Winter is just around the corner.  Most of the leaves have left the trees, and it is time to start planning for a Recycle, Upcycle, BUY-LESS CHRISTMAS!
Why do leaves change colour in the fall?
Leaves are green because of chlorophyll, the pigment that helps them capture sunlight to turn into energy.  There are other light-catching compounds in leaves that show different colours, but we can’t see them because they are masked by the green of the chlorophyll.    Orange coloured carotene and yellow xanthophylls are in leaves even during the summer.  When the cold weather comes in the autumn, the chlorophyll begins to break down, and loses its green colour.  Then the carotene and xanthophylls can be seen, and show up as the beautiful autumn yellows and oranges we enjoy

Try This: Make a Leaf Picture                                                    
Find some beautiful fallen leaves and gather them up. Place them in a pattern or arrange them as leaf people  or animals on a sheet of wax paper. 

Take the sheets carefully to the ironing board.  Place an old towel or a sheet of plain paper under the wax paper on the ironing board and a sheet of paper on top of the wax paper picture to protect your iron.  Iron the picture using moderate heat.
Remove the protective paper.  Trim the wax paper picture. Cut out a frame of construction paper to fit the leaf picture. Glue the frame in place.  Hang in a sunny window.

Walk Lightly on the planet this Christmas
Trying to think of gift ideas that are reasonable, fun and not wrapped in plastic?  It’s hard not to buy newer, better, more expensive luxuries and toys for the people we love at Christmas.  This year, think about learning to simplify and consider the choices you make when giving gifts.This can be hard to do, but if we really love each other and our planet Earth surely the best gifts we can give are gifts of love and gratitude for all the things we already have.
Try giving gifts that recycle existing materials, don’t create garbage and help to preserve the natural world. Give a truly sustainable gift this year such as a YNC membership to family, friends, anyone you think will enjoy making our world a greener place for kids and their families in every way.

When planning for the upcoming holidays, here are a couple of ideas to help keep down the materialism mania:
  • Purge! -  Have your kids go through their closets and toy bins and ask them what they want to get rid of so they can make room for new things.  Offer any gently used items to a shelter or local school. 
  • Go for Quality – If possible, instead of getting kids a huge pile of cheap junk go for quality toys or possessions that will last.  Wood is better than plastic, for example. The classic toys are often the best.  It’s better to spend your money on a couple of great things than on a bunch of cheap things that will break and be relegated to the junk pile in no time.
  •  Less is More – Teach your kids that they don’t need to have huge piles of stuff to be happy.  They can’t possibly play with everything anyway — there aren’t enough hours in the day. With less stuff, things will be easier to find and they can see what there is to play with.
Check in next month and we will show you how to make some great recycled, nature-celebrating gifts. Have a look below at what artist Steven Rodrig does with old computer parts!

It’s incredible just what you can do with a few old printed circuit boards and a bit of imagination. Steven Rodrig has created these hauntingly beautiful pieces from the innards of dead computers, reprocessing their abandoned circuitry into animals and plants from the natural world. Chipsets, wires and ports become turtles, books and dragonflies.