It’s probably no surprise to anyone living here that the air quality in the Washington DC area is poor; it gets a grade of F in ground-level ozone (smog) from the American Lung Association, putting the Metro DC among the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities in the ozone category. This matters to every living being, but especially to small children whose bodies are more acutely affected by inhaled toxins. Organizations like the American Lung Association and others advocating for healthy air quality describe breathing smog-filled air as “getting a sunburn on your lungs.”
During this season of hibernation, bulbs are awaiting warm weather to shoot up through the earth and expose their colorful glory. So am I. I’m working on gathering some great material to push out come springtime while I spend these cold months conserving my energy.*
While the air is cold and the predominant colors brown and grey, there is a lot going on under the ground and under protective cover!
We’ve got a lot of great upcoming events listed in the calendar but wanted to compile them into this quick list so you’re sure not to miss them!
Thursday, February 19: Moms Clean Air Force Virginia Mama Summit, Virginia General Assembly, Richmond, VA, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Note: Mindful Healthy Life is a partner in this event
Thursday, February 19: “Raising Non-Toxic Kids in a Toxic World” presentation at Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria chapter, UUCA, 7-9 p.m.
Saturday, February 21: Traditional Foods daylong seminar with Sally Fallon Morell – just a few spots left!
Saturday, February 28: Rooting DC gardening conference, Wilson High School, Washington, DC, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
March 4-7: Green Schools National Conference, Virginia Beach, VA
March 17-29: Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital
Thursday, March 19: “Family Biking 101” panel, Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria chapter, UUCA, 7-9 p.m.
Monday, April 6: Growing Green Schools, Fairlington Community Center, Arlington, VA, 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 9: School Environmental Action Showcase, George Mason University Center for the Arts, Fairfax, VA, 9:00 a.m. -2:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 16: “Screen Time” presentation with Lisa Guernsey, sponsored by Holistic Moms Network Arlington/Alexandria Chapter and Arlington Unitarian Cooperative Preschool, UUCA, Arlington, VA, 7-9 p.m.
April 17-19: Mind-Body Week, The Mindfulness Center, Silver Spring, MD
Sunday, April 26: DC Birth and Babies Fair, The Hill Center, Washington, DC, 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Monday, May 11: NoVA Outside Networking meeting, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale, VA, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 16: Peace Love and Yoga Fest, Washington, DC, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Thursday, May 21: “Real Food with Nina Planck,” Holistic Moms Network Arlington/Alexandria Chapter, UUCA, Arlington, VA, 7-9 p.m.
Winter is a time for turning inward, and I’ve been trying to honor that wisdom. Or rather, I’ve been working hard to address chronic health issues through diet and lifestyle changes and thus have been a little quiet here. My hope is to form a team that will help me bring things together for a great one-year anniversary for the site this spring.
In the past few weeks, The Paleo Mom has eloquently chronicled how stress has played a role in her health, including her recent diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease I have kept largely (but not totally) at bay since I became a mom in 2006. Her journey has made me feel even more strongly about the priorities I set and the care I take with my health even as I pursue projects I care about deeply, including this website. Read More
Leaders of Northern Virginia’s environmental education scene met last week to discuss recent renovations and sustainability initiatives taken at George C. Marshall High School in Fairfax County and to discuss plans for a possible statewide environmental education organization.
Members of the leadership team of NoVA Outside, an alliance of environmental educators, took a student-led tour of the school and its green features. The school’s student environmental organizations, Earth Force and the Native Species Club, sponsored by Barbara Brown have been busy for years on environmental initiatives and were successful at getting several environmental features and design components worked into the renovation.
NoVA Outside leadership team member Elenor Hodges shared some of the sustainability components that were worked into Marshall’s recent renovation. Hodges, a member of the Arlington Public Schools Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability and also the director of Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment said, “I was really impressed with what they had accomplished, specifically with the student-driven projects and the excitement and engagement of the students. It was very apparent that these were students who had come up with these ideas. I was inspired, and I hope that we can learn how to take a lot of what Arlington focuses on in LEED certification and take it to the level of using student leadership and student ideas.”
The best example at Marshall, Hodges said, was a green roof. A student who has since graduated wanted a green roof to be in a very visible location even if students did not have access to the roof. During the renovation, this was made possible. The money needed to install and expand the green roof was raised by students. The students who led the tour talked about what it does to reduce the school’s stormwater impact but also noted the fact that it’s a visible project that students can see every day. The students did the design, planning and fundraising for this and other projects. Hodges said Marshall has great examples of student initiatives as well as greenovation.
Hodges said there was also lots of student engagement with the two courtyards they viewed on the tour. One of which was a modern space for which, after the renovations, students in the Native Species Club designed a complementary landscape plan using native plants. One feature is this herb spiral that helps drain water down the courtyard.