Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Greening it up in Florida with Books & Books Indie, Greg Mortenson, and S. Terrell French

Just yesterday I returned from Florida where green is definitely the prevailing color and conservation is literally a hot topic. (I photographed this white heron beside Clyde Butcher's Gallery in the heart of the Everglades.)

In Coral Gables, Florida, I visited one of the most outstanding independent bookstores in the country, Books & Books . While in town, I was inspired by guest speaker Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea, Listen to the Wind, Stones into Schools), whose visit to Miami was sponsered by the store. All this literary saturation reminded me that I have not spent much blogging time on my primary passion, children's literature.

So today, I present to you S. Terrell French, fabulous author of an exciting eco-adventure. Her book, Operation Redwood, has made it from her west coast home to bookstore shelves everywhere. I was thrilled to see it featured face out on the shelf of Books & Books, a store about as far away from her California home as one can travel and still be in the continental United States.
Welcome Susannah! Tell us some of the most interesting things you learned about redwoods while researching Operation Redwood.

My pleasure. Redwood trees not only are among the longest-living trees on the planet, they've also been around a very long time. A species very similar to the modern redwood was widespread during the Jurassic period! Redwoods also create their own weather; in the summer, they essentially suck fog out of the air and into the redwood ecosystem.

• Amazing! Many children spend very little time interacting with nature in any form. How important do you think it is for children to explore the outdoors?

I think kids gain a lot by spending time away from man-made spaces, where they can see the natural world and experience a sense of freedom in their play. At the same time, it can be hard for urban and even suburban parents to find these opportunities for their kids. I struggle with that myself raising a family in San Francisco, though we're fortunate to have lots of fairly wild spaces nearby. But even weekend camping, summer camp, and day trips do, I think, leave a lasting impression on kids.

• What do you think people would take away from a visit to the Redwood Forest National Park and Muir Woods? Do you think they might be changed by the experience?

Redwoods give you a sense of a time scale entirely different from the human time scale. Redwoods can live more than 2,000 years, so some of the trees in an old-growth forest were ancient even before the first Europeans arrived in California. Redwood forests are also wonderfully quiet and beautiful; they invite contemplation.

• I know you enjoy visiting schools. Have you been surprised by any of your school experiences?

Most kids in the San Francisco Bay Area have been to redwood forests with their family or on school trips. They are really quite knowledgeable and many have even kissed a banana slug (which, for some reason, is a popular redwood activity out here!). Everywhere I go, the kids are so attentive and polite and I'm always impressed by how much they love to read.

• Is Operation Redwood the first and last title considered for your book?

It was always my title. My publisher considered changing it, but couldn't come up with anything they liked better.

• You're better at titles than I! My books have gone through many title changes. Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about Operation Redwood?

It's a good book for kids who might be intrigued by living in a tree house!

And now, since Julian from Operation Redwood has appeared, I'd like to ask him a few questions.
Julian, I understand that your uncle planned to cut down the redwoods. Where did you get the courage to defy your uncle?

Well, I never really set out to defy my Uncle Sibley. But in the end, I couldn't let Robin down. And pretty much anything we would do to try to save Big Tree Grove was going to make him angry. Unless Sibley just changed his mind about the logging. Which it didn't seem like he was going to do.

• How do you feel when you’re in a redwood forest?

I like being there at night -- looking up at the stars. And during the day, it's quiet. And beautiful. It's not at all like San Francisco with concrete and buildings everywhere.

• Julian, why was it important for you to save these trees in particular?

Robin's redwoods are special because nobody else is around. You're in the middle of nowhere, without tourists or fences or snack bars. You realize Big Tree Grove has probably been the same for thousands and thousands of years.

• What advice would you give to other kids who want to protect the environment?

That's hard. There's all the usual stuff they teach you in school -- ride your bike, recycle, turn out the lights. If somebody can make a lot of money by cutting down a forest or filling up a wild space with roads or buildings, the only people who are going to do something about it are the people who really care about that place.

• Do you think you have anything in common with S. Terrell French's own children?

We all grew up in San Francisco. We like to go to Green Apple Books and the Toy Boat Dessert Cafe.

• What would you like us to know about S. Terrell French?

She put together a cool website ; You can get a link to a real canopy scientist climbing the world' tallest tree, Hyperion.

Julian, thanks for taking a break from school to answer these questions. And Susannah, I appreciate your allowing me to interrupt your tight schedule also.

Thanks for this opportunity, Bonnie, and I hope we meet on an eco panel some day!

I hope you enjoyed meeting S. Terrell French as much as I did. Remember, for a young reader's holiday gift list : Operation Redwood.

One more book I highly recommend for a holiday gift is brand-spanking new from the amazing Jean Craighead George: Pocket Guide to the Outdoors: Based on My Side of the Mountain.

And if you wish to give to the cause of peace and literacy this holiday season, please consider Pennies for Peace, an international service-learning program, inspired by Greg Mortensen and energized by school children.
Happy reading and the best of holidays to you and your loved ones.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Orange to Green Decor- Seasonal Sense

As I watched the progress of hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico, it was difficult to believe it was the middle of November. My mandevilla vine is still blooming on the lamp post, the hanging baskets and potted begonias blaze with pink, red, and white blossoms. But when the remnants of Ida arrived at our cabin in North Carolina 48 hours ago, bringing chilly winds and over six inches of rain, the remaining leaves abandoned our trees in frantic swarms and the flowers ducked their heads in fear. We built daily fires and finally accepted the date on our calendar. Jack-o-lanterns--gone. Ghosts and witches--packed. Turkey and pilgrims--out of storage. While shoppers are already assaulted by the Ho Ho Ho of the next holiday.

I’ve accepted the nasty weather heralding the change, but poor Mr. GP. The constant pounding of rain reactivated his PTSD. To ease him out of the memory of being slam-dunked in the raging creek, I bundled him up and walked him with my dog, Itchy, on the soggy, but safe and soft forest path. At first Itchy's sniffing and leg lifting unnerved Mr. GP who kept retreating to the safety of rocks and crevices, but as I began to comment on which evergreen trees might one day serve as Christmas trees, Mr. GP slid into a comfortable gardening discussion. And so began the distraction of holiday planning .

I often brag about NC Christmas trees. NC Fraser Firs are the most beautiful I’ve ever had in my home. In fact, North Carolina has provided The White House with a Fraser Christmas tree eleven times. More than any other state. But I was saddened to read in the December 2009 O magazine that 5.8 pounds of pesticides are sprayed on an acre of Christmas trees each year in our state. But perhaps you can find an organically grown tree near you by searching

Organic or not, there are still reasons a live tree is a better decision than an artificial one (beyond the obvious joy of the festive scent). As reported by Nina Shen Rastogi in O magazine:

• A typical artificial plastic tree contains 7.3 pounds of PVC. According to Green Living Tips the production of PVC produces dioxin, a poison that stays in the body, substances called phthalates are added to PVC that may cause cancer, kidney and reproductive system damage.

• It takes 20 years of reuse before an artificial tree has a lower carbon footprint than a real tree.

• Enjoying homegrown trees may cut down on the artificial tree imported to the U. S. (Over 8.9 million in 2008.)

• Your natural tree can be recycled for compost and wood chips. Or even used as fish habitat in lakes and ponds. Visit to find a tree recycling center near you.

If you celebrate the December holiday season with a tree of any kind, switch from incandescent tree lights to longer-lasting LEDs and you use close to 90 percent less energy. Nearly 600,000 U. S. homes could be powered for a year with the energy decorative lights use every holiday season. A simple switch could make a difference. Until the end of February, 2010 see how you can recycle your old holiday lights at

A growing trend that provides the best green for your bucks is a kind of rent-a-tree program. If you're fortunate, you can enjoy a holiday tree and then allow it to continue caring for the Earth by absorbing 1 ton of carbon over 60 years. Here's how to learn more: In Portland, OR visit a site that can also send you to living tree providers in other locations, in San Diego,, and in San Francisco, What could be greener than a gift for Mother Earth?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Green and Orange Halloween

I’d planned this month's main blog to focus on autumn harvest, but my green teen friends, Jenna and Jessica, and Mr. GP convinced me otherwise. Mr. GP enjoyed dressing up as Mr. Potato Head so much, he became excited when his teen friends offered to make him a Halloween costume and refused to discuss the harvest until next month. To placate the gardener in me, the girls designed a pumpkin/tuxedo costume. Both Mr. GP and I were blown away by their work. The best thing about his dapper costume is that it hides the perpetual scowl he wears as a sign of his anger over the state of our planet. For a few days, at least, he has been enjoying happier thoughts.

Mr. GP's costume, like those other green revelers created this year, is made of natural fibers and totally biodegradable. There are many ideas for eco-oriented costumes like Captain Recycle, Baby Bin, and other recycle characters I found at:


For a more green than orange holiday, this year party hosts are using recyclable and biodegradable decorations--holiday decor they can add to the compost bin when the party’s over--like cardboard and paper cutouts or cotton-ball ghosts. As always, the trusty jack-o-lantern makes rich compost, perhaps offering a surprise next year: home-grown pumpkins.

Many hosts create or purchase decorations to last year after year. This is a super way to reduce the waste stream. Another way is to choose pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, fall leaves and other decorations to carry decor through Thanksgiving.

To eliminate purchasing over-packaged snacks creating party trash depicted by the costumes at the left, green hostesses make their own party food and serve one drink for all guests--apple cider. Cider can be jazzed up or toned down to meet the taste needs of guests no matter their age.

To include guests (whom you've invited with paperless invitations, of course) in the fun, ask them to bring eco-friendly, homemade decorations. Enjoy the surprise creativity and camaraderie as your home is decorated for you. Then hold a contest for the most original use of recyclables, best eco-message with a Halloween theme, most likely to enrich the compost bin, and other such categories. Don't forget to make all prizes more green than orange.

Mr. GP reminds us, when trick-or-treating, as always, "Take no more than you need and leave no litter on the ground." It doesn't matter how it got there, he says, "Pick it up." After all, where would he be if I'd left him where I saw him just because I hadn't been the one to toss him away?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Green Teens' work ignored?

I wasn't ready to post another blog, but when I read this letter in the Key West newspaper, The Citizen, on October 14th I had to share. This news should be headlined, along with other positive environmental news in the Keys such as rescuing wildlife, protecting lobster traps, and releasing rehabilitated sea turtles.
Let's applaud, let's support, let's encourage a new generation of environmentalists. Let's not ignore them. Here is a teen who... Well, read his letter to the editor for yourself.

I'm doing what little I can to get the word out, Heindreck.

Nobody wants to print a positive news story

I am a student currently enrolled in Key West High School's alternative energies program. We recently got a grant to build two wind turbines on campus, which I have started a student movement to name after comedian Stephen Colbert in an attempt to draw attention to our program. We will be the first public high school campus in the country to have wind turbines.

I wish I could say that is the point of my letter; sadly it is not. This past Friday, I spent my entire lunch period collecting signatures for my "student interest form." I ended up getting over half the student body and more than half of the staff. This is despite the problems I have encountered with everybody in the media.

In order to help publicize this event I talked to the teacher in charge of The Snapper, who promised me it would be in the paper. I submitted two tips to The Citizen about our program before that.

It never got in either paper. After the school newspaper came out without my promised article, I submitted yet another news tip to this newspaper and yet again got no reply of any kind. I practically wrote the article for them.

I'm not sure that this should surprise me. After all, an enterprising young high school student trying to gain national attention to his school has nothing to do with sex, drugs, death, a scandal, or "anybody who disagrees with Obama is a racist." No, my story is simply one of those feel-good stories that might catch somebody's interest and make them feel good at the same time. Sorry if this bored you; perhaps I should just let you get back to your depressive stories.

Heindrek Allen

Cudjoe Key

Saturday, October 3, 2009

And the Cover Is.... Ta Da!

There are some amazingly insightful marketers out there. Twenty three BonnieBlogsGreen readers agreed with the design and marketing departments at Leap Books. You may have already known which one was chosen if you perused this blog or my website:

Most readers agreed with Leap Books. These comments were pulled from emails that don't show up in the comment section below the Five Covers, One Book, You Pick post. You know who you are.

  • Black against yellow is the most contrast you can get.

  • I like the understated type.

  • It seems to visually communicate more than the others.

  • It would draw me to pick it from a shelf filled with hundreds of other books.

  • The bullet holes in what looks like a road sign and the skid marks ...convey a sense of mystery and danger, with shooting definitely involved. The cover promises to put the reader in the middle of the action.

  • It is the one that stays in my mind long after I leave your blog.

  • I like the close up of the caution sign.

  • It pulls me right into the suspense.

  • It is the most graphic of the pitch.

  • [It is the] most eye-catching and evocative of the pitch.

  • The entire decision process was shared by one reader (paraphrasing here) who reasoned that the style of two covers resembled a vanity press, one was of a pretty scene, but didn't tell anything about the story, one looked like an adult mystery or romance instead of being geared for youth, leaving the favorite, which was eye-catching, clever, understated and would make one want to know what was inside.

Oh, gadzooks, I almost forgot. You want to know the count for the other covers. Sixteen people preferred number four and twelve people preferred number five.

And me? I'm super lucky. I agreed with Leap Books, too.

PS To the caffein-starved reader out there: I know it's difficult to tell in a small image, but no, those are not coffee beans on the cover.

Coming soon, Mr GP returns to the fall garden.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Five Covers, One Book, You Pick

Usually I post one green blog a month. This month I couldn't resist a bonus blog, and it isn't green. It's black and white--at least in overall effect. Here's why: it's about the book publishing industry--where business decisions are rarely black and white even though the pages often are.

Did you ever wonder what goes on in an editorial/marketing brainstorming session? Especially a session in which book cover art is chosen? Stick with me here. I'm taking you behind the scene at a publishing company. We're going to see the cover art that was discussed for my soon to be published novel, Island Sting. I peeked in on a secret session and I'm sharing!

Ordinarily, an author is not privy to cover art brainstorming sessions, but Leap Books, is no ordinary publisher. The company is leaping into production with bold innovative steps. One of the braver steps Leap took was in not kicking me out when I was busted as I eavesdropped on their meeting.

You wouldn't believe the cover ideas that bounced around. I'm going to share the images I managed to grab in whatever format I could as I split from the very stressful meeting. Well, it was stressful to me. I mean, I know what my plot is about and would recognize any of my characters on the street. I've practically lived in their environment for what feels like centuries. What were these people thinking? The ones I show below, at least, were offered by designers with insight. For a while I worried that Island Sting, a mystery about an authentic endangered species in an actual location (on Earth), might wind up with a casket full of endangered vampires, or maybe werewolves, on the cover... Hey, I love paranormal fiction: vampires, werewolves, and fun fantasy. But you'd be hard pressed to find those elements in Island Sting. Just got an idea though for the next book. Maybe the real reason the marsh rabbit is endangered in the Florida Keys is-- Whoa, back to the subject.

Some of these cover images are very rough, done in low resolution on a whim, others a bit more polished, and most use sample only stock images for illustrating design ideas. One suggested cover even included a title change. I was not able to make the images any larger or clearer than you see. I was sneaking them out of the building, you know. I could hardly ask, "Hey, do you have a better copy of this?" Actually, it's a minor miracle they aren't covered with pizza stains.

So, what do you think of the choices? As an author, which would you pick to wrap your baby in? As a reader, which would entice you to pick up the book and read the blurb? What factors influenced your thinking? Better yet---grab a teen or tween and ask for an opinion. That would be way cool.

Ta da! Here they are:

Number 1 (The sign reads Caution Endangered Species Area.)

Number 2

Number 3

Number 4 (The dude in the image is pointing a gun.)

Number 5

Now that you have a preliminary idea, here's the flash blurb for Island Sting.

Kenzie didn’t expect her first summer in the Florida Keys to be murder. Cute guys, awesome boats, endangered species, gun-toting thugs... In Angelo's up and down world, Kenzie needed a life jacket and Dramamine.

Still like the first one you picked best?

Please comment. Let me know your thoughts. If you can't or choose not to leave a comment,
contact me. I'll compile and summarize all comments and thoughts for you next month.

You know what? Now that I think about it, this is actually a green post. Not a single piece of paper was used to create even one of these images. Yet...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Teen Seed Collector Huge Success

January has obsessed me. To the point I forgot September arrived and with it my blog duty until Mr. Green Pants (GP) made commanding eye contact with me, jolting me back into the moment.

January? What’s the big deal, you wonder? January 6, 2010 is the publication date for Island Sting, my mystery novel celebrating green teens. I thought when my book was finally contracted by a publisher, my workload would lighten. So wrong. The steps involved in publishing and marketing Island Sting have presented an unexpectedly steep learning curve for me. I’m struggling with a host of new skills, while simultaneously editing Turtle Dog, my second tale wherein green teens save an endangered species. Thank goodness for two classes of brilliant middle grade and young adult authors: the class of 2k9 authors whose experience guides me, and my own supportive class of 2k10 authors (website under construction) or I may have given up ages ago.

Enough excuses. I’m getting that GP look again. His unhappy face today may be due to the unexpected chill in the air. Though to me sixty-five degrees is a delightful change from the August nineties. F
earing both hawk and snake, GP had spent so much time in his Mr. Potato Head disguise that when he felt secure enough to remove it, the chilly air was an unpleasant surprise. Until I fashioned him a jacket, there was no way he would join me in the planting of a fall crop of peas The seedlings we planted are from the farmers’ market, but I also plant heirloom seeds. Know who else is a fan of heirloom seeds? Oprah. Yep. Oprah and me.

No kidding. Oprah is a fan of my favorite heirloom seed company, Baker Street Heirloom Seeds. What good taste I have! (A little garden humor.) Yes, Baker Street's catalog is a work of art. Yes, they are major supporters of and providers for gardeners of all ages. Yes, they've created an amazing Ozark Mountain village offering history, music, folklore and more. But here’s the really cool part of their family story: Jere Gettle, co-owner with Emilee, his wife, began collecting seeds as a teen. To quote Michele Owens’ article in the August, 2009 issue of O The Oprah Magazine, "[Jere] began collecting and trading seeds the way other kids trade baseball cards, and he printed up his first seed catalog in 1998, when he was 17, growing almost all the seeds himself."

Now that’s a green teen! The Gettles have built that business into one that involves fifty seed producing farmers and, at last count, offers 1,200 fruit and vegetable seeds. Why the Gettles’ passion for heirloom seeds? The Oprah Magazine quotes Jere: "We're saving something that Thomas Jefferson grew or that was grown by the Romans, or that was passed down in a family for 300 years, that might otherwise disappear. And it's important to maintain the genetic diversity these varieties represent. Otherwise, you have the Irish potato famine. Everybody plants the same variety and a disease comes through and wipes out the entire crop. Every one of these old-time varieties has a different flavor—and that's worth getting excited about."

I think so, too.

In this photo GP stands upon the Baker Street Heirloom Seeds Catalog with dragon tongue seeds scattered about--our favorite. He's leaning against sweet dumpling squash and holding their seed package.

To me gardening is a metaphor for writing. I begin each plot with compost--a mixed-up batch of daily life cooked and stirred until ripe. For many days or weeks both garden plot and story plot seem little more than one of two four-letter words, cr-- or the one that rhymes with flit. But eventually tiny seeds sprout and slowly grow into larger, organized living visions. Just when the creation bursts forth, pests and weeds leap forth to impede progress. After contemplation, study, and research, I counterstrike. Detractors are deleted. Destroyers are yanked. Order restored. Healthy, strong bits of the whole are salvaged. When all is said and done, my back aches from digging, sowing, and weeding, both in the garden and at the keyboard. I would have it no other way. I understand Jere Gettles' passion; gardening connects me to those who came before me. It reminds me I am of the Earth, and as such, I share responsibility for Earth's well-being.

Gardening feeds my soul. If I'm very, very lucky, my writing may do the same for a reader or two.

Read more of Michele Owens’ article in The Oprah Magazine:
Visit the Baker Street Catalog online:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Green Teens in the Garden

In the weeks since I rescued Bob, the angry discarded toy, from the bottom of a flood debris pile, he and I have become better acquainted. Recently, he made it clear that his name is not Bob, and that he is most definitely not a sponge. He refuses to divulge his real name, so we call him Mr. Green Pants, GP for short.

After his hawk scare, GP was frightened to return to the garden. I told him I was expecting a garden visit from green teens who wished to congratulate him on his survival. Still he would not risk it until--figuring hawks are not much attracted to potatoes--he disguised himself as Mr. PH.

GP asserted that green teens would be hard to find anywhere, never mind in my backyard garden. (He’s a bit jaded about young people in general since he was so rudely deep-sixed by one from a speeding car.) Of course, it is difficult for a five inch tall toy to see above the foliage, and those big green glasses are more hindrance than help, but he perked right up when his huge, borrowed ears heard voices.

The girls were enthusiastically discussing organic and/or urban gardening. GP and I eavesdropped as Jenna, the lovely redhead, shared her experience at Orchard Farm in Princeton, NJ with Jessica, her brilliant BFF. (Orchard Farms, Caroline & Robert Phinney,, 1052 Cherry Hill Rd, Princeton NJ 0854.)

Orchard Farm

“What impressed me most about the farm,” Jenna said, “was that they used every plant and animal to their advantage. When the plant was done for its season, the cows were moved into the area to graze and provide manure. Then they would move the chickens in to scratch at and even the new area. Then, if the ground was out of nutrients, they would put in a plant that added more to the soil. Or if there was too much they would put a plant that would take some away.”

Great description, Jenna, of sustainable, organic gardening!

Teens across the U.S.A., and beyond, are involved in urban/organic gardening. In many cases, teens are leading the way for gardeners of all ages. The height of urban gardening is practiced by som
e intrepid teens in New York City. As reported by Brian Merchant in Treehugger, these teens “have set about cultivating green roofs on skyscrapers around the city. Their goal is to create a citywide ‘skyscraper garden’ across Manhattan.”
These teens are caring for seedlings on top of the ninth floor of a building in midtown Manhattan. The seedlings will then be transported to the rooftops of buildings all over the city. Building green roofs is an important business with significant positive environmental benefits. This experience may prepare young gardeners for future jobs within the growing green industry.

Martin Middle School, Austin Texas, will be entering its fifth year with green teens gardening on campus. Past gardens have yielded Texas-sized vegetables!

The Cleveland Botanical Garden in Ohio founded a work/study program called the Green Corps for teens attending metropolitan high schools. Teens transform vacant lots into urban farms, growing fruits, vegetables and flowers while creating a healthier, greener community. They earn as they participate in the production and marketing of products they’ve grown. Their Ripe from Downtown Salsa is a best seller.

In Portland, Oregon, teens produce vegetables and herbs on Boyd Street Urban Farm. As teens garden, they learn hands on sustainability concepts. While growing and distributing food to elderly residents, teens also engage with the wider community.

After learning about green teens, GP has a new respect for young people, acknowledging that his initial encounter with one rude human may have prejudiced him. I suspect, though, the real reason for his change of heart is that the Jenna and Jessica spiffed up his wardrobe. He’s now sporting a brand new pair of green pants.

In my previous blog (7/03/09) I suggested reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I cannot overstate its value and high interest level. HS students or teachers who wish to use this book in the classroom may find the following web page helpful:

Below are resources to help teens grow gardens and books to further the green teen lifestyle:

Green teens — let me hear from you. What are you doing to get the word out and inspire others?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Treachery in the Garden

After weeks of scrubbing, Bob is finally free of the mud and muck he accumulated when he was swept down a storm drain into a raging creek. (See previous post.) You’d think he’d be pleased, especially since he’s wearing his new GO GREEN pants. But consider this: one minute he’s in the hands of a happy, cooing child, anticipating a new life with super heroes and Disney characters, and the next he’s jettisoned out of a moving vehicle onto the street like a wad of throat mucus. Helps you understand why his face is forever engraved with that PO’d expression.

For weeks Bob was too frightened to venture outdoors, fearing another deluge. Days of blue sky convinced him to accompany me as far as the garden where, in his new green pants, he initially felt right at home.

“GO GREEN,” he chanted. “Raise your own food. No chemicals. No hormones. Fresh food leaves the tiniest of footprints on the planet. GO GREEN! GROW GREEN!”

Bob can be quite entertaining while you work even though he gets a bit carried away.
Best not tell him that though, the words "carried away" freak him out.

I’d managed to collect only a handful of contender beans for my writing buddy who was due to arrive, when raucous screams interrupted Bob's cheer. He fled to green bean camouflage.

“No worries, Bob. You’re not on his menu.”

But he’d not only heard, he’d glimpsed that majestic feathered hunter and the sight left him terrorized. I explained that one of our resident red shouldered hawks was telling the other she’d spied dinner—likely, the small, quiet, long-eared creature in the clover.

Things quieted down and Bob emerged from the bean row to enjoy the sunshine. Whoosh! My hair ruffled as great wings swooped over us. Bob retreated. Trembling, he peeked over a bean leaf.

The bunny was statue stiff. Above us the bragging hawk screamed off, a snake writhing in its talons.

Bob’s not sure he’s going into the garden again. Ever. It was not the peaceful place he’d expected. He spent the rest of the day in the kitchen on a sta
ck of soft fabric shopping bags. If it’s safer to shop in a grocery store than to work in a garden, he’s not coming home carrying food in anything but these. Maybe he’ll come home inside one of these comfy bags, just in case those hawks are around.

If you haven’t already, please read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver, a delicious tale about growing and eating good food while leaving the tiniest of footprints on Earth.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Green Teens

Welcome to Bonnie Blogs Green, pages where you may encounter items about intrigue, treachery, and intrepid teens. If you wander in from time to time, may you find something of interest. Posts will appear slowly at first since Bonnie is busy working the gardens and writing mysteries that champion green teens. She’s been waiting for just the right first post and has finally uncovered it.

Intrepid Teens

“It took a group of teenagers just a few weeks to solve a problem that's as old as the sea.” So starts a recent article on http://www.cnn.c/om/2009/TECH/05/22/scoop.invention/index.html

Raves to the members of Sea Scout Ship 41 in Bay Village, Ohio. May you live long and prosper. See them in action.

I need one of those ingenious sea-scooping devices these admirable scouts invented at my inland home in North Carolina. Inland home? Yes. You read that right. Some of the debris the scouts fished out of a marina in Florida could very well have passed under my driveway bridge on its way to the ocean. Sad but true. It would have been nice to abort the trashy trip which is only possible when the water rises over our bridge. Those plastic bottles that are thoughtlessly tossed out of a vehicle? They are starting a long journey. (That’s if my neighborhood cleanup team doesn’t grab them first and stash them in a recycle bin. We can’t get them all, but we try.) Those bottles are often washed down a storm drain which feeds into a creek and on to a stream, a river, a larger river, eventually maybe even an ocean.

Next they join an evil swarm of like-minded discards in a maniacal quest to pollute our environment visually and tangibly. If enough wicked castoffs join the same horde, flooding and property damage occur. Health hazards to wildlife and humans result.

Several times a year in order to gain access to my home, I have to clear our bridge. Though unpleasant, it’s one way I can interrupt a downstream attack of the unwanted . The list of items lost and tossed is amazing. Most recently, among the stranger bits of debris, were half of a food processor, a full bottle of Tilex, and a spray can of sneaker protector that ended life beside a sneaker it had miserably failed.

At the very bottom of the pile was a furious Sponge Bob. After being tossed, tumbled, and battered for miles in the treacherous flood waters, he’d sighed with relief when the surge slowed and the waters receded. Alas, though the water had departed, Bob was left buried under two feet of debris.

Appreciating his spunk, I saved Bob and gave him a place of honor on my desk. He was thrilled to read about the Bay Village, OH Sea Scouts and hopes they inspire teens to rescue tossed toys all over the world. Sponge Bob is still scrubbing, trying to rid himself of his frightening and muddy ordeal, and as soon as he feels up to it he’s going shopping for new clothes--square green pants. He’s taking up a new cause. Go green teens!

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