Native Plants

Your Earth Day Menu 2022: Small, Medium & Large

Grow Green, Greener, Greenest Earth Day 2022

Heidi M.S. Ferris, April 2022

Little things matter and so do the big!  This list of green ideas is designed to help you, your family and friends move from little green things to medium greener things to larger earth care ideas… all right where you live! Save time, waste less, feel good, save energy too. Start with where you are at by asking, “Small, medium or large?” then move your sustainability knowledge into local actions of all sizes.  In less than a minute a day you can begin connecting with nature and together we continue healing the planet. In hope-filled ways big and small, just keep going and growing our collective green hearts.  Let’s go!

Small ways to grow green:  Check the weather by stepping outside and look up to the sky. Start a nature gratitude journal. Gaze out the window noticing nature for at least one mindful minute a day. Commit (or recommit) to cloth bags, reusable water bottles and mugs. Read a nature story to a child. Visit your local library to borrow a book rather than buy. Email a water, wildlife or climate concern to your local government or official. Go look for bugs just to see what you find. Commit to a deep breath of fresh air daily…then show gratitude for it. Try to identify a bird and get a bird app. Investigate place names from our neighborhood including indigenous language words. Go on a walk outside and focus on your senses rather than your phone. Look up what local nature, climate, water, clean energy non-profits are up to. Find a new trail to explore by bike or hike. Pick up litter. Choose the low waste option today when shopping. Peek at the stars, moon, or clouds before you go to sleep tonight.  Slow down and notice nature. Plant some seeds.

” Make a meal with foods grown locally. “

Medium ways to grow greener:  Make a meal with foods grown locally. Walk your block and count the trees while trying to name the species. Look up climate, clean energy and clean water plans for your city and county then follow-up with questions to your local government or elected official. Add three to five native prairie plants near your mailbox for a pocket prairie benefiting pollinators. Look up the water quality reports for your three nearest lakes, rivers or streams.  Plan a “low-tech reconnect” nature weekend camping or at a cabin. Join a litter pick-up event or weekly litter collection team.  Adopt a storm drain for your neighborhood, school, place of worship or workplace. Start composting at home, or help a friend get started. Try a new trail to walk or bike to shop, visit a friend, or eat out. Make a list of everything you have thrown out in 24 hours then analyze the list for ways to rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle.  Read a classic about nature connection such as: Belonging by bell hooks, A Sand County Almanac by Also Leopold or Waters to the Sea by Rachel Carson. Try a new plant identification app then test it with plants and trees in your neighborhood. Find (or write) a song or poem about what inspires you about air, water, land and living things.

” Look up the water quality reports for your three nearest lakes, rivers or streams. “

Large ways to grow greenest…and keep growing!  Replace turf grass with Bee Lawn. Research then create a list of 15 native prairie plants for your area.  Plant a tree…or two…or three!  Revamp your kitchen to support low or no disposable plastics. Study up on land acknowledgement for your area, work, school or place of worship. Investigate solar panels then work a solar energy plan for your home, office, school, or place of worship. Help a friend, school or workplace set up a system for composting. Subscribe to a periodical or podcast that focuses on earth care, eco-theology, or climate justice. Explore new ways to use mass transit, carpooling, or bike in your regular commuting patterns. Connect with your local watershed district to install a rain garden or help maintain an existing rain garden. Research and volunteer for local initiatives for clean water, clean air, biodiversity, and more.  Plan a “nature bath” silent retreat. Make a list of three wasteful products of services that you commit to not buying (ex. bottled water, over-packaged foods, single-use items, etc). Plan a prairie planting or shoreline restoration that uses native prairie plants to improve water quality, sink carbon, provide habitat, reduce erosion by building soil, and increase sense-of place.

Play. Learn. Love. Nature. Visit the Growing Green Hearts homepage for links to children’s books, student leadership stories, and other ways to keep Growing Green Hearts!