Nature's Niceties: Gift Edition
Enjoy our list of nifty last-minute gift items for nature lovers. There's something for everyone - from the animal lover and avid outdoorsman to the constant gardener. There's even something for that crazy, eco-friendly cousin or colleague. Even better: everything on the list is affordable. Enjoy!
Got a few hikers in your life? You might want to stuff their stockings with a few extra items this holiday season to ensure they don't meet disaster in the great outdoors.
Winter is not exactly a forgiving season, and even the hardiest of boots sometimes have trouble finding traction on packed snow and ice. That's where great additions like these Yaktrax can come in handy. Slipping snugly over the soles of your shoes, these ice-trotters will make those morning strolls a whole lot more comfortable and safe. ($22)
Once things warm up, your hiker will be thrilled to have a LifeStraw Personal on hand...
A handheld version of the award winning - and life-saving - water filter, the LifeStraw Personal is used just as the name implies: stick the straw into any unfiltered water source and drink away, without worry over waterborne bacteria, parasites, or harmful chemicals. Used worldwide by clean water groups, LifeStraw will even work to provide a child in Africa with clean water for an entire school year for each product purchased in the US and Canada. The Personal weighs a mere 2 oz. and filters up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water. (~$20)
The photographer in your life likely already owns all the gear you can imagine, but what about a motion-activated camera? Just like the ones used by field researchers and wildlife officials, a night-ready trail camera catches the round-the-clock, split second shots photographers would otherwise miss. Price varies on resolution. ($100 - $300)
For Animal Lovers
Finding wildlife may be tough, but not with National Geographic's 8x21 mini-binoculars.
These 6.5-ounce, water-resistant, rubber-armored binoculars are ideal for tossing into your backpack on the go. Not only are they easy to use and lightweight, but they bring objects eight times closer, so you'll be ready to spot wildlife and follow the trail ahead. ($29.95)
If you want to get a different kind of in-depth look at some of nature's most remarkable moments, then this gift is for you. The Ultimate Nature DVD collection from National Geographic will take you on a journey to exotic landscapes - from the African savannah to the deep ocean. You'll also be treated to rarely-seen footage of top predators, like leopards and wolves, compete for survival. National Geographic's award-winning program explores the animal kingdom and all the hardships and wonder it has to offer. ($85.00)
Gifting a package of seeds may not sound particularly thrilling, even for avid gardeners. But gifting a no-hassle beehive? Now that's exciting! This gorgeous woven bamboo bee house was designed to attract the mason bee (genus Osmia), a small pollinator that traditionally makes it home in the hollows of reeds or wood. (~$20)
These little spring pollinators are rather calm and will only sting if squeezed or stepped on, making them a great addition to any flower garden.
Having trouble attracting bees? That's where Attracting Native Pollinators can come in handy. This 2011 book, which is based on many years of pollinator conservation work and bee study, is published by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation who encourage gardeners to bring more life to their backyards. ($25)
For Eco-friendly Folks
Trees are known to absorb carbon dioxide, a harmful greenhouse gas - so why not help cleanse our atmosphere while simultaneously adding some greenery to your home by growing your very own bonsai tree? Equipped with tree and moss seeds, three seedling training pots, a growing medium, bonsai scissors and rake, this bonsai forest kit provides the necessary tools to grow a Chinese dawn redwood tree, a species that was once thought to be extinct. ($60.00)
We all need our coffee in the morning, and Keurigs are a quick and easy way to get your caffeine fix. But Keurig coffee lovers use 8.3 billion disposable coffee pods, enough to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. Reduce your impact on the environment with this reusable, stainless steel K-cup. You place it in your machine like you would a standard plastic K-cup, and brew to perfection. It'll save you money - and the environment. ($15.99)
For parents who want to turn science into a fun adventure for kids, the SmartLab Toys squishy human body is perfect...
Designed for ages 8 and up, it lets kids explore the wonders of the human body, learn about it from the inside out- even watching what happens as a bite of pizza makes its way through the digestive track. Each SmartLab package come with everything kids need to pique their curiosity and explore the mysteries of science. ($19.99)
Equipped with safety tweezers, wrist compass, transfer capsule and more, the adventure bug catcher set is even more hands on. It allows kids to explore and view up close the various bugs in their own backyard! ($8.00)
For Those Who Seem To Have It All
Can't think of a gift for the nature lover who has everything? Help your well-outfitted friend adopt and protect a part of our stunning natural world with the Nature Conservancy's Adopt an Acre gift. Proceeds go directly to conservation efforts in the region of your gift recipient's choosing. They'll also receive an adoption certificate, a fact sheet, and a one-year subscription to Nature Conservancy magazine. Even better, they'll enjoy additional Nature Conservancy member benefits. ($50 or more per acre)
For great nature science stories, general news, and even more gift ideas, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).