TogetherYes

Sustainability for the Community

TogetherYes - Sustainability for the Community

Friends With Squirrels

Sometimes, squirrels steal bird food and get into things they shouldn’t. But mostly, they are our friends.

Mother Nature has work for squirrels to do. They are part of the food chain. They also bury nuts (mostly acorns) in the ground. They eat most of these nuts during the winter, but some nuts grow into new trees!

Squirrels are fun to watch. They move quickly, and when they are eating, they fluff out their tails and curl them over their backs. They sit up to eat, holding the food in their front paws so they can nibble on it. If you look carefully, you can see that their eyes are always open, watching for larger animals that might bother them.

This year, the oak trees where we live did not make enough acorns to feed the squirrels through the winter, so they will be getting hungry about now. They will have trouble finding food until spring comes with its new plants and seeds for them to eat. We know this because scientists have studied it and told us about it.

You can help the squirrels this winter by putting crumbled bread, nuts, and cereals (all called grains) in your yard. Not too much, though. Squirrels are small and do not need a lot of food.

Be careful. Squirrels should not eat salt or sugar. Cereal that has sugar in it is not good for them. It isn’t good for you either, so be happy when your parents buy un-sugared cereal. Too much salt is not good for squirrels’ hearts. Do not give them nuts that have been salted.

Never try to catch or touch a squirrel. They are wild animals, and might bite or scratch you if they are frightened.

Squirrels will not usually come eat grains you put out for them if you are near. Sometimes, you have to go away, and later see that the squirrel food is gone! But if you look out the window, you might see them munching away in your yard.

CLEAN UP THE EARTH

As humans build things, and live their lives, they can make a mess.  Factories and cars send stinky, sometimes poisonous gas into the sky. The stinky poison gets stuck in the clouds, and then falls back onto Earth and into the oceans as dirty water. Fish and other animals have to swim in that water.  And so do we. We also have to drink water!

The way the Earth would like to work is this: the trees will make new, fresh air, and that will help clean the clouds and water.  But we are also cutting down too many trees for that to happen.  We are making too big of a mess, and we need to make some changes.

There are things you can do to help clean up the mess.

The first thing you can do is to use less, and that way you will make less trash.  Remember that everything you throw away has to go somewhere. Would you like to play on a playground that is full of stinky trash?  Would you swim in a pool with brown, smelly water and yucky trash floating around? Me neither!  But that is what is happening to some parts of our planet. Some lakes and rivers are filling up with trash.  Some kids have to live next to big heaps of garbage.  Some animals eat the garbage and drink the dirty water, and it makes them sick.  Sometimes it makes the animals die.

So make sure that when you and your family go to the store, you bring reusable cloth bags, or bring your old plastic bags and use them again and again.  Those bags can be very dangerous for animals if they get stuck in them, and they never “disintegrate.” That means they never turn into soil and go back into the Earth.  They will stay here forever and ever.  A plastic bag that you get while grocery shopping could be floating around in a lake where your great, great, great, great grandchildren are trying to swim!

Think about all the things you use each day, and try to figure out a way to throw away less trash. Another thing to do is to get a stainless steel water bottle instead of buying bottled water to drink.  All of those plastic bottles are wasteful, and they never disintegrate either.  So the first two things you and your family can do are: reusable bags, and reusable water bottles.  Do that right away, and you have already started to make a big difference!

A challenge for Norwood kids and their families this summer is to walk more.  Every time you walk instead of taking a car someplace, you prevent stinky gases from going into the air.  It is also healthier for you and your family!  You can get some exercise, and help clean up the Earth!  Same thing goes for riding bikes–just remember to wear your helmets and follow all traffic laws!

Help by reminding your parents and family.  Anytime they have an errand to run, or they need to go someplace in town, ask them to try walking there.  If it is too far to walk, help your family plan to do all of their errands on the same day, so they drive less.

If you see trash on the ground, pick it up and put it in the garbage or recycling bin.  If you can recycle something in your home (plastic, glass, aluminum cans, paper, and
cardboard) please do that too!  Reuse clothes, and sports equipment, and trade with your brothers and sisters, cousins and friends.  There are lots of ways to use less.

Please let us know how you are doing!  We want to hear about Norwood kids and their families making real changes to Save our Earth!  You can email us (ask someone to help if you need) at sustain@tgryes.org.

Walk as often as you can, and come back here to the Together Yes For Kid’s Category for your next challenge!

Colleen Reynolds

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