Hudson Valley Eco-Friendly Florist Creates Two EZ Nature Projects for Kids

Teaching your kids to love our planet

Lynn Mehl from Good Old Days Eco-Florist in New Windsor is an award-winning florist and champion of the "go green" movement. She has provided two projects for teaching our kids about loving the planet. 

Make your own terrarium

Terrarium supplies:                                      
.  A clear 2-liter soda bottle
.  Scissors or knife (w/adults supervision)
.  1 cup natural gravel/rocks
.  ¼ cup crushed charcoal (garden center/pet store)
.  1-2 cups potting soil
.  1-2 low-light miniature plants such as fern & ivy

  Optional accessories:
.  Three 6" twigs and twist ties for a trellis
.  Bark, moss, stones, cones, etc.


Peel the label and wash the bottle

Adults: Slice/cut the bottom of the bottle approx. 4". This will be the base of the terrarium.

Place 1" of gravel in the bottom base to provide
drainage, then sprinkle with 2-3 tsp. of charcoal to
keep it smelling fresh. Then add the potting soil to ½" from the brim.     

Add your plants and topping with a layer of moss.

Water with about ½ cup water.

Make a decorative trellis by tying the three twigs together (see photo) and insert into the soil. Add the found objects and nature items.

Replace the top portion of the bottle and cap it.

Place the terrarium in a bright sunny area but out of direct light.

Children can watch the changes that happen every week in their terrarium. Moisture will bead up inside, and the plants and moss will start to grow and come alive.

Keep covered, add water only if it dries out.

Make Your Own Nesting Ball

Nesting ball supplies:
.  A mesh bag (like those potatoes, oranges, bulbs, etc. come in)
.  Twine or raffia, 2 rubber bands
.  Natural fuzzy fibers                                          
of any kind including cotton, leftover thread/yarn, wool, burlap, string, shredded paper, lace, pine needles, straw, twigs, grass clippings, pet/horse hair (untreated for fleas—no chemicals), old pillow feathers, cattail insides, sheet or sphagnum moss etc.

Cut and pull material into small 1”-3" pieces
Try not to use any synthetic materials or those treated chemically, if possible. Never use fishing line as it can be dangerous for birds that could get entangled in it.

Cut the bag down to the size of a tangerine or a grapefruit. Children can shred or rip all the found items into small pieces, mixing them (or mulching them) in their hands like making a salad. Stuff the bag until full and packed; tie it off with rubber bands; add a string of raffia or string for hanging in high tree branches and among thick bushes. (Not too low or a kitty will see them, too). Children can watch as the birds come and go, pull the treasures through the mesh and hopefully attract birds to their backyard.