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4 activities to teach kids about the environment

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Do you want to teach your children about the importance of protecting the planet? Here are four fun activities you can do as a family.

1. Gardening. Whether you grow herbs on a windowsill or plant a vegetable garden in your backyard, this is a hands-on way for children to learn about responsibility and how food grows.

2. Planting a tree. Once it’s in the ground, encourage your kids to observe how their tree changes with the seasons and provides a home for animals. They can even give it a name.

3. Crafting. Challenge your kids to make art out of cardboard boxes, bottle caps, plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, and other recyclable materials. A quick online search will provide plenty of inspiration.



4. Exploring. Children can learn a lot simply by getting close to nature on a hike or bike ride. Alternatively, you can visit a local farm, botanical garden, or wildlife refuge. Many places also offer virtual tours.

Regardless of which activity you do, make sure to use the opportunity to start a conversation with your kids. Depending on their age, you can talk about how the environment affects their lives, why it’s important to respect nature, and the ways they can help protect the planet.

Mark your calendar!
On April 22, celebrate Earth Day as a family by coming up with ways you can be more eco-friendly at home and in your daily lives.

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7 books to reflect on

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Are you looking to expand your reading list? Here’s a selection of literary works that’ll encourage you to contemplate a variety of social issues and what it means to be human.

1. 1984 by George Orwell
This seminal dystopian social science fiction novel depicts a future characterized by totalitarian rule, mass surveillance and the persecution of independent thinking.

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
In a dystopian society where books are outlawed, a fireman tasked with burning any volume he finds begins to question his role in censoring literature and destroying knowledge.

3. King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes
Originally published in French, this book is a series of essays that combine the stylings of a memoir and a feminist manifesto to denounce the subjugation of women.


4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Set in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this novella recounts the year-long friendship of a struggling writer and a young woman who rejects social conventions.

5. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
With the help of simple yet elegant illustrations, this beloved classic explores friendship, love, and the things that are lost when children grow up.

6. Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
The author explores themes of vanity and technological advancement in a story about the creation of a monster that’s rejected by society due to its grotesque appearance.

7. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
This absurdist tale, in which a man struggles to adjust after he inexplicably transforms into a giant insect, alludes to the alienation experienced by those who are different.

Look for these and other intriguing titles at the Royal Oak bookstore.

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What you need for a butterfly garden

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Many plants rely on butterflies to pollinate them. Here’s what you’ll need to create a habitat for these beautiful insects in your backyard.

• Sunshine. Choose a site that gets plenty of sunlight and is sheltered from the wind. Add a few flat rocks, so butterflies can warm up.

• Host plants. Adult butterflies need to lay their eggs on plants that caterpillars can eat such as dill, fennel, milkweed, and parsley.

• Mud puddles. Some butterflies get their nutrients from the water in damp soil and sand, so leave a few areas free of mulch and keep them moist.



• Nectar plants. Asters, coneflowers, milkweed, phlox, and zinnias are just some of the flowering plants that attract butterflies. Choose species native to your region.

• Varied blooms. To provide butterflies with a viable home, you’ll need a variety of plants, so there are flowers in your garden from spring until fall.

In the fall, let leaves accumulate in your garden so that caterpillars, chrysalises, and dormant adults have a warm place to overwinter.

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7 tips to make spring cleaning more

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Are you ready to freshen up your home after a long winter cooped up inside? Here are seven ways to give your house the deep clean it needs while also helping to protect the environment.

1. Air-dry your laundry
Since dryers use a massive amount of energy, take advantage of nice weather by hanging your clothes and linens outside or use a drying rack.

2. Opt for natural cleaners
Choose biodegradable products rather than harsh chemicals that harm the environment. You can also use white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice to get the job done.

3. Use water sparingly
Fill a bucket rather than repeatedly opening the tap to rinse your cloth. When possible, use a broom instead of a mop.


4. Switch to reusable rags
Give up paper towels for good. Buy washable cloths, or better yet, use cut-up towels and old T-shirts that would otherwise be thrown out.

5. Donate unwanted clothes
If they’re in good condition, you can give old clothes to a local charity. Items that can’t be worn anymore should be recycled. Look for a garment collection program in your area.

6. Reduce paper waste
If an accumulation of bank statements and other mail is creating clutter in your home, switch over to receiving notifications by email instead.

7. Choose a natural scent
Rather than rely on aerosol air fresheners, fill your home with the natural fragrances of cut flowers, essential oils, reed diffusers, or stovetop potpourri.

Lastly, make sure to schedule maintenance calls for all your appliances. This will ensure they continue to run optimally and are as energy-efficient as possible.

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4 challenging vegetables to grow

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With enough sunlight and water, most vegetables are easy to grow. However, if you’re looking for a challenge, here are four crops that gardeners tend to struggle with.

• Carrots need to be consistently watered and weeded. They also require soil that has the right nutrients and temperature to avoid coming out skinny, cracked, deformed, or bitter.

• Cauliflower heads can turn brown in boron-deficient soil or develop a yellow tint if the plant gets too much sun. Additionally, exposure to temperature fluctuations early in the season can stunt its growth.

• Celery stalks may go to seed too soon or not grow at all if exposed to cold temperatures. They also need soil with just the right amount of calcium and boron.



• Head lettuce requires more time to mature than leaf lettuce. This increases the likelihood that the plant will go to seed too soon and give the leaves a bitter taste.

If you need advice about growing vegetables, speak with the experts at your local farmers market, nursery, or garden center.

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An overview of ‘eco-design’ and ‘eco-friendly’ products

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Do you want to be a more eco-conscious consumer? Here’s what you need to know about ecological design and eco-friendly products, so you can use your purchasing power for the good of the planet.

Eco-design
An “eco-design” product or service is one that’s created using methods of production that limit its environmental impact. This approach requires companies to take various factors into consideration, including the environmental and financial costs, the lifespan of the product, and the ways the manufacturing process can be optimized. In some cases, eco-certification standards must also be considered.

Additionally, when a company develops a product in accordance with ecological design principles, it takes into account the environmental impact of every step in the manufacturing process, from sourcing materials to product distribution. This includes the potential depletion of natural resources, pollution, greenhouse gas emission, and energy consumption.

By creating products in this manner, companies can meet both the expectations of increasingly eco-conscious consumers and the requirements of local environmental protection regulations.


Eco-friendly products
Products and services are considered eco-friendly if they provide the same or better results compared to the generic version, while also creating considerably less air, water, or land pollution. These products are generally manufactured using eco-design principles, but they also have little to no impact on the environment during their lifespan. Additionally, eco-friendly products are either biodegradable or can be recycled or repurposed as part of a circular economy.

If you want to use your purchasing power to help protect the environment, find out which local businesses have eco-friendly initiatives and practices, and be sure to buy their products or services.

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Signs of a nitrogen imbalance

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Your garden’s soil needs to contain the right amount of nitrogen to ensure healthy plant growth and reproduction. Here’s how to spot an imbalance and what you can do about it.

Not enough
If your plants don’t have access to enough of this essential nutrient, they’ll look sickly and their leaves will eventually yellow and fall off. A nitrogen deficiency will also affect the plant’s growth, possibly delaying the production of flowers and fruit.

Too much
While your plants need plenty of nitrogen to thrive, an excess will prevent them from blooming or producing fruit. Nitrogen toxicity is also characterized by extremely dark green leaves, sometimes with brown, crispy edges.

What to do
If you suspect that your garden has a nitrogen imbalance, test the soil to confirm. This will ensure you don’t add too much and create an excess. However, if the test reveals a deficiency, you can use an organic fertilizer such as compost to add nutrients to the soil.


Pick up a soil testing kit and organic fertilizer at your local garden center.

 

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

May
8
Sat
2:00 pm Mother’s Day Weekend Paint Party... @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Mother’s Day Weekend Paint Party... @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
May 8 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Mother's Day Weekend Paint Party - Hydrangeas @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Bring Mom to The Studio for our Mother’s Day Weekend Special. Buy two tickets and save! This will be a lovely piece to add to your collections… and so much fun to paint. Join us[...]
8:00 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 8 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area – behind Mount Bleak. Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion Lab[...]
May
9
Sun
2:00 pm Mother’s Day Weekend Paint Party... @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Mother’s Day Weekend Paint Party... @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
May 9 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Mother's Day Weekend Paint Party - Daisies @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Bring Mom to The Studio for our Mother’s Day Weekend Special. Buy two tickets and save! This will be a lovely piece to add to your collections… and so much fun to paint. Join us[...]
May
13
Thu
6:30 pm Law Enforcement Officers Memoria... @ Front Royal Gazebo
Law Enforcement Officers Memoria... @ Front Royal Gazebo
May 13 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service @ Front Royal Gazebo
Please join Warren County/Front Royal Back the Blue, in partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police and Front Royal/Warren County Lodge #33, during National Police Week as we honor our local Law Enforcement Officers who[...]
May
14
Fri
12:00 pm Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
May 14 @ 12:00 pm
Millionaire Maker Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Join us for the 2021 Millionaire Maker held at award-winning Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club. The Millionaire Maker is a combined golfing and networking experience! Serious, amateur, and novice golfers are welcome. *Four golfers who[...]
May
15
Sat
7:30 am Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf ... @ Bowling Green Country Club South
Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf ... @ Bowling Green Country Club South
May 15 @ 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf Tournament @ Bowling Green Country Club South
Please join us for the Captain’s Choice/Best Ball Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for the Linden Volunteer Fire Department. The event will be held Saturday, May 15, 2021, at Bowling Green Country Club South (768 Bowling[...]
10:00 am Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
May 15 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Fort Loudoun Day: Living History @ Historic Fort Loudoun Site
Bring the family and enjoy a fun day learning about the history of the French & Indian War era at the site of Colonel George Washington’s headquarters for the Virginia Regiment. Meet living history interpreters[...]
11:00 am National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 15 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
National Kids to Parks Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Children’s Discovery Area: This National Kids to Parks Day, join us for fun-filled activities and music at our interactive discovery stations. Kids, pick up a scavenger hunt brochure and hike on the Track Trail. Just[...]
May
16
Sun
9:00 am Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
May 16 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Virginia Psychic Fair @ Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge
Psychic Fair for both those who are serious and for those who are just curious. Event can be a life changing experience or just a fun time! Many of the best psychics, mediums, healers, and[...]
1:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 16 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects of beekeeping from hive construction to[...]