosing green alternatives to toxic propellants (like compressed air). You may even want to encourage your local firework show to consider using these more environmentally friendly fireworks methods!

Skip the Sparkle

Adopting a new tradition around the 4th of July may be just what you’re looking for. A greener option to sparklers is for kids to make their own colorful confetti out of recycled paper and then throw it with wild abandon! This is also a safer option for little fingers as the pretty spark that sparklers create burns at over 1800 degrees F which can melt metal or glass – ouch!

Beach Etiquette

As excited as we may be to run straight into the crashing waves when we reach the beach, it is wise to use the wooden boardwalks that lead out to the sand. These walkovers are important to maintain the fragile dunes that are safe havens for specialized plants and animals. These valuable dunes also help protect waterfront properties from high waves.

Classic picnics are just right for a 4th of July beach day. To leave the beach as beautiful as it was when you found it, pack everything in (and out) in a handy basket or backpack and bring metal cutlery, sturdy plastic plates and cups from home. We all have the know-how to prevent the large amount of paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons that end up in the trash each year (enough to circle the equator 300 times).

Sharing the sand with our animal ocean neighbors is simple by giving them personal space and not approaching or touching them.

Any trash you see should find its way into a trashcan or recycling container (even if you need to carry it a while until you can find a trashcan).

Whether it’s new, innovative firework technologies or an old fashioned family picnic, many of the choices we make around Independence Day can make a difference to ocean health. Together, even small choices like these will make a big impact!

Happy Fourth of July!

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

Thoughtful Thursdays: Be A Mean, Green Grilling Machine This Father’s Day!

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In appreciation of all that our dads and other special role models do, join the National Aquarium this Father’s Day by celebrating together and “greening the grill”! Father’s Day is a great way to spend quality time with the family outdoors, whether it’s grilling by the pool, taking a hike or exploring a local shore!

If you have grilling or barbecuing plans for this Father’s Day, check out these three ways to make your grill healthier for your family (and the planet):

  1. Gas or Charcoal?
    We all love that smoky, outdoorsy flavor we get from charcoal, but did you know that charcoal smoke contains three times the level of carbon dioxide compared to gas grills? In addition, the high levels of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by charcoal contribute to smog. Charcoal (both lump and briquettes) also take a great deal of energy to produce. Plus, the only place to put the chemically treated charcoal ashes is the trash can. At least with propane or natural gas, you can recycle and refill the containers over and over.
  2. Sun and Done
    Making your own solar-powered oven is the ultimate green choice because even natural gas and propane require less-than-ideal processes to extract or produce the fuel. Solar ovens can reach over 250 degrees, allowing you to cook almost anything, including meats, vegetables, baked beans and chili.If you’re looking for a great do-it-yourself project for the family this Father’s Day, try your hand at making a solar oven. All you need is a few supplies, less than $50 and a plan. The folks at Solar Cookers International can help you get started!
  3. Local Eats
    Did you know the average fresh food item travels 1,500 miles to get to your grill? That’s a lot of fuel used for transportation, processing, packaging and refrigeration. Getting your grillin’ groceries at a farmer’s market, summer roadside stand or store with local food tastes fresher, supports the local economy and uses far less energy. To locate your nearest farmer’s market or locally sourced grocery store, click here.

Got plans to go out and enjoy nature with Dad this weekend? Share them with me in the comments section! 

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

DIY Craft: Braided Bracelets from Recycled Shirts

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On Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, we will be celebrating World Oceans Day at both our Washington, D.C. and Baltimore locations.

At the World Oceans Day celebration, braided bracelets will be offered to take home as souvenirs. The bracelets were created by staff from old uniform shirts! In case you can’t make it to World Oceans Day, or simply want to make more bracelets at home, you can follow a few simple steps that will turn old t-shirts into new accessories!

Here’s how you can make your own bracelet using fabric from an old t-shirt:

Materials needed:

  • An old t-shirt (or any other stretchy fabric you like)
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Instructions:

  1. Cut three strips of equal width from the bottom of your t-shirt or other choice of fabric. Two of the strips should be about 12 inches long, and the third should be about 14 inches.
  2. Gather the three strips together and tie them at the top with a knot. Tie them so that the only piece sticking out of the top is the longer strip. Tape the fabric above the knot to a flat surface.
    diy braided bracelet craft
  3. Start braiding as you would braid hair. Stop braiding when the length of your braid fits comfortably around your wrist.
  4. Tie another knot at the bottom of the bracelet.
  5. Cut off the excess length from the two shorter strips, leaving only the longest strip sticking out of the knot.
    diy braided bracelet craft
  6. Tie the two ends of the bracelet together around your wrist and admire your finished bracelet!
    diy braided bracelet

Don’t forget to join us this weekend for ocean-related crafts and activities! 

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

Thank Mom and the Planet Today!

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Mother’s Day is a special time to appreciate all that our moms, dads and other special role models do! Join the National Aquarium in celebrating Mother’s Day by doing something eco-fun this weekend with your family. The real gift is the time you’ll spend together creating memories!

Here are some ways you can celebrate both Mom and Mother Nature: 

Have fun outside together.
Did you know there are 75 nature sites within 25 miles of Baltimore! Click here to find one near you.

Create a birdbath together!
Spring has sprung and local birds are singing, courting and busily starting to build their nests this time of year. Consider starting a new tradition this Mother’s Day by getting outside and doing a fun craft that helps our native bird families!

Here’s a simple plan for building your own birdbath.

  1. Place a terracotta pot upside down.
  2. Place a terracotta saucer on top of the overturned pot.
  3. Fill the saucer with water (no more than a few inches deep)
  4. Place a few rocks in the water for the birds to land on.

For the best location for your bird bath, choose an area that is close to a window. That way, if a bird gets startled, they won’t be able to pick up much speed if they accidentally fly into the glass. Ideally, choose a spot that is also close to a bush or tree where they can hide if they sense a predator nearby.

Put a sustainable spin on dinner and flowers!
Treat mom to a delicious meal of sustainable seafood. It’s healthier for you and for the ocean!

Looking for an special last-minute gift? Join us for our upcoming Fresh Thoughts sustainable seafood dinners in both Baltimore and Washington, DC!  

Thank Mom with a locally grown organic bouquet of fragrant blooms and skip the whiff of pesticides. Organically grown flowers support local businesses that are helping keep chemicals out of our rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett


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