Hi everyone, my name is Heather! I am a green-minded educator who spends her summer break removing the cell phones from our teenager's hands and replacing it with a curiosity for change. Ask me anything!

Jun 18, 2017

Like many millennial children, I spent a lot of time indoors. After finding outdoor education as a teenager, I was immediately hooked. Now I take kids 12-18 on outdoor trips, teaching them about the world around them. Showing them how beautiful and fragile the world really is!

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I completely agree with you! We have a new generation of Zombies! 

Jun 18, 4:18PM EDT1

What is your advice for choosing appliances with a green focus?

Jun 18, 10:32AM EDT0

when choosing appliances make sure that you do you research not only in the machine but the things you use in it. Look for environmentally friendly appliances and cleaners. Try to find something that is water conscience and biodegradable 

Jun 18, 1:13PM EDT0

Did your teens ever thank you for taking away their phones?

Jun 18, 2:42AM EDT0

Not for taking their phone per se, but for showing them a part of life that they have missed out on if they had their phone, yes! 

Jun 18, 1:12PM EDT0

Would you consider banning their phones after the summer break?

Jun 17, 12:52PM EDT0

Entirely....no. Summer break is a social time for many teens. They need to be in contact with there friends in order to make plans and maintain relationships. But a summer break phone schedule would not be a bad idea. 

Jun 18, 1:11PM EDT0

Did you consider restricting their phone time rather than taking it away?

Jun 17, 5:26AM EDT0

In regards to the camp, no. They need to be fully seperated in this setting. As a parent I think that would be a great idea. I think keeping it a overnight, meal times, and during family functions would go a long way! 

Jun 18, 1:09PM EDT0

Should teens have to earn the privilege of having and using a phone?

Jun 16, 12:43PM EDT0

Absolutely! Teens need to realize that in life there are no hand outs. But they have the ability to earn what ever they want for themselves. If used correctly parents can implement this mind set with phones. In my opinion phones are one of the most powerful rewards for a teen! They can also be the biggest concequence!

Jun 18, 1:08PM EDT0

How can we make 'going green' appealing to kids?

Jun 16, 11:12AM EDT0

By showing them they can make a difference. Get them involved and make it relevant to their life.  Show them that they can be just as importas adults in making this world a better place!

Jun 18, 1:06PM EDT0

Did you notice your teens reduce their phone time after they were returned?

Jun 16, 4:22AM EDT0

Yes! Although it increases immediately upon receiving their phone many parents state thier children have better control of their children's screen time. 

Jun 18, 1:04PM EDT0

What kind of cell phone plan do you have for your family?

Jun 14, 10:07PM EDT0

I have a data plan that a share with my husband. 

Jun 18, 1:03PM EDT0

How do you practice green living in your household?

Jun 14, 4:16PM EDT0

I recycle and repurpose materials. I do my best to use high efficency appliances. Reusable grocery bags, meal prep, etc.  I also educate myself on ways to be green. 

Jun 18, 1:03PM EDT0

Do you have advice for choosing a family cell phone plan?

Jun 14, 3:40PM EDT0

I do not have any advice on the carriers, but I would make sure that as a parent you have full administrative access on your child's phone through the carrier.

Jun 17, 9:26PM EDT0

How did your teens' friends react to loss of the phones?

Jun 14, 7:23AM EDT0

The children were given the opportunity to message their friends and notify them that they would not be available for the duration of the camp. Mostly their friends feel the same way as the campers in the beginning, "I can't believe your parents are making you do this." I have heard stories where the friends begin to put their phone down more when they spend time with campers after the camping experience.

Jun 17, 9:25PM EDT0

What is your advice for parents deciding whether kids should have phones?

Jun 14, 6:52AM EDT0

I personally believe that a child should not get a personal phone until they understand the responsibility of having a phone, they are able to make calls independently, and they can recognize it as a tool versus a toy. It all depends on the maturity of the child.

With that being said phones are a great reward for good behavior and an even better consequence for bad behavior. 

Jun 17, 9:22PM EDT0

At some point, did your teens stop missing their phones?

Jun 14, 6:06AM EDT0

For the most part, they miss their phone the entire time, but not the item, they miss their connection to their friends and family. 

Jun 17, 9:17PM EDT0

How do you get whole communities to go green?

Jun 14, 12:49AM EDT0

Parents sign their children up for the camps they can sign up independently or with a referral from a counselor or doctor. 

Jun 17, 9:15PM EDT0

What age do you think is too young to have a phone?

Jun 13, 8:49PM EDT0

In this day and age that is a tough one. I personally believe that a child should not get a personal phone until they understand the responsibility of having a phone, they are able to make calls independently, and they can recognize it as a tool versus a toy.

Jun 17, 9:14PM EDT0

What are some of your favorite green living tips for families?

Jun 13, 6:56PM EDT0
  1. When buying things, buy them to last, even if they are more expensive.
  2. Reusable grocery bags
  3. Meal plan and prep to prevent food waste
  4. When shopping look at the label
  5. Recycle and repurpose items
Jun 17, 9:12PM EDT0

What kind of sacrifices does your family make to go green?

Jun 13, 12:15PM EDT0

The only thing that I sacrifice is my time, educating myself on ways to go green and changing my bad habits. 

Previous bad habits

  • Paper Plates
  • plastic grocery bags
  • Bleaching everything
  • Not meal planning and wasting food
  • etc.

Jun 17, 9:09PM EDT0

What kind of activities did your teens replace phone use with?

Jun 13, 10:08AM EDT0

They learn survival skills, fun camping games, journaling, socialization games, problem-solving games, exploring, and hiking.

Jun 17, 9:07PM EDT0

Do you restrict your teens' use of other digital devices?

Jun 13, 8:30AM EDT0

I personally do not have children. If you are discussing the camp they are not allowed to have anything electronic.

Jun 17, 9:05PM EDT0

What is the bigger lesson you wanted your teens to learn?

Jun 13, 6:04AM EDT0

I want them to learn that they are a piece of this world and they are the only person who can decide how to their piece fits into the overall puzzle. 

Jun 17, 9:02PM EDT0

Do you know how the word green became associated with ecology?

Jun 13, 5:18AM EDT0

I do not, but I would assume because almost all plants have some green in them.

Jun 17, 9:01PM EDT0

What do you consider the maximum time kids should spend on the phone daily?

Jun 13, 4:55AM EDT0

This is a complex question. Not only does it depends on the age of the child. But what they are doing on their phone, are they using it to communicate with friends, or to play games and watch videos. 

The general rule is they are to attached to their phone if it is preventing them from living life: they no longer want to leave the house, they don't want to communicate face to face anymore, and/or they cannot participate in day to day activities without being on their phone.

Jun 17, 8:59PM EDT0

How long did it take to break them of their phone habit?

Jun 13, 3:31AM EDT0

Most kids have fully acclimated after the first 24 hours. 

Jun 17, 8:52PM EDT0

Should parents bribe their kids to get them to stop using phones?

Jun 12, 11:37PM EDT0

I am a firm believer that parents should never bribe their children. Bribery is a sign that they have lost control. I believe that parents should reward children when they act the way that they want them to. There is a fine line, and it is all in wording.


Bribe: "I will give you a cookie if you eat your vegetables." 

Reward: "Wow you did so well on your test today. Since you worked so hard, I will do the dishes for you tonight."

Jun 17, 8:51PM EDT0

What are thoughts about going green under the Trump administration?

Jun 12, 10:37PM EDT0

Although politicians do have to power to affect our environment, I do not believe that our views on any given president should affect us taking care of our world and ourselves. The world was here before Trump and it will be here after. It is our job to do what we can to make sure we as an individual are doing everything we can to be part of the solution.  

Jun 17, 9:21PM EDT0

How do you combine your green mindset with teaching?

Jun 12, 10:26PM EDT0

I incorporate green learning in my class in many ways. When I teach geography I make sure to discuss an environmental issue from that location in every chapter. Also  

I model the behavior for the teens to see. I have a recycling team in my class to make sure that the correct materials are being thrown away versus recycled. I have incorporated technology into my room to make my classroom as paperless as possible.  

Jun 17, 8:47PM EDT0

Why should families bother to practice green living?

Jun 12, 9:19PM EDT0

They should practice green living to protect our environment, keep our bodies free of unnecessary chemicals, and leave the world in a better condition than when they entered it. 

Jun 17, 8:45PM EDT0

What was the best result after separating them from the phones?

Jun 12, 5:03PM EDT0

There are so many good results. I would say these are the top five!

  1. They become more confident in themselves
  2. They learn more face to face conversation and soft skills. 
  3. They become more aware of who they are as an individual
  4. They learn about their environment and their place in this world
  5. They realize that there is more to life and if you don't look up every once and awhile you might miss it!
Jun 17, 8:43PM EDT0

How has your teens' outdoor time changed, without the phones?

Jun 12, 4:37PM EDT0

At the beginning of the week, they are unsure of how to spend their time. As the week goes on they begin to explore. They take the skills that we teach them (cordage making, trapping, and fire starting) and apply it during their free time.

Jun 17, 8:40PM EDT0

How do you take away a phone from an older teen?

Jun 12, 4:22PM EDT0

We have had parents confiscate their child's phone prior to arrival. Their have been cases where they remain in waiting until they provide their phone and their days at camp will not start until it is released. Some parents have allowed our officer on staff to  take it from them 

Jun 17, 5:06PM EDT0

How do you deal with whining and pleading to get their phones back?

Jun 12, 3:06PM EDT0

Kids are aware that they are not going to get their phones back. We remain consistent and if the behavior continues we provide consequences most often loss of special privileges. Typically one child will act out and when they see the consequences implemented the  behaviors 

Last edited @ Jun 17, 5:01PM EDT.
Jun 17, 5:01PM EDT0

What does it mean to you to be ""green-minded""?

Jun 12, 2:10PM EDT0

To be green minded is to be conscience of your environment. 

Last edited @ Jun 17, 4:57PM EDT.
Jun 17, 4:56PM EDT0

How can families achieve a healthy balance with the proliferation of devices?

Jun 12, 1:24PM EDT0

Families can make children aware of fun activities and hobbies that do not require phones. They can have a black box where their kids put their phones away for a certain period of time. Most importantly parents can model this behavior by not always being on their phones 

Jun 17, 4:53PM EDT0

Why do you want your kids to have a curiosity for change?

Jun 12, 1:22PM EDT0

i want them to realize that they can change the world. Unfortunately children are told too often what they can and can't be. If they become curious that are in control of their own journey. They become invested in the stock of their life and have the potential t make magic happen 

Jun 18, 2:06PM EDT0

Is it safe to take grey water from the shower (I use organic products) and use it to water plants?

Jun 18, 7:05PM EDT0

How does the digital age impact the practice of going green?

Jun 12, 1:22PM EDT0

The digital age has impacted it a lot. It is easier to get the information out there.

Alsomany thing that once were paper are no longer, for example, in my classroom many of my assignments have been converted to online assignments. This has saved countless pages of paper.

Jun 17, 3:15PM EDT0

How much resistance did you get when taking their phones?

Jun 12, 11:45AM EDT0

Initially they are very hesitant and angry. But they knew that they would be taken when they arrived. It is only a matter of time til they forget about it 

Jun 17, 3:12PM EDT0

Have you invested in any green energy, like solar, for your home?

Jun 12, 11:00AM EDT0

I have looked into it but where my home is located I do notreceive enough light. I did push the home owners association to move to onsite recycling tho! 

Jun 17, 3:10PM EDT1