great day – Earth Day 2017 !

thegreenrock-ers Amanda Russell and Perla Hernandez thegreenrock.ca's booth on Earth Day

thegreenrock-ers Amanda Russell and Perla Hernandez at the Earth Day Fair

Saturday afternoon rain didn’t stop crowds of boisterous families from making it to the Earth Day Fair at the Suncor Fluvarium on April 22!  Over 250 people attended the event! Just about all of them stopped at thegreenrock.ca’s booth to learn about ways to take action, take care of the planet, and how to live sustainably.

Each year, 1 billion people in more than 195 countries celebrate  Earth Day worldwide. The key purpose is to get people together, to celebrate mother nature, and think about ways in which they can take action.

In line with this message, thegreenrock.ca was very pleased and excited to share our signature projects for this year:

  • #playoutdoors ~ Less screen time and more time outdoors! In collaboration with the Junior Forest Wardens-NL, #playoutdoors raises awareness about nature deficit disorder and challenges families to get outdoors, make new friends and learn new skills.
  • ReGeneration: The Plastic Bag Project (coming up!) ~ An intergenerational awareness and action program that brings seniors and students together to share strengths, and transfer skills toward a common purpose of recycling single-use plastic bags through crafting durable tote bags. This project is supported by The Co-operators IMPACT! Fund 2017.
  • Guide to the Good ~ A social enterprise that makes it easier for people to choose local for their purchasing and lifestyle choices. Local businesses bring economic, ethical and social benefits to our lives and our communities. Guide to the Good is currently being piloted in the Northeast Avalon, but the goal is for there to be a guide to the good in communities everywhere!

Visitors were asked to participate in the “how do you fit in?” campaign and to think about ways in which they can help protect the environment through their daily actions.

At the end of the day we had some local giveaways from businesses featured on the Guide to the Good. The draw was live-streamed via Facebook

Facebook Live of the guide to the good draw

  • Prize #1 Local Basket!
    Jumping Bean‘s low CO2 emission roasting coffee; hypoallergenic, artisan soaps and body products made locally from St. John’s Soap Works; and local hand-knitted hat by Casey’s Crafts.
  • Prize #2 Firewood and Coffee! 
    Bundles of local sustainable and licensed firewood from Firewood Factory; 2 gift-cards from  Jumping Bean .

Two winners were randomly selected out of 104 individual tickets. Congrats Olivia and Joan!

 

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.pngthegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca         twitter: @thegreenrockca

#playoutdoors – less screen time, more outdoor time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

spending time in nature has positive physical and mental health benefits for both adults and children

in the fall of 2016, thegreenrock.ca in collaboration with the  Junior Forest Wardens NL launched a  #playoutdoors awareness campaign to get people outdoors and start new Junior Forest Warden NL Clubs.  Junior Forest Wardens, a family-based outdoor adventure group, has been active in NL since the 1940s.  numerous families have reaped the benefits of outdoor together time over the years, but numbers have been declining since the 1980s.

nature deficit disorder: kids are spending less time outdoors

kids these days are spending more time on screens than outdoors and that’s causing problems to their health. there’s extensive research about Nature Deficit Disorder. conversely, spending time in nature for adults, and especially for children brings the mental and physical health benefits. children experience positive social, psychological, and spiritual impacts on their personal and cognitive development.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

JFW helps families and friends find time to hang out in the woods

as a side effect of modern, busy and sedentary lifestyles in recent years our exposure to nature has diminished. within a generation, Canada has transitioned from a rural to an urban nation, with 80% of Canadians now living in cities. as a result of this transition, it is estimated that Canadians today spend on average 90% of their time indoors, which has lead to a variety of chronic health issues as a result of sedentary lifestyles

aside from the mental and physical health benefits, getting kids in nature can also have positive impacts on our environment and our communities. a study by the University of British Columbia, suggests that providing positive childhood experiences in nature, can help to develop care and awareness of the environment as adults.

2013-09-28 11.22.43

children who play outside are more likely to protect nature as adults

#playoutdoors campaign

the Junior Forest Wardens NL is dedicated to bringing families with school-aged children together to enjoy and learn about the natural environment. together thegreenrock.ca and JFW launched a successful campaign that delivered 10 community outreach events, reached out to 17 community organizations which engaged over 50 families in the St. John’s metro area and led to the start of two new JFW Clubs:  the Wild Wanderers and the Rollin’ Capelin.

up next
after all the success of the #playoutdoors thegreenrock.ca is working with JFW and other community partners to look into ways to expand the project this year. stay tuned!

update! #playoutdoors won a 2017 Pinnacle Award by the International Association of Business Communicators Newfoundland and Labrador! read all about it here

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.png

thegreenrock.ca is a not-for–profit company that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like us and share!

Facebook: Facebook.com/thegreenrockca
twitter: @thegreenrockca

the kids are alright! exploring and creating with the planet in mind

kids are growing well as Vanier Elementary!

kids are growing well as Vanier Elementary!

remember grade 6?  that magical time between little and teen.  all the goings-on!  in February thegreenrock.ca was delighted to spend an afternoon with the crowd of grade sixes at Vanier Elementary in St. John’s.

born in 2003, these guys are digital natives. touching buttons, navigating screens, and using media is not technology advancing, it’s how it’s always been.  they are interested in lots of things – what their contemporaries are doing of course, and they love the smart phones and tablets and other devices, but they have an encouraging sense of the wider world around them.  this sense is due in no small part to the grade six curriculum brought to life by the inspiration and dedication of teachers (nods to Mme Daley, Ms Meehan and Mme Chafe).  these 11- and 12-year olds use technology as a tool to explore, create, learn, and take action.  if thegreenrock.ca session is a good indication, critical thinking is part of the process.

thegreenrock.ca was there to talk about interactions with the planet, from climate change to the effects of natural and man-made changes in the environment.  it was a lively, thoughtful, and thought-provoking conversation!  these guys include a sixth R in the series of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot: they Respond.

on the day of thegreenrock.ca visit, one class received accolades (and five ipads!) from Newfoundland Power for their award-winning video submission to the TakeChargeNL challenge.  the video is created in the style of Family Feud (en francais!), and teaches about habits that conserve energy.  the video was a hit, and it didn’t stop there.  a few days later, the intent of the group was broadcast throughout the province when a student called up the VOCM Open Line show and shared energy conservation tips on behalf of the class.

also on that day, the other grade six class harvested their first lettuce!   though the bell had rung,  the school day was over, and it was a Friday, a stream of kids were thrilled to offer a tour of the farm.  they are justly proud of their operation.    the growing equipment is neat, compact, and very productive. they like the light and warmth, and the scent of earth in the classroom.  but, as Emily said, the best part is the eating.  harvest time is coming for tomatoes, basil, beans, and peas in the classrom at Vanier.  that’s very encouraging because things are growing well.

cropped-thegreenrock-1.png

thegreenrock.ca is a non-profit that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like and share!

facebook thegreenrock.ca, google+ thegreenrock.ca

thegreenrock.ca Green Tips #2 – green at home

Video

as it happens here in St. John’s, warm weather is not a distant memory this November 2.  lovely as the sunny skies and warm winds are, it’s a call to ramp up the green living at home.  perfect for thegreenrock.ca’s CCNL Green Team’s second Green Tips vid.  Join David as he talks about compost, saving energy, and what to do with hazardous waste.

As well as hosting, David Maher did the editng and music, with Tamara Segura and Chris Ball co-directing and doing videography.

in July and August 2014 thegreenrock.ca Conservation Corps Green Team – Tamara Segura, Chris Ball, David Maher and Team Lead Jeff Smyth talked and taped, walked in the sun, swung on the swings, got out there and got inspired by the great green good going on in the Northeast Avalon.  Over the coming months their work will be released on thegreenrock.ca.

thegreenrock.ca Conservation Corps Green Team 2014 was sponsored by Junior Forest Wardens NL.  (thank you!)

CCNLlogo_cmyk

cropped-thegreenrock_small.pngJFW-logoCOLOR(optimized)

Earth Day Fair – Suncor Fluvarium TODAY!

Community Threads - connections are coming!

the winter has been long, but there is hope!  the snirt (snow and dirt) piles are reducing with the sun, and community groups who care about sustainability are going to the Suncor Fluvarium for the Earth Day Fair this afternoon from noon to 4:30.  admission is free.

thegreenrock.ca will be there revealing the start of Community Threads, an evolving canvas of logos and threads that shows the connections between local groups that focus on sustainability.   the project is supported by the Wellness Coalition Avalon East and the Fluvarium.

find out what Friends of Pippy Park, the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice, Bike Share, the Public Library, St. John’s Clean and Beautiful and others are up to!

Community Threads – connections are coming!

 

cropped-thegreenrock-1.pngthegreenrock.ca is a non-profit that informs and inspires people in Newfoundland and Labrador on ways to address the challenges facing our planet, our communities, and our lives.  like and share!

facebook thegreenrock.ca, google+ thegreenrock.ca

 

the bARTer of exchange

Have a Preserve Party!

Have a Preserve Party!

There is a freedom in realizing how remarkably easy it can be to facilitate learning and sharing. The barter economy has largely become a thing of the past, yet, there are community-building ways to bring it back!  Barter is a big one for sustainability.

This past fall a thegreenrocker organized a ‘free school.’ Basically what it sounds like, a free school is an opportunity to learn something without paying any money.  Subjects are whatever is of interest:  home brew, preserves, the perfect espresso, or even book-making (like the little books they sell at Fixed).  Somebody with a skill may be more than willing to share it, and in turn learn something new from somebody else.  The free school can be as few as two.

Another couple of greenrockers had a cooking day one Sunday afternoon.  They chose good, freezaable recipes and found a Sobeys location that offered the use of their space and equipment.  The main ingredients were bought in the store.  Groceries went up the elevator, meals came down.  The were labelled, frozen, and enjoyed over the next few months.

You can also try a Soup Swap.  If five friends each make a big pot of a different soup and everyone brings take-home containers, well you get five different kinds of soup to enjoy throughout the week, or even freeze for later!   You can write down the recipe for everybody as well, so your friends can try making the soup again. You could swap any kind of food: dips, sauces, jams, cookies, casseroles etc.!

Swaps and exchanges are big boosts to cupboards, closets and friends.  Way to sustain!

Warm Up the Winter – heat sustainably!

Cold winter weather leads to the familiar home heating dilemma of how to keep the house cozy in freezing temperatures – and how to do it in a way that won’t break the bank, the planet, or in a way that won’t keep you shivering the night away either!  Here are a few tips and ideas for alternative sources of heat and ways to reduce the environmental footprint of the heating system you have.

Tim Murphy and a Masonry Heater, photo courtesy of Home & Cabin magazine

Tim Murphy and a Masonry Heater, courtesy of Home & Cabin magazine

If you’re in the market for a new way to heat your home, this one with light your fire:  Masonry Heater: Masonry Heaters are similar to wood stoves in that heat is generated by burning wood. A masonry heater can provide even heat all day from just a single fire. Masonry materials take a while to heat up, but once they are warm, they will radiate heat for much longer than a metal stove.   It consists of a small firebox surrounded by a masonry mass made from some type of masonry (brick, tile, stone, stucco etc.). The channels of masonry absorb the heat and radiate it out. The fire burns hotly and quickly, which reduces unburned emissions. Masonry heaters are a sustainable choice for the home, as they use wood, a renewable resource, and they burn it efficiently. As an added bonus, you can incorporate a pizza or bread oven into your masonry heater and enjoy some wood-fired foods!   Stone Masonry and Heater Builders is a local enterprise specialzing in same.  They are the ones who built the system at the Bonavista Social Club in Upper Amherst Cove.  Mason Tim Murphy has one in his home and his family was warm and cozy through #NLDark!

Space Heaters: If you have a central home heating system that is not adjustable from room to room, a couple of space heaters may be a good investment. This way you can simply heat one room at a time, instead of the whole house.

DIY Space Heater: Well, say you don’t want to invest in a space heater, or in a power outage… Here is a very alternative and economical solution. Instead, (if you don’t have these three items already) invest in tea lights, a couple of ceramic flowerpots and a loaf pan, and try this DIY Space Heater!

Insulation: If your home isn’t well insulated, it certainly won’t be too warm. Adding insulation and other energy-saving efforts might be a worthy investment!  Check out NL Power

Seal up the drafts: “Find the draft” is a fun game that can be played using a candle or a stick of incense, and following where the flame flickers or smoke drifts to on a blustery day. Check all the windows, doors and any other place a draft might be messing with your warmth. Once found, seal up your drafts with caulking, foam sealant or weather stripping. You can also insulate your windows with plastic, using a handy dandy window insulator kit which can be purchased at your local hardware store (e.g. Canadian Tire).

Home Heating System Maintenance: Home heating systems need to be cleaned out and maintained (usually on a yearly basis). It’s a good idea to have your system looked into to make sure there aren’t any kinks messing with its efficiency.

Blankets: If you’re trying to stay warm on the cheap, try hanging some heavy blankets in doorways and over windows, this will help keep the heat in. This is especially good for the kitchen to trap the heat from the oven.

Rugs: Putting down a few rugs on those cold winter floors can help to insulate and keep your feet nice and cozy!

Check out Take Charge NL a Newfoundland Power program designed to help save energy – and money!.

And lastly, try wearing more sweaters! Sweaters are both warm and fashionable, and you can wrap yourself in a blanket for good measure. Sometimes it’s nice to try this “old-fashioned” method, it’s certainly sustainable, and National Sweater Day is coming up February 6!