Archive for the 'Green Tips' Category

Celebrate Earth Day with a DIY Mosaic Earth!

Join us on April 19-20 for our weekend-long Earth Day celebration

Experts will teach guests how to celebrate Earth Day every day by bringing green practices into their daily lives, and will demonstrate how human action can positively or negatively impact the environment and animals like those in the care of the National Aquarium. In addition to fun interactive activities and educational workshops taking place throughout the Aquarium, our celebration will also include some eco-friendly DIY crafts!

Can’t wait until this weekend to make some fun crafts? Try creating this mosaic earth decoration:

What you will need:

  • Recycled CD
  • Piece of yarn (for hanging your creation)
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Tape
  • Blue, green, white and brown paper – use cut-outs from recycled magazines, tissue paper or construction paper

Instructions:

  1.  Begin with the blue (for the ocean) – use the glue stick to make sections of the CD sticky where you want the “ocean”, then place the blue paper onto the glue.  Overlap the edges.  When the ocean is completed, repeat these steps with the green and brown for the “land”.  Lastly, add a few of the white paper to represent clouds.
  2. Flip the completed earth over and trim the excess paper from around the edges.
  3. Fold the yarn into a loop and tape it to the back of your Earth for hanging.
  4. Hang it and enjoy!

Earth Day Mosaic

Do you have a favorite DIY craft? Share it with us in the comments section!

A Fun, Green Way to Embrace the Holiday Season!

Blog-Header-FamiliesExpertU

Are your friends and family taking part in the holiday spirit by doing random acts of kindness this time of year? I’ve seen loads of wonderful, heart-warming ideas floating around online that encourage us to do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return.

I wonder if we might take a slightly different take on this great trend. Random acts of “green-ness” help not only our neighbors, but also the oceans and the planet.

Here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire your family to get in on this giving time of year:

  • Carry two bags along on your next walk outside. Picking up recyclable items and litter on the sidewalk or in the park is one way to ensure that those items don’t end up in our storm drains and later in the ocean.
  • Give neighbors, mail carriers, hairdressers a reusable water bottle (or coffee mug) as a thank you for all they do.
  • Surprise fellow shoppers by buying a couple extra re-usable bags and offering them to people in line at the cash register.
  • !rite a thank you letter (with kiddo art!) to a local environmental group or advocate who is working hard to help oceans and the world’s aquatic treasures.
  • Thank a stranger in the grocery store for bringing their re-usable bag in instead of using the plastic one.

If you witness an act of green-ness or have ideas that you’d like to share, share them in the comments section! We’d love to hear from you!

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

An Ocean-Inspired DIY Project to Celebrate Artscape!

Blog-Header-FamiliesExpertU

America’s largest free arts festival, Artscape, is happening this weekend in Baltimore! From fine arts and sculpture to music and fashion design, this festival is a true celebration of all forms of artistic expression.

If you’re attending Artscape, be sure to visit the Aquarium’s outreach staff in the Kidscape tent and make your very own turtle magnet out of recycled bottle caps!

If you can’t make it down to the festival this weekend, you can still celebrate the arts at home with this ocean-inspired art project:

Materials 

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors/exacto knife
  • Glue stick or clear tape
  • An old magazine

Instructions

  1. Draw the outline for your sea creature. It works best if you make your aquatic friend big enough so that it can be cut out easily.
  2. Cut out the outline of your animal and decorate it!
  3. Cut out colorful strips of paper from your old magazine.
  4. Cut 4-5 horizontal slits along the animal’s body.
  5. Thread the magazine strips through the slits in the animal’s body (over-under for the first strip, under-over for the one next to it, and so on, or however you’d like). It helps keep the magazine paper in place if you glue or tape the end down before you start to weave.
  6. Weave as many strips of magazine paper as you’d like, and enjoy your new piece of ocean art!

Have a favorite recycled/ocean-inspired art project? Share it with me in the comments section! 

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

Thoughtful Thursdays: Get Out & Explore Nature!

Blog-Header-FamiliesExpertU

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

Thank Mom and the Planet Today!

Blog-Header-FamiliesExpertU

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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