Discovery Education and OPEI Award Chula Vista School with $5,000 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Makeover

- Summer Coolers -
Celebrating National Iced Tea Month

Five International Summer Tours That Fit Sustainable Green Travel Criteria

First Fair Trade Chewing Gum Enters The Market

Buy, Sell or Trade with the People You Trust
Introducing:  Palcycle

nature conserve

friendship bag

Discovery Education and OPEI Award Chula Vista School
with $5,000 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Makeover

Discovery Education and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) announced earlier this month the Grand Prize winner and two runners up of the ‘Spruce Up Your School’ sweepstakes. The national sweepstakes is part of the TurfMutt program, a dynamic digital curriculum designed to encourage kids to protect the environment around them and foster appreciation of green space in their own communities.

Ms. Mary Anne Arabia’s fifth grade class from Palomar Elementary School in Chula Vista, Calif., has been named the Grand Prize winner and will receive a $5,000 grant to create and build more green space around school grounds and play areas. Ms. Arabia entered the TurfMutt sweepstakes because her school playground lacked sufficient shade, and to help spark science and environmental curiosity through hands-on learning. 

Discovery Education and OPEI presented Ms. Arabia and Palomar Elementary School with the Grand Prize check after students viewed a special congratulations video from Lucky, a real-life rescue dog and TurfMutt spokesdog.  

Following the presentation, Tom Heaviland of San Diego-based Heaviland Enterprises, Inc., revealed the completed makeover to the students. Mr. Heaviland, a Landscape Industry Certified Manager and member of The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), heard about Palomar Elementary School’s win and donated his company’s design and installation services to improve the school grounds.  Under the school’s direction, Mr. Heaviland planted ten large canopy Magnolia ‘Grandiflora’ trees, as well as much needed benches on the play area’s perimeter.  

“The TurfMutt sweepstakes gave our school the opportunity to add much needed shade and additional greenery to our large play area,” said Ms. Arabia.  “Thanks to OPEI and Discovery Education, this green makeover will impact our students and their outdoor experiences for years to come.”  Each tree planted will be dedicated to a Palomar Elementary class. 

“It was amazing to see such a high level of interest in schools across the country to green up their grounds and play areas,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.  “Getting kids outdoors to plant, investigate how things grow, and learn about their unique ecosystem is the real driving force behind the TurfMutt program.” 

The sweepstakes’ two runners up are Ms. Elizabeth Paz from Big Hollow Elementary School in Ingleside, Ill., and Ms. Trish Kubitza from Hallsburg Elementary School in Waco, Texas. Students in these two winning classrooms will receive TurfMutt-branded “Green Packs” that contain eco-friendly school supplies, including a backpack, lunch bag, colored pencils, a water bottle and a seeded bookmark.

“We are pleased to award schools like Palomar Elementary School with an outdoor space that the students can use to explore their environment and natural curiosity in their surroundings,” said Mary Rollins, Discovery Education vice president. “We know that the school’s new eco-friendly play area will give their students the opportunity to get outside and connect the important lessons they are learning in their classrooms to the world around them.” 

OPEI and Discovery Education have created a dynamic digital curriculum led by Lucky, a real-life rescue dog who encourages kids to protect the land around them and fosters an appreciation of green space in their own community.  In addition to lesson plans, engaging activities, puzzles and videos, students can enjoy an interactive map about ecosystems across the country. With these resources, teachers can emphasize the benefits of landscaping in balance with local environments, and instill a new appreciation for environmental issues.

Lesson plans can be found at:


- Summer Coolers -
Celebrating National Iced Tea Month In June

It was a scorching hot summer day at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and festival attendees were uninterested in the hot tea that Richard Blechynden was serving. Attempting to salvage the day, he poured his brewed tea over ice, and the quintessential English tradition of “taking tea” was forever changed. Crediting the “invention” of iced tea to Richard Blechynden is the subject of great debate, but all might agree that his efforts helped to popularize this most refreshing and delicious elixir.

It's cool, refreshing, good for you, and so popular that an entire month has been set aside to celebrate…Summer is here and so is National Iced Tea Month. “June’s National Iced Tea Month is a good time to drink up the many benefits of tea," says Joe Simrany, President of the Tea Council of the USA. “It’s tasty, refreshing, has zero calories and is chock full of health benefits, so it’s a terrific beverage choice. With a multitude of research suggesting that the substances in tea may help the body maintain healthy cells and tissues, contribute to heart health and keep your weight in check, why would anyone choose to drink anything else?”

According to the Tea Association of the USA, over the last ten years, Ready-To-Drink (RTD) Tea has grown by more than 15 times. In 2010, Ready-To-Drink sales were conservatively estimated at $3.30 billion. And approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced.

In the southern US they make sweet tea, in Thailand it is called cha yen, and in Austria the refreshing drink is called “ice” tea, rather than “iced” tea. No matter what you call it, iced tea is a satisfying and refreshing beverage enjoyed the world over.

When you home brew your iced tea you can customize it to your particular preference—some like it sweet, others unsweetened, some prefer fruit infusions like blood oranges or summer peaches, others prefer just a simple lemon wedge or sprig of mint as a garnish. If you don’t homebrew, RTD (ready to drink) teas are a convenient and delicious way to enjoy iced tea. A trip to the convenience store or local supermarket will reveal dozens of brands—each offering something to appeal to the varying tastes of today’s iced tea drinking consumer.

Iced tea fun facts:

  • The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia, by Marion Cabell Tyree. This recipe calls for green tea. In fact, most sweet tea consumed during this time period was green tea. However, during World War II, the major sources of green tea were cut off from the United States, leaving consumers with tea almost exclusively from British-controlled India.
  • Today, if you ask for an “Arnold Palmer” you will be served a mix of iced tea and lemonade. It is named after its creator, golf legend, Arnold Palmer.
  • “Texas tea” in the Beverly Hillbilly’s theme song refers to oil--nothing to do with tea at all.
  • In 2003 Georgia state representative John Noel tried to pass a house bill making it mandatory for all restaurants to serve sweet tea. Mr. Noel insists it was an April Fools' Day joke but admits he wouldn’t mind if it became law.
  • The famous “long island iced tea” drink doesn’t contain any tea.

It has been more than 100 years since Blechynden’s cool idea and iced tea remains one of the America’s most beloved beverages.

Five International Summer Tours That Fit Sustainable Green Travel Criteria
Suggested for Families by Eco-Vacation
Specialist Greenloons

Greenloons, which guides travelers to sustainable vacations, offers its top five summer-break adventures for families in 2012.
Irene Lane, Greenloons founder, is always on the lookout for exceptional ecotourism operators who can meet the demand for green travel estimated to be growing 5% annually worldwide. The following operators went through an extensive process of certified third-party vetting before Lane added them to the Greenloons collection.  
Spirit of Nepal (12 days; July, August departures; minimum age 12): This eco-luxury trip unravels mysteries of Nepal’s ancient secrets by trekking unexplored nature paths, viewing Architectural marvels including Pashupatinath Temple and the Buddhist holy cities of Boudhanath and UNESCO-protected Bhaktapur, peeking into Gurung villages to see how the locals have lived for centuries, and partaking in an elephant safari in the Chitwan National Park while on alert for sightings of Royal Bengal tigers, rhinos, leopards, black bears, monkeys, crocodiles, deer and exotic birds.

Realm of the Polar Bear  (8 days; June, July, August departures; minimum age 10): From close-up encounters with icebergs to the Arctic’s plentiful wildlife, this is a small ship voyage of nonstop highlights. Guests spot whales and polar bears, listen to and watch Arctic birdlife and glaciers, discover breathtaking ice-covered fjords, glimpse herds of Svalbard’s unique reindeer, brave the Arctic waters for a polar plunge and take advantage of time spent with expert guides.
Swedish Timber Raft Adventure (6 days; June, August departures; minimum age 6 and able to swim): This trip has it all over on Tom Sawyer while rafting Sweden’s southerly wilderness. Guests under supervision build their own log rafts before going down the river Klarälven where they’ll pass small villages or just hear the sounds of the spruce forest along the way. Evenings are either in camps or in lodges (guest choice). Other activities include canoeing, photography, fishing, camping and adventure sightseeing.

Peru Hike, Bike & Raft (16 days; July, August departures; minimum age 12; $2,999 per person): Guests hike, bike and paddle through Peru's Andes Mountains and into the jungle below. They conquer the whitewater of the Apurimac River by raft and hike the Inca Trail to the cloud forest citadel of Machu Picchu. Mountain bikes come into play on the descent into the Manu Cloud Forest. There’s more adrenalin to come on optional excursions such as swimming and spotting wildlife around the Palomina Islands.
Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama (15 days; August departures; minimum age 16): Central America's narrow isthmus lends itself perfectly to exploration on two wheels. From the colonial hub of Granada to bustling Panama City, guests discover Costa Rica's steamy rainforests, La Fortuna's Arenal Volcano and the island paradise of Bocas del Toro. They visit a nature lover's paradise along Lake Nicaragua, cruise along the Tenorio River and snorkel over Panama's reefs before biking along the Panama Canal.  On average guests bike 22 miles daily on tarmac (80%) and groomed dirt (20%) roads. 

Greenloons ( makes it easy to connect adults and families to meaningful and unique nature-based travel experiences all over the world. Because Greenloons only works with third-party eco-certified tour operators and sustainable tourism accommodation providers, the company provides a level of assurance to eco-conscious travelers that these small group vacations not only offer distinction and quality in pristine natural surroundings, but they have also been independently verified as emphasizing conservation education, respecting local cultural traditions and supporting local communities.  For pricing and information, visit

First Fairtrade Chewing Gum Enters the Market

For the first time in the history of chewing gum, boxes of Glee Gum now will feature the FAIRTRADE certification mark. The mark guarantees that the cane sugar sweetening all six flavors of classic Glee Gum meets the social, economic and environmental standards set by Fairtrade International.

Fairtrade International, a non-profit organization, oversees an alternative system of global trade in which farmers and workers are paid a fair and stable price for their produce, regardless of changes in the market. As the mark gains recognition with conscientious consumers, Fair Trade sales continue to rise, with estimated increases of 12% in product sales and 21% in sugar sales from 2010 to 2011.

“We’re thrilled to debut the first Fair Trade certified gum, and hope to see many other candy companies follow suit,” says Deborah Schimberg, founder and president of Verve, Inc., makers of Glee Gum.  “From the outset, our products were designed to help people think about where foods come from, how raw materials and natural resources can be used responsibly, and how communities around the world depend upon one another to help build a healthier future.  This certification signifies an important and exciting step in our continued commitment to environmental and social justice.”

In addition to offering the first Fair Trade gum, Glee is the only gum in North America still made with chicle— a tree sap harvested sustainably from Central American rainforests.  The chewy texture of other gums comes entirely from synthetic materials. But Glee uses chicle as an eco-friendly way to help conserve the rainforest, giving trees more value standing than chopped down for lumber.

Glee Gum is made with all natural ingredients including: pure cane sugar, rice syrup, natural flavorings and colorings. Our gum base has super chewy natural chicle harvested from Sapodilla trees in the rain forests of Central America.

Glee Gum is: vegetarian, additive free, lactose free, dairy free, wheat free, gluten free, casein free, egg free, yeast free, nut free, and peanut free.  * All Glee Gum is soy free. Please note, however, that other products containing soy lecithin are processed in the same facility as Glee Gum.

Glee Gum has: all natural ingredients, rice syrup instead of corn syrup, natural chicle, delicious, long-lasting, and popular flavors: tangerine, peppermint, cinnamon, spearmint, bubblegum and triple berry.

Glee Gum does NOT have: artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, saccharin or cyclamate).

For more info, visit

Buy, Sell or Trade with the People You Trust
Introducing:  Palcycle

In the fall of 2010, Jeff Shardell, founder of Palcycle casually mentioned to his friends while walking them through his garage that he was looking at getting rid of a few items—an older vacuum cleaner and a lawn mower. One of his friends responded immediately, saying he was looking to buy both items but didn’t want to pay retail. A quick deal followed and Jeff realized that many of us would be happy to get rid of the stuff sitting in our garage and closets if it weren’t such a hassle. Traditional garage sales are a lot of work for generally very little return. There are also the other websites but some people may be uncomfortable with a stranger coming to your house for a product pick up.

Out of this was born the idea of Palcycle; the ability to buy, sell and trade within your trusted group of friends, friend's friends and groups and companies you are affiliated with! Not only is it a great feeling to clear out your house of stuff for which you no longer have a use, but you are also helping out a friend and keeping unwanted items out of your local landfill.

Palcycle is a new website that offers a smarter, safer way to sell or trade unwanted items by doing it exclusively with friends, family and colleagues.

Palcycle is a free and no-hassle way to recycle unwanted items in a safe environment where you control who sees your listing and how the deal gets done. Utilizing existing social networks—friends, family members, colleagues and acquaintances—Paycycle members can do business within their own communities. Palcycle members can also easily link their posted items to their Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts, engaging an even a wider circle of friends and family in the online trading process.

For more information, visit