Saving The Environment – One Tree At A Time – With TreePeople

When I first heard of TreePeople, I was wondering if it was an organization for people who love trees or if it was a secret organization of the “Ents” from Lord of the Rings.  It turns out the former is correct, and the efforts of TreePeople are all about inspiring the people of Los Angeles to plant and care for trees. Their work becomes more important as the city continues to grow and we pave over much of its green beauty. I have always been a nature lover and have passed this trait down to my family, so that with each generation, we continue to respect the Earth and do our part to sustain her beauty. Nature and motherhood go hand in hand.

I noticed that as the world begins to rely more and more on technology, nature takes a back seat. It’s like we think the only way forward is by digitizing everything and spreading the concrete jungle as far as the eye can see. What so many fail to realize is just how critical trees are to our survival. Apart from the fact that plants provide the very air that we need, there are many reasons to turn LA green.

Concrete scorches in the sun—it doesn’t provide the same safe haven as lush green trees.  At the same time, the more rivers we pave over, the less water we have available because it cannot soak into the ground where we need it. We need to replace the concrete jungle with a green one and let nature do its job; that way we can restore healthy soil, conserve water and harvest the rain.

I strive to pass these ideals onto my children, which is why on a brisk fall morning I found myself and my daughter in the Santa Monica Mountains at a TreePeople restoration event. Surrounded by nature, we were instructed in how to remove invasive species and replace them with natives, making the mountains habitable to local animals and insects and stronger in the face of disasters such as fire. Thrilled, we chose the tree that we would plant that morning and got going!

My daughter and I dug our hands and tools into the earth, taking care to follow each step we learned earlier in the morning to give the tree the best chance of living a long, healthy life. Just we were planting a tree into the Earth, I was planting the seed of caring for this planet in my daughter’s heart.

They say that the Santa Monica Mountains are the lungs of Los Angeles because they provide so much oxygen to surrounding areas far and wide. We were proud to know we helped people to breathe a little easier, that we made our local mountains greener and stronger, that we gave places for native animals and plants to live, and that we helped to build and clean our waterways between the Santa Monica Mountains and the ocean.

It felt good taking care of our Mother Earth, just as I take care of my daughter and my mother took care of me. This Mother’s Day, TreePeople is offering an opportunity to do the same with a tree dedication. Show the mom in your life that she’s your world by giving her the Earth. Give the gift of trees.

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Australia Family Camping Tips, Tricks &, Best Spots

Grampians National Park. Australia

Planning to go on a holiday? What better way to spend quality time with your family than on a camping trip. Not only is it a brilliant idea, but it is also an experience you and your children can share. Nothing beats the thrill of sleeping under the stars and being in awe of majestic landscapes and experiencing the great outdoors.

So, if you are looking for excellent camping spots in Australia that are exciting and family-friendly, you’re in luck. Alpha Car Hire has prepared a quick guide just for you. It also includes practical tips on how you can have a stress-free and enjoyable camping experience with the entire family.

The Grampians

If your kids are feeling a bit grumpy, maybe all they need is a healthy dose of family fun. Take them to the Grampians, just three hours west of the beautiful city of Melbourne. When it comes to excellent camping spots and exciting activities, the Grampians is one of the best places to go.

This place has all the family fun you’re looking for; you can find exciting activities for children of all ages. Take your little ones to the Halls Gap Zoo to see different animals like koalas, wombats, crocodiles, dingoes, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, monkeys, giraffe, and so much more.

And if that doesn’t impress them, you can visit the spectacular MacKenzie Falls. It is one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria and a must-see for all visitors.

Mimosa Parks National Park

If you happen to be in Sydney, you can travel for about six hours south and head to Picnic Point Campground. Set up your camp right by the beach and enjoy the stunning views of the Sapphire Coastline.

Find a great fishing spot, build sandcastles with your kids or take a quick swim. As the sun sets, you can relax, have a barbie, and be serenaded by the calming waves of the sea. Located in Tanja, New South Wales, Mimosa Rocks National Park is always open, and the best time to visit is during the spring, summer, and winter months.

Stradbroke Island

Straddie, as it is affectionately called, is a gorgeous subtropical island located just 30 km southeast of Brisbane. Whether you are planning a vacation or a day trip, it is the perfect place to holiday with your family. The island spreads roughly 38 km long and 11 km wide, which makes it one of the world’s largest sand island.

When it comes to exciting activities, there’s plenty to choose from. Your kids will surely enjoy whale-watching at Point Lookout, and they can spot other fascinating creatures like dolphins, turtles, koalas, and wallabies, among others. If you want to explore the island, the best way to do it is by cycling or bushwalking.

Now, to make your camping experience even more enjoyable and hassle-free, here are some tips for you.

  1. Entertainment. To keep your young kids from getting bored while you’re on the road, bring some items books or little toys to keep them entertained. If possible, try to take frequent stops. Young children tend to get bored and grumpy if you’re driving non-stop. Give them a chance to stretch their legs and run around for a bit.
  2. Get Active. Once you arrive at the campsite, get them to participate. Let them help in by giving them some easy tasks like setting up the chairs and tables. Giving your kids a sense of responsibility will help build their character.
  3. Pack smart. Only bring the essentials like water bottles, tissues, sunscreen, and some snacks. Keep them in your children’s backpacks. It’s also a good idea to train them to pack at an early age.
  4. Common Courtesy. Teach your children basic camp safety and courtesy. Don’t let them run amuck and disturb other people who also want to enjoy their holiday. Remind them to be quiet in the evening as some people may want to sleep early.

We hope these tips will help you get inspired and have an enjoyable camping experience with your family. If you have any camping sites or suggestions in mind, please share them with us. And if you’ve previously gone camping, we’d love to know your experiences. Please leave a comment.

4 Tips For Ethical Animal Experiences

by Melanie Grosjean – Seeing animals in the wild or in zoos and parks is a popular activity for holiday-goers. In some instances, it is the main draw for a particular destination. One can hardly imagine not visiting elephants while on a Thailand holiday or not visiting kangaroos while in Australia.

When planning your holidays, one of your main steps can sometimes be booking safaris, snorkeling, diving trips and other animal experiences. However, before you start planning your trip, you should take some consideration to make sure you will be engaging with animals in an ethical way.

We should all make the effort to make sure our visit doesn’t harm the animals. On the other hand, if we can actually help animals with our visit, that’s even better. So, what should we all consider when planning an animal encounter into our vacations?

#1 See Animals in the Wild

One of the best ways you can ensure you aren’t harming animals in your travel is to see them in the wild whenever possible. Book a tour with a knowledgeable tour guide who knows where to spot wildlife and keeps a respectful and safe distance from the animals.

These tours can take the form of a South Africa safari, hikes through the jungles in many tropical regions, or boat cruises with the chance of spotting wild dolphins, whales, turtles and more. Snorkeling and scuba diving are other ways to experience animals in the wild without doing harm.

It’s not always possible to see animals in the wild and you risk the chance that you may not see anything; but whenever possible, this is the preferred way. Plus, what’s more exciting than encountering a wild animal in their natural habitat?

#2 Visit Captive Animals Responsibly

While seeing animals in the wild is preferred, we realize it’s not always possible. Maybe the animal is too rare, or you are limited by time or money. There are certainly conservation game parks that are often more easily accessible and still provide a good, ethically sound alternative to experiencing animals on your vacation.

Do your research to make sure the game park you are considering is a reputable one. Look at their website and other public information, as well as reviews on travel sites. Parks that offer animal rides and animal shows should be avoided.

Animal rehab centers and captive breeding establishments can also be a good option. However, before visiting these centers, make sure you research how the center handles the release of animals into the wild and where the animals came from in the first place.

Lastly, zoos can be a good way to experience animals but again, should be well researched. Legitimate zoos will usually have nice websites, reviews from other travelers and relationships with other international zoos.

Many zoos do a lot to conserve and breed animals and visiting can be a good way to support this work if the zoo is truly reputable. Avoid zoos where animals are kept in small cages or those that encourage visitors to ride animals.

#3 Avoid These Red Flags

We’ve touched on a few of the things to avoid in the sections above, but if you want to ensure an ethical animal encounter, you should certainly look to avoid the following things:

– Caged and chained animals

– Animal shows, especially when animals are made to do unnatural things (like elephants being made to paint)

– Animal rides

– Taking selfies with tigers and other wild animals

Often you can get a good gauge of whether or not a company promotes these sorts of things by browsing through photos on their website and reading reviews on travel websites. If you are still not sure, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask the company directly.

#4 Do Your Research

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to do your research. If you plan ahead, you can make sure you are only supporting companies that are treating animals well and operating ethically.

Before you book anything, attempt to find out what the main goal of the company is — whether they are rescuing captive animals, protecting endangered species, breeding rare animals or alternatively attempting to make money from tourists at the expense of the animals.

Research a company’s affiliations and registrations. Many reputable companies will be registered as an NGO or at the very least will do work with NGOs. There are also a number of organizations that accredit animal sanctuaries, such as the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, which has quite rigorous requirements of its members.

Doing a bit of research before your trip can help ensure you experience animals in an ethical way on your travels.