Dirt Makes you Smarter? // 10 Reasons to Let’em get Dirty!



Let them get dirty sometimes – kids are kids and they love it. Here are some reasons we let him get filthy:


  1. He’s a boy!
  2. Be one with nature!
  3. Build Memories.
  4. Mud is an art medium.
  5. Develop an Imagination.
  6. Makes you smarter – studies have shown that some bacteria (Mycobacterium vaccae) in the dirt can actually improve cognitive functions.
  7. Dirt can be good for the immune system.
  8. Jumping in muddy puddles is fun (4 year old testimonial).
  9. Builds a sense of accomplishment when building mud puddles by themselves (4 year old testimonial).
  10. Being outside is sometimes better than being inside.


There you have it! Now, get out there and get dirty! It’s hot, so the mud should also cool you off!





Three Easy Ideas to Re-Purpose Formula Cans

Formula Cans


I save my formula cans because I swear there could be something useful for them. The amount of money I pay for them I know I could make it happen!

So, I did. I was inspired by some pins and came up with these. These are made from the large Enfamil formula containers. We also used the Target brand formula containers for a First Aid kit! The third idea was Liam created a chalk container with is name on it.

What you’ll need:

  1. Formula Containers – different sizes depending on the project. For the mail bins, the large Enfamil worked best.
  2. Mod Podge or Glue.
  3. Paint (I used red acrylic for the First Aid kit and spray paint for the mail bins).
  4. Felt or lettering. I had some lettering left over from a large scrap book project pad.
  5. Pop tops from cans (to hang if you want).
  6. Imagination.
  7. Maybe a helper :)

Set up:




Paint what you need to:

DSC00684 (1)


When they’re dry, paint on the lettering with Mod Podge or Glue, then add the can pop top:


Finished First Aid Kit (had a helper cut it out – with kid safe scissors of course).



Finished Chalk Container:

0518150834They’re very easy to do and so fun to do with your “helpers”!

What do you re-purpose your formula containers as? The great thing is when they run their course, just recycle!



Home. Sustainable. // Save Energy. Live Sustainably.


I’d like to make an announcement! We’ve added a new “division” to WMC.

Home. Sustainable.

From home, beach, and neighborhood conservation to repurposing and reusing household items we’re all about it.

If you’d like to hold a workshop or submit your repurposing demo to be posted on our website, please contact us! We’re very excited about this!

You’ll start to find more in the Home Sustainable category on our blog! Stay tuned!


10 Minute Mother’s Day Gift // Personalized Book Cover


Yes, Mother’s Day is tomorrow! If you’re looking for something from the kids that’s easy to do and won’t take a ton of time, this is for you!

You’re going to want to print out (on reg paper) a cute pic of the kids, pets, or anything Mom would like. Get a book of some kind, I used an address book. You could use a memo pad, note book, organizer, calendar, decor box, etc.

Print and cut out the picture. I used a picture that was a 4×6 as the cover was a 5×7. It gave me room on the side for the mod podge to adhere.

Step One Mod Podge

Use a Mod Podge (or other glue) to paint the picture on the book.


Let it dry a couple hours, box it up, and done! Happy Mother’s Day!


Easy peasy lemon squeezy!



Jennifer Kendall Photography // #FeatureFriday

Happy ‪#‎FeatureFriday‬, Working Moms!

Hey Everyone!! Jennifer Kendall Photography is now scheduling Lemonad e Themed summer minis!!


Grab your beautiful babies and get this beach photo op scheduled for June 6th!!

You’re going to have professional & gorgeous pictures to share! Adorable props are included!

Special just for you is a free 5×7 for anyone who mentions this ad on, The Working Mom Connection!

Space is limited and filling up fast!

Check out Jenn’s website: http://www.jenniferkendallphotography.com also check out her linked Facebook page above by clicking on her name!

Lemonaide Stand



Ideas for Mom // Quick Gift Ideas

Mother's Day 1

I’m a Mom, but every time I’m asked what I want for Mother’s Day, it’s always pretty simple. I want to just be with you guys (literally guys, two small boys and a husband) and maybe incorporate some wine, tequila, or both in the mix :)

I’m watching some trends lately for Mother’s Day gifts and I found some that maybe some moms would like. For the busy mom, the simple mom, the crafty mom, and every mom in between.

This list is written to be forwarded to “someone else”, so they can have some tips if they are last minute gift people!

Fitness Mom:

  • FitBits– are all on sale this week. I found at Kohls they are on sale for $79.99 and if you have their ad from Sunday (in our Pinellas county paper) you can get $10 off of $50, so you could potentially get it for $70.
  • Yoga Mats– Does mom need a new one? You can find these almost everywhere. Why not get her a new yoga mat bag as well. It makes it so much easier to lug it around to the gym, especially when there may be kids in tow.
  • New Shoes– This was actually on my list. I fell in love with a pair of Nikes! My Nikes are getting hole in the toe…probably from all of those awful lunges!
  • New Workout Clothes– If you aren’t sure what size, do some detective work and look at what is already in her drawer.

Crafty Mom:

  • Have the kids make something cute and then add a Joann Fabrics or Michaels gift card, along with some flowers. On top of that, giver her two hours to go to the store without kids. You never know what a mom wants from a craft store. It’s usually something that they have in mind and they need to concentrate and see what comes to them.
  • Anything hand made from the kids. We always appreciate what our littles have made. Could be pasta necklaces, a picture with a huge heart, or a barely painted mug. Those littles work so hard on these and we appreciate all of it.
  • Homemade Cards– ALWAYS a good thing! We keep these…I don’t know about you, but I throw away cards that are bought at the store…bad, I know.

Busy Mom:

  • Massages– Don’t just hand her a card with a gift card in it (even if the card is homemade). Not only should you get the massage, but a busy mom is never going to make that appointment. Hand her the homemade card with the date and time of the appointment. That way she HAS to go!
  • Organizer– Whether it be an app or an actual organizer (calendar for her desk), these always come in handy.
  • Bath Time Gift– If she is normally doing bath or you split the kids up (like I bathe the baby and he bathes the four year old), do both. Give her the night off. Pour her a glass of wine and tell you got it. Do this on Mother’s Day and always keep one in your back pocket for a busy and stressful day. You’ll win spouse of the year!

Simple Mom. We’re all a little simple right? This is for the mom who just wants to be with you. She’s exhausted all gift ideas, is adamant she doesn’t want anything, you’ve already taken her out for brunch/lunch/dinner. This is in all of us. We just want to have a normal day with less fighting (amongst the kids), less stress, less this, less that. Just a simple day full of love and fun.

  • Beach Day
  • Park Day
  • Walking Downtown Dunedin or her favorite quaint town.
  • Fold and put away laundry
  • Do the Dishes
  • Clean the cat boxes

These lists are not exclusive and they are my lists. Add to them, take away from them, but remember to honor mom/dad this weekend! It’s not just for mom, it’s about family, being together and having a good stress free day. If that means folding laundry, taking naps, or having morning/afternoon cocktails, just make it a good day.



15 Minute Cinnamon French Toast Bites // Gluten Free!

French Toast


Out of the blue today, I wanted to make French toast. I didn’t know how, because it’s just not something I make. So I of course went to everyone’s first stop – Pinterest. I found this recipe for Cinnamon French Toast Bites. I of course made my version Gluten Free, so It’s not copied directly from them!

If you eat them right out of the pan, they taste like mini cinnamon and sugar donuts!!!!!! I haven’t had a donut in years! And this was so much healthier!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Large Eggs (I used Organic)
  • 4 Slices of Udi’s GF Bread (or whatever bread you like)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tbls coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Some powdered sugar if you’d like (for garnish)

What to do:

  • Wisk the eggs and milk in a medium bowl
  • Cut the crusts off of the bread and cut the bread into little bite size pieces.
  • Mix the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  • Heat the coconut oil at Medium/High heat.
  • Put 1/2 of the bread bits into the egg mixture and take them out right away and put them onto the pan. Sautee them until they are golden brown. Do the same with the other 1/2.
  • Once done, move them into the sugar mixture and mix up good so all is coated.
  • Put onto a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with a side of syrup!

Seriously, you’ll want more…and more…and more…

You can easily make this your own recipe with whatever subs you’d want!


I Want to Write a Book // Do you have a “Life To-Do List”?


As I sat and watched the Today’s Show this morning I wondered how cool it would be to be there, shouting, “Hi Mom!” or holding a sign that says, “Find Matt Lauer’s Tickle Spot” (see the Ellen Show, even though that was so last week). I then wondered how many of these people had being on the Today’s Show audience, on their bucket list. Then realized that I don’t have one. Well, I thought I didn’t. Then more thoughts of things that I wanted to do flushed in. I wanted to do that. Be at Rockefeller Plaza holding a hot cup of coffee in a great pair of boots and a pea coat smiling and holding a sign, “Today is my birthday!”, or something like that.

I always thought bucket lists were kind of cliche and the saying would drive me crazy (as most cliche sayings do). So, I’m calllig mine “Life To-Do List”.  I’m very  much a person who jumps at chances and I don’t wait. So, if you have a list like that, does anyone ever cross them off? Why not just do them all now?! However, the older I get the more I have things on my “Life To Do List” or how others call a “Bucket List”. I realize that with children and a marriage, you can’t just do them now.

I’ve recently had this urge to write a book. I know a couple of friends who have, self published them, and sold them on Amazon. Four friends to be exact. I don’t even know what I’d write about. Maybe how to be a SAHM with only one income and two kids or how to make your home sustainable (which is what I’m minoring in). I don’t know but that’s almost #1 on my “Life To-Do List”. I’ve already gotten write a blog down…and I’m really enjoying it.

Here are the rest of the items that are priority on my “Life To-Do List”:

  1. Write A Book.
  2. Open a business.
  3. Attend the Ellen Show.
  4. Attend the Today’s Show.
  5. Finish my degree.

There are only five right now. And I think these are pretty easy to cross off. When I cross one off, I’m going to replace it with something else. Maybe it’s travel more, or go on a Disney cruise. Whatever it is, it’s going to get crossed off.

ps: Finish my degree is #5 because I’ll be done in a year…already getting that pen ready to cross that off.

What’s on your list? Have you crossed any off?




Top 10 Date Night & Mother’s Day Restaurants // Picked by You!

MOther's Day and Date Night

I had gotten so caught up in Earth Day yesterday that I almost forgot about the Date Night restaurants! Well, not only are these great date night restaurants, but guess what else is coming up? MOTHER’S DAY!

This is a compilation of your favorite spots in Tampa Bay!

Click on the name to be directed to their websites! Enjoy!

The Living Room – Dunedin

This is a quaint & adorable tappas restaurant right downtown Dunedin. It’s cozy inside to stay for hours to chat, eat, and of course drink. Gluten free? No problem! Let your waiter/waitress know and they will make sure that the chef prepares your meal without gluten. It may come without sauces, but you won’t regret it later. Reservations are being taken now for Mother’s Day!

Ozona Blue – Ozona

Right on the gulf, you can’t go wrong with Ozona Blue. It’s our great go-to with or without the kids. The views are fantastic, seating is perfect, and the staff are great! Food is amazing. Caters to all sorts of wants and needs. Menu is surf and turf or pretty much anything. They do not have a gluten free menu, but as always check with your wait staff and make sure they consult with the chef.

Casa Tina – Dunedin

If you love Mexican food and having some fun while you’re on a date, you’re going to fall in love with Casa Tina. Yet another #1 go-to for anytime. They pride themselves in their fresh dishes, everything is made from scratch! And don’t forget to order a Tina-Rita. A fresh margarita (no mix!) made with fresh lime juice and agave nectar. Gluten free? No problem! They’ll let you know what you can and can’t have, but it’s mostly everything. If you go on a Friday or Saturday be prepared for a fun show! They’ve also expanded their space, so the wait time should be a little less that before.

Besa Grill – Clearwater

Just off of McMullen Boot Road you’ll find this gem. What I love about this restaurant is that they buy local produce daily. If they can help it, they do not have it shipped in from other places. Menu is eclectic and they put fun spins and flavors on some original dishes. Also, they have a special Gluten Free menu.

Casa Ludovico – Palm Harbor

Tucked away off of Alt 19 in Palm Harbor is this nice Italian restaurant. It’s intimate and quiet. Definitely a date night restaurant. It’s a family atmosphere with timeless Italian classics. They want you to come, stay, and make new friends over a bottle of wine.


Parts of Paris French Casual Bistro – Safety Harbor

Winner of Diners’ Choice 2015 and one of the top 50 restaurants in Tampa Bay 2015, you’ll find this beautiful restaurant in Safety Harbor. It’s a casual setting, but inspired by Parisian bistros. I would say this would top the list for date night!

Pensare Italian Bistro and Wine Bar – Dunedin

What’s a date night list without some fantastic Italian restaurants? This next one made our list, again in beautiful Dunedin. Their atmosphere is friendly and cozy. Reservations available online (if you’re anything like me I like to do things online for convenience).

pensare-italian-bistro.jpg (550×252)

Clearwater Beach // Pelican Walk Plaza (in general) – Clearwater Beach

I thought this was a great suggestion. I personally haven’t been to Clearwater Beach in years (only because we go further south to Longboat Key). However, with this fun date night, it will keep you there day and into the night! People watch on Pelican Walk Plaza, walk along the beach, and stop in at any of the great restaurants the beach as to offer. You have the option to be casual and stop in at places like Frenchy’s Rockaway, or dress up a little bit and eat at Jackson’s Bistro. Clearwater Beach has something for everyone!

00 pelican walk evening edited

Ciro’s Speakeasy and Restaurant – Tampa

I’ve never heard of this restaurant, but wanted to add an option in Tampa. Their website is definitely intriguing. “Inspired cocktails, Speakeasy Attitude, Sexy and Discreet”, makes for an interesting date night for sure! Their menu is different with Dueted Popcorn, Duck Fries from Paris, and of course some cheese fondue. If anyone has gone here, please share!

snapshots2.jpg (960×500)

Date night in – your house!

I know it doesn’t sound like fun, to you, but sometimes you’re in need of a date night in. Once the kids are in bed, grab a bottle of wine and sit outside on a nice balmy summer night. Get your iPad and plug in some music. Hungry? Get some cheese and crackers. Who needs to spend money at a restaurant?! It’s like you’re at your very own private hotel. Make it a rule not to talk about the kids (unless of course they get up) and also don’t talk about what needs to be done to the back yard. If the back yard bothers you …keep the lights off and get some citronella candles! Date night – DONE! What I do in this situation is I ask my hubby if he’ll get up with the kids in the morning, so mommy can have two or more glasses of wine. It’s typically never an issue.

Did we miss anything? Please add your favorite date night or add any special details to the restaurants that I gave! I’ve only been to a handful of these places. Personal experience is always welcomed!



Earth Day 2015 // Earth Day Across America

Earth Day Across America

This land is your land, this land is my land: In honor of Earth Day this Wednesday, check out 50 cool eco-friendly things Americans are doing, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters.

Alison Gwinn April 17, 2015

At Munford Elementary School (a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School), it’s easy being green: Kids enter the school through a “cave,” complete with stalactites, trees “grow” from the walls and one wing is dubbed “Where the Wild Things Are” while another is “The Main Stream.” The cafeteria walls are painted with murals of the surrounding Talladega National Forest, and students can look at local fish inside a 250-gallon aquarium.

Art students at Kodiak High School have created a massive octopus sculpture, dubbed “Ophelia,” out of marine debris (from plastic bottles and grocery bags to fishing nets and cigarette lighters). The goal: to generate public awareness of the hazardous debris, which collects on beaches and in huge floating whirlpools in the middle of oceans.


Talk about taking one for the team: The National League’s Arizona Diamondbacks have a 17,000-square-foot solar canopy at Phoenix’s Chase Field that generates enough electricity to power the lights for 11 games. The team also has a “Break a Bat, Plant a Tree” initiative providing desert-adapted shade trees in area parks, uses recyclable and compostable cutlery and plates and team members and concessions staff wear shirts made from recycled plastic bottles. The team also closes its retractable roof during the day to keep its electric costs down and distributes its media guides on digital thumb drives.  

Chase Field Baseball Park, Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America, North America

In response to the devastating April 2013 tornadoes, the towns of Vilonia and Mayflower each distributed 5,000 new trees—redbud, white oak, pecan, hickory, white oak, crabapple, red mulberry, pin oak, cherry-bark oak and willow oak— under a multi-year campaign sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Bea Johnson of Mill Valley, Calif, and her family live a no-waste life. Follow how they only produce a quart of waste a year at zerowastehome.blogspot.com. And read more here.


Fort Collins has ratified the most ambitious eco-plan of any city in the country. Under the city’s Climate Action Plan, approved in March, this Front Range city, home to Colorado State University, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent in 15 years and would be totally carbon neutral by 2050.

The USDA estimates that 70 percent of food products sold in supermarkets contain genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. Connecticut’s legislature made food history when it signed the nation’s first GMO labeling bill in 2013; the only catch: It won’t take effect until a combination of Northeastern states adding up to 20 million residents pass similar legislation.

When Washington’s troops crossed the Delaware, little could they have imagined that 240 years later, 94 percent of Delaware’s waterways would be too polluted to support fish and wildlife, and 86 percent of the state’s rivers would be unswimmable. But now, through the Delaware Nature Society’s Stream Watch program, everyday citizens of the First State are fighting back by helping test water samples throughout the state.

This puts a whole new spin on NASCAR: Not only does the Daytona Beach-based sport work out of two LEED-certified office buildings, its cars also use a renewable fuel (blended with 15 percent ethanol made from American-grown corn) that emits 20 percent less greenhouse gases than unleaded gas, plants 10 trees for each green flag that drops during races and recycles about 121,000 tires each year.

As a farmer, Eric Wagoner questioned how to get locally grown food to customers. His solution: because he was also a web developer, in 2002 he whipped up a website for Atlanta-area customers. Called Locally Grown (locallygrown.net), it became the world’s first online farmers’ market, and has since spread to more than 100 communities throughout the country

Bird call: The Audubon Society has declared the islands’ birds to be among the most endangered in the world. In fact, of the 10 most endangered birds in the U.S., seven were from Hawaii. That’s where the Hawaii Wildlife Center comes in: It cares for all injured native seabirds, shorebirds, waterbirds, forest birds and birds of prey. Last fall, for example, it helped relocate 28 critically endangered Laysan Ducks (the rarest duck in the Northern Hemisphere) to a rehabilitated habitat.


Amazingly, every species of animal that existed in Idaho when Lewis and Clark arrived in 1805—including Chinook salmon, elk, and giant salamanders—is still there. But because of global warming, researchers forecast that by the year 2100, 20 to 30 percent of the species will change in abundance or distribution. So a team of Nature Conservancy scientists is working to pinpoint the most climate-resilient areas of the state to help protect lands, waters and, ultimately, species.

Already get a charge out of Route 66? Well, now the state of Illinois has spent $1 million to install electric vehicle recharging stations along the iconic highway from Chicago to St. Louis by this summer.

Indianapolis’s new Eskenazi Hospital is the first hospital in the U.S. to be LEED Silver certified. Local and recycled material was used in construction, rainwater is collected from the roof and used in toilets and the roof coating reflects up to 90 percent of sunlight, saving energy in hot months. Eskenazi also has a sky farm on its roof, where it grows organic, healthy food for its patients.

In a state where 85 percent of the land is farmed, mostly in corn and soybeans, a few farmers are trying out a new, more environmentally friendly method of planting called STRIPS, in which 10 percent of their farmland is replanted with indigenous prairie plants. Researchers have found that the technique reduces soil loss by 90 percent, nutrient loss by 85 percent and water runoff by 44 percent.

Pull up a hay bale and take a seat: The Prairie Festival, held every fall in Salina, is sponsored by the Land Institute, a 30-year-old nonprofit whose mission is no less lofty than to develop an ecologically stable agricultural system that doesn’t erode or degrade the soil or contribute to climate changes. Everyone’s welcome at this “intellectual hootenanny,” which draws speakers from across the country.  


Something to whinny about: Claiborne Farm, the Paris-based horse farm once home to Secretariat (it’s so famous in thoroughbred circles that Queen Elizabeth has visited it—twice), has donated 3,000 acres to the Bluegrass Conservancy, guaranteeing that the farm will remain undeveloped and upping the conservancy’s protected land to 17,000 acres.

The Big Easy can become the Big Dirty after Mardi Gras revelers depart—and one of the biggest problems is discarded cigarette butts. So last summer New Orleans launched a pilot program to install 50 permanent cigarette butt-recycling receptacles, each labeled: “Recycle Your Butts Here,” where they will be collected and shipped off to be recycled, including ridding the filters of biotoxins and melting them down to make plastic pellets.

Lobstermen, unite! Through the Gear Grab program of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, lobstermen become voluntary stewards of the environment, retrieving abandoned “ghost gear”—traps, ropes, nets and buoys, so it’s disposed of properly.

Honey, they shrunk the house: In 2012, husband-and-wife building team Bill and Sue Thomas launched a tiny-house business called Hobbitat that builds energy-efficient houses out of reclaimed materials. Want to see for yourself? The Blue Moon Rising Center for Sustainable Education, an eco-tourism retreat, is a Hobbitat model community, with 13 custom-built Hobbitat houses.


Whether it’s good old Yankee ingenuity or not, the Bay State comes in No. 1 as the most energy-efficient state in the union. Why? Primarily because of the 2008 Green Communities Act, which requires electric utilities in the state to save a larger percentage of energy every year through efficiency measures.

Moving experience: When the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor decided to expand its business school building, there was a little problem standing in its way. Actually, a big one: A gorgeous 250-year-old Bur oak, with a 44-foot-diameter root ball. It would have been easier (and cheaper) just to chop the tree down, but the school just couldn’t do that. So the big fellow was moved 500 feet — at a cost of $400,000.


Minnesota’s Blue Earth County Justice Center (jail, plus office and courts) is kept warm by a geothermal heating system that consists of 48 miles of tubes under the facility. In the middle of the Minnesota winter, water in the tubes absorbs ground heat, which can be converted to air that heats the prison.

State native Charlie Munford learned to farm from his grandfather, went off to get a master’s at Yale, then returned to run a farm on his home turf. Two Run Farm in Vaughn, Miss., now provides artisanal, pasture-raised, organic beef and lamb for restaurants from Jackson to New Orleans, but Munford raises his meats the same way it’s been done for generations: no antibiotics, no hormones, just as his grandfather did.

Powell Gardens in Kingsville, about 30 miles east of Kansas City, is home to the 12-acre Heartland Harvest Garden, the nation’s largest edible garden. The garden, which features edible varieties from heirloom to futuristic, offers cooking demonstrations (with just-picked ingredients!), as well as a Barn Dinner Series with star chefs.

Where the buffalo roam: By purchasing private lands from willing sellers in northeastern Montana, the Bozeman-based American Prairie Reserve is working to assemble a 3.5-million-acre park of species-rich grasslands so wildlife like the pronghorn sheep can range unimpeded; it is also working to reintroduce genetically pure bison (those not crossbred with cattle) to the Upper Plains.

The “Greenest Restaurant in America” is the Grey Plume—whose chef and co-owner is Omaha native Clayton Chapman—has received that honor from the Green Restaurant Association. Not only does it source its ingredients locally from sustainable growers, but the restaurant itself is built of recycled drywall, flooring and steel framing, uses low-flow water aerators—and even bread plates and breadboards are made of recycled materials.

All that sunshine helps: Nevada leads the nation in solar energy jobs per capita.

New Hampshire
If you loved On Golden Pond, then you know that the loon’s haunting wail is one of the most beautiful birdcalls around. That’s why New Hampshire’s Loon Preservation Committee is working to make sure that sound never dies out, monitoring loons’ numbers and breeding, rescuing and rehabilitating sick loons and building nesting rafts.

New Jersey
New Jersey-based TerraCycle, one of the world’s fastest-growing green companies, works with more than 100 big brands around the world to collect used packaging and upcycle the waste into new products: messenger bags made from Colgate toothpaste tubes, totes made from used Target shopping bags or iPod cases made from repurposed mail bags.  


New Mexico
The Greater World Earthship Community, a 633-acre development in Cerros de Taos, is filled with what it calls “radically sustainable buildings”: passive solar houses made of natural materials like adobe and recycled tires, cans, and other discarded materials. The community grows much of its own food, harvests its own water, treats its own sewage and makes its own bio-diesel fuel. Want to rent one of these funky houses? Go to earthship.com.


New York
Wall Street banker George Pakenham, aka “the Verdant Vigilante,” is no idle threat when it comes to idling cars. His role as an activist started when he saw a stretch limo idling on the street while the passengers were dining at a restaurant. Pakenham got the driver to turn off his engine—and that’s when he found his cause: After researching the laws, he has continued to approach thousands of idlers. His script: “Excuse me for bothering you… but are you aware that it’s against the law to idle your car engine in NYC for more then 3 minutes?” As he asks them to shut off the engine, he reminds them that the move is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for the pocketbook.

North Carolina
Are you a short-distance commuter? Then check out Organic Transit, a Durham-based company that has created a cross between a bicycle and a car called the ELF. A bug-like contraption with an enclosed cab, it has three wheels, pedals, a solar panel and a rechargeable battery (the ELF does not use gasoline). A standard ELF seats one (like a bike) and can go 14 miles without pedaling. 


North Dakota
Potholes on the Prairie? Yessiree. And they’re a goodthing, too. When the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago, they left behind millions of shallow depressions; those “Prairie Potholes” are now wetlands that make up one of the world’s best waterfowl nesting habitats, supporting millions of birds each year. But they are being drained and degraded—and that’s where Ducks Unlimited comes in. Through its Preserve Our Prairies program, it is working with landowners and farmers to voluntarily restore ant protect 1 million acres of the wetlands.


Last year, the huge Russells Point, Ohio, Honda plant became the first major automotive facility in the U.S. to receive a substantial amount of its power from on-site wind turbines. The two turbines are part of Honda’s voluntary goals of reducing the environmental impact of its manufacturing by the year 2020.

Under a program from the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, state residents can buy ECOpasses (for $5 to $200), with the money going  to farmers and ranchers in the state who adopt no-till crop systems to stem erosion (remember, this is Dust Bowl country), fence off streams and rivers and convert some cropland back to grass.

Almost a quarter of the garbage that Americans throw away is food and yard waste. But under the four-year-old Portland Composts! program, residents of Oregon’s largest city can put yard debris and food scraps—eggs and eggshells, bread, pasta, beans, coffee grounds, table scraps, spoiled food—out on the curb for weekly pickup, vastly cutting down on landfill waste.

At tiny (but very green!) Dickinson College in Carlisle, students grow organic vegetables and raise free-range livestock on the 50-acre, USDA-certified organic farm. The food they raise is then served in the dining hall, sold at a local farmers’ market and donated to a community food bank. And each day, 800 pounds of food waste is sent back to the farm to be compost, cutting in half the volume of waste sent from the dining hall to landfills.

Rhode Island
Pedal power: Sol Chariots Pedicab Cooperative in Providence, the brainchild of twin sisters (and avid bicyclists) Ashley and Ally Trull, was launched in 2012, giving carbon-free, pedal-powered taxi rides, making deliveries (UPS has even hired them), and offering tours of Rhode Island’s capital city.


South Carolina
Working to buck the trend of aging American farmers (whose average age is 57), the Dirt Works Incubator Farm near Charleston offers a three-year training program for aspiring farmers. The apprentices get help developing a business plan, and all the produce they grow goes to local food banks.

South Dakota
At the Pine Ridge Reservation, home to about 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux tribe, students from Oglala Lakota College and others are building sustainable prototype housing as part of the Native American Sustainable Housing Initiative. The buildings will help solve a consistent problem on tribal lands: the lack of well-designed, affordable housing.

Starting in 2014, the annual four-day Bonnaroo Music Festival launched Refill Revolution, installing water-refill stations where “sustainable Bonnaroovians” could refill their bottles for free from clean, on-site wells, saving 400,000 plastic water bottles from the landfill. They also offer $5 stainless-steel reusable water bottles and cups at concession stands—including discounted beer refills.

The year of living sustainably: Professor Dumpster (aka Jeff Wilson of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin) made his home in a dumpster for a year, moving out in February. The goal: to shed light on how much Americans use (and waste) every day. To wit: The average American home is 2,480 square feet; the dumpster is 33 square feet; the average American uses 4.5 pounds of trash a day; Professor Dumpster, zero; the average American home uses 400 gallons of water a day; the dumpster, 4 gallons; the average American home burns 11,000 kilowatt hours of electricity; the dumpster: zero.


The Utah-based startup Saffron has invented an LED light bulb that is not only energy saving but, at the flick of a switch, mimics the setting sun. Put the Drift bulb into Midnight Mode, and an auto-dimming function will gradually dim the bulb over the next 37 minutes, the average amount of time it takes the sun to set.

The 2014 Locavore Index ranks the Green Mountain State first, based on the number of farmers’ markets, consumer-supported agriculture operations (CSAs) and food hubs per-capita, plus percentage of each state’s school districts with active Farm-to-School programs.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s newly opened Brock Environmental Center is one of the greenest buildings in the world. Its location is significant, as the region where it sits has the third highest percentage of land below sea level, so it is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. It’s the only building in the continental U.S. certified to treat and drink the rainwater collected on the roof, and its energy use will be totally offset by rooftop solar panels and two on-site wind turbines.

Aptly nicknamed the Evergreen State, it ranked No. 1 in 2014 (and 2013) as the most bicycle-friendly state in the country by the League of American Bicyclists.

West Virginia
In 2009, the small Appalachian coal-mining community of Williamson was plagued with a 9.7 percent unemployment rate, a high poverty level, and a life expectancy of only 67.7 years. So local residents banded together to create Sustainable Williamson. It includes a free primary-care clinic and, because the closest grocery store was a half-hour’s drive away and 12 percent of residents lack cars, the Williamson Farmers Market and community garden, which grows produce year-round and includes a mobile market. Also, local workers are being hired to build affordable housing with a focus on reclaimed materials and energy-efficient construction, including solar panels.

The college town of Madison has been dubbed “the Greenest City in America”: Its 12.7 parks per 10,000 residents make for the highest ratio in the U.S. It also has more than 15,000 acres of lakes, more than 200 miles of biking and hiking trails (in fact, Madison has more bikes than cars) and 38 percent of its residents work from home, or walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation to work.

If a robotic vacuum mated with an old-fashioned bird decoy, you might get something like this: A remote-controlled robotic female sage grouse that has been deployed to try to monitor how members of her species, well, “hook up.” And in this state, that is important: 40 percent of all sage grouse live in Wyoming, and a consortium of scientists and oil and gas businesses are working together to make sure the bird keeps multiplying so it stays off the Endangered Species List.


Source: Parade Magazine

.What else does your area do for Earth Day? What do you do EVERYDAY?


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