Last week, I had an incredible Earth Day experience at Timber Ridge Middle School, thanks to Principal Dave Bendis and the enthusiasm of his staff and students. Every 15 minutes, from 7:30a.m. to 2:30p.m., I taught 30-40 6th, 7th, and 8th graders how to plant peas in cups and care for them at home. For many, it was the first time they planted anything. Watch the amazing video of the event. The students and teachers were energized by learning a new skill that influences their healthy habits at home.
Spring Lesson #2: Ask for help. People want to help.
Because I had such a positive experience working with an entire school in one day (it was a marathon, but the kind *I* can do), I am craving to do it again. 35 times over the next school year to be exact, and I am inviting sponsors to fund the program. If you know a person, a company, or a foundation that wants to help schools and equip 35,000 students with a new skill that promotes health and wellness, contact me.
Spring Lesson #3: To quote Lori, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.”
I have always believed that anything is easier with the help and experience of others. So, if you’re new to gardening or just want to be more successful at it and don’t know how, listen LIVE or after to my monthly radio show, Get Out of the House, on BlogTalkRadio (next show, Getting Started in the Garden, is Thursday, 4/29 at 10:30.am.EST). You won’t get hands-on instruction like the students in my schools program will, but it’s pretty close.
Spring Lesson #4: When life (or in this case, the weather) gives you lemons, make lemonade
Earth Day weather: perfect. Monday evening with my kids: downpour. This morning: 40 with wind gusts of 30mph. Monday evening, I got caught in a major rain shower with my kids walking them home. We were so wet, we looked like we stood by a flume ride at an amusement park (yeah, mom didn’t bring an umbrella because it wasn’t raining when she left the house). So we explored 45 minutes more in the rain, finding the source of a nearby creek and a beautiful painted box turtle (thanks to great noticing by my five year old). And in today’s chill that made my hands freeze, I put on my Woolrich Pepper Pikes Jacket and my Carve Designs Paper Boy Cap, plugged in my headphones to some tunes, and took my dog for a brisk walk. And when I returned to the office, I was warm, cozy, and energized for the day.
Looking around in today’s chilly weather, there were plenty of things in nature just right: my pea plants and lettuce looked very happy, so did my native fringe tree and perennial geraniums that just bloomed. Bleeding heart? Lenten Rose? Yep, happy. Pepper plant and herbs that I forgot to bring inside last night? Just fine. The inconvenient chill to me is temporary. Nature needs its seasons and rainy and cold blustery days for its gradual and beautiful changes. No matter the weather, get out and experience it.
Rebecca P. Cohen is a gardening and outdoor lifestyle expert and host of Get Out of the House, vignettes that show fun ideas for family time outside and reach 46 million households on Resort and Residence TV. She is also author of the upcoming book, 365 Days Outside: A Mother’s Journey to Improve the Well-being of Her Family (March 2011, Sourcebooks). The daughter of educators, Rebecca left the corporate world after 15 years to teach families gardening and equip them with fun outdoor ideas that keep them healthy and connected year-round. Rebecca’s work was recently featured in the April 2010 edition of Family Circle magazine and on Rachael Ray’s website, Yum-o!, for her Earth Day event with 1,000 elementary school students. Rebecca has extensive TV experience, including over a dozen live, how-to segments in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Houston, and Baltimore. For more information, visit RebeccaPlants.com.