Ways to teach nature conservation to kids

Nature is a vast subject to talk about. Who doesn’t love nature? Age is no bar to talk or to experience the magic of what nature holds to show us.

Kids are no exception. In fact, they show interest in involving themselves close to nature. Quite often this is restricted keeping in mind the safety and hygiene. But why not? How else would they learn to experience or cherish nature’s gift.

But as years pass by and the way the earth is dealing with global warming, it is certainly alarming that would future generations have something left to enjoy. Carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions though have been brought to significant reduction through awareness in various media channels, the damage that was done before cannot be reversed and we would have to deal with it.

So when we introduce kids to nature or bring in the concept of nature play, it is also our duty to let them know about nature conservation.

This being the month having the world nature conservation day, it is one of the best times to start teaching about nature to kids if you still haven’t begun.

Nature conservation day is celebrated to stress the importance of preserving natural resources and to spread awareness about the conservation of nature. Working towards building a sustainable environment is very much essential to ensure the well-being of the future generations.

There are a lot of ways to teach about nature conservation. When you do it with activities it makes the learning even more interesting.Here’s where to begin with.

Exploring the garden

A walk in your backyard or in the garden definitely fascinates kids. The insects, crawling beings, plants definitely increases their curiosity. Have you noticed this behavior in your toddler ? It is also a form of learning. You can take this opportunity to explain about the various types of insects in the backyard or garden and their way of life.

If your child is old enough, you could even play a game identifying them and make note of it as a record.

DIY bird feeder

With online shopping we end up with a lot of cardboard boxes. Making a bird feeder with them, by simply giving it a makeover is a great activity to engage toddlers. They could make the cuts for opening, and paint it with bright colours go attract birds. Filling the feeder with grains using spoon also is a good activity that would improve their motor skills.

Growing plants and making composts

Children love go watch things that bring out magical changes. Say the development of plant from seed. Try growing Microgreens in your balcony or kitchen garden. They’re easy to start with. Click here to know more about Microgreens.

Using chemical fertilizers to boost yield definitely will harm mother earth and will have adverse effects for future generations. Click here to know what are the harmful effects and how can you help in lessening the damage.

Making your own compost is a great alternative to harmful chemical fertilizers. All you need is a pot, soil and some peels from kitchen. The process is very simple and is a great activity that makes kids environmentally responsible human beings. Teach them about growing plants using own compost, I’m sure they will never say no.

DIY planters

So when I say teaching them to grow plants, did you also realize we already have the planters at home too. I’m sure most of us use coconut in cooking. The shells make great planters making it a more sustainable option and also an additional home decor.

Use old tyres or coconut shells. Involve the kids in painting and tying the strings to hand. You now have an activity for quiet play.

Nature walk

If you have a safe trail or a place to hike, you could take them out on a nature walk. That is all the more beneficial to make them apply what you taught them at home.

The different terrains, climatic changes, availability of resources and life during the change of place is definitely a much needed lesson for them in life.

Tips to teach them conservation

  • Be a role model. A picture is worth a thousand words. They see you doing it, they model it too. So make sure you first incorporate conservation, before teaching them.
  • Introducing concept of reduce, reuse and recycle. Start from home and you can see them applying it outside.
  • Turning off water while brushing and bathing. Children must understand that water isn’t available always and needs to be saved.
  • Involving them in making garden compost.
  • Using their help to segregate trash as in which and which is not recyclable.
  • Turning off lights while leaving the room.
  • Giveaway toys, clothes and resources that are not in use.
  • Involving them in beach clean up if they are old enough.
  • Teaching them to respect nature alongside if they’re being taught to respect human beings.

Teach children to have a bold and a beautiful environment. Help them to make choice to live, play and work in a way that doesn’t harm nature.

‘This post is part of #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter’.

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4 Reasons why not to use chemical fertilizers



The lockdown made me think on a lot of aspects. It was also the time that I had delivered and I needed something to keep myself occupied and not get into PPD. That is when I stumbled upon kitchen garden.

Growing up I’ve always enjoyed watching Nigella Lawson use herbs in cooking from her kitchen. The sight of bright green tiny herbs that are brimming with freshness definitely could be felt even if I am watching it over television.

I did set up one in my balcony that had spinach, coriander, mint , chilli and mustard. I also did try and have some microgreens since I recently read about the benefits of consuming them, so I thought why not give it a try. I did and I succeeded. I had good yields but not for long. My plants needed something more.
What was it? Fertilizers. They help in boosting the growth of plants offering necessary nutrients to the soil. That is when I started my web search to understand more about fertilizers.

I also read about the harmful effects of pesticides and fertilizers that are being used to give quicker yields. The health hazards that are waiting to attack once you consume the yield made me think that if this is what we have been consuming all along.

These fertilizers though are being used to boost the growth to meet the rising food demand of the growing population. Though on one hand it is deemed to be a scientific evolution that fertilizers and GMOs can give you tremendous yield. The effects in long run on both the humans and on mother earth is definitely going to be of humungous amounts.

What are the effects on environment?

Poor quality of soil

Using too much of fertilizers can give you yield results in multiples but on the longer run the usage of the same oil will become a bigger question mark. On repeated usage of fertilizers the acid levels in the soil seem to be getting higher upon each yield. Acidic soil does not give any or much yields so in the longer run it would be of no use. So it is paving the way for slow depletion.

CHANGING WATER BODY BIOLOGY
The fertilizers used contain phosphates and nitrates which when combined in the sewers are released into the oceans. This results in increased growth of algae and decrease in oxygen levels. SO therefore we see a lot of destruction in marine life resulting in an imblance in the food chain.

HEALTH OF HUMANS

The nitrates and phosphates also contaminate ground water which the humans consume resulting in various health hazards. Not only ground water but also the vegetables and grains that are yielded with excessive use of fertilizers will lead to human body collapse involving the failure of multiple organs.

CLIMATIC CHANGE IN THE WORLD

The nitrates, phosphates, ammonia, methane and carbon dioxide have also contributed on a large scale to the emission of green house gases. The global warming and drastic weather changes are the end result of excessive fertilizer usage. So in order to satisfy the demand now we see to be digging ourselves and the world we live in into bigger problems.



Let’s take a look at using options at home that help make good fertilizers.

BANANA PEELS: Bananas are rich in potassium which make them the main reason for us to consume. The peels are rich in potassium as well. So they make great alternatives to potassium fertilizers. Simply burying them in the soil in a hole beside the plant gives you the needed benefit. This works best for roses. So as it grows you could bury on the layer at the top.

EGG SHELLS: Egg shells are great sources of calcium carbonate or lime as its commonly known. Its main benefit is to reduce the acidity of the soil. Plants do not grow in highly acidic soil. Next time don’t throw away the egg shells. Crush them and use it up.
COFFEE GROUNDS: Some plants like tomato only thrive in acidic soil. The use of coffee grounds is to increase the acidity in the soil. Or alternatively you could also pour in the decoction.

FALLEN LEAVES: Leaves which fall in have some trace minerals and also retain moisture and hold the soil tight. They also attract the earthworms which are known as the farmers friend.

KITCHEN SCRAPS: These include vegetable and fruit peels. You could add them to your compost
They release nutrients in a slow manner but yield good results. This does not require any application of fertilizer even up to a year. The compost also has moisture holding capability which is must needed for plants to make them thrive under the dry summer conditions.

WEEDS: Weeds are unwanted plants that grow alongside in the garden . Though they are deemed unwanted they are rich in nitrogen so its a reason to retain them to extract that benefit. So prepare a weed tea , by soaking the weeds in a bucket and fill up with water. After two weeks when it turns brown you could just use it on your garden.

Using these alternatives as fertilizers are small steps that we could take in order to bring in big changes.Lets hold hands and keep mother earth safe for future generations.

‘This post is part of #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter’.

Microgreens and environment

Microgreens

The last time you visited the restaurant and your salad has tiny plants on the top , made you wonder what this is?

After taking a small bite, did you feel that you tasted the vegetable or the grain? If yes, you had yourselves a serving of microgreens. Haven’t heard ?

What are microgreens?

Microgreens are vegetable greens which are bigger than sprouts but tiny than baby plants.

Their tiny size can noway be compared to the amazing nutritional benefits they have to offer. Would you believe that they offer more nine times higher nutrients than mature vegetable greens? That’s indeed true. So the next time your given a choice for microgreens or vegetable greens make sure you choose microgreens. But if you can have them both together that’s even better. Microgreens are great addition to any diet.

They are about 1-3 inches tall, but rich in nutrients, aromatic and available in variety of colours and textures.

You needn’t confuse them with sprouts. Sprouts do not have leaves whereas microgreens do. 2-7 days is the grow cycle for sprouts whereas it’s 7-21 days post germination the microgreens are harvested. This is after their first leaves appear.

Microgreens are rich in potassium,zinc, iron , magnesium and copper. They’re also a great source of antioxidants.

They could also help in reducing risk to a number of diseases if included in diets.

  • Heart diseases – Microgreens contain polyphenols a type of antioxidant that helps reduce risk of heart disease. Studies also prove that they help in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol.
  • Diabetes – Microgreens help in reducing stress which help in preventing sugar from entering cells . This is in particular study pertaining to fenugreek microgreens.
  • Types of cancer – microgreens which contains certain type of polyphenols also help in reducing cancer risks.
  • Alzheimer’s disease – Foods rich in antioxidants which are forms of polyphenols helps in reducing risk to Alzheimer’s disease.

Incorporating into diets

Microgreens can be incorporated into diets by a number of ways. Most common would be to include them with salads to give the crunch and texture. They could also be added to sandwiches, pizza toppings and soups.

They could also be included to juices and smoothies. Wheatgrass is one such example.

Microgreens and sustainability

Crops grown to maturity on large farms use pesticides and chemicals because they need to stay fresh to be transported to long distances. Compared to these crop grown to maturity, microgreens are more sustainable. That degree of sustainability would increase if you use organic seeds to grow them.

Microgreens are not an expensive way of lifestyle or something that needs to be consumed at high end restaurants. People often resort that crops that feed us like rice and corn need to be cultivated rather than microgreens that only is for high end lifestyle. The answer is a simple no. My response for that would be below.

Food production on our planet is happening in abundance. But the problem we face is it’s not at the right place. We seem to lose more of it while harvesting, transporting and processing.

One such industry that brings in a lot of waste would be the food industry as per what I had mentioned above. We do not need more staples we need to make food available from what exists.

They’re space saving compared to their conventionally grown peers which are raised to maturity. Microgreens can be grown indoors or in controlled environments where in the mature crops cannot be grown.

They enable you to increase the amount of space that you put into food production.

Most often when you pick up a salad outside all the ingredients like the vegetables,greens are sourced from long distances. They’re bulkier, heavier and could also lose nutrients on their way to the destination. However, microgreens on the other hand can be just transported as seeds to a local farm and cultivated. They can be consumed fresh immediately after harvest compared to matured grown crops that are transported from long distances. In this way, microgreens help in sustainability.

Mature grown crops are sometimes grown with pesticides, chemicals and there are also those which are grown from GMO . These types grow to give yeh perfect yield but only with the use of specific chemicals or fertilisers that were produced by the companies which created the genetically modified seeds in the first place. Imagine the amount of harm they do to the soil.

You don’t use more of peat containing compost that is non-renewable while cultivating microgreens. They can also be grown hydroponically. So, microgreens don’t harm the soil.

Usage of water is very minimal when it comes to microgreens. On fields or farms you end up watering larger areas where water is lost due to evaporation. Water used to nutrient ratio for the microgreens is very much high.

So if you’re wondering to grow your own produce I’d suggest you start with microgreens.

Why growing microgreens at home is easy ?

They don’t require much of equipment or dependent on time. They can be grown indoors or outdoors. This makes it very easy and convenient.

What do you need to grow microgreens?

  • High-quality seeds.
  • Growing medium. This could be a container with soil or growing mats specifically designed for growing microgreens.
  • Good lighting that could be sunlight or 12-16 hours of UV light.

How to grow?

  • Fill your container with soil and lightly water it.
  • Evenly sprinkle seeds on top.
  • Mist the seeds not generously watering them. Cover with lid.
  • Keep a check on them daily and mist the seeds. The seeds need to be moist.
  • After they germinate in a couple of days, remove the lids and expose to light.

Given that they’re easy to grow at home, stating convenience and the ease, they’re an especially cost-effective way to boost nutrient intake without having to purchase large quantities of vegetables.

I’d started including microgreens into my diet thanks to Indian Organiko from Chennai. I enjoyed varieties of microgreens that were freshly harvested and made me indulge in nutrient rich food.

‘This post is part of #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter’.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘ blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla
And sponsored by Bugshield clothing – Enjoy outdoors more.