Fun, Useful, and Green Holiday Gift Ideas for Nature Lovers

by Lori Bowes

ARMN volunteer Lori Bowes offers some great ideas for mindful and sustainable last-minute gifts.

Are you looking for unique holiday ideas for your outdoorsy friends and family members? Here are some suggestions, courtesy of Arlington Regional Master Naturalists.

Pley ( is a subscription toy service membership that allows children to select their own toys in their own time frame. And when a child is done playing, the toy goes back and is cleaned for a new child to enjoy. Monthly subscriptions are available.

Birding education at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ( is a program that gives budding and experienced birders a wealth of affordable, online education from the comfort of their own home. You may also contact Cornell about purchasing a webinar on behalf of someone else.

A Year in Rock Creek Park: the Wild Wooded Heart of Washington, DC ( provides a foray into an unexpected urban wilderness that is twice the size of Central Park. The author is local naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley and photographs are by Susan Austin Roth.

Rising Forests Coffee ( is billed as “the most sustainable coffee” you can buy. It is planted in the Dominican Republic without pesticides or fertilizers in degraded areas that are being restored with native forest canopy. The coffee is available at Beanetics on Columbia Pike in Annandale.

Lake Champlain Chocolate ( is the perfect complement to your coffee. Lake Champlain Chocolate is certified as Fair for Life, which is above and beyond fair trade. It is available at local grocers and online.

Hori Hori Garden Knife with Leather Sheath ( completes the look of the savvy nature lover who knows garden tools. The blade is curved for easy digging and the handle is sustainably harvested. It is available from Amazon and other online sellers.

Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) membership ( has appeal to many individuals: It’s akin to a get-out-of-jail card for a Metro delay with bicycles that are easy to ride in almost any outfit. Memberships also work for avid cyclists because they provide flexibility. Multiple membership types are available.

Membership to Veteran Compost ( may be the perfect gift for someone who has everything because it keeps on giving. Veteran Compost is a veteran-owned business focused on turning food scraps into high quality organic compost and other products in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Choose from residential food scrap collection to purchases of a host of finished products.



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