American society as a whole is lossing interest in the natural world

New Mexico 2009

Native squash bloom and bumblebee

For the past two years (2009-2010), Happy Tonics, Inc. has exhibited at the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico’s Annual Xeriscape Landscaping and Water Conservation Conference.  We are proud to be connected with the Council and their work. The following article was sent by Scott Varmer, Executive Director, Xeriscape Council of New Mexico. 

by George Radnovich

Americans are staying inside in record numbers; they are playing on computers, watching television, eating perhaps too often and generally leading a very sedentary lifestyle. This has at least in part caused skyrocketing healthcare costs and obesity, especially in our children. Collateral disadvantages to this situation are that we are paying less and less attention to our outside environments as a society. This situation also does very little to educate our society about the way the natural world works and how important water is to us in arid lands. The Xeriscape Council of New Mexico sees this as an epic problem; we need to get people out into their landscapes and those of our public lands, we need to instill the wonder of looking at a flower into our children and we need to re-energize our connection to the environment and water use. Re-Connect to the Environment is the Theme of the Water Conservation Conference presented by the Council this year and I would like to be the first to Welcome you to our conference and this interesting topic!

We at the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico work very hard to deliver the most relevant topics and issues concerning our environment, water conservation and water management along with green technologies and water appropriate landscaping; these are among the most important issues of this century, and we will discuss them. However, our conference this year will concentrate on the nexus of getting people outside to learn, learn about watersheds, landscapes and yes water use.

Our speakers this year will be led by our keynote for the first day of the conference Pat Mulroy. Her leadership at the Southern Nevada Water Authority has brought water and drought issues to the forefront in Las Vegas and her strong leadership style has catapulted Las Vegas to the front of the debate. On the second day of the conference I think you’ll enjoy hearing from Mitchell Joachim (pronounced Jo-ak-um) an architect with decidedly different ideas about architecture and the natural world. He will discuss the nexus of architecture and biology and some very interesting ideas in architecture and urban design. Other speakers will talk about the importance of wild places, how to treat them and particularly how to get people out into them! We hope this year’s conference will give you the tools to understand these differences and treat them with healthy environmentally appropriate regard. Last year’s conference was much better attended than our expectations for this year – the economy is at play here. However, that hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm and we are proud that we are one of the largest national conferences devoted to outdoor water conservation in the country. We will continue to provide one of the best venues for new ideas and concepts for water conservation, policy, and methodologies for design.

Thank You and Best Regards,

George Radnovich, President
Xeriscape Council of New Mexico

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Happy Tonics attends conservation conference

Ray Powell and Mary Ellen Ryall

Ray Powell, Jane Goodall Institute and Mary Ellen Ryall, Happy Tonics.

Albuquerque, NM – Ray Powell, Jane Goodall Institute and former Land Commissioner of New Mexico, spoke about youth and that they are disconnected from nature at the Xeriscape Landscape and Water Conservation Conference held in Albuquerque, NM.  Mary Ellen Ryall, Shell Lake, of Happy Tonics, attended the conference.

Richard Louve wrote a book on this subject titled “The Last Child in the Woods.” Powell stated that the average youth spends 30 minutes outside each day. This time is not necessarily playtime but rather time it takes to walk to and from the car, bus or to ride a bike to and from school.

Youth environmental educators need to make a bridge for youth to grasp the message that it is their world that they are inheriting. Goodall says, “We have a choice to make use of our life and make the world a better place.” Considering that youth of today have become cynical, educators ned to understand the root causes, be compassionate, give hope and help youth feel empowered.

When communicating with youth, one needs to understand that 7 percent of what they understand is verbal, 38 percent is vocal tone and 55 percent is in body language. The message we are giving kids and they understand on an average of 50 percent is, “Do we care?”

Happy Tonics of Shell Lake plans to sponsor several youth environmental education opportunities this summer. Their goal is to change behavior from one of hopelessness to hope and to encourage youth to participate in healthy outdoor environmental education, activity, advocacy and action.

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