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coloured pencils

Back to school time and I am trying to make a few adjustments to our families’ lifestyle, so that we are not continuing the Canberra trend of having the biggest ecological footprint[1] of anywhere in Australia!

Here are a few of my ideas:

1)      More walking and riding to school. Difficult to achieve as a working Mum, but the days when I am not working we will aim to walk/ride. Plus last year discovered the joys of the walking school bus and this fits with work, so aim to have that as a once a week event.

2)      Less pre-wrapped food. Although I do appreciate the convenience of being able to throw a muesli bar or similar into the lunchbox. A couple more minutes putting something together should not be a big deal!

3)      Helping out with the school garden/composting. We’ll see how I go – a noble idea!

This is probably enough to get started on, will try being consistent and then expand to other things…. if we have achieved these.

[1] The average Canberran’s ecological footprint is above the national average and nearly three and a half times the global average. The Canberra Times, 14 Dec 2010.


find the possum

My kids love being outside: exploring, playing, having fun and just hanging out. Even better, is when there are opportunities for them to learn in the process.

During our most recent visit to the south coast of NSW we discovered the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens where there is a fantastic children’s walk.

taking a bushwalk

We  followed the trail and discovered little animals (pretend ones!) hiding in the bush. Signs explained what the animals were, what they eat and where they are normally found.

We all had fun, learnt a bit, stayed busy, interested and active. Lots of fun and the day was topped off by this do-it-yourself water feature!

water feature

water pump 

Further Reading

Map of the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens

Mud Pies and Daisy Chains: connecting young children and nature

Last Child in the Woods: overview



path disconnect

Last week I prepared a talk on active transport, which confirmed for me how many missed opportunities there are to walk and cycle instead of using cars to get around.

Personally I am trying to walk to school with my son as much as possible (approx. 1.1km) and to walk or cycle to the local shopping centre (1.2km).

At a good pace with children, these walks take only about 15 minutes and if I was to cycle on my own they would take less than 5 minutes. However these are the trips that many of us are taking in our cars.

Research shows that:

  • 10% of all car trips for distances less than 1 kilometre, and
  • 50% of car trips are for distances less than 5 kilometres (typically from home).

However I am also aware of the barriers (perceived and real) to people undertaking these relatively short trips.

These include that:

  • pedestrian and cycle paths often don’t follow the most direct route to a destination
  • are not well maintained
  • require crossing busy roads
  • or have unsafe crossing points, and
  • are not well shaded or maintained……to name a few.

Here are some more photos, that might explain why we don’t enjoy the walking and cycling trips, as much as using our car!

cracked path with no kerb crossingkerb crossing with no joining footpathpath to nowhere