Trust for Public Lands Offers Green Gift Suggestions

Trust for Public Lands Offers Green Gift Suggestions

What do you get for the friend or family member who insists they have everything? The Trust for Public Lands has a few suggestions, ranging from gifts for single or parenting city dwellers to gifts for nature lovers.
For the first group, consider:

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  • Donating to a fund that lets them help build a playground. The object is to get kids away from their video games and televisions and out into the fresh air. Studies show that raising the level of physical activity, even by just a little, helps reduce obesity and the diseases it causes (think Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure). As of 2012, 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States are obese. That’s twice as high as it was one generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Playing does more than shed pounds. It allows children develop their imagination. When playing with other children, it eases them into a cooperative frame of mind that smoothes the way into adulthood, where learned social skills will help individuals cope with spouses, children, parents, employers and coworkers in a relatively friction-free manner.

  • For the dog lovers on your list, give the gift of a dog park. Like children, dogs need socializing with other dogs to reach their full potential, and they get this by meeting other dogs in either a leash-free frolic or on-the-leash doggie school for zoomies. Zoomies are those frenzied moments when dogs turn into a combination of quarterback and whirling dervish. Puppies have to do this. Older dogs can be trained out of it, and one method is consorting with a group of older and more sedate dogs.
  • For those who live in a city while their hearts live in the country, consider donating to a fund that aims to increase the number and length of urban walking and biking trails. Built with esthetics in mind, such trails can offer a hint of wilderness – but not the kind that breaks your leg or ruins your bike tires.
  • For serious gardeners and foodies of every stripe, donate to Homegrown Harvest, an effort to keep organic gardeners on their plots of land and slow foodies or locavores (e.g., local food fans) exploring their local farmer’s markets or co-op and whole food markets.

The local food movement, which began in earnest in 2005, aims to build a network of locally situated, self-sustaining food economies. Chicago may not have oranges in the winter, but it won’t run out of cabbages, potatoes and other root vegetables if the nation is ever shut down by a trucker’s strike or another fuel shortage (or worse, but let’s not go there).

  • Another gift that avid gardeners will appreciate is a contribution slated to provide more community gardens on underused or abandoned rural acreage. Tying in with the locavore movement so perfectly it seems more than synergistic, this push to free up open land for local food production is happening in a big way in Detroit, which lost the auto industry and is now turning over a new leaf so green the city doesn’t even look the same anymore!
  • Finally, in the food growing venue, contribute to support America’s family farms and ranches so that local ownership and prosperity isn’t sold out to Frankenfarms growing GMO foods.

A third category, for nature lovers, reiterates the need for trails on which to hike, bike and even ride horses. It also offers parks and even forests, and donations to the latter will help insure that our children can enjoy the same wilderness adventures we have had.
Finally, the Trust provides a venue for donating to preserve a healthy living for humans and for the planet. Donate to tackle global warming, or to insure that park and public water fountains provide clean water. If your friend or family member is into fitness, they will love a donation that works toward creating free outdoor gyms for kids, playground equipment to keep them moving around, and skate parks for the many, many young skateboarders who live and breathe their fast, flamboyant and dangerous-looking sport.
In donations ranging from $25 to $150, your friend-who-has-everything will now be able to boast of his (or her) new park, trail or outdoor gym. Hey, whatever makes you feel like living.


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