Tag Archives: outdoors

Atlanta Moms: Nature Doesn’t Have to Be Endangered

Chattahoochee Nature Center - Nature Exchange

Somewhere in California, a small miracle is taking place. It is projected that by year’s end, the California condor population will reach 200 birds in captivity and another 200thriving and reproducing in the wild.

This is big news when you consider how far they have come. Twenty five years ago, the last wild California condor was captured and added to the population of 26 captive individuals.

The California condor was once found throughout the southwestern United States. As with many endangered and extinct animals, these birds fell to human pressures including habitat changes and human predation. The last straw was the introduction of the pesticide DDT.  This chemical caused the Condor eggshells to become so thin that they would break long before the chick could hatch. To a species that was already struggling to survive, the inability to add to future generations was a staggering blow.

Thanks to concerned scientists, naturalists and nature lovers, these birds have beenbrought back. It is a testament to what can be done to save a species when we work together.

But we can’t sit on our laurels. It is estimated that there are over 16,000 endangered plant and animal species worldwide and many more that are threatened.
This month in the Nature Exchange at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, you are invited to learn more about endangered and threatened species from Georgia and around the world. Learn about measures being taken to preserve Georgia’s population of Bog Turtles and the possible rediscovery of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Cheer on migrating songbirds as they pass through on Migratory Bird Day. Take a close look at rarely seen biofacts from our endangered species collection.

For more information about Endangered Species Month in the Nature Exchange, please visit our website chattnaturecenter.org/nature-exchange.html.

About Chattahoochee Nature Center

Learn more about Chattahoochee Nature Center on AtlantaMoms.com here.

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Chattahoochee Nature Center Earth Day Kids Fest 2011 – April 16th

Chattahoochee Nature Center Earth Day Kids Fest 2011Go outside and play – the mantra of many mothers for years. If you had one of these mothers, you had more opportunities to get outside and run, ride and play. Backyards became jungles and open fields had endless possibilities.
These days the mantra has fallen to the wayside. Children now spend muchof their non-school hours working on growing amounts of homework, engaged in structured activities or in front of a computer screen. Children rarely have unstructured free time to play outside.
The result is that children miss the opportunity to explore nature. To discover ontheir own the animals that live under rocks or the sweet smell of honeysuckle.Children are not given a chance to make a personal connection to nature.
What are the ramifications of this? Richard Louv in his book No Child Left Inside describes how childhood obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder and depression could be linked to the loss of unstructured outdoor play. Louv calls this Nature Deficit Disorder. Research has shown that exposure to nature can help relieve depression symptoms, refocus a child with AD/HD and encourage spontaneous active play which contributes to a healthy weight.

This Earth Day, commit to getting outside with your family.What can you do?
Here are some suggestions –

  • Schedule an hour each week (or each day) where everyone goes outside for some fun.
  • Go for walk, toss a Frisbee, pull weeds, write in your journal, just go outside.
  • Build houses out of sticks, rocks and leaves.

But the most important thing that any adult can do is to support and encourage achild’s interest in nature. Your support is the platform that a healthy relationshipwith nature is built upon.
For more fun outdoor activities, come out for Earth Day Kids Fest at theChattahoochee Nature Center, April 16. This event, sponsored by the CaptainPlanet Foundation, features planet friendly activities and lots of fun. For moreinformation, visit chattnaturecenter.org.

How my family is getting involved in Earth Day this year:

Here’s an event at Chattahoochee Nature Center that I plan on taking my 11 and 4 yr old to to celebrate Earth Day this year.

Earth Day Kids Fest with Captain Planet FoundationPresented by Macy’s

Apr 16th, 2011 (Saturday) 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
The whole family will enjoy many ways to connect to nature and learn fun new ways to help the planet.

  • Meet Captain Planet who will give you the power!
  • Visit interactive booths and exhibits from over 30 local groups and environmental organizations
  • Explore environmental themes such as clean water and air, wildlife and habitat protection, native plants, water conservation and recycling while finding ways of taking green steps to a new level in your home and business
  • Enjoy live musical entertainment with messages about our Mother Earth
  • See live animal presentations with CNC naturalists
  • Paddle a canoe on CNC’s Beaver Pond
  • For more information on this exciting event, contact Rebecca at 770-992-2055 ext. 236 orr.gilbert@chattnaturecenter.org.

Learn more about Chattahoochee Nature Center on AtlantaMoms.com here.

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Enjoy Earth Day with your family this year!

Alicia Hagan, Mom Blog editor


January Nature Exchange Highlights at Chattahoochee Nature Center

It might be cold outside but now is the time to really show your trees how much you love them. Sure, we appreciate trees for what they give us in the spring, summer and fall- shade, fruits and nuts, that whispering sound when the wind blows. But we forget about the trees during this time of year and this is one of the best times to get to know them.

Chattahoochee Nature Center - Nature ExchangeGo outside and take a good look at the trees in your backyard or local park. Trees at this time of year can be very dramatic. Focus on how the bark looks and feels on different trees. Look up and notice how the branches are silhouetted against the sky. If you’re feeling creative, get out a camera and photograph tree silhouettes at different times of the day or from different angles.

Trees can also be silly and fun. Get creative and play a game with your tree!  Trees make great partners in hide and seek and are the perfect base in tag. You can dress up your tree with a little creativity. Make eyes, nose and a mouth out of paper and give your tree a face – add a scarf for a little whimsy!  Or build a fairy house at the base of your tree to invite some company over for your new friend.

In January, the Chattahoochee Nature Center is celebrating trees in the Nature Exchange. Throughout the month, you can “adopt” a tree that lives at CNC. There are fun learning games and activities all about trees in the Nature Exchange throughout January. And, if you trade in a tree item, you will receive 50 bonus points!

Get to know your trees and we look forward to seeing you at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

Learn more about Chattahoochee Nature Center on AtlantaMoms.com here.

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How to make a Juicebox Rocket – a fun and cheap craft

Juicebox Rocket craft

Madelyn comes up with the most interesting ideas when I won’t play with her she’s bored.  I love it!

Madelyn and I were relaxing on the front porch yesterday and because I refused to play with her (oh no!) she got creative with the sand in her sandbox.  By creative I mean she got water, plastic containers, and really messy.   I sat in my chair and read Wired magazine (the actual paper magazine, not on my iPhone) while she delivered  sand-cake, sand-soup, and other deliciously messy sand-snacks for me to enjoy.  Yum!

After playing in the sandbox for about 20 minutes she got bored.  She asked for a juice box.  So, I gave her the juice box that we snagged from her Halloween party at school earlier in the day and she drank like she was parched.

Juicebox rocket craftAfter she drank the juice, she got creative with the juicebox and made a juicebox rocket out of it!

Madelyn flew her juicebox rocket all around the front yard, initiated some pretty serious launch sequences complete with sounds and some crazy spinning action!  🙂  Needless to say, I wasn’t paying much attention to my magazine anymore.  I followed Madelyn around the yard as she flew her juicebox rocket into infinity and beyond!

Supplies needed:

  • 1 juice box – unless you’re on a serious mission in which case you’ll need more juice boxes
  • 1 regular size drinking straw per rocket
  • 2 paint brushes per rocket
  • About 1 cup of moistened sand

How to make your juicebox rocket:

  • Have your child drink the juice until the juice box is empty
  • Cut a hole in the bottom of the juicebox
  • Fill the juicebox with moistened sand (so the sand doesn’t fly out as your child fly’s it)
  • Stick a straw in the sand
  • Strategically place two paint brushes in the sand – for what purpose, I don’t know.

Get in on the fun and make your own juicebox rocket with your kids!   What is the most creative thing your child has made from a juicebox?

Add some summer splashing excitement to your backyard with a Little Tikes Slam ‘n Curve Slide

KLittle Tikes Slam n' Curve Slideids love playing the water and what’s better than swimming and splashing in the summer?  How about sliding down a curving slide to shoot out into the cool waters of a splash pool?  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  It is!  I can tell you first hand and that’s because despite the fact that I am in my 30’s, and not in the recommended ages range of 5-10 years old, I’ve been down the slide more than once.  There is a weight limit of around 300lbs so I felt OK about enjoying the Slam n’ Curve Slide with my kids.  We had a blast!

The Slam n’ Curve Slide from Little Tikes is designed so parents can see all the action.   I sit on the back porch while my kids enjoy the slide and splash pool.  The splash pool is just the right depth for Madelyn (3 yrs old) to enjoy while Sebastian goes down the slide again and again and again.  It never gets old.  The Slam n’ Curve Slide is made of puncture-resistance material and includes everything you need to set it up including stakes, the blower which inflates the Slam n’ Curve Slide in about 1 minute (no kidding!), a repair kit, and storage bag. A fun inflatable rock wall is the way up to the slippery slide with an optional spray of water (turn off or don’t hook up the hose if your kids don’t want the water spraying on them) coming down from the canopy at the top of the rock wall. The curve at the end of the slides makes for nice, fun, splash into the refreshing pool.

Here’s a short video of my kids enjoying the Little Tikes Slam n’ Curve Slide.

Learn more about the Little Tikes Slam n’ Curve Slide on the Little Tikes website and check the lowest prices at Amazon.com here.