How to Pack a Perfectly “Green” Picnic
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Protecting yourself: Sunscreens and insect repellent are often a necessary part of any summer get-together. Stick to products that are made with fewer chemicals and toxins; aim for all-natural ingredients. Some popular sunscreen brands include Aubrey's Organics, Burt's Bees, and Kiss My Face. Natrapel has an insect repellent that's DEET-free and effective for all but the most mosquito-infested areas. Other popular brands include Bite Blocker, All-Terrain Herbal Armor, and Burt's Bees Lemongrass Insect Lotion.
Protecting habitat: While exploring is part of the fun of playing in nature, be careful to teach children (and pets!) to respect the flora and fauna you encounter. Encourage children to admire flowers, but not to pick them; be fascinated by critters but don't harass them. Pack binoculars so kids can feel like they're getting up close and personal without stressing any of the creatures they spot. Stay on paths, take only photographs and leave with only memories.
Educate yourself and your family: Read books about clouds and weather, pack a bug or bird book to identify creatures you might see, and allow kids their own journals to record the day.
Pack it in, pack it out: Be sure to take away any garbage you generate and take home any recyclables. And don't hesitate to pick up after those who won't pick up after themselves. After all, we're parents. We should be used to it.
LESLIE GARRETT is a mother of three, and author of "The Virtuous Consumer: Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World (and one that our children will thank us for)". Visit her at www.virtuousconsumer.com