Setting Seasonal Intentions for the Environment

via National Wildlife Federation

Do you find it hard to make and keep New Year’s resolutions? Try setting a seasonal intention instead!

Use your creativity and science skills to come up with ways you can help the environment. This can be as simple as reducing energy or water use within your own home or a larger-scale river or community clean up. We can all be stewards of the environment on a local or global level — at any age.

Identify 3 ways you can be an environmental steward* and set these as your seasonal intentions. Keep a journal of your adventures, take pictures, make art, or use any other creative method to track your progress. Share your seasonal intentions to inspire those around you. 

Send in images of your activity so we can share it on social media. Email us at info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org

*Environmental Steward –  Someone who is a responsible user and a protector of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices.


This activity can be used as enrichment alongside Project Learning Tree activity “Every Drop Counts.” Every Drop Counts is appropriate for grades 4-8 under science, social Studies and math. The Seasonal Intentions project is appropriate for all ages and incorporates both STEM and art learning concepts. 

Nature poetry

Updated: October 28, 2020

Turn to the outdoors for poetic inspiration. Sit and observe nature for a few minutes. Notice what you hear, smell and feel. Take your impressions, focus on specific descriptions, and compose a short poem. 

Tips:

  • Read other poems to get an idea for the styles you like.
  • Use comparisons (simile and metaphor).
  • Read it out loud to yourself so you can hear how it sounds.
  • Listen to tips from Kwame Alexander, NPR’s poet-in-residence

Submit your entry by Wednesday, September 30, 2020 to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org. Include your name, age, poem (20 lines or less) and the location that inspired it – attach a photo if you want! ORK will award a t-shirt to the top three poets.

This contest is now closed. Read the winning entries below.


Photo by the poet

The Mill Pond at George L. Smith II State Park
By Wesley Hendley

Paddling through cypress trees and tupelos,
The air cools, the sky grows dark.
Raindrops surround the boat with tinkling music.
Thunder rumbles, lightning pops!
The torrent comes,
But summer storms don’t last long.
Quiet returns.
The calm water has a glassy sheen.
Then a rainbow points the way to its treasure.

Reverie in Smith State Park
By Peter Relic

Crush the scull
through the water’s top,
a black silk parachute
gilded with bream
rippling across the face
of the lake.
Mind like a millstone
thirsty for grist,
hair piled high as
a wagonload of corn,
you lie back in rented kayak
as if it were your
new turquoise coffin
and stare straight up
at cypress sentinels
and tupelo goalposts,
to chart the ghost
of a gopher tortoise
skating across the sky.
You gonna paddle or not
grunts the tour guide.
What can you say?
We should all be so lucky
to go out this way.

The Bridge
By Mark Dallas

He carries his chem kit under the bridge to test the water.
A few drops of thiosulfate change the sample from indigo
to amethyst to clear, revealing the level of dissolved
oxygen. Now, the darting barn swallows eye the man who stands
so close to their nests stuck to the beams above him.

                                                                                                  So many
times he’s canoed here, upstream from the lake to the south, taking
in the cypress and tupelo, herons and hawks—while floating
through the effulgence of sunlight filling the water, the trees.
Paddling beneath the bridge, he thinks each car that rumbles above
inhabits another world—of deadlines and noise. So often
he’s driven the bridge himself, in that other world, most times looking
down longingly to see where the water measures on the cypress
trunks. The bridge is a nexus of two worlds he knows so well.

But once a month he drives to a place in between, parks beside the
road, walks down to the halfway world of test tubes and barn swallows.
He holds aloft the sample bottle—a small vial of the creek—
after the first three chemicals but before he adds the starch
indicator and sodium thiosulfate: the sample
glows golden in the sun. This is the place he’s bottled the
effulgence, the place in between, the bridge between two worlds.

Watershed Trivia

Generic illustration of a watershed

A watershed is a system of how water flows through an area moving sediment, water and dissolved materials into a common point. Think of how a river or creek flows into or out of a lake. The Ogeechee Watershed (see map) has many types of ecosystems within it including freshwater from the Piedmont region, to blackwater rivers and swamps in the Coastal Plain region and runs all the way to the Georgia coast.

Description of Activity:

Submit your trivia answers to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org by July 31. We’ll send a free t-shirt for the first one to get all answers correct. Although it is tempting, try not to go straight to Google for answers. Go outside, and look for the answers. Use books and maps rather than the internet for your research, if possible. 

Trivia Questions:

  1. How many watersheds does GA have?  Bonus: Name 3.
  2. How many major river basins does GA have?  Bonus: Name 2. 
  3. What are the 5 geographic regions of GA? 
  4. Name two creeks in your watershed.
  5. What is the biggest city in your watershed?
  6. Name three animals that live in the Ogeechee River watershed.
  7. Name one rare plant that lives in, but is not limited to, the Ogeechee River watershed.
  8. How many people does the Ogeechee River basin provide drinking water for?
  9. Name as many state parks as you can that are located in the Ogeechee River watershed.
  10. What is an aquifer?

May Seeds So Summer Feeds

Watch your garden grow

Having fresh veggies is easy and fun.

Activity is open to all ages and is suitable for homeschool activity for K-12 using Georgia Performance Standards/Standards of Excellence with science, earth systems and meteorology, depending on how in depth your activity is.

Share your photos with Ogeechee Riverkeeper. Send in your sprout pictures to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or tag us on social media.


Thank you to Peyton and Whitley for demonstrating!

Materials needed:
– Empty egg cartons (preferably paper/cardboard cartons)
– Spray water bottle
– Seed packets: tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, watermelons, okra, sweet peppers, and/or marigold seeds & potting soil (can be ordered online or any other ag/garden supply store)
-OR- old potato(es), if you are not able to get seeds and potting soil

For seed packets:

  1. Poke small holes in the bottom of each “egg” for water to drain out.
  2. Fill each “egg” with soil, push a finger in the middle of the dirt up to the first or second knuckle (kids with small fingers)
  3. Drop in seeds (check package for amount of seeds per “egg”).
  4. Use a water spray bottle and spritz each “egg”.
  5. Check seed sunlight/shade preferences. Since egg cartons are light, you can move them around the yard for sun/shade needs!
  6. Once the seeds sprout and start to outgrow the cartons, you can replant them in a garden bed, large pot, etc. You can plant them directly into the ground in their paper/cardboard “egg” because they will decompose; if you used styrofoam cartons, you will need to transplant them.
  7. Make sure to separate each egg either by tearing or cutting.
Seedlings

Additional resources


Potato eyes beginning to sprout

For old potatoes:

  1. Let a few potatoes grow sprouts, also known as “eyes”. These cannot be eaten so instead of throwing them away, you can plant them and they need very little care.
  2. Cut the potato in half or leave whole in most soil types, leaving the eyes exposed. They will sprout in sun or shade.
  3. Water right after you plant them and then let them do the rest of the work.
  4. Water 1-2 times per week if it has not rained.
  5. After potatoes stems have finished flowering, you can go on a scavenger hunt for the fresh, new potatoes in the soil!
Potato sprouting

Additional resources


Need to know what will grow best in our watershed? Visit the UGA Extension Service or the USDA hardiness zone maps.

Remember to share your photos with Ogeechee Riverkeeper. Send in your gardening pictures to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or tag us on social media with #ORKoutside.

Draw a watershed

Description of a Watershed: A watershed is a system of how water flows through an area moving sediment, water and dissolved materials into a common point. Think of how a river or creek flows into or out of a lake. The Ogeechee Watershed has many types of ecosystems within it including freshwater from the Piedmont region, to blackwater rivers and swamps in the Coastal Plain region and runs all the way to the Georgia coast.

(Activity is open to all ages and is suitable for homeschool activity for 3-6th graders using Georgia Performance Standards/Standards of Excellence with vocabulary, science and art.)

Materials needed: a piece of paper and any type of drawing or painting tools. Be creative using what you have at home! Draw a river, creek or swamp system flowing into a lake or the ocean in the middle of your paper (see drawing example). On either side of your river/creek/swamp create an environment that you make up (it doesn’t have to be realistic!) It can be a city, small town, the mountains, a fantastical place, something from your favorite movie, etc. Remember to include plants and wildlife. Be creative! 

Don’t want to post on social media? Email to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org. Please include first name, age and hometown.