Taking care of ourselves & our planet

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recycle Every Day! - Recycling

The third idea Wallace suggests in her book Recycle Every Day! is to recycle. For me, this is one of the easiest things to do to make a huge difference. In our kitchen, we have a separate bin just for recyclables located right beside the trash bin. From the young age of 2, both of my kids have participated in our efforts to recycle everything we can. To this day, if they have a question about whether something can be recycled, we discuss and educate our kids.

I know it may take a bit of time to learn what all can be recycled, but I believe a little investment of time to acquire the knowledge has a big payoff. I always keep a "cheat sheet" beside our bins so I can refer to it quickly to find the answer to a questionable item.

So, I know there are still skeptics out there who believe they can't make a difference or don't want to make the effort but I hope these simple facts can shed some light and motivate everyone to recycle every day!!!

Here are some interesting facts about plastic milk jugs:

1 lb of recycled milk jugs = the energy equivalent of 3,000 AAA batteries
1 lb of recycled milk jugs = the electricity needed to power a TV for 3 whole weeks
1 lb of recycled milk jugs = the electricity needed to keep your laptop up and running for a month

Recycling Facts:

*Every 90 days a recycled aluminum can makes its way back on the shelf as something useful.
*80-100 years: that's the lifespan of an aluminum can that gets tossed into the trash instead of a recycling bin.
*700 years: that's how long a trashed plastic bottle will sit in a landfill taking up space and refusing to degrade.
*1 Million Years: Put a glass bottle in a landfill and that's how long it'll sit there doing nothing.

Products Made from Recycled Bottles and Cans:

T-shirts: Fourteen 20 oz. plastic bottles yield enough fiber for an extra large T-shirt.
Carpet: It takes fourteen 20 oz. plastic bottles to make one square foot of carpet.
Fleece Sweater: It takes sixty-three 20 oz. plastic bottles to make a sweater.
Jacket Fiberfill: Fourteen 20 oz. plastic bottles yield enough fiberfill for a ski jacket.
Sleeping Bag Fiberfill: It takes eighty-five 20 oz. plastic bottles to make enough fiberfill for a sleeping bag.

New glass containers
Decorative home décor
Fiberglass Insulation

Picture frames
Decorative home décor: Bowls, vases, etc.
Baseball bats

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It's not."

~ Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Recycle Every Day! - Composting

The second idea Wallace suggests in her book Recycle Every Day! is putting "all the leaves and weeds into the compost maker." In one of my previous posts, you will see that we started our own compost in our backyard this summer using an old plastic trash bin with a lid. It has worked fabulously. I love the fact that I am reducing the waste I send to the landfill and recycling matter back into the earth.

One thing I have been researching is getting a decorative kitchen composter that I can have out on my counter so I'm not stacking food waste in a bowl on my counter. I discovered a company in Fort Worth that sells eco-friendly products called "The Greener Good." I've also discovered a lot on Amazon.com as well. They have many different versions including those made from ceramic, stainless steel, bamboo, and plastic. So, a wide range of personal preference can be accomodated.

Some pictures of the kitchen composters that "The Greener Good" sells:

"Methinks my own soul must be a bright invisible green."

~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recycle Every Day! - REsale Therapy

One of the first points Wallace points out in her book
Recycle Every Day! is, "Passing along clothes in good condition to others is a form of recycling."

I was so fortunate to find such a great deal on school uniforms for my daughter. The first time the seller and I met up, I got 10 items for $15. The second time we met up, I got 14 items for $20. So, I got 24 items for $35. Go ahead, do the math! That's $1.46/item.

If you have never used Craigslist, you must! http://www.craigslist.org/

See the Smilebox I made after I got the first batch of clothes to demonstrate how used clothing works just as well as new.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox

Create your own free slideshow design

Recycle Every Day!

This is one of my favorite books to use when educating children & parents about going green. Someday I would love to write a story about Green Girl and have my 2 super talented daughters illustrate it for me.

The author/illustrator, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, does a fabulous job of demonstrating in this book how we can recycle every day of the week...and make it a habit.

So, the next 7 posts, I will be showing you how our family tries to recycle whatever we can.

Like Wallace says, "When we all work together, you can see how much can be done to take care of our Earth!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Show Me the Green

We recently returned from a trip to our hometown in Missouri, the "Show Me State," or as I like to refer to it, "Show Me the Green." Missouri is SO beautiful with their very distinct 4 seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter. I can't say I can narrow my favorite season down to one as they all have their own beauty but Summer has to be one of my favorites due to its "greenness." Look at these awesome photos of my parents' yard that I grew up in...it's no wonder I have a passion for going green! Can't you just smell the clean, green air?!

I was able to capture a photo of a furry friend...

a slippery friend...

and then some more slippery friends that we caught and released...

My older daughter caught one...

and my younger daughter caught 3!!!

I was quite surprised that BOTH of the girls were willing to take a dip in the pond!

You can imagine how tired they both were each day after running around on 3.5 acres of green!

Friday, July 16, 2010

On the air with Green Girl

I am in total amazement at the power of good editing!

Click on the link below to listen!
KRLD Community Hero « KRLD-AM

Thank you so much Alice Rios, with KRLD-AM 1080, for interviewing me!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Community Hero"

After the media release about me being awarded Volunteer of the Year by Keep Texas Beautiful was put out by the City of Fort Worth, I received an unexpected call from coodinator of Keep Fort Worth Beautiful, Debbie Branch. She informed me that a local news radio station, KRLD-AM 1080, wanted to feature me as their "Community Hero." How awesome!!

...but me, a hero? Curious, I searched online for a definition for the word hero and saw this. "A hero is anyone who can show courage when faced with a problem." I often think of heros as people who save other people from danger. When I saw this definition, however, I guess I can see how my passion for educating children and parents about taking care of ourselves and our planet could be seen as courageous. I face the problems of unhealthy living and environmental issues, and I show people how we can educate ourselves about the little steps we can take to make a huge difference!

The nervousness in my voice during the interview may not sound courageous but, nonetheless, I am anxious to hear the broadcast of the interview tomorrow, July 16th, at 7:50am and 4:50pm. I will be able to access a link to the interview online after it airs so I can post it. Tune in!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Proud Recipient

I was so honored to receive the Volunteer of the Year award from Keep Texas Beautiful just a few short weeks ago! It was awesome to hear about other individuals and companies who are also eco-minded.

City of Fort Worth's Media Release:
Keep Texas Beautiful presented its prestigious Volunteer of the Year award to Fort Worth’s own environmental caped crusader at its state conference this week in Austin.
Susan Johannes, a volunteer for Keep Fort Worth Beautiful, was a stay at-home mom and fitness instructor who turned her passion for educating children about healthy lifestyles and protecting the environment into a superhero persona. As “Green Girl,” complete with her superhero costume, she conducts programs for schools, churches and civic organizations complete with songs and cheers and encourages audience participation.

My family and I had a great time visiting Austin & San Antonio for the first time! We enjoyed seeing the Texas capitol building in Austin as well as the Riverwalk and Sea World in San Antonio.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Busy Little Bee

I must apologize for such a delay in posting. Between wrapping up my end of the year classroom things and starting my position as Children's Ministry Assistant at our church, I have been quite a busy little bee!

As you know, I love nature! Planting and nurturing trees is one of my favorite hobbies and probably the reason my neighbors refer to me as "The Tree Lady." I was given this tree at the Haltom City Arbor Day Celebration. It is a beautiful Texas Ash and I can't wait to see its Fall color!

In May, my family and I FINALLY started our compost. I researched online and discovered how I could convert our old trash bin into a compost bin. My wonderful husband drilled holes and, wa-la!, we now have a compost bin. We are alternating layers of green matter and brown matter.

Our typical Green Matter consists of: Coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells, apple cores, grape stems, orange peels, banana peels, broccoli stems, cauliflower stems, romaine lettuce stems, etc.
Our typical Brown Matter consists of: newspaper ripped into strips.
Once a week, I turn the compost bin on its side and roll it back and forth to mix up the green & brown matters. Adding worms is not a necessity but my daughters had a blast going down to the creek with daddy to dig for worms!

At the end of this nature filled day, we were able to appreciate yet another one of God's beautiful creations!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

FRESH the movie

Green Girl has been asked to be one of the panelists after a local screening of FRESH the movie on Friday, May 14th. I am so excited to be a part of this and am highly anticipating hearing how we can be a change!

We just recently watched Food, Inc. and were prompted to improve our food choices even more. We've always tried to buy as many organic foods as possible but this movie really opened our eyes to the necessity to buy from local farmers as well.

We did some research and discovered the Keller Farmers Market which is open on Saturdays from 8am-1pm. I have enjoyed meeting and getting to know a few of the KFM board members and look forward to having a tent set up at the Wellness Fair on Saturday, May 15th.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Earth Day celebrations

I think it is easy sometimes to feel overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of being a mom, wife, teacher and superhero..ha!...but, at the end of the day, the sweet words of encouragement I hear from my cheerleaders (my kids & husband, teachers, parents, and students) are what make all the hard work worth it.
Thank you all for your support!

Earth Day ~ April 22nd

On Tuesday, Green Girl performed at my daughter's Girl Scout meeting about respecting ourselves and others (our planet) so that the girls could earn their purple petal. We made some delicious fruit smoothies as our snack using a recipe I saw on our Silk soymilk container. Frozen fruit, soymilk, and honey...yum!

On Thursday, Green girl performed for preschoolers and elementary kids during chapel time at the Fort Worth homeschool partnership where I teach. One of the 1 year old teachers stopped me at the end of the day and said, "That was awesome! I have never seen my 1 year olds sit still during chapel. They were in total amazement!" One of my students said, "I liked your shiny legs...you looked like a super hero!" A few days later, I received this note from one of my student's parents.

"I want to THANK YOU so much for all that you are teaching our kids about taking care of our environment! Our daughter adores you and Green Girl. I love that we are having good conversations about recycling and not using plastic products. My girls are really learning and have a passion for the environment. Thank you for impacting my family.

I love the go green sheet you sent home today. We just discovered a stainless steel product called Lunchbots that our older daughter has been using. I enjoyed finding out about kidskonserve.com. Thanks for sharing good ideas. Keep them coming!

You have been God sent to our school! We are honored to have you as our teacher!"

On Saturday, the Bob Jones Nature Center in Southlake hosted a Girl Scout event from 9am-1pm. They had stations set up and the girls rotated throughout the 1 mile course to learn about such things as rocks, butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers, etc. We had beautiful weather and we all really enjoyed ourselves.

We left the nature center and headed straight to the Prairie Fest in Fort Worth where, although it was super windy, I had a fantastic time performing impromptu as groups of kids and parents came to my tent.

Although this was a very hectic week & weekend, we still had time to stop and appreciate the beautiful wildflowers!

What a great Earth Day week!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cowtown Great American Clean Up

What a great success!!! Some of my daughter's Girl Scout friends, moms & sisters, my neighborhood friends and I participated in the yearly Great American Clean Up today.

After volunteering for 2 hours, we collected approximately 300 pounds of trash and five or six bags of recycle material in our neighborhood park.

My daughters and I went to pass out Clean Up packets for the City on Thursday after school and were given these adorable "US Census 2010" hats that the girls can't get enough of wearing!

Green Girl had an opportunity to present at the volunteer celebration afterwards along with Radio Disney!!!

Thank you all for your help and willingness to support my efforts at litter prevention and waste reduction!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

KTB Volunteer of the Year!!!

Woo-hoo!!! GOOOO Green!!

I have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of Keep TEXAS Beautiful's Volunteer of the Year and I can't tell you the flood of emotions I felt when scrolling down the 3 page document of all the KTB awards given out today and read that I had received the great honor and title!!

I am so thankful for everyone who has encouraged and helped me along the way. You will see us on TV someday!!

And, in honor of the SNL skits with Cheri Oteri & Will Farrell as Spartan cheerleaders, I'd like to leave you with a cheer:

"Who's that lookin' happy and green?

It's Green Girl, It's Green Girl!"

(I know I'm completely silly but I really do think I'm a kid at heart.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Proverbs 22:6

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old,
he will not depart from it."

While at a local park over Spring Break, my daughters and I were enjoying the beautiful weather. I was walking with them as they rode their bikes and can't tell you the happiness I felt when I saw the above. They both (without saying a word) parked their bikes, found a broken branch, and went to the water to "fish" out trash from the creek.
Way to go, my little Go Green Girls!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Green world from my past

I remember all these events very clearly...having a sense a calmness from the beautiful green world around me! Happy first weekend of Spring!

by Blanche Black

In the glow of the dawn,
Welcome a new day,
Greet the golden sunlight or rain,
Nature in all its subtlety.
Whip of the wind,
Earth unfolds,
Softly falling rain,
Growing plants and buds blossoming.
Visions of the earth, with glories of nature,
Beauty of the daffodils,
Sunshine and rain from a rainbow,
Awe! Nature in full bloom

Rising in early morn
Birds with note loud and musical
Lustrous species adorned with rich bicolors glowing,
Attracting attention from movements of character unvarying.
Birds building nests in the spring
Sound of sweet melody, humming birds sing
Sunshine spreading a colorful blanket
Tis the perfect joy of spring!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Trees, glorious, trees!

I don't know that anyone knows how much I LOVE trees! They are so beautiful and green! They enrich our lives in so many ways!

Their beauty and color improve the environmental aesthetics, and they clean our air by filtering pollution and producing oxygen. They are magnificient living organisms!

God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, "Ah!"
- Joseph Campbell

I presented at a local Arbor Day Celebration today and was, once again, reminded of the beauty of nature. Sunny skies, budding trees, and cool spring winds make me so happy!

Imagine my sense of pride during the planning stages of coordinating 2 separate tree planting programs in my neighborhood when I was adoringly referred to as "The Tree Lady." I met over 80 of my neighbors and love the sense of community that planting trees provided.

In honor of Arbor Day Celebrations all over the world, I'd like to share this poem.

by J. Daniel Beaudry

Tree, gather up my thoughts
like the clouds in your branches.
Draw up my soul
like the waters in your root.

In the arteries of your trunk
bring me together.
Through your leaves
breathe out the sky.

Monday, March 1, 2010

3 F’s: Free, Fun and Family

Green Girl is thrilled to announce that she will be appearing at the following FREE, FUN, and FAMILY events in the Fort Worth area this Spring.

Haltom City Arbor Days

  • This program (for children and adults) is designed to inform, entertain and make individuals think about the value of trees as well as their own personal impact on the world.
  • March 13, 2010: 10:30am-11:30am

Cowtown Great American Clean Up

  • Cleaning up Fort Worth one neighborhood at a time
  • Keep Fort Worth Beautiful Mission: “To educate and engage Fort Worth residents to take responsibility for improving their community environment.”
  • April 10, 2010

Fort Worth Prairie Fest

  • An outdoor festival to celebrate our connection to the natural world through Music, Art, Dance, Environmental Stewardship & Wildflower Tours.
  • April 24, 2010: 10am-8pm