Wednesday, November 25, 2020


 I am so thankful...

Thankful for the urban child who saw her first live swan during our summer program at Blackstone Park.

Thankful for the kids at Wolf School who got out of their comfort zone looking under logs and finding salamanders and spiders.

Thankful for the kids who helped clean the park, who vowed to leave leaf litter for the hibernating insects and amphibians, who want to be frog and feeder watchers.

Thankful for the financial support of our donors and organizations and families who book programs.

Thankful for every bird we see, every leaf we examine, every heart we fill with a love for nature.

Environmental advocacy starts with these early experiences.

Thank you.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Mysterious Mushrooms!

Ever wonder about mushrooms?  Learn how some are vital to decomposing, some are parasites, and some work with tree roots, helping them communicate and get more nutrition. 

In Person:  October 10th, 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Blackstone Park Conservancy.  Meet at the Blackstone Park kiosk, by Parkside Road & East Orchard Avenue, Providence, RI 02906. Mushroom collecting is not allowed, but stay on the trails to see what you find!  We’ll have laminated guides to borrow and Melissa on hand to identify photos sent by text.  Kids can make clay mushrooms to take home.  Masks, social distancing, and Registration required.

Virtual: October 21st, 6:30 p.m.

Register in advance for this meeting here.

Both are FREE, but donations always appreciated.  Use the Donate button on our home page!   More programs in the link (top right).

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Learn More About Us!

Want to learn more about 15 Minute Field Trips?  We have a Q&A session TONIGHT at 7 p.m. EST.

Register in advance for this meeting: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Friday, August 7, 2020

The Insect Orchestra Family Day

 "Join the Insect Orchestra!" August 15th 10-11:30 at Blackstone Field.  Registration and masks required.  Limited to 12 participants!

Buzz, whir, click, chirp! It's summer, and the trees, fields, and warm nights are full of sounds! They sound like machinery, but they're actually insects!  Learn how insects make sounds, then make your own instruments with your family using our kit.  Watch the Insect Orchestra here: or see it on tour at the Rhode Island Museum of Art and Science ( in August and the RI Natural History Survey ( in September.  Part of the "Art and Science at the Park" series with 15 Minute Field Trips.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Insect Orchestra

This event is on the move!  If you missed it at ASRI, Bristol, you can now view it at the Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art in Providence through August.  

Registration required:

Next we'll have a small, registered event at Blackstone Parks Conservancy on August 18th.  I will add the registration link soon.

In September you can find us at the Rhode Island Natural History Survey building in Kingston.  Stay tuned and stay safe!!

Monday, June 1, 2020

Be the Change

I can’t be at rallies or protests for a number of reasons. I’ve had pneumonia this time of year and have an auto-immune disorder. If I get arrested, I can say good-bye to my teaching career. I have a child that needs me. But I still want to do what I can to advocate for and protect those I love. This is just one action I am am taking in response to these times:
I teach about the environment through art. I teach about the importance, the necessity, of biodiversity. Children thrill at the diversity of colors and shapes and textures in leaves, in seeds. I teach about pollination, not just about the introduced domesticated honey bees, but the solitary bees, the butterflies and moths, the beetles, flies, ants, birds, and even bats that pollinate. Without insect pollinators, humanity would be wiped out. We don’t get to decide which insects get to pollinate our tomatoes, which more often will be a bumblebee, nor should we. Using pesticides and enforcing monocultures is toxic. Words of hate and racism and suppression of other races and cultures is toxic.
Today I continue work bringing nature to children. I am mostly engaged online, but I prepare for the time we can be together again. I struggled with putting nature under a plastic shield, wanting kids to touch actual leaves and galls knowing some would be crushed. Now I seal some of my favorite pressed leaves under lamination so each child I teach can look at their diversity before collecting their own leaves around where we are. I will wipe all the sheets down with Lysol. I’m placing robin egg shells, cicada exoskeletons, dragonfly exuvia, and oak apple galls inside clear plastic cases to pass around and wipe between each student, as they learn how nature solves problems.
We need to change our nature as a society. Be the change you want to see.

We need to change our nature as a society.  Be the change you want to see.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Compost Cafe Countdown

Just five days left until our Compost Cafe launch with deep underground jazz worm Blind Lemon Nightcrawler!  Join us as we plan the menu, create our brand, listen to jazz, watch silly worm antics, and experiment with bananas!  It's one hour of dirt-packed fun!  Only $6 per household for our virtual event on Zoom.  Sign up here:

Friday, May 8, 2020

Monday, May 4, 2020

Compost Cafe

We're going LIVE with a workshop with special guest, deep underground jazz musician Blind Lemon Nightcrawler!  Learn about the greens and browns of compost and design your own menu for the compost cafe to help you remember how to reduce your food waste at home.  Registration limited.  Sign up here.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Looking Under Logs During Covid 19

While our April 18th event at Blackstone Park has been cancelled, you can still have your own adventure! Here's a virtual trip of us looking under logs. I hope it inspires you to do the same! Please return all to their original state and leave no trash behind. Better yet, bring gloves and a bag to collect trash you find as you explore!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Repurposing My Life

Closing the Loop #429: The junk draw. 

I repurposed a party pack container to organize my junk draw. Oh what treasures did I find!  I've done so much organizing of late, I now have better places to store my candles and paper clips.  I keep twistie ties and elastics to close up packages like my frozen veggies or to hang herbs to dry from a line.  The silica packs keep my nature materials dry and safe from mold.

While I encourage you to buy food without packaging, in this current time of personal safety I understand if you're getting more packaged foods lately.  And while I don't want to encourage you to hoard the packaging, is there another life you could give it?

What about salad containers? We started mesclun greens and pea shoots in mini greenhouses using salad containers. Add water before soil and keep moist. Uncover containers when you see sprouts, then mist as needed.


We're planning some 
exciting video tutorials in the future.  Let us know what you'd like to see by commenting on our website.  Check out our other videos here.

Sunday, April 5, 2020


Need some environmental ed downloads? I just added two new ones, and everything is 20% off on Monday!…/15-Minute-Field-Trips

I hope you are all well.  I'm spending a lot of time on the computer teaching and preparing materials. I am grateful for my bird feeder just outside my window.  Today, we had blue jays, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, brown-headed cow birds, and junco, titmice, and nuthatch.  I hope the red-bellied woodpecker visits again!  Nature is a gift.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Fools

If you're like me right now, you've been spending a lot of time at home.  In my state of Rhode Island, the governor has just closed the beaches and state parks because people were not keeping 6 feet away or being in groups of 5 or less.  I've also seen people leaving masks and gloves in shopping carts or on the ground. What kind of fools are we?

There is a silver lining, though.  We're in this together, and together we can start tackling the tough issues that face us by making systemic changes.  One change that needs to happen is reducing food waste.  In RI, food waste accounts for 32% of our landfill!!!  (See the end notes for places in Rhode Island that compost.)

Here's a fun game for the kids: Blind Lemon Nightcrawler, the deep underground jazz musician, wants to open up a new restaurant, the Compost Cafe!  Print out these pages and cut out the food scraps and plates from pages 2, 3, and 4.  Kids can arrange the food for different "customers" and even make menus from brown shopping bags, drawing the food scraps and adding prices and labels. (It's a great way to sneak in spelling and math!)

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You can compost at home, under your sink, in your back yard.  Follow the recipe and cut pieces small or put them through a blender.  Mix in to compost and keep damp but not soggy. For indoors in a small container, make sure to drill air holes.  I do this around the bottom to also add drainage and put the container in a larger one.  You can make one from a recycling bin or large Tupperware container.  You'll want red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) for small composting.  Earthworms and nightcrawlers are fine for outside.

If you want to buy worms or a compost bin, I like these vendors:

This activity is part of our "Dirt Pop Up Museum", where we set up several art and science stations for kids to learn more about worms!  Check out our program link on the right or here.  Learn more on your own with the links on the left under "Dirt and Detrivores", then "Worms and Compost".

But wait, there's more!  Here's how you can close the loop on food waste:

Where to bring your compost:
Rhode Island Compost Sites
Where to compost in other states.

Who collects compost:

Where to get compost:
Forbes Street Compost, East Providence

Other efforts:

Regulations and Education:

More Info:
Cool Compost Crew

Hattoy's Nursery & Garden Center