A seed is just a start.

Kevin is an environmental consultantin Irving Park, Chicago. For the past two years, Kevin has supplied seedlings to his neighbors for their own backyards or container gardens.

Once the seedlings are ready, he puts them outside on a sidewalk with a sign that says “FREE!” He gives away herbs, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and more.

Last year, he built this miniature urban greenhouse using wood planks and special polycarbonate plastic. He can grow over 100 seedlings on these shelves!

I asked him if he worried about his plants going to good use.

“I’ve seen my plants in windowsills and gardens all around the neighborhood.” Kevin said. “Most people want to garden, they just need a little head start.”

This shows that you do not need a large farm or machines to grow your own food- just a little creativity or a friendly neighbor is all it takes!

Written By Melissa Kidulas, Age 22, Indianapolis

Why I Chose Marine Biology As My Career

I decided at a really early age (around fifth grade) that I wanted to work with dolphins. Yeah, I know…pretty cliché, right? I wanted to swim with them and become their best friend because dolphins are, of course, the coolest animals to a little kid. This was the dream that I stuck with for a really long time, but as I grew older and learned more about our oceans, I discovered that dolphins aren’t the only ones in need of our help. I became fascinated with rays, sharks, seals, and so on (the list could go on forever). Visiting institutions like the Tennessee Aquarium and Georgia Aquarium further confirmed that I wanted to be involved with the ocean in whatever way I could. When I got accepted to Auburn University, I immediately enrolled in the Marine Biology program.

Classes at Auburn were no cake-walk, but I knew that the end product would be me working and saving marine animals somewhere in the field of marine biology. Part of the curriculum included taking classes at Dauphin Island Marine Lab outside Mobile, Alabama over the summer, and I learned much more and got hands-on experience with research and the amount of work that must be put into it. The classes I took part in were some of the best (and worst) of my life, but they formed me into the marine biologist I am today.

Why did I choose marine biology?

Now, five years later, I have decided that I want to educate people about the importance of ocean conservation and what they can do to help.

It is my dream to work at an institution whose mission is to educate and encourage the future generation to care about our oceans because we are the only ones who can protect them.

Hopefully one day I can be the person to inspire a little kid to love the ocean just like trainers and educators have inspired me.

Sydney is our newest addition to the Helping Ninjas!

Stay tuned for more photos and posts from Sydney as she travels to Dolphin Island to further her education as she begins the new journey with her career in Marine Biology; Sydney is currently working in Tampa Bay, Florida at a sea rescue center.

Welcome Sydney!

Lavender Helps Headaches?

Today I was at a Helping Ninja party and I had a headache. I used lavender and it helped my headache. It took it away a little bit. I would like to use it again because it smells good and helped my headache.

We decided to learn about lavender.

We looked it up on the Internet.

Lavender has been used for over 2,500 years. Ancient Persians, Greeks, and Romans added the flowers to their bathwater to help wash and purify their skin.3 In fact, the word “lavender” comes from the Latin word “lavare,” which means “to wash.”

If you get migraines, you may be want to try lavender.

I have headaches on the front on my forehead. I also just learned that this is the name of the headaches that I have: frontal lobe headaches.

We learned this from Helathline:

Triggers to front lobe migraines:

  • sinus infection
  • jaw or neck pain
  • allergies
  • eye strain from computer use
  • insomnia or other sleep disorders
  • certain foods, such as meats with nitrates
  • dehydration
  • anxiety
  • weather changes
  • poor posture
  • tension

Lavendar also can do these things, we learned this from HealthLine:

• Relieve pain. It can help ease sore or tense muscles, joint pain and rheumatism, sprains, backache and lumbago. Simply massage lavender oil onto the affected area. Lavender oil may also help lessen pain following needle insertion.

• Treat various skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, eczema and wrinkles. It also helps form scar tissues, which may be essential in healing wounds, cuts and burns. Lavender can also help soothe insect bites and itchy skin.

• Helps with Inflamation According to Texas-based dermatologist Dr. Naila Malik, it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce itching, swelling and redness.

• Keep your hair healthy. It helps kill lice, lice eggs, and nits. The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCB) says that lavender is possibly effective for treating alopecia areata (hair loss), boosting hair growth by up to 44 percent after just seven months of treatment.

• Improve your digestion. This oil helps stimulate the mobility of your intestine and stimulates the production of bile and gastric juices, which may help treat stomach pain, indigestion, flatulence, colic, vomiting and diarrhea.

• Relieve respiratory disorders. Lavender oil can help alleviate respiratory problems like colds and flu, throat infections, cough, asthma, whooping cough, sinus congestion, bronchitis, tonsillitis and laryngitis. It can be applied on your neck, chest, or back, or inhaled via steam inhalation or through a vaporizer.

• Stimulates urine production, which helps restore hormonal balance, prevent cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), and relieve cramps and other urinary disorders.

• Improve your blood circulation. It helps lower elevated blood pressure levels, and can be used for hypertension.

• Keeps mosquitoes away Lavender oil can help ward off mosquitoes and moths. It is actually used as an ingredient in some mosquito repellents

Info Above From HealthLine: Lavender Health Migraine

Blog post written (with a little help and guidance) by Helping Ninja, Ethan, Age 9

Plastic In The Oceans

Did you know? 8 million tons of plastic is thrown in the ocean every year.

Did you know? More plastic has been produced in the last 10 years is more than we used in a century.

Did you know? There is a plastic floating island in the ocean twice the size of Texas!

Written By Helping Ninja, Ethan, Age 9 and Leo, Age 10

We learned this today at our Helping Ninja Party. We watched clips from a video called Plastic Planet and also watched Our Planet. Both were so cool. And a few facts, disturbing.

Today was our last day of school at our elementary school. We rode the bus home together to have a party to celebrate the start of summer. We learned that we can help oceans this summer even though we live in Indiana. We can collect plastic or choose not to use it at all.

Today we ate popcorn and pizza and had zero waste. We recycled the paper box that the pizza was delivered in. We chose to use aluminum sodas and we rinsed and dried and recycled our soda cans. We used paper straws. We used 100% cotton fabric napkins. We composted our pizza crust and grape stems.

We learned about plastic in the ocean. Even when you don’t think its there its there in micro plastic. EVERY PEICE OF PLASTIC EVER MADE IS STILL HERE TODAY. We want others to learn how to help the ocean!

Afterwards, we decided to make a video. We thought it might help others learn what we learned. So, we made a video to share with others what we have learned about plastic pollution. Helping Ninjas Sawyer and Vedh starred in the video – Vedh filmed and directed it and helped to produce it!

Check it out!

You can watch it on our Helping Ninjas YOUTUBE CHANNEL or here: