5 Ways You and Your Kids Can Reconnect with Nature

June 9th, 2011

Are you looking for a way to get “unplugged” from indoors. National Get Outdoors Day is June 11th and here are 5 ways you can reconnect with nature from the new Ad Council/USDA Forest Service campaign. It’s called “Discover the Forest” and is designed to help kids and families discover the wonders of nature and the forest.


1. Find a local creek or body of water to let out your fishing line, observe some marine critters, or even go for a swim. Water provides a range of activities that will lure your kids away from their electronics and promote a family activity.

2. Read about plants native to the region you’re seeing and try to identify 10 different species on your hike. This is an excellent way to engage your kids and foster a family conversation about nature.

3. Go camping! This classic outdoor activity proves to be even more exciting when you leave the tent at home. Treat your family to the stars when nighttime falls on National Get Outdoors Day!

4. If your family is less experienced in the outdoors, pack a picnic and just relax in a meadow, field or local park. It’s a great way to unwind together.

5. For weekend wilderness warriors, this is a great occasion to learn how to do something new and create shard memories with your kids! Celebrate National Get Outdoors Day by finding a guide to teach you how to fly fish, repel or even rock climb.

Find friends on facebook at Discover the Forest page

Hey Kids

June 1st, 2010

Welcome to Greengutz.com. This website is full of ideas and fun stuff for kids like you. You might need some confidence and a little courage, but no worries, I know you can do almost anything you set out to do. 

It’s packed full of fun ideas, activities, photographs and even a mystery or two. Have you ever walked on the beach at night? Do you want to be as smart as a coyote? Do you know how to track a woodpecker in your neighborhood?

You’ll find stuff like this and much more on the site. So, I invite you to visit often and see what kind of GUTZY STUFF you’re made of!

What’s Your Favorite Animal?

April 26th, 2010

Black Bear Cub walking in grass

Do you have a favorite animal?

I do. Well, kind-of. I love all animals, but a few of them really stand out for me. BEARS are one of my favorites. Probably because I have seen them in the wild a zillion times. BEAR CUBS are the cutest–check out the photograph of the tiny black bear cub above. Usually when I see a BEAR, I am in the safety of my car or hiking along a ridge where I might spot one a great distance away. BEARS can be scary but if you know how to keep your distance (about the length of a football field) they are great fun to watch. Binoculars give you great close-up views. Bears lumber along, following their noses as they dig for their favorite foods of berries, dandelions and ants.



Check out the two GRIZZLY BEARS in the picture above. Do you think they are talking to each other?


I’ve had a couple of close encounters with BEARS. One time I was walking up a path from a lake, came around a curve in the trail and was face-to-face with a CINNAMON BLACK BEAR. He was just as startled as me. We both turned around and went back the way we came! Later, Curt and I walked back up the path together, found the BEAR again, and watched him from a distance as he dug under a log for bugs and plant roots.

Last year, when I was hiking in Yellowstone Park, with Curt, we came upon a GRIZZLY BEAR. There he was a few feet in front of us. He was eating behind a log, so had to stand up to figure out what we were. We have read many times what to do when you encounter a bear in the wild, so we calmly backed away. Once we were far enough away, we walked quickly out of the area. I was so happy to get to car.



The BEAR in the photograph above is a Grizzly Bear Mom with cub. Can you see the big hump on her back?

Below is a photograph of a BLACK BEAR CUB hanging out in a tree.


Black Bear Cub in tree


GUTSY STUFF:  Here are some general safety tips about what to do, if you encounter a bear in the wild.

  • Buddy up. Never hike or walk in an area where bears are present by yourself. Always walk with two or more people.

  • Never run. If the bear is close, back away slowly.

  • Chill out. Act as calm as you can. This will help calm the bear, too.

  • Bunch up. If you are in a group stand together. You’ll look really big to the bear.

  • Speak out. Talk to the bear in a normal voice, so he’ll know you are human.

  • Pepper it. If you have pepper spray, get it out just in case.





The Mystery of the Creepy Guy Who Lives at the End of the Street

April 26th, 2010

THERE IS A CREEPY MAN that lives at the end of Joe Thumperhouse’s street. Joe keeps his distance because he doesn’t trust him. The guy’s house needs paint and the grass is filled with knee-high weeds.


Today the creepy guy is standing out front and he motions to Joe. In fact, he is waving at him to come over. Joe wonders what to do. Slowly, Joe walks toward him, stopping a few feet away.


“Hey kid, do you want to earn some money. I’ve got a job for you that’s worth $100 bucks.”


Wow, I can buy a lot with a $100 bucks, Joe thinks. “What is it?” Joe asks.



“Let me show you,” the creepy guy says.



The hair stands up on the back Joe’s neck as he walks around to the back of the house with the man. As Joe follows, he sees that they are heading toward a huge garage at the back of the property. It looks as if it could hold about three cars. Joe cautiously follows him.



The creepy guy opens the door…it’s dark. Joe is freaked because he can hear something scurrying around inside. The man disappears inside while Joe waits outside. Pretty soon, a dim light comes on.



Joe cannot believe is eyes. He ventures inside slowly. “What do you want me to do?” Joe asks.



“ I want you to get rid of that,” the man says. “Wha-a-t?” Joes stammers, shocked. “I want you to get rid of that,” the man repeats sounding a little annoyed.



“How do I do that?” Joe asks.



“That’s your problem kid. Do you want the $100 bucks or not?” the man says.


to be continued….


April 20th, 2010


For 40 years people around the world have been celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd. It’s a special day that reminds us to appreciate nature and learn how to protect the environment on our earth.  

A few Earth Day vocabulary words that are good to know….


Environment - natural surroundings of an organism, which includes everything living and nonliving that effects the organism.


Go Green - living your life by using the 3 Rs – Recyle, Reuse, Reduce


Recycle - to use again


Conservation – preserving  or protecting natural resources such as water and air


Endangered – in immediate danger of becoming extinct – animals and plants


A couple of facts…


Plastics take 500 years to breakdown


Aluminum cans take 500 years to breakdown


Organic material takes 6 months to breakdown (compost)


Cotton, rags and paper take 6 months to breakdown



GUTSY STUFF to do on Earth Day: 


Stash the trash, hug a tree, or feed the birds.


Take a hike, ride your bike, or plant a flower.


Find a sea star, scoop the poop, save a wolf.


Start a compost, kiss the earth, visit the zoo.


Find an owl, or walk to school.


April 12th, 2010



EARTH DAY is a day that reminds us to LOVE and take care of our planet EARTH.  On EARTH DAY millions of people around the world help with projects that clean up and protect our earth. Try one of these three activities below on EARTH DAY or make up your own thing to do on earth day. Just remember it has to help  or honor the earth in some way.


  1. SCOOP THE POOP. Pet poo is not so good for our earth. It’s full of E. coli, which is a harmful bacterium that contaminates our water. When it rains, the water washes the poop off the land into our storm drains, which ultimately end up in our streams, lakes and oceans. Maybe you can even get your parents to pay you per scoop! It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it! And what better time than Earth Day. When you scoop it, but it in a plastic bag, tie it closed and toss it in the garbage. That is the best place for it!

  •  RUB IN NATURE. Here’s how to make a great piece of art for your bulletin board or bedroom wall on EARTH DAY. Find an interesting leaf or flower with lots of texture. (Ferns are especially great for this). Get a piece of light colored paper and a box of crayons.  Place the leaf or flower under the paper and RUB the paper gently with the side of a crayon. As you rub, you’ll start to see the shape and outline of the leaf or flower come through the paper. Before you know it, you’ll have an original piece of nature art created by YOU

  • ID A BIRD. Birds are probably some of the coolest non-human living things on this earth. I mean, imagine how boring nature would be without birds flying around. Their colorful feathers and sometimes zany calls make being outside WAY MORE interesting. If you know some of their names, it makes them even more fun to watch. Study these 3 pictures of common birds. See if you can find one in your backyard, neighborhood, or local park. If you see other kinds of birds remember their color and size. Then go to the National Geographic website and click on the What’s That Bird link to figure out what kind of birds you were seeing. What a great way to CELERATE EARTH DAY!  

    Singing Yellow Warbler




  • House Finch
    Black-capped Chickadee


    Earthman     Click on the Planetpals icon for more Earth Day activity ideas!!



    3 Green and Easy Things Kids Can Do

    March 29th, 2010



    Keep that water bottle in the fridge instead of running tap water until it’s cold. Then before you toss it, check the bottom for its recycle code. If it’s a 1 or 2 chances are that you can put it in one of your curbside recycle bins. Even better, don’t buy bottled water. Buy a filtered pitcher and fill your reusable sports bottle.



    It’s fun and cheap. And it’s even better if you use locally grown fruit from the farmer’s market. So blend up a little ice, a banana,  1 cup of your favorite berry fruit like strawberries or blueberries and 1 cup of yogurt for a delicious and nutritious smoothie that is better than any store-bought version. 



    Keeping your trash compact helps reduce the amount in the landfill.

    Turn off Your Lights for EARTH HOUR on March 27th

    March 25th, 2010

    EARTH HOUR is almost here. This Saturday on March 27th, TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS at 8:30 pm for one hour. Kids and adults all around the world will be turning off their lights to show their support and concern for climate change.

    GUTSY STUFF: In the meantime, here are 4 other things that the World Wildlife Fund says kids can do to help with climate change.  

    1. Turn off the lights when you leave the room          

    2. Take a shorter shower          

    3. Get an adult to help you plant a tree          

    4. Carpool everywhere you can


    5 Fun things to do when you turn out your lights!!


    1. Play boardgames with lanterns and flashlights. Make sure to set your games up ahead of time.

    2. Eat dinner by candlelight. Get the table set and food prepared before you flip-off the lights.

    3. Play flashlight hide-and-go-seek.

    4. Take an hour long star light walk with your family and friends using flashlights and headlamps or do some star-gazing

    5. Read out loud with your family. Pick a favorite book, pass it around and take turns reading.

    Check out the World Wildlife Fund’s  Earth Hour website to learn all about about climate change, how it effects animals and people and what you can do to help.

    Does Woody Woodpecker Live in Your Neighborhood?

    March 19th, 2010

    Did you know that Pileated Woodpeckers are the largest species of woodpeckers and they kind of look like Woody Woodpecker?

    You can’t miss them because they are as big as a crow and have bright red heads. These giant woodpeckers live in many parts of the United States, and if they live near you, you will find lots of clues that make them easy to spot.

    Look for them in large trees that grow in local parks,  greenbelts, and wooded areas near your house.

    They especially love dead wood and snags where lots of bugs live. You will know they are present if you find BIG retangular holes in the snags or trees.

    Their favorite food is carpenter ants. 

    Another dead give-away is to listen for their loud call.


    4 more facts about Pileated Woodpeckers


    1. Woopeckers use their stiff tails to prop them against the tree while they are eating

    2. They have chisel-like bills that they use to dig wood or peel bark from a tree when searching for insects to eat

    3. They usually nest in tree holes.

    4. They use their long sticky tongues to reach ants that are living in the dead wood that they excavate

    GUTSY STUFF: Organize a neighborhood woodpecker hunt. See if you can find the rectangular holes in a nearby wooded area and check back often to see if they are pecking away on the hole. Don’t forget to listen for their call. You might even hear them from your house if they are flying nearby.


    Click here to see if Pileated Woodpeckers live near you. And if they don’t, you might find other kinds of woodpeckers living near you.

    Where can you find Bison, wolves and orange oozy stuff?

    March 15th, 2010

    You’re on a vacation road-trip with your parents and starting to get a little bored. Wait, what’s that up ahead? It’s a gigantic bison standing in the middle of the road. It’s so cold outside that his fur is covered with frost and you can see his breath curling up over his wet nose. He looks kind of scary and  you are wondering if he’s dangerous as you drive by.
    You sniff the air. It smells like rotten eggs .  

    As you cruise slowly on down the road you see big holes in the ground bubbling out orange oozy stuff.     

    You imagine a grizzly bear  just over the hill devouring a dead bison.  

    The hair on the back of your neck stands up when you hear wolves howling. There they are…just across the river. Five wolves with their heads raised to the sky howling away.

    You are starting to feel pretty good, after all, about this vacation!

    What senses are used to describe this place? What is your sixth sense? (hint…it’s in the name of this website)  

    Can you guess where this place is from the list below?

    To see if you guessed right, check the list below for a link to the place.


    • Death Valley National Park


    • New York City



    • Africa


    Nature Blog Network