jMama Mia! | Honoring Mother Earth in Tahoe Truckee | SierraSun.com

jMama Mia! | Honoring Mother Earth in Tahoe Truckee

Q: I have three small boys: 6, 3 and 1 years. They love to play outdoors, so we are always playing outside and enjoying nature. How do I take that a step further and teach them to protect the environment?

A: Kudos to you for having three young boys yet remaining cognizant of the environmental impact that entails. Our community, as well as those across the land, thank you for wanting to instill a level of respect and gratitude for our glorious Mother Earth.

Letand#8217;s skip over the recycling business, as I am certain you have that base covered. Do you compost? This is a fun thing to do with kids because they love the and#8220;ewww grossand#8221; factor naturally inherent in composting. I do it with my kids and, contrary to popular excuse, we do not have a wild animal feeding frenzy in our backyard. We have a small compost bucket inside that, when full, we empty into a large garbage can outside. We water and add worms to it periodically to aid material breakdown; then come summer we use it on our garden. For a super site on composting, recycling, water conservation, and much more go to http://www.benefits-of-recycling.com.

Capitalize on the boysand#8217; admiration for the great outdoors by having them pay attention to litter. If they tune into how ugly litter is and how damaging it is to the birds and the bees while they are young, than they will be more likely to pick it up and toss it in the future. Better still, they may become conscientious teenagers who throw their trash away properly. While hanging out at the park next time, have them pick up any litter they find. This will increase responsibility for their environs by encouraging the concept of leaving a place better than they found it. Truckee Clean-up Day (www.truckeeday.org) can be every day!

Talk to your boys about having a zero-waste party. Summer picnics and crazy kid birthdays can be great events without a lot of waste. First of all, quit spending all your hard earned cash on matching plastic/paper partyware. Hit the local thrift store (Tahoe Forest Hospice Thrift is great) to buy a bunch of silverware, glasses or mugs, cloth napkins and some of those cool melamine plates if you can find them. Throw all that stuff in a big rubbermaid container to be used only for party time. If you want to avoid the additional clean-up that this creates then buy eco-friendly party supplies that are compostable or recyclable like Eco-Products or World Centric cups. Try Preserve plastic plates that you can recycle or reuse paired with GMO-free cornstarch resin TerraWare cutlery. Green Forest makes 100 percent recycled paper napkins that are whitened without chlorine bleach.

Outdoor science experiments are great for enhancing environmental appreciation. and#8220;Science Is…A source book of fascinating facts, projects and activitiesand#8221; by Susan Bosak is full of neat ideas. and#8220;The Handy Science Answer Bookand#8221; is another terrific resource. Experts all agree that outdoor play is essential in creating organic awareness, so rain or shine get out there and keep them loving the big wild world that surrounds them.

and#8212; Send parenting

puzzlers to Mama Mia at the KidZone Museum info@kidzonemuseum.org

Dr. Solarand#8217;s self-contained solar powered portable traveling family entertainment experience is a eco-friendly gypsy wagon affair that would make P.T. Barnum drool and features an Eco-Themed interactive show. Take the children to see it during the 2010 Tahoe Truckee Earth Day Festival Saturday, April 24, 11 a.m. and#8211; 5 p.m. at the Village at Squaw Valley USA. In addition, Rolling reCREATE will bring a vehicle full of fun and fascinating material for a hands-on craft experience that encourages everyone to rethink their notion of trash. Theyand#8217;ll provide the trash, tools and instruction.