Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to leave the leaves

September 29, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to leave the leaves

Those brown, dead leaves are the planet's butterfly nursery.

If I know you, you can't stop helping pollinators — planting a butterfly garden, getting your yard off grass, signing the Monarch Manifesto and more. Well, you won't believe what I want you to do (or not do) now...

DO NOT rake your leaves! (Because butterflies begin in leaves, as larvae.)

Those brown, dead leaves are the planet's butterfly nursery. They're home to butterfly larvae, microbes and worms. And leaf litter is where many species of butterflies and moths overwinter as pupae. Animals like toads, shrews and salamanders benefit from leaf litter to hide and hunt, too.

This fall, let your rake collect only dust.

Can't leave all of your leaves where they fall? Here are a few other ideas:

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How to be a nature teacher

September 13, 2015 | 2 comments
Photo: How to be a nature teacher

Every person should be a nature teacher. Find a way to lead or encourage young ones in your life. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Kids are smart and insightful — especially when exposed to nature.

I recently took my son and 13 other three- to five-year-olds on a bus trip to a favourite local park (with help).

I showed them a specimen of Equisetum, also known as "horsetail" — a "living fossil." I said, "Horsetail is a prehistoric plant. It's been around since the time of the dinosaurs." (Kids love dinosaurs, right?)

Three-and-a-half-year-old Sebastian asked, "Why?" I said, "That's a great question!" But I didn't offer an answer.

Minutes later Sebastian said, "Maybe it's not allergic to people?"

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How to connect kids with nature

August 31, 2015 | 2 comments
Photo: How to connect kids with nature

Increase time in nature and take what you normally do inside and do it outside — eat and read! (Credit:Brendon Purdy)

Too many of us treat time outdoors like it's dessert, something only to indulge in once chores are finished and the "to do" list is done (like that ever happens...). Vitamin "N" (for "nature") is essential for healthy human function.

Science shows a daily dose of Vitamin "N" (time outdoors) helps:

  • Moderate the effect of stressful events (e.g., switching daycares, moving, divorce, etc.)
  • Improve cognitive function, self-discipline and resilience under stress
  • Improve impulse control and boost immune function
  • Reduce obesity, stress and the incidence of clinical depression
  • Improve academic performance
  • Decrease blood sugars
  • Make people more generous
  • Lower rates of aggression
  • Combat loneliness

What pill, vitamin, or energy drink can do all that?

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How to stop walking past garbage

August 25, 2015 | 10 comments
Photo: How to stop walking past garbage

Gail knows that sometimes you have to clean up other people's messes. (Credit: Manuel Sousa)

I can't bring myself to walk past trash. And it turns out, neither can my friend, colleague and Queen of Green Coach, Gail.

I saw her on my walk to work last week — grabber and bag of garbage in hand. Not only was I happy to see the positive impact she was making, but I knew I wasn't alone AND I could see how proud she was to follow through on a pet peeve.

Gail shares why and how she stopped walking past garbage:

I'm grateful to live in Canada. Unlike in other places in the world, our rivers aren't choked with plastic, our city dwellers don't have to wear gas masks.

Not yet.

But lately I've noticed my beautiful city (Vancouver) falling victim to a creeping scourge: street litter.

It's not my trash. Thanks to recycling and composting, my life is practically garbage-free. But I live in a human community. And sometimes that means cleaning up other people's messes.

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Why be a Queen of Green Coach

August 14, 2015 | 4 comments
Photo: Why be a Queen of Green Coach

Are you ready to have a transformational experience? Or, to start a "butterfly effect"? (Credit: Jode Roberts)

In my nine years at the David Suzuki Foundation, I've crossed paths with some really cool people. I toured twice across the country with David Suzuki, and met Canadian celebs like Rick Mercer, Jim Cuddy, Sam Roberts (and his band), the Barenaked Ladies, Gord Downie (of the Tragically Hip), Andrew Ferrence (NHLer) and more.

Celebrity encounters are worth a Facebook status update but they're not what inspires me and brings me into work each day with a hopeful attitude.

That special status goes to real people, like you and Becky of Winnipeg, Man. (one of my 120 Queen of Green Coaches)! Below, Becky shares why you might consider becoming a Queen of Green Coach this fall. Apply now for my fall session, which runs September 21 to December 21.

We've all heard of the butterfly effect (e.g. a butterfly flapping its wings in South America can affect the weather in Central Park), right?

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