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Colleges, Environmental Club and Holiday Tips

My college applications are all in. Transcripts have been requested. Essays are tucked away in files that I will not look at until next April when I won't stress if I left out a comma.

The college application process is sure a journey, but I know the destination will be worth it. I have at least three weeks until I find out from anyone--but most likely it will be months before I hear back. I have to file my FAFSA, and then I just wait by the door for that letter. And now, for a list of where I applied...
UC Irvine

San Francisco State UniversitySonoma State UniversityRocky Mountain CollegeUniversity of San Francisco
My major of choice for most is anthropology, but for some schools that don't have anthropology or have a stronger environmental studies program, I applied to major in environmental studies. Prescott is one of those places where the environment is already part of the school's philosophy, and if I went there, I would want to study to become a naturalist because of the experiential learning and outdoor focus that the school has. I would get to learn from Nature, so studying the environment would be so cool! I would be so excited to go to any of these schools; I just cannot wait until I hear back!

So that sort of introduces why I haven't posted since Halloween. Writing essays, revising essays, filling out applications, sending SAT scores, sending transcripts, figuring out which schools want what, and at the same time keeping up with school work--the blog got pushed to the bottom of my to-do list.

In many of my college essays, I mention Green Gal, along with many other environmental things I've done. One such environmental thing is the club I'm now secretary of...

The Environmental Club at my school has been invisible my three and a half years of high school. It would show up at environmental fairs and various events, but it wasn't accessible, no one could join it, and they did nothing to influence campus culture. The new girls in charge this year have stepped down, and I couldn't help but take the opportunity to jump in and try to actually make it into a club that did stuff. So now I'm secretary (I would have been President, except that I'm publicist for Drama Club, Human Rights Club, and co-president of Photo Club and I tend to over-committ) and there are two co-presidents. Some ideas I brought to the club have already been set in motion: we now have green tips on our weekly bulletin at school, and we're planning on helping a local elementary with their garden. We posted green tips around campus and our club now has weekly goals (I got the idea from Reduce Footprints' Change the World Wednesday) to try and meet. This week's is to avoid plastic water bottles. Some of the people in the club don't have reusable bottles (we're gonna have to do something about that for sure!), so we altered the goal to either no plastic water bottles, or reuse the plastic water bottle multiple times to reduce. Hey, it's a start.

On another note, I'm writing a really interesting research paper on human impact on extinctions, past and present. Most of my essay is on megafaunal extinctions in the late Pleistocene epoch and those extinctions that took place whenever man reached new territory. I also discuss modern extinctions--like those of amphibians and bats that are taking place now--and will end the paper with conservation efforts currently taking place. I will post the paper to this blog once it's turned in. It's due next Thursday, so this weekend I will be rewriting my rough draft and editing and adding information. I love research papers!Obviously the holidays are here--Happy Hanukkah tonight to those who celebrate it!--so I will conclude this long-overdue post with some green holiday tips!

Holiday Tip #1: Turn off those holiday lights!

From sundown until the time you go to sleep, your LED (hopefully!) holiday lights (inside and out) can and should be gleaming all of their holiday spirit for the world. But once your head hits the pillow, those lights should be off. Leaving them on all night wastes a lot of energy, and no one is going to see them at midnight, one, two, three o'clock in the morning! So turn them off before bed and don't turn them back on until sundown the next day. It seems like this would be an obvious way to conserve, but it's always good to be reminded.Holiday Tip #2: Wrap Consciously

Gift wrapping can be fun or tedious, depending upon how many gifts and how much time you have before Christmas morning! But it can also be wasteful if it isn't done with a consciousness. First of all, choose your materials wisely. Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled, so be sure to choose brown paper, newspaper, cloth, or a recyclable/reusable material. Use as little of the material as possible. Don't be wasteful with cutting too much paper and being left with an oddly-shaped scrap that has no where else to go except for the recycle bin. Be creative and use old pillow cases to sew the gift into their gift wrap. Add buttons, sew greetings--the possibilities are endless! If you're using paper, be conservative with your tape. A lot can go a long way if you place it correctly. Reuse ribbons and bows, or make ribbon strings out of the remaining pillow case scraps or old yarn. Often the most resourceful wrapping jobs are the most creative and the most appreciated. I love using old pillowcases and shirts to wrap gifts, and I usually safety pin them together. It's grand to see the recipients expression when you hand them a cloth-wrapped gift.

Holiday Tip #3: Save the paper, ribbons, and tags!

I'm usually the crazy niece/cousin/granddaughter on Christmas who's catching the falling wrapping paper, folding it nicely and saving it. My grandma and I always collect the ribbons, so at least for that part I'm not alone in my conservation. I have a drawer full of folded wrapping paper that I save for small gifts. I try to find an unwrinkled portion of the paper to wrap the gift with. I just gave my friend Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind today and I wrapped it with some old red and white striped paper. It still had a sticky tag with my name on it from last Christmas. She's used to my conservation antics and didn't mind one bit. Most of my friends will be receiving gifts wrapped in old paper. For teachers and people who I don't know as well, of course, I will wrap their gifts with fresh paper or cloth. (There are varying degrees of "Greenness" that you can apply to each gift you wrap.) So save the gift paper as it falls, remove as much tape as possible/fold the tape down so it doesn't stick to the other sides of paper, fold it into a manageable size and place in a bag. Later, tie it with the other pieces using twine, and stash it in a drawer for next year. (I discussed these paper-saving ideas in my May 21 post, Paper.) You can also save those little hanging tags that you write the recipient's name on. White-out the name, paste some paper over it, or use the tag for the same person next year. That may be considered overkill by some, but at least you're conserving some paper and string--not to mention the plastic those little tags come in.Well, that concludes my post. I will almost certainly be posting over my winter break, which begins next Friday.

Happy Holidays!
Green Gal

P.S. You can also learn how to Sew Your Own Christmas Wrapping and reduce the waste of paper wrapping all together!


Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.
-- Benjamin E. Mays


  1. With all the college applications and essays, you've been one very busy Green Gal! Not to mention writing a research paper!

    Thanks for sending along the holiday green tips. It's a good reminder for all of us in this season of high consumption of material goods to conserve where we can.

    Wishing you and your readers Happy Holidays from BE THE CHANGE CYCLISTS.

  2. My grandma sent me an email responding to this post, and I thought I'd share it here since it includes another green tip relating to wrapping gifts:

    "Also, thanks for the wrapping tips. I also save paper. I have even ironed wrinkled paper-using just a warm iron. I think Aunt Laurie used to wrap her gifts in funny papers from Sunday's colored ones."

  3. I appreciate the work of all people who share information with others.

  4. This is a very interesting blog and so i like to visit your blog again and again. Keep it up.


  5. Wow! I am an applicant for University of San Francisco


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