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.

Activity is open to all ages and meets the needs or can be combined with other activities for the following Georgia Standards of Excellence in Visual Arts.

  • VAK.RE.1 Discuss personal works of art and the artwork of others to enhance visual literacy.
  • VAK.CN.2 Integrate information from other disciplines to enhance the understanding and production of works of art.
  • VA1.CR.1 Engage in the creative process to generate and visualize ideas by using subject matter and symbols to communicate meaning.
  • VA1.CR.2 Create works of art based on selected themes.
  • VA3.CR.1 Engage in the creative process to generate and visualize ideas by using subject matter and symbols to communicate meaning.
  • VA4.CR.1 Engage in the creative process to generate and visualize ideas by using subject matter and symbols to communicate meaning.
  • VA5.CR.1 Engage in the creative process to generate and visualize ideas by using subject matter and symbols to communicate meaning.

Plastic-free Holiday

This holiday season, we challenge you to think “plastic-free.” Join us in a pledge to reduce or completely remove plastic from the holiday gifts you give, as well as what they are wrapped in. If you do online ordering, look into how the items are shipped.

  • Get creative with alternative wrapping. Use newspapers, paper bags, or fabrics. Make bows from bits of ribbon, strips of unused fabric, or even shoelaces! Find embellishments like sprigs or pinecones to tie on. 
  • Purchase from responsible sellers. Try to find local sellers to avoid packing and shipping, or find sellers who use compostable or reusable shipping materials. 
  • Choose sustainable gifts. Try to purchase items that don’t use plastic or are otherwise produced sustainably. 

Not to toot our own horn but you can give a gift membership from ORK! It’s 100% plastic-free! You can also get ideas here and here.

Share your gift or gift wrapping ideas with us at info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or on social media during the month of December. 

Thankful for Nature

Share what things in nature you are thankful for with us during the month of November at info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org or on social media with #ORKthanks.

You an also get crafty and make a “thankfulness tree” using any materials or mediums. Make individual leaves and write what in nature you are thankful for on each leaf; you can include what your friends and family are thankful for also.

Send us a photo of your Thankfulness Tree!

Activity is open to all ages. This activity can be combined with Project Learning Tree activity “We All Need Trees” which can be adapted for grades PreK-6 in Science, Social Studies, Visual Arts and Language Arts. 

Clean Halloween

During the month of October, you are challenged to participate a different kind of trick-or-treating. Put together a team of no more than 10 people and compete to collect the most trash by October 31! ORK will provide a prize to the team who collects the most trash (by weight).

RULES:

  • Make note of the location, take a photo, weigh total trash and/or recycling collected per team/individual, and send it in to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.
  • Trash collection must be conducted on public lands or have permission from private landowners/river landings.
  • Each team is responsible for supplying their own litter collection supplies.
  • Each team is responsible for discarding the trash/recycling collected. BONUS: Email a picture of any repurposed item or sustainable solution.
  • Teams are encouraged to include friends/family members within your “COVID bubble,” i.e. not strangers -or- use masks and/or social distancing.

Creativity is encouraged with team name and Halloween or fall costumes (must be family friendly and appropriate for outdoor activities). Team Trash Panda, anyone?

Forest Ecology

Pinus longifolia. Public domain. Aylmer Bourke Lambert. 1803.

Vocabulary:

Adaptation – How a species changes over time to help it survive in its environment
Canopy – Tallest trees in a forest; also includes animals living in that level
Decomposition – The breakdown process of organic matter through decay, rotting, animal feces
Ecology – The study of relationships between organisms and their environment
Habitat – The environment in which a species typically lives and eats
Pioneer Species – The first species to enter a new habitat
Succession – Change in different species and their community over time
Symbiosis – A biological relationship between two species
Understory – Trees and plants that live below the main canopy level of a forest

Bald cypress samples

Activity:

Go outside and find a tree in your backyard, school playground, community park, etc. Once you pick your tree, look at the different characteristics (leaf shape, size, color; bark; height, trunk width; etc.) and identify your tree. 

Once you identify your tree, take note of its habitat. Does it like shade or sun? Does it grow near the water? Is it the tallest tree around or is it in the understory? Do you notice any animals or insects on, or around, your tree? Write down as many details about your tree’s habitat as you can. Take some photos or make a drawing / painting / collage of your tree. 

Bald cypress botanical drawing. Louisiana Digital Library.

Next, do some research (computer or library) to find out more about your tree. Write a short story about your tree and include everything you saw and read about it. Include a picture of your tree or your artistic representation and send it to us: info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org

One submission will be chosen to be featured on our social media!

If you need help with identifying your tree for this activity:

Arbor Day tree identification | LeafSnap App

or email a photo of your tree or leaf to melanie@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org


Activity can be done in combination with Project Learning Tree activity “We All Need Trees,” which can be adapted for PreK-6 grade in Science, Visual Arts & Language Arts.

Activity is open to all ages and was adapted from Rock Eagle 4-H Center Education Program Curriculum. It meets the needs or can be combined with other activities for the following Georgia Standards of Excellence in Science.

  • S3L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the similarities and differences between plants, animals, and habitats found within geographic regions (Blue Ridge Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau) of Georgia.
  • S4L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the roles of organisms and the flow of energy within an ecosystem.
  • SBO1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to analyze the nature of the relationships between plant morphological structures and anatomical structures, functions, and processes.
  • SBO2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to delineate the plant divisions based on current plant phylogenetic and taxonomic principles.