From the Community: Holiday Gift Edition
Ecological science comes in all shapes and sizes, and holiday gift-giving is no exception. If you prefer your celebrations to be infused with science, then you might enjoy these holiday gift ideas as well. Who knows, maybe friends and relatives will learn a little bit about ecology too!
Games: For those of us who would like to include science in our competitive pursuits, thankfully there are plenty of options. The card game Parasites Unleashed!, for example, challenges players to behave like a nematode worm or other parasites, invading, boring and populating their way to success. In the Animals Linkology Science Card Game, players connect species with words that describe their physical characteristics, classification or behavior—such as wings, bird, predator. For active kids and adults, there are Forest Council Stewardship certified sports balls available as well.
For kids: Especially for children, learning is observing first-hand and up close. To help them generate questions about habitats and animal behavior, try a colorful ant farm or a window mounting bird house. A talking microscope could be perfect for a junior entomologist. There is also Smithsonian’s EcoDome Habitat that challenges kids to maintain separate ecosystems and keep them interconnected. And Plush Food Chain Friends are pretty self-explanatory.
Clothing: There are of course catchy t-shirts with phrases such as, “Taxonomy: Keeping the family in order” and “Natural Selection: Good things come to those who mate.” But thoughtful gifts such as repurposed jewelry made from typewriter keys or old cookbooks have an appealing artisan flare and reduce waste.
Inside, outside: Terrariums are coming back in style as chic home accessories; these can be purchased or easily made out of empty wine bottles or old light bulbs. Also, a portable charger that generates power from kinetic energy is perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities—the more walking, the more energy is charged.
Wrapping: Presents are usually not considered complete without wrapping. If the comic’s section of the newspaper is not cutting it, then there are some other creative options. Seeded wrapping paper, for example, can be planted in the spring for perennial wildflowers, and the gift could be secured with botany tape to start a conversation about the importance of natural collections.
Photo Credit: j.bautista