ILCA Women’s Networking Group

“Un” Black Friday by corumkeller
November 27, 2009, 9:38 pm
Filed under: 1

By Christa Orum-Keller

While others were struggling to walk the aisles to get the best deal of the day, I took a walk in the woods with my kids.  Well, ‘woods’ may be a bit of a stretch, it was a walk between the golf course and remnant woodlands in the typical subdivision of my in-laws in Ohio.  We collected beech and oak leaves, including what we identified as the ‘largest’ Swamp White Oak leaf ever.  My son peeked up a hollow tree to see if there were tiny creatures warming themselves inside.  We saw evidence of busy woodpeckers.  We heard and saw a Blue Jay as well as flurries of little Chickadees.  And then, just before we arrived at our pond destination, a pond nestled amid a more substantial woodland remnant, a white tail deer leaped across our path.  Great excitement that was!  For both my six and one year olds, this was certainly more exciting than anything we would have found at the mall.

My son found the perfect long straight log, not too high, not too low, and jumping on, with a “Look at me mom!” it became the perfect balance beam.  Our friend Mr. Red Tail Hawk came for a swooping visit and oh, I forgot to mention the snow.  Along the way there were a few snow balls thrown.  Our feet were wet and so were our hands and then a lesson about how to warm your chilly fingers on your warm belly while you walked or ran as fast as possible.

Just a few houses before we came home to our cousin’s house, I noticed a yard with a sign saying, “TLC Landscaping, Your Natural Landscape Alternative”.  I scanned the yard for native plants, a rain garden, a composter…none spotted, although I had noticed the design was a bit more creative and cozy as compared to the other cookie cutter ‘scapes.

Walking on the edge of development and nature, consumer and naturalist, it reminded me of how much opportunity there is for our industry in terms of educating the public and our customers.  We might assume our customers hold set viewpoints, but observing the excitement through a child’s eye about something as simple as identifying a leaf or a bird, our customers might hold that same fascination.  And every small thing matters.  Educating them about how to identify a beech vs. an oak or educating them about one native plant which they will find in their garden and about what insect species it will support – each small step can increase our business, improve peoples’ lives and begin to help improve our ecology.

Two Woodland Explorers…


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I love how you turn your life experiences into education and information for others. Thanks, Christa!

Comment by Terre Houte

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