Christmas Gifts to the Earth, and a Winner!

Monday, December 13, 2010

 Looking for a unique, purposeful Christmas gift that opens up the focus beyond our own doorstep?

Consider a gift making your gift to another a gift to the Earth as well!

Maria Montessori said
“The land is where our roots are.
The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.”

A fun way to integrate Montessori principles into Christmas gift-giving is through Enviromental Gifts.
Eco gifts are a great way to extend on what you've learned about Geography, and to teach about giving to important causes during the Holidays.

If you are teaching your child about Christmas traditions around the world, you can tie in an Eco gift by showing and learning about the exact location on a world map that their gift will go to benefit.

Some great ideas for Eco Gifts:

Consider Sponsoring-A-Gorilla!  Gorillas are a "Critically Endangered" species. 
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International accepts donations and sponsorships to send anti-poaching patrols into the woods to protect the Gorillas. 

There are many options for Adoption, including an adopting an infant ($40 or $50), a Rescued Orphan Gorilla ($75), a Mother & Infant Pair ($100), a Silverback, the protectors of the groups ($300), or choose to adopt a Tracker ($500) or an entire Patrol ($750).  The more expensive adoptions could be shared among extended family, more than one family, or a classroom. 

Adoption gifts are tax deductible.  Adoption comes with several benefits including online access to an adoption profile with detailed information written by their expert field scientists, online access to a ready-to-display adoption certificate with a full-color image from the groups Dian Fossey studied and that the Fossey Fund continues to study and protect (great for gift-giving), •A year's subscription to the Fossey Fund's newsletter, a four-color, fact-filled publication on gorillas, and more.

Another great gift option is to Adopt an Acre
The Nature Conservancy gives you lots of options to help protect threatened habitats here, as you can choose to adopt an acre of:
Restore Brazil's Atlantic Forest through the Plant a Billion Trees Campaign, where just $1 plants 1 tree.

The adoptions of an acre are $50.  You can also adopt 1/2 an acre for $25. 
We have adopted a Costa Rican Rainforest acre a previous year, and thought that the fact sheet and 4 issues of Nature Conservancy Magazine were very nice.  If you are sending this as a gift, the gift includes:
•Special Mail Delivery with a Nature Gift Card announcing your present and all membership materials
•Personalized certificate with signature photo of the site commemorating your gift
•Colorful fact sheet about the site you have chosen
•Adopt an Acre® magnet set
•World Map containing more information about the Adopt an Acre® program
•Nature Conservancy's 2011 calendar is included with gift memberships of $100 or more. Featuring stunning photos from Conservancy supporters, this calendar is only available for a limited time.
•Nature Conservancy magazine, their award-winning quarterly publication will keep your recipient informed about the many places the Conservancy is working to protect. (Plus, they rush the current magazine issue along with the personalized certificate!)
•An invitation to create a personalized nature homepage on
•Great Places E-Newsletter subscription to our monthly e-communication with local conservation updates, enviro-tips you can use and stunning nature photography downloads

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has an Adopt-A-Species program, with about 100 species to choose from, including Polar Bears, Sea Otters, Snowy Owls, and many more.  Adoption packages range from $25 to $250, and most include a plush animal of the species you adopt, photo, and an adoption certificate.

Plant a Tree in your receipient's name with Tree People.
Volunteers give their time to plant a tree for each donation they receive.
1 tree is $25, 2 trees=$45, 3 Trees=$65, and 4 trees is $85.

Oceana is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation
Choose from a Shark, Polar Bear, Dolphin, Killer Whale, Sea Turtle, or Penguin.
Choose from Adoption levels between $30-$150.
Your gift recipient will receive:
$35: (1) cookie cutter, (1) personalized adoption certificate in cardboard frame, (1) CakeLove sugar cookie recipe
$50: (1) stuffed animal, (1) personalized adoption certificate in cardboard frame
$75: (1) cookie cutter, (1) Oceana oven mitt + (1) personalized adoption certificate in wood frame, (1) CakeLove sugar cookie recipe
$75: (1) stuffed animal, (1) personalized adoption certificate in wood frame
$100: (6) cookie cutters, (2) Oceana oven mitts, (1) personalized adoption certificate in wood frame, (1) CakeLove sugar cookie recipe
$100: (4) stuffed animals, (1) personalized adoption certificate in wood frame
$150: (1) plush turtle, (1) turtle cookie cutter, (1) personalized adoption certificate in wood frame, (1) CakeLove sugar cookie recipe, (1) Oceana oven mitt, (1) sea turtle fact card and note from Casey + complimentary gift wrapping

NRDC is the nation's most effective environmental action organization, combining courtroom power, scientific expertise and the grassroots clout of 1.3 million Members and online activists.
Give unique gifts through them, including:

Order by 12/15 to receive the gift packet by Christmas.

Clean Water!
Did you know that ONE IN EIGHT people in our world don’t have access to the most basic of human needs?
Charity Water, a nonprofit organization bringing clean, safe water to people in developing nations, now offers "Bottle of Charity." Your $20 pays for water and sanitation projects that will provide third world citizens clean water for -- at least -- 20 years!  100% of your donation will be used for direct project costs.

Have older, used cell phones cluttering up your drawer?
Please, don't throw them away, donate them to a soldier!
Help a soldier call home for the holidays.
Cell Phones for Soldiers uses your donated cell phones, which are then sold to a company that recycles them. The money they receive from recycling cell phones is used to purchase calling cards that we send to troops in need.

The U.S. Geological Survey offers the chance to purchase a Park pass, giving access to America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands that would normally charge entrance fees.
The passes provide entrance or access to more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites where Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee(s) are charged by the following agencies:
◦Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
◦Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation)
◦Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
◦USDA Forest Service (USDA FS)
◦National Park Service (NPS)

The annual pass cost is $80, and provides your receipient the following benefits:
•Valid for one full year from month of purchase (through last day of that month).
•Allows pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle to enter Federally operated recreation sites across the country
•Covers the pass owner and three (3) accompanying adults age 16 and older at sites where per person entrance fees are charged. No entry fee charged for children 15 and under.
A Senior Pass is also available for $10.00, giving a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens 62 years and older.

Teach a man to fish....
Heifer International helps by giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, and empowering them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.

With gifts of livestock and training, they help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. They refer to the animals as "living loans" because in exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need.  They call this "Passing on the gift".

Choose from their Gift Catalog to give the gift of a Camel, Heifer, Sheep, Flock of Chicks, Trio of Rabbits, Honeybees, or a Pig, just to name a few.  Prices range from $20 to $10,000, which purchases training and a great start to women in struggling communities. Women produce 80% of developing world's food yet own less than 1% of the earth's land.  A $150 llama can provide wool, milk and meat for an entire South American family.
Visit Carbon Fund to offset your own or others' carbon footprint. 
Carbon Fund is the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of carbon offsets & climate solutions. They make it affordable for everyone to calculate, reduce & offset their carbon footprint with carbon offsets that are verified to third-party carbon offsets standards, and be carbon neutral.
Use their carbon calculators to calculate your own carbon footprint, and choose a way your donation is used.  From $11.33 to offset a Flight up to 6,000 miles, to $20.00 to offset 2 tons of CO2, to $960 to offset a 4 person family for a year, there are lots of choices to make.
So Why Offset Now?
"Global warming is already causing crop failures, severe heat waves and flooding from extreme weather in numerous countries, including the US. But we all can take action to stop global warming. When you offset, you balance out the carbon emissions you can’t reduce by supporting innovative projects around the world that are reducing emissions."
OptInNow provides a very personal way to make a difference in someone else's life across the globe. 
Read people's names, circumstances, and goals, and decide how to help.
Entrepreneurs that are helped receive weekly business training (facilitated by a loan officer), in addition to advice and support. Many loan officers also go above and beyond, bringing in outside experts to provide education in areas such as HIV/AIDS, child development and more.
You’ll notice that often women are selected. Why? Two reasons: they have the most difficult time receiving credit by other means. And secondly, the income their businesses bring in is most often shared with children and extended family, thereby having greater impact.

You can also give a gift card, and let your gift receipient decide whom to help for themselves.
Donations range from $25-$200.
Want to do something more hands-on and local?
Most local zoos have animal sponsorship or adoption opportunities.  Check the zoo's website for contact and adoption information.  If you adopt one for your child, take them on a field trip there after the holidays to see your donation in action, and make it come to life for the child.

Plant a tree, and create your own dedication for it.  The Stepping Stone Kitsthat are sold at craft stores (or even Walmart) make a great way to place a memorable marker at the base of the tree.

Give an Eco-themed book to read with your child.  Try these:

Have more ideas?  I'd love to hear them!!!
And now, for the winner of our Giveaway and the $30 gift certificate to Ellies Pretty Things!
Congrats to Lixa, who said "I like the squirrel hair tie :)"
Now, you can go get it!


Nicole said...

once again, awesome post. i love the idea. i'm going to pass this onto a few friends. and i love the new look of your site!

SimplyMontessori said...

Thanks Nicole! ♥
Yes, the previous looks for the blog were driving me a little nuts. Nothing seemed to fit just right, so I redesigned it all to be a little simpler. It's a work in progress, but I'm liking it better, too!


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