We can make a difference!

By Pooja Mishra

Source : eqt.com.au

Source : eqt.com.au

Our environment is constantly changing and we cannot deny the fact that we should be more aware of the problems that surround it. But being aware of the problems is not enough, we should come up with different ways to solve them. Whenever we think and talk about all the environmental problems that we are facing today, we usually refer to pollution, natural disasters, global warming, population, the depletion of natural resources, climate change, deforestation among others.  We tend to overlook all the small problems that we create with our daily habits without even realizing. The way we live our life and do things can also affect the environment. But there is a simple way of avoiding these problems by doing small things and adapting some eco-friendly habits in our day to day life.

I have seen many people while walking on the street, in subway, sitting in a coffee shop, who don’t even care about what is going on around them. But it doesn’t mean that I have not seen people who do care. I decided to talk to them and find out their concern towards the environment. I asked the same question to many people, what was the last eco-friendly choice they have made recently.

Mamta Saxena, mother of a 3-year old says, “My son is very young but I still try to teach him the importance of healthy and clean environment. I always ask him to throw all his garbage in the bin and now he understands that. Even in my community I have seen many people who don’t follow the waste disposal and recycling guideline, so this time in community meeting I raised up the concern that everyone should follow the guideline to keep the surroundings better.”

Zahara Shami said, “Since we are having a rough winter in Toronto, where everything is dull and dry and we hardly see any greenery around us, I decided to get some greenery at home. Recently I brought two plants and planning to get more.”

“I bought an eco-friendly car which is 50 percent gas and 50 percent electric. You can switch the mode according to your preference and requirement. I love my car. It makes less sound, is very comfortable, easy to drive and also saves me some bucks” says Irina with excitement.

Nidhi Desai mentions, “In my work place most of my colleague drink coffee and when their mugs get empty they dump the mug in the bins near to them. They don’t even bother to look for the blue bins around them. When I noticed this I decided to raise the concern and in my next team meeting I asked everyone to place one small blue bin near to them and avoid to mix the trash.”

Rosa Yoon, mother of two kids says, “I always try to avoid using plastic bags for my grocery or for anything. I always carry my grocery bags with me. That way I also set an example for my kids to never use these plastic bags for shopping. Whenever my kids come with me for grocery I ask them to carry bags so next time they remember to do the same. Not only this, I always try to set a good example for them to make right decisions and lead a healthy life.”

 

Guide to maintain plants amidst falling temperatures

By Pooja Mishra
428348286cca007567ede4a59f6e268cSource : Pinterest

Fall is here, and it’s beautiful and slightly chilly outside, a reminder that it will be extremely cold soon once winter hits the door. I love winters and keep in touch with nature by going out and enjoying all the winter activities like hiking, skiing, sledding, snowboarding, Ice skating, and even making a snowman.

But this is also a time when we see our plants and trees dry up and wither. It is a repetitive cycle of birth and death, but all the hard work that has been put in growing a beautiful garden around our home quickly gets undone when temperatures start falling. It is easy to maintain the indoor or outdoor plants in summers when the weather is perfect for plants to grow; but, protecting plants in cold weather when you hardly get any sun is a lot more daunting.

So after a lot of thought, experiments, and research here’s a list of some simple and effective ways that can help you to protect your plants in this cold weather:

  1. Bring your potted plants indoors and place them either in the garage or use them as home decor by placing them in your living room. This is an easy first step that one should do. Never place them near a window as cold transfers from the window and damages the plants.
  2. I have seen many people cover their plants with some thick material. It is also a good way to protect your plants. Wrap them with wrapping plastic, blankets or any other thick cloth but never forget to leave it open in the day time when you see little sun or bright light outside and cover them again in the night time.
  3. It is important to water the plants in the cold temperature. Make soil around the plant completely wet. Wet soil gives more heat than dry soil. But don’t over water it.
  4. Applying a layer of mulch on the soil of the plant can protect the roots from becoming damaged. You can use leaves as a mulch, they will maintain the temperature and give heat to the plant.
  5. Put a heat source around your plant. You can even put lights on your plant. It will not only provide heat to the plant, but will also make your room more alive.

 

Learning in the Outdoors

By Hannah Gartner 

Childhood is a defining time in everyone’s life. The experiences had during this time can stay with and effect a person forever. This is especially true when it comes to connecting to the natural world. When I think of my own connection to nature, I see that it is rooted in the memories I have of hiking, sailing, and exploring during Summers in Maine. The younger someone is when they foster this connection, the deeper it is. However, modern children spend the majority of their time in doors. In the U.S., kids in public school have an average of 27 minutes of recess a day. Their time at home is typically spent inside playing video games and watching TV. Children are simply not spending enough time in the outdoors.

watching-tv

Source: Ars Technica 

This lack of outdoor time is especially harmful to the youngest schoolchildren. Research is developing that shows 3-7 year olds need free play, especially in the outdoors, to develop skills like critical thinking, risk management, and grit. The typical kindergarten includes more reading and math time than play time though. Children don’t get the chance to explore the world with their senses in these schools, but are expected to inherently understand how to use their brains and sit still. This is not where their development is at though. An exploration into the senses is necessary to develop critically thought, and the more a child moves and the stronger they are, meaning they can better hold themselves still for long periods of time. Free play, especially in the outdoors, is not just a nice thing for kids to do but a necessity for their healthy development.

In many parts of Europe this is already understood. Forest preschools have become common. The children who attend these schools spend every day, all day, outside, no matter the weather. They may have wooden shelters to hide from the rain and snow, and good clothing to keep them warm. Their playground is the forest around them – they climb the trees, get muddy in the brooks, and learn through interacting with the ecosystem. In the older grades this concentration on outdoor play continues, with many public schools offering recesses of over an hour in playgrounds that incorporate natural features such as trees and logs. Clearly this is a superior model for getting kids close to nature.

forest-school

The Fiddleheads Forest School in Seattle, WA – Source: New York Times 

Some in the U.S. have realized the importance of the outdoors in childhood development. Forest playgrounds have begun to pop up around the country. Other types of alternative learning schools such as Waldorf and Montessori encourage both the free play and outdoor time children so desperately need. However, this type of learning is currently available only to those who can pay for it, and is confined to a few institutions. To truly make a difference this type of learning must be incorporated into the public school system. Our children are missing out on nature, and it is our job to make sure this deficit ends as soon as possible.

That One Corner!

By Pooja Mishra

 

slr5                                                  Source : gananoque.com

Finally, I got a chance to explore The Thousand Islands this Canada Day. The place is magical and is one of the best spots to appreciate Canada’s natural beauty. The moment you reach there you get the feeling that you are living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Splendid, exciting, relaxing are some of the words that describe this place.

The moment we reached there, the beauty of the Lawrence River blew me away. The view in front of our cottage was scenic; we got a beautiful view of the river and it was in the heart of The Thousand Islands. Every morning we could see and feel the pleasure of that place. We couldn’t stop ourselves from capturing every detail in our camera and we clicked many pictures.

Thousand Islands is located on the Upper St Lawrence River near Kingston, Ontario and has over 1800 islands. The St. Lawrence River is one of the largest rivers in the world, which links great lakes into the Atlantic Ocean; Great Lakes hold 20% of fresh drinking water. The river holds a unique position as it straddles the border of the US and Canada and provide fresh drinking water to local towns of both the sides. It is a most loved place of nature lovers.

IMG_1049

One evening I was soaking in the beauty of the place. I could see that many ducks were floating around, which made me walk closer to the river. But as soon as I headed towards the water; my eyes got stuck on one corner of the river. The water which had me mesmerized a few minutes back suddenly made me feel gross. One whole corner of the water by a ferry way, was full of waste material which was polluting the water. There were a couple of ducks that were stuck in the waste, trying frantically to get out of the mess.

Where St. Lawrence River is a great source of drinking water, it also faces many other pollution related problems as well, as it is the only way for ships to enter the Great Lakes and these ships brings along many problems. All other countless stress such as development, transport, over harvesting and pollution are also a threat to rivers and lakes.

All our demands for food, goods, material, energy put so much pressure on our planet. We are so busy in fulfilling our own needs and demands that sometime knowingly or may be unknowingly we do things which harm our nature and spoil its beauty and charm. And water is the heart of all these problems. We think its not our responsibility to clean everything; there are appointed officials for those jobs and they are doing their jobs. There are many organizations like Save the River and Water Aid Canada that have been working to save and protect the rivers and lakes. But they aren’t the sole custodians of preserving the nature. If we want our loved ones to have a healthy life, we need to share the responsibilities; we cannot leave everything to others. We need to do whatever we can do to protect and save our home for the future generation.

Everything in my trip was completely amazing. Our cottage, parks, everything was clean and well maintained but that one corner stuck somewhere in my mind. We all love clean and tidy places and keep our home the same way, but sometime we forget about our surroundings, which also need to be clean and pollution free.

There are many small steps that each one of us can take at home and outside and by making them a part of our daily routine we can make our planet a healthy place to live.

  • Always recycle the waste material; never dump wastes into a storm drain. Storm sewers go directly to rivers and lakes
  • Reduce uses of pesticide and fertilizers; If you live near lake or river, plant a buffer strip of plants along the water
  • Maintain the healthy ecosystem by planting in or around your home; make sure when you water your plant the water doesn’t go on the street or sidewalks
  • Don’t pour chemicals down the sink or toilet
  • Reduce air pollution by using less gasoline into the water. So when you buy a boat motor, choose a 4-cycle, rather than 2-cycle, engine. You will cause less pollution
  • In the winter, use less salt on your sidewalks and driveway. Chloride from road salt is building up in lakes and aquifers that receive runoff from highways
  • If you fish, consider putting away your lead sinkers and jigs and switching to non-toxic tackle. Loons, trumpeter swans and some other waterfowl are susceptible to contracting lead poisoning from tackle they pick up off lake bottoms
  • Don’t use the lake as a bathtub. Soaps and shampoos contain nutrients and pollutants that are harmful to the lake and organisms living in it; even when you wash your car park it on the grass instead of on the street or driveway

 

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day

By Pooja Mishra

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall

earth-day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.50img.com

What better day can there be to kick off my April blog post than the Earth Day! A day that people celebrate each year on 22nd April through events, rallies, parades and show their support around the world. For me, Earth day is all about appreciating our nature and all the natural resources we have and also taking a pledge to not waste them by making small changes in my lifestyle. A small effort that I start off from my home.

Earth day was first celebrated on April 22nd 1970, in US. It was started by former US senator Gaylord Nelson after devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in January and February of 1969. It was the largest oil spill in US waters at the time.

All these years we have been using all natural resources at a large scale without thinking of any future impacts. What will happen when we won’t have access to pure water and we have to travel miles and miles to get pure drinking water? And what will happen if we don’t have fresh air to breath, beautiful green trees, and plants? If we don’t start saving all the natural resources today then the day is not very far when our future generation have to struggle to get all these resources.

Image 3

Source: blog.savewater.com.au

In fact, these are the problems that we have already been facing for many years in our day to day life. There are so many people who don’t have access to all these natural resources. They have to struggle to get them. An average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day and that waste causes pollution, contributes to climate change and wastes natural resources.

Today, we are dependent on so many materialistic things to fulfil our basic needs. We use artificial things to complete our desire of natural resources. We use filter, water purifier to get pure and fresh water, why? Because our taps don’t have fresh water anymore. We don’t get fresh air under the sky. We have polluted it by various actions. We are so busy in making our life better through materialistic things that we always forget to appreciate what we already have. We all have artificial plants and flowers in our home. We have forgotten to grow them in our garden and keep them safe. We use plastics and throw them away to destroy the fertility of soil. It is high time we need to stop being selfish and try to do something for our environment.

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Source: toolboxtalk.weebly.com

Some small efforts can make a big difference to the health of all living things and the planet that we all call home. Little changes in our lifestyle can do wonders. Although, we are making great progress everywhere but there is more each of us can do. So next time when you go to grocery shopping, remember to get reusable bags instead of plastic bags. Avoid buying something that you are not going to use later. Buy things that you can use again or consider donating to someone else rather than throwing them way. Look around in your communities and neighbours to find a garden that can take your food scrapes for compost. Find out the place where you can put them for recycling. Remember to turn off lights all day when sunlight could be used. Keep your computers, printers, and all electronic items off when you are not using them. There are so many such small things that we can avoid in our day to day life.

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Source: earthday.ca

We always get all the things we want to fulfill our needs from the environment but somehow we don’t realize what our planet wants from us? We forget that we have limited resources and if we want to use them we have to save them. So let’s take a pledge today to make small changes in our lifestyle and start to make some difference starting from our homes. Appreciate our environment, love it, feel it and live with it.

 

Make a Pledge for Earth Day

By Hannah Gartner

With Earth Day tomorrow, now is a great time to make a pledge to improve the natural world. Small or large, there are many day to day changes that can be made which help reduce ones carbon footprint and increases the sustainability.

Pale Blue Dot copySource: National Geographic – This photo, titled “The Blue Marble”, was the first photo of Earth taken in its entirety. It was taken in 1972, two years after the first Earth Day.

Here are a few more simple pledges that can be made:

  • Stop eating cattle, pork, and sheep; take it a step further by cutting meat consumption to two or three times a week.
  • Start a compost pile, its easy and doesn’t take up that much space. Directions can be found here.
  • Commit to purging your life of disposable plastic.
  • Instead of buying new clothes go to the thrift shop or exchange clothes with your friends.
  • Volunteer for trash pickups, trail maintenance, or at your local garden.

Earth Day Vollunteers copySource: Politico

The more one gets to know nature the more they care for it, so the most fun pledge one can make is to spend more time exploring and learning about the Earth. Here are some ideas:

  • Go for a hike every month this year.
  • Plan the first annual family camping trip.
  • Go on science walks were you identify and catalogue the flora and fauna.
  • Take a trip to wide open spaces and spend the night identifying the stars.

Understanding is often the first step to change. Anything that fosters connection and caring for the natural world also helps it and can be a pledge.

800px-Crepuscular_rays_in_the_woods_of_Kasterlee,_BelgiumWhile we make these small changes in our lives, it is important to remember that systemic change is also needed. All over the world there are individuals, groups, and organizations working on the creating the changes that solve the large problems. Pay attention and support these activities whenever possible. One example is The Leap Manifesto, written by a wide array of activist groups, which tackles a huge portion of Canada’s environmental and social problems at once. Read it here and join the 39,000 who have signed it.

Gamiing Logo copy

This Saturday, April 23rd, The Gamiing Nature Center will be holding an event where everyone will be making there own pledge. These pledges will all be displayed on the wall as a symbol of our promise to help create a healthier Earth. More information on the event can be found here. Start thinking about your own pledge and we hope to see you on Saturday.

Year in Review

By Gamiing Nature Centre

Hi everyone, hope you are all doing great! Well, another year has come to an end, and with that it is inevitable to not think about all the achievements that we have conquered and all the goals that we plan for the year to come.

2015 was a special year for Gamiing and the blog. We have two new blog contributors, Hannah and Pooja, who are delighting our readers with their articles. We have initiated the development of an educational trail in our landscape and also promoted many events to bring the community. I could go on and on…

United Nations also posted a video showcasing the year in review. Many of the topics in the video were covered by our blog and also proactively tackled by Gamiing Nature Centre such as the refugee crises.

Happy New Year to everyone!!!

Sounds under the Stars!

By Gamiing Nature Centre

Fall has officially arrived in the Northern hemisphere on September 23th at 4:21am ET. And in the Southern hemisphere, spring has just begun.  To celebrate the beginning of the fall season, we will host our last “Sounds under Stars” summer series this Saturday, September 26th.

Sounds under the stars

Misto Restaurant in Lindsay (155 St. David Street) will be offering a special menu that evening for those coming to the Hayloft for “Sounds under the Stars”.

Come and join us for “Sounds under Stars” on September 26 at 7:30pm at the Hayloft, 1884 Pigeon lake Road, between Bobcaygeon and Lindsay.

Technology Fostering Water Sanitation

By Marcelo Kawanami

Technology has already proven its importance in the daily life of millions of people and it is becoming an essential component to leverage social development programs. In June, I had the opportunity to go to Cisco Live event and talk with Keri Kugler, Senior Manager of Monitor and Evaluation at Water for People.

Water for People is a nonprofit international organization with the goal to provide access to clean water and adequate sanitation to all people. Currently, the organization is in nine countries around the world: Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and India.waterforpeople_cisco

Through its Corporate Social Responsibility, Cisco, one of the largest Americanmultinational technology companies in the world, has partnered with Water for People to support the organization in the development of a mobile application named FLOW. FLOW, which stands for Field Level Operations Watch, is a mobile application that collects, manages, and analyzes data on the condition of water from remote locations. Cisco supported Water for People not only with funding but also by offering expertise in areas such as program monitoring and technology implementation.

The private-NGO relationship between Cisco and Water for People is a benchmark that should be followed by other companies, especially in the technology space. Many NGOs lack specific knowledge such as technology, or even strategy to foster their initiatives. Thus, many of them rely on collaborations from the private sector to achieve their goals – a reality that dramatically changed over the last 10 years, when the relationship between NGOs and the private sector used to be combative rather than collaborative.

For more information on Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility: http://csr.cisco.com/

For more information on Water for People: http://www.waterforpeople.org/

Summer Catch Up!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Hi everyone! Hope you are all enjoying the summer. I’m currently in South America and here it is very cold. I wanted to post some updates on Gamiing Nature Centre. On June 20th we had our annual Summer Lakeshore Festival. The weather really helped and we prepared workshops regarding birds of prey, developed interactive exhibits, and much more. You can check some of the photos from the Festival at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gamiing

birds of prey

We also had School Field Trips at Gamiing for our outdoor education program. Bowmanville and Lady Eaton School visited us in June for a day of outdoor activities combined with environmental education. If you would like to know more about our School Field Trips, please visit our website: http://www.gamiing.org/School_Field_Trips.php