What’s in Our Water? Breaking Down Marine Pollution

What's in Our Water? | Eco-Mothering.com

This Save The Bay graphic for the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) shows a breakdown of trash pieces found along Rhode Island beaches and coastlines last year. It amounts to nearly ten tons of trash—and that’s just in the smallest U.S. state. According to the Ocean Conservancy, more than 18 million pounds of trash was collected by ICC volunteers in 2015. That’s equal to the weight of 437 whale sharks!   While cigarette butts are the biggest offender, the remainder consists of food and drink packaging: glass, metal and the dreaded plastic. Plastic pollution clogs coastlines, harms marine creatures and leaches toxins into our waters. It is believed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, some floating and some in the deep sea. How Does the Trash Get in our Water? The bulk of it flows downstream, meaning it comes from land-based sources (litter, overflowing trash cans, … Continue reading

What Are Wetlands? (And Why We Should Value Them)

What Are Wetlands? (And Why We Should Value Them) | Eco-Mothering.com

Wetlands are areas where water mixes with or saturates the land at least part of the year. Areas like bogs, swamps, vernal pools and salt mashes are considered wetlands. While they may not be as scenic as other landscapes, wetlands are vital ecosystems that provide habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife. Below, you’ll learn why we should value wetlands, plus fun ways families (or classes) can learn more. What Do Wetlands Do? They filter pollutants from the water, trapping heavy metals, phosphorous and other toxins in their sediment. They act as a frontline storm defense against strong winds and tidal waves, reducing a storm’s impact and preventing erosion. They collect and store flood water. Acting as sponges, wetland vegetation absorbs heavy rain and snow melt to keep rivers at normal levels and prevent flash flooding. On the other end, wetlands can also recharge groundwater supplies and control flow … Continue reading

Why Trees Are Awesome (and Why You Should Plant One)

Benefits of Trees | Eco-Mothering.com

Most everyone is familiar with Joyce Kilmer’s poetic line: “I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.” What makes trees so lovely? They tower over our landscape with their leafy, needled and willowy beauty; mark the cycle of the seasons from stark nakedness to riotous colors; and serve as symbols of strength and flexibility. We know trees are good for the earth, but do we really know why? Here are some reasons behind the awesomeness of trees. Let me know if this doesn’t make you want to hug one or plant one — which you can do at the end of this post! Trees Conserve Energy and Water. Placed strategically, trees provide shade to homes and office buildings, either reducing the need for air conditioners or cutting AC costs by 15-35%. Trees planted in cities help combat the “heat islands” of unending asphalt and concrete. … Continue reading

Exploring Nature with Kids

Exploring Nature with Kids | Eco-Mothering.com

Next week is the fall equinox, and I have nothing planned. My family used to do a better job of celebrating the earth-based holidays, usually with a hike, ritual or anything else based in nature. Lately, we’ve been more focused on social events with other families, whether that be a polo match, a movie night or King Richard’s Fair. Digging through some old blog posts, never published on this site, I was reminded of our nature journeys with a two-year-old Sofie and the things we learned from those experiences… From October 2008: America’s Stonehenge We donned our hiking boots again this past weekend, this time trekking to New Hampshire for some leap peeping and a visit to America’s Stonehenge. Didn’t know we even had a Stonehenge on this side of the pond, did you? A maze of chambers, walls and ceremonial meeting places built by ancient people, America’s Stonehenge is most likely … Continue reading

Nature Photos from my Alaskan Adventure

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska | Eco-Mothering.com

My family just returned from an Alaskan cruise, and I wanted to post some of the beautiful nature and wildlife photos we took while there. Although a cruise is certainly not an eco-friendly travel option, the trip was wonderful, made even more so by the friends we vacationed with. One of our favorite excursions was whale watching, where we saw about eight humpback whales in Auke Bay, Juneau. We were close enough to hear them breathing. I managed to capture several of their tail fins after diving under as well as a calf who showed more of himself while playing with a sea lion.             We had anticipated seeing lots of glacial action, however, due to a medical crisis with one of the ship’s guests, the Tracy Arm Fjord part of our trip was cancelled. Still, we managed to see Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. Did you know … Continue reading

Family Nature Getaway in #PerfectVT

#PerfectVT | Eco-Mothering

Last month, a friend and I headed up to Vermont for a blogger retreat (a.k.a. weekend getaway). Like all moms, I’d been feeling the need for some time away, ideally spent soaking in nature or indulging in awesome food and spa-like activities. And, except for the spa bit, I found it all in the tiny town of Pittsfield, just north of Killington, Vermont. I discovered the area through my hosts, Tom and Erlin, the founders of Perfect Vermont Retreats. The young couple organizes fitness and nature retreats (for corporations, groups of friends, wedding parties and families) where they  “challenge guests to get outdoors, live consciously and experience life simplified.” Such a retreat might involve yoga classes, guided biking tours, hikes on 30 miles of mountain trails or “re-wilding” instruction from an expert on foraging and wilderness survival. Pretty cool, huh? I love that Tom and Erlin’s business is run as an ongoing … Continue reading

Beat the Winter Blues and Prep for Camping Season With These Green Tips

This is a guest post by Douglas Moore. It’s never too early to start thinking about camping season, especially while hibernating during the dead of winter. Suffering from cabin fever? Look ahead to an adventurous camping excursion with your family once this brutal winter finally breaks. A camping trip is the family’s warm light at the end of a snow-flurried, bone-chilling winter tunnel. Plan an upcoming camping trip that’s not only super fun, but kind to our earth. Eco-Packing Tips Start with the essentials — a tent and sleeping bags for shelter and staying warm at night. Unless you’re avid campers, ask family or friends if you can borrow a tent or sleeping bags. Before investing in a collection of camping gear, think about whether you’ll actually get use out of your investment or if the gear will just collect dust and take up space in your garage. For the … Continue reading