1 BHG GreenGift group

The Green Gift Workshop typically draws a big crowd! The location shifts from year to year from classroom settings to the greenhouse work area at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook State Park.

INTERPRETING NATURE: The Green Gift Workshop — creativity, discovery, and duct tape.

By Stacey Vigallon, Director of Environmental Education

The Green Gift Workshop is an annual winter tradition in the Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Program. It’s an opportunity for students to make items by hand using inexpensive, re-purposed, or recycled materials. Items can be customized and personalized, with everyone leaving the event with one-of-a-kind gifts.

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Jewelry from items found at the hardware store and junk drawer — items like cotter pins, snap rings, washers, and old mismatched buttons are repurposed into necklaces and bracelets.

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Notebooks out of recycled paper products – calendars, wrapping paper, and old magazines are combined with copier paper slated for the recycle bin and stitched together using Japanese book-binding techniques.

The Green Gift Workshop might seem like just a fun diversion for students (and it is fun), but there are some important life skills wrapped up in these activities too. For many of the participating students, the Green Gift Workshop is the first time they’ve ever used a saw or a drill, and learning how to use tools to create something of your own boosts confidence and makes students more open-minded about creating something on their own in the future. With limited access to art instruction or opportunities to make things by hand, many of our students are missing out on the chance to discover new interests and talents and the personal satisfaction that comes from making something unique. We hope the Green Gift Workshop provides an entry to that path.

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Duct tape wallets – useful, durable, waterproof, and they can be spruced up and repaired indefinitely.

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Yard waste key chains – old branches trimmed from the backyard are converted to key-chain charms.

Amelia Earhart said, “The more one does, the more one can do.” There is much overlap among the lessons learned by spending time in nature and the lessons learned through hands-on art activities - self-reliance, problem-solving, patience, and creative inspiration, to name just a few. We hope these photos inspire you to take up (or continue!) some creative endeavors of you own. If you need help making a duct tape wallet, we’ve got you covered.