Archive for Nature

The Wildnerness Society Features Youth Author Cornelia Funke

A few years back, I took a trip to the San Gabriel Mountains with members of The Wilderness Society. It was a spectacular educational weekend filled with hiking and endless fresh air. To think that after having lived in Southern California for over 10 years, I had never taken the time to explore this grand national park. But I wonder how many more have yet to discover this rich area of bio-diversity?

I was inspired to repost this video of Corneilia Funke’s recent adventure to the San Gabriels. Enjoy!

my wilderness: How children’s author Cornelia Funke hatches her wildest ideas.

Leave a comment »

Slow Money Farm Fest

I know it’s been a while since I posted last. I’m here again to tell you a little bit about my involvement with The Slow Money Northern California Chapter. First, you may be wondering what is Slow Money? The term Slow Money was coined to represent sustainable investments; investments that aren’t designed to destroy the planet for profit. It’s more important than ever to practice conscious investing and adhere to the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit.

The nonprofit, Slow Money is an organization that brings sustainable investments to sustainable food systems such as farm projects, food and byproduct waste management and local community food initiatives. It doesn’t actually do the investing, but rather sets up gatherings and showcases to bring investors to the entrepreneurs. It’s a great group of people and a growing movement.

Our latest gathering is the Northern California Slow Money Farm Fest with details below. I’m in charge of organizing the potluck dinner contest with prizes and all. If you are local, I suggest getting your tickets now as it will sell out. There are a lot of foodies up here and we all love to get down in they hay on the farm with some good food and cheer.

Hope to see you on the 25th!

Slow Money Farm Fest

February 25, 3pm-9pm, at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma

Join Slow Money Northern California’s Farm Fest at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma on February 25!  Learn more about how to support sustainable food systems, meet the Slow Money movers, and have lots of fun networking with entrepreneurs, investors and our local community!

From 3pm-9pm (rain or shine), you’ll:

  • Tour this locally owned and operated farm
  • Meet local entrepreneurs and learn how they enrich sustainable food systems
  • Talk with Slow Money founder Woody Tasch about our movement
  • Participate in a community potluck, enjoy live music
  • And have some down-on-the-farm fun!

Please bring a dish of homemade food to share (for 3-5 people).

Sign up now – space is limited!

Tara Firma Farms is located at 3796 I Street in Petaluma. The farm works in harmony with land and animals, offering delicious food that balances environmental, community and nutritional needs.

SlowMoney_FarmFest_Flyer


Leave a comment »

To Autumn by John Keats

Ah, summer is officially over and the light is beginning to fade in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the diminishing hue casts shadows on some, there truly is something magical about this time of year. Harvest moon, auburn leaves and wonderful Macintosh apples are some of my favorite bits. Here is what poet John Keats connected with.

To Autumn

by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Comments (3) »

Summer Cold Blues – Tips on Staying Healthy and Vibrant During the Summer

Summer Cold Blues – Tips on Staying Healthy and Vibrant During the Summer

By Julie Gengo

Summer is a time for enjoying the outdoors and experiencing new places. Unfortunately, the more places you venture to and people you meet, the greater your chances are of catching a dreaded summer cold. We’ll bet, the last thing on your agenda this summer is lying in bed, miserable while everyone else is having fun.

Here are some tips to keep your immune system up and summer cold blues at bay:

  • Get plenty of rest. The body needs sleep time to repair and rejuvenate the cells. If you are enjoying some late night parties, make sure you take a nap the next day. When the body is well-rested, it is in a better place to fight off summertime bugs.
  • Eat your veggies and fruits! Dark green and cruciferous vegetables provide the body with an abundance of nutrients, minerals, electrolytes and even protein. Summer fruits such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are great sources of anti-oxidants. Staying in tune with what you put into your mouth can make a world of difference for a fabulous summer.
  • Absorb some sunshine. The body produces vitamin D from the sun. Soaking in the sun for 10-15 minutes a day without sunscreen will ensure proper vitamin D absorption and give you a nice glow too. Use only mineral-based sunscreens that actually protect you without posing additional damage from harsh chemicals. Check out EWG’s 2010 Sunscreen Guide (http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/) on safe sunscreens and make sure the chemicals in your sunscreen aren’t linked to cancer.
  • Move your body. Try not to just watch other people having fun. Get out and join in. Exercise oxygenates the cells and keeps them vibrant and healthy. Take advantage of extended sunlight and go for an evening swim or walk.
  • Make a batch of homemade green tea which is known to be an immune system booster.  Let it soak in the sun then place it over ice to make it authentic summertime iced tea.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of purified water is a good way to keep your body flowing the way it should. Remember, when you are thirsty, you are probably already de-hydrated. Drink continuously throughout the day before you are thirsty. If you are drowning in water, try eating plenty of summertime fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupes, peaches, and plums as they are loaded with water and will do the trick.

Comments (8) »

“This Compost” by Walt Whitman

Naturally Green Blog is celebrating National Poetry Month. What a better way than with a Walt Whitman poem. Enjoy!

This Compost

Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form’d part of a sick person-Yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noislessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings, while the she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch’d eggs,
The new-born of animals appear-the calf is dropt from the cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato’s dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk-the lilacs bloom in the door-yards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all those strata of sour dead.

-Walt Whitman, from the poem “This Compost”

Comments (1) »

When I Am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver

April is National Poetry Month and if you are like me, that’s a good thing. No cards to buy, no presents to send, just wonderful words placed together that evoke a variety of feelings and emotions. I love to share poems about nature so that we are reminded of why we are eco-friendly, eco-passionate, eco-extraordinary and so on. Often, I’ve sat among the trees and they too have saved me, inspired me to write, sing and just simply shine. I am especially fond of the willows as they tell me secrets of all things wild and free.

Here is poem by the lovely Mary Oliver from her collection — Thirst

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.


I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say.
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Comments (1) »

Green Roofs Growing Everywhere by Julie Gengo

I found this photo on a website called EkoVenture which is primarily a travel site for those seeking to explore interesting adventures. When this one popped into my life a few weeks ago, I was mesmerized. I loved the way the land has wrapped itself around this little red house almost as if it were there to keep it warm during the winter ahead or the two had a relationship deeply rooted in love. This is Iceland after all, a magical place where anything is possible. But that is exactly the point. Vegetative roofs have covered tops of homes and buildings in this far away place for centuries as a means of insulation for both sun and snow and to bring a warm feeling to its neighbors.

Vegetative roofs are popping up everywhere as they are considered a sustainable approach to building practices. The other benefits include:

Low insulation costs
Stormwater management, runoff and erosion
Energy reduction
Reduced heat Island effect
Improved air and water quality
Decreased pollution
Improved aesthetic environment
Increased durability with most roofs lasting 20 plus years
Wildlife habitat preservation

So go ahead and look up at rooftops of big city skyscrapers or small shops. Hopefully the next time you pass one by you’ll smile at a bird or two and sigh.

Comments (2) »

Fog Bewilders

Joseph Massey lives in the beautifully foggy Humboldt County (California) and it is this exquisite place that has inspired this collection of wonderful poems entitled Areas of Fog (Shearsman Books, 2009). Here is one that I am particularly fond of.

Arcata Marsh
by Joseph Massey

Mudscape—tide’s out—
out as far as fog gives sight.

Peripherry-flecked,
organe-white
lichen latched to limbs

I thought were your
fingers—

your face turned
back by wind.

Leave a comment »

A New Twist on Bio-Diversity by Christoph Niemann

I recently came across this article in the New York Times — a creative approach to bio-diversity as mastered by award winning graphic artist, Christoph Niemann. This is testimony that creativity in innovative design is alive and thriving. Here are some of my favorites. Click on the article link to see the rest. Enjoy!

Leave a comment »

Organic Pesticides for Home and School that Double as Aromatherapy

Organic Pesticides for Home and School that Double as Aromatherapy

If you haven’t heard by now or are not aware of the fact that pesticides are toxic, you are either living under a rock or in outer space. Although hibernating at times is essential wherever that place may be, when you do surface you probably aren’t spending too much time thinking about pesticides as you travel throughout your day. After all, we do live in a country (United States) that is suppose to protect us from any harmful effects that we might experience due to pesticide exposure. 2009-07-12-kids-playing-in-overgrown-grass-17Well, unfortunately the EPA is doing a lousy job at setting and enforcing regulation that serves our society’s best interest. What is most disturbing is that there are no mandates only recommendations, that protect school children, a segment of our population that is most vulnerable to environmental toxins.

Based on research information provided by the non-profits: Beyond Pesticides and Healthy Child Healthy World, EcoSMART – a leader in organic pest control products concluded that “Pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems, and have been shown to cause or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Studies show that children living in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of asthma, leukemia, brain cancer, and soft tissue sarcoma. Because most of the symptoms of pesticide exposure, from respiratory distress to difficulty in concentration, are common in school children and may also have other causes, pesticide-related illnesses often go unrecognized and unreported.”images

This link will direct you to a chart breaking down each chemical found in pesticides and what part of the body it affects the most: health-enviro-print

Beyond Pesicides also reported that: “A 2005 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association finds that students and school employees are being poisoned by pesticide use at schools and from drift off of neighboring farmlands; the study authors noted the lack of protection for school children and employees under federal law, pointing out that state laws provide some protection but are varied, thus leaving large gaps.” Another disturbing point is that The Poison Control Center has documented 2,300 school pesticide exposures from 1993-96. That was over ten years ago.

The good thing is is that you do have choices and you can make a difference. safe_home_bundleEcoSmart maker of a line of organic pest control products both for home and commercial use is an excellent option when choosing an alternative. These products are not only safe to use but also smell incredibly delightful so much so that they block out any foul odor lingering about. They wreak of winter-mint and other natural scents that have pleasing effects. Can you recall any bug spray that you could actually hang out in a room with immediately after using?

EcoSMARTSafeIngredients
The most important thing is that they work incredibly well. My ants are gone and have stayed away for weeks. My flies have flown away and haven’t come back and my family including my pets aren’t pissed off at me. My potted outdoor plants are also thanking me as the fungus has gone and they are thriving.

The other thing that I am doing is addressing this issue with my school board in hopes that they will make the switch to only using organic pesticides. My advice is to take action. Go to your school district and express your voice or if you don’t have kids, buy products for your home and garden that are natural and organic. Chances are there are children living near by.

Stay Healthy, Live Green
Julie Gengo

Comments (5) »