Tag Archives: Giving

A Green Thumb

After being recruited to write a quick blog about our experiences last Friday volunteering for the Green Learning Adventure (GLA) I decided to use this opportunity to join Dan in coming up with new ways to lead a more sustainable, environmentally conscious life.

First, a little recap of the GLA. I met up with Bennet after he and Dan educated Sea World employees, we then headed out to a community recreation center that was holding a small Earth Day celebration for elementary and middle school children. There were a handful of environmental education booths for the kids to visit – each kid was required to visit every booth and learn what each had to offer. For some incentive they could enter a raffle at the end to win some cool prizes, including surf lessons. After we spoke to each and gave them a spin on Pedal Power (the human-powered energy bike that demonstrates how much electricity it takes to run lighting and other household items), we would give them a sticker moving them one step closer to the raffle. Each booth would then do the same making for a great day of education.

It was a blast showing the kids the energy differences in the older incandescent light bulbs and the newer more energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer – energystar.gov). I was also amazed at some of the knowledge these children already had – some were even educating ME on what they knew about “vampire loads” and energy efficient light bulbs that their families were already using. We later learned that the community rec center runs programs about energy efficiency and renewable energy.

All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to helping the GLA in the future, it is important to educate the next generation about living sustainably.

As for our next initiative in this project we wanted to move onto a slightly different topic – horticulture. Our recent blog posts have opened us up to new energy and water saving tips and our next step will involve using good ole’ Mother Nature in order to make our everyday lives healthier and happier. We have already started a very nice backyard garden including different varieties of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, peas, strawberries, and a small citrus tree. Our two green thumbs behind the operation, Dan and Colin, have made some great strides towards harvesting farm fresh, organic produce in the backyard.

In the next few days I want to bring some greenery inside in order to freshen up the house. Using house plants as decoration will not only look nice but they will also help improve the air quality. According to Eartheasy.com NASA recently released a study that ranks the top plants for reducing indoor air pollutants. I will be sure to look at some of these for ideas on selecting plants. By doing this, we will make our rooms brighter and more inviting and make us feel more connected to nature.

Stay tuned for the results and a little bit more on connecting our built environment with the natural landscape that surrounds us.

-T. Ufferman

Alley Garden - Adding something fresh to the back alley.

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Filed under 30 ways in 30 days, Buy Local, Carbon Footprint, Conservation, Environment, Gardening, Philanthropy, Uncategorized

Easter treats for Earth Day

I missed putting up a new post yesterday, but spent a lot of time looking for ideas. I will admit that finding a new idea for everyday is pretty difficult, but I am still having fun working on some of the previously posted ideas. So far, the biggest ‘change’ is that I really do spend time thinking about my daily actions and how I can improve them. Feel free to help out with some suggestions or let me know some small things that you do too.

Today, my roommate Todd Ufferman got a package in the mail from his parents in the mail. Mrs. Debbie Ufferman sent him some easter treats that were right in tune with our theme. She added in his Easter basket a few pretty cool environmentally friendly gifts. With Easter coming up on the same weekend as Earth Day, there are a lot of events that are incorporating both of the occasions, these type of items are a great way to change up the traditional basket.

Todd is fascinated by these eggs

She sent Funky Mamacita, a fair trade organic coffee from Higher Grounds, a Theo organic fair trade chocolate bar, and some environmentally friendly stamps. She also added some eggs that your crack open, water them, and grow plants out of them. I thought this gift basket was a great idea. Thanks Mrs. Ufferman and Happy Earth Day!

The goodies

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Filed under 30 ways in 30 days, Buy Local, Free Trade, Gardening, Recycled Materials

Having Fun…Giving Back

Our commitment to giving back does not stop when we leave the office each night. Just recently, we found some alternative ways to donate time to a good cause.

Being new to the San Diego area gave us a good excuse to get out and explore. Our love for the outdoors led us to Mission Trails Regional Park, only 8 miles from downtown San Diego it has become one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Within minutes of entering the visitor center, fellow Plug ‘N Save employee Dan Conroy and I were talking with the visitor center director about volunteer opportunities and he had us signed up in no time!

Two weeks later, our first day as volunteer patrol led us on an 11.9 km hike through the mountains of Mission Trails. Our job that day included surveying the trail, interacting with park patrons, and taking GPS readings of specific trail markers. Apart from asking a few hikers to leash their dog (California State law…) the day went smoothly as the four of us soaked in the California sun and the amazing views of the park.

This trek gave me a new perspective on how diverse the Southern Californian environment is; in just 5 short hours we hiked through cool river valleys, up arid desert hills, and over rocky mountain peaks. Then to top it off, we got in the car and drove 20 minutes back to the beach.

For fun ways to spend a weekend like that, check out Mission Trails Regional Park online. Or if you would like to donate some time…volunteer!

The Old Mission Dam at MTRP

 

-Todd U.

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Filed under Environment, Hiking, Outdoor Adventure, Parks, Philanthropy