Earth Day for Every Day

I know it's hard to change - trust me, there are so many ways I struggle with changing my behaviour! Individual level change is impacted by many factors, including socio-economic status, life stressors, personality and motivation. Despite our individual differences, we all share one thing in common - every living creature depends on this earth for our survival. We all have to drink water, we all have to eat, we all need oxygen to breathe, and we all must find somewhere safe (and warm) to live.

And so we are ALL responsible for making changes to the way we treat our home. Celebrating Earth Day is a great place to start, but the positive changes we make must translate into permanent change - for the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Join me all this week as I share the little ways our family works to save this glorious planet for our future generations. You won't hear any preaching from me, but you will hear some great ideas. I'll also share the ways in which I neglect my eco-duties, and areas where I hope to make some of my own positive change.

Will you join me?


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A Journey Through Time: The Vale Earth Gallery at the Museum of Nature

by Victoria When the invitation went out from Karen and Lara at Kids In The Capital for a blogger (or two) to attend the members’ only opening of the new Vale Earth Gallery at the Canadian Museum of Nature, the timing couldn’t have been better. I was on the cusp of starting a new job at NRCan in the Earth Sciences Sector, so I wanted to spend an evening at the museum learning more about the work of my colleagues, in addition to introducing my two older children to the wonders of geology.

The result of two years of planning and three months of renovations, the 8,000 sq. ft. Vale Earth Gallery is a smaller, permanent renewal of the gallery that opened in 2010. There is quite a lot to experience in the gallery, from building a volcano to exploring a limestone cave with a dripping waterfall (complete with life-like bats) to manipulating a two-metre animated globe. The hands-on exhibits make the whole experience literally come alive for both parents and children, with plenty of buttons to push, knobs to spin, and levers to pull.

Best of all, however, are the 14 giant minerals, including crystals, which reportedly weigh between 45 and 225 kg. It was neat to be able to show my daughter one of the best examples of an amethyst - the February purple gem that also happens to be my birthstone - in the world. I was entranced by the diamonds from theNorthwest Territories’ Akati mine, cousins to the stone in my engagement ring by source alone.

My teenage son enjoyed himself immensely with the Sedimentator, the Magmanator, and the Metamorphicator, three simulation machines that allow visitors the chance to create their own type of rock. The ability to cause an earthquake, albeit in a controlled setting, created one of the best bonding opportunities between a child and his stepfather that a mother could ask for. Their goofy grins will forever be embedded in my memory.

Entry to the Vale Earth Gallery is included with regular museum admission. For full details, including fees and hours, go to

Victoria Martin blogs at Girl Gone Wired (, a parenting and lifestyle blog; and is the Social Media Lead for Kruising for Keely (, a family team devoted to raising funds for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. She lives inOttawa,Ontariowith her fiancé, David, and their three children.

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Visiting the Vale Earth Gallery

By AndreaMy daughter and I had the opportunity to attend the newly renovated Vale Earth Gallery opening at The Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. This Gallery is open to the public on November 30th but we had the chance to see it the day before.

Our family has been members of this museum for two years now. Having this membership is one of the best educational investments we’ve made for our children ages 8, 4 and 8 months. The child-friendly and interactive displays pertaining to natural history and natural sciences have lent a hand to school projects, personal interest and regularly satisfy the inquisitive minds of two of my three oldest children with their countless questions relating to our natural world.

I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive when found out which exhibit was reopening. This particular exhibit was not one we visited regularly – not because it wasn’t well done, The Canadian Museum of Nature does not do anything poorly – but because it hadn’t appealed to the kids who were always with me. I’d enjoyed seeing the beautiful glass-encased minerals but just found myself imagining what beautiful earrings they’d have made.

That being said, I am not an expert on this or any topic of natural science. I am just a mom who wants to foster her children’s interests and provide them access to the information and experiences this museum has to offer.

My oldest daughter, Hannah, age 8, (aka. Nature Girl) has had a rock collection since she was two. I think every child has hunted for beautiful stones on a beach, a forest or a park at some point in their lives. I borrowed books to help identify these rocks but found the task of identifying and classifying minerals to be daunting.

To my delight, I found this new exhibition helped fill gaps in our knowledge and understanding of mineralogy. Even better, my daughter was completely engaged in the displays and interactive features this permanent display has to offer. Fortunately when my children are engaged, I have time read and learn myself. The gallery starts at the beginning – literally. We read about the “big bang”, touched and examined meteorites that have fallen to earth and learned about the earth’s layers. She was particularly captivated by learning the consequences of a change in the solar system (ie. the absence of Jupiter or change in distance of between earth and the moon).

Around the corner she had the opportunity to control a 6-ft animated globe. She discovered how the plates divide and what the world would look like if the water evaporated.

This exhibition allowed us to see some of the most extraordinary mineral formations, some of which she has in her own personal collection. You have the opportunity to see an animation of how rocks and minerals form and what makes a mineral a mineral. A favourite highlight included the opportunity to view minerals under fluorescent light. You will be pleasantly surprised in what happens!

A compliment to the current Nature Unleashed temporary exhibit is an interactive opportunity to make a volcano or cause an earthquake. Visitors can also make different rocks with the Sedimentator (which makes sedimentary rock), Magmanator (makes magmatic rock) and the Metaporphicator (makes metamorphic rock). Another complimentary feature was the sedimentary rock face from Saskatchewan featuring embedded fossils. Children love to search for items – especially when they’re looking for a T-Rex’s tooth!

Hands down, the most popular part of the display was the replica of a limestone cave. The opportunity to be immersed into this realistic environment with dripping waterfalls and the challenge of identifying cave features and creatures was a great experience.

I feel this exhibition was designed with children in mind. The gallery used video, interactive consoles, comic strips, experiments, actual samples and simulated environments to engage children and their senses at their height level. I also feel it filled a huge hole in the museum’s content.

Every visit to this museum involved a mandatory “visit to the dinos!” but I suspect we’ll be adding a “visit to the rocks!” as well.

PS – Ok, I did find the earrings I’d like too! ;)

I am a wife and loving mom to three amazing children ages 8, 4 and 8 months, who continue to fascinate me with their inquiring minds and desire to discover. I learn through them.

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