Simple Actions for Mother's Day
Honor Mother Nature
By Elizabeth Elliott McGeveran


Attractive and fun, tree-free and Internet cards please Mom and preserve Mother Earth

Each Mother's Day, Americans send more than 150 million greeting cards, making this holiday the third most popular card-sending occasion, according to the Greeting Card Association. This year, though, a son or daughter can choose unique cards and actions for Mom that also honor Mother Nature. The Wood-Wise Consumer Initiative, a program of the nonprofit Co-op America, is offering free electronic greeting cards through its website , along with a list of imaginative tree-free paper card sources from a free guide available by calling 1-800-58-GREEN. The free electronic greeting cards are also available from the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund's website

"My mom enjoys the outdoors every weekend, whether she's hiking, bird watching or just walking the dog," explains Dana Harmon Char-ron, director of the WoodWise Consumer Initiative. "I know other mothers love to take their kids or grandkids to tree-filled parks or for picnics in nearby woods. I want to celebrate my mother in a way that also protects the forests she loves. Electronic greetings and tree-free paper cards help preserve our forests, for our mothers and for future generations; and they give people a unique alternative to the ordinary greeting cards found in most stores."

Internet users can visit the WoodWise Consumer website until May 9 to choose from a variety of electronic Mother's Day cards. Greetings feature playful images of animals and their young by internationally acclaimed nature photographer, Galen Rowell, a recipient of the Ansel Adams Award for his wilderness photography.

For moms who don't use the Internet, a large and growing selection of tree-free and recycled greeting cards are available from companies such as Green Field Paper Company, Fiber Options Paper Company, Acorn Designs, and Eco-Scape Images. Tree-free cards are produced using alternative fibers, which include everything from banana stalks to blue jeans scraps, to old money and kenaf, a fast-growing crop planted specifically for its fiber. The use of these alternative fibers eases the need to harvest irreplaceable forests.

Tree-free cards offer creative options for mothers with a wide range of interests. For gardeners, there are Grow-A-Note® cards with flower or vegetable seeds woven into the paper. These cards can actually be planted after they have been read. Children of cat-loving moms can choose cards embedded with catnip seeds. And mothers who love potpourri will appreciate Aroma Notes®, cards scented with sweet fragrances like Wild Rose and French Lavender.

"Both the Grow-A-Note® cards and Aroma Notes® are particularly popular for Mother's Day," according to Karen Wood, owner of Fiber Options Paper Company of Williams, Oregon. "Sending a Grow-A-Note® greeting is like sending flowers with your Mother's Day card," she adds.

Even shoppers who prefer to choose their cards at the local store can still celebrate both Mom and Mother Earth by turning to the back of the card and looking for the familiar recycled 'chasing arrows' symbol. By choosing cards with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content, people can reduce the number of trees cut down to make greeting cards.

Consumers who want to do more for forests than simply buy an environmentally-friendly Mother's Day card will find tips and resources in the WoodWise Consumer guide. For example, consumers can send letters of encouragement to prominent greeting card companies.

"Approximately 85% of America's greeting cards, and much of our gift wrap, is produced by just three companies: Hallmark, American Greetings and Gibson Greetings," explains Charron, the director of the Wood-Wise Program. "We congratulate Hallmark Cards for taking a positive first step to protect our forests by pledging not to use paper made from old-growth forests. Now we would like to encourage all three industry leaders to do even more to protect our precious forests."

Visitors to the WoodWise Consumer Initiative website will find a selection of three light-hearted verses in the style of greeting card messages to encourage the use of more tree-free and post-consumer recycled paper. These messages can be sent electronically to the leading card companies. In addition, a sample letter to card companies, along with their addresses, is included among the many resources that appear in the Wood-Wise Consumer guide. The guide can be found in its entirety on the WoodWise website.

Co-op America is a nonprofit information center for green purchasing and investing. Its program, the WoodWise Consumer Initiative, offers people practical tips and resources to use every day to protect forests. The guide was produced in partnership with eleven nonprofit groups, including Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, American Forests, Friends of the Earth, Mothers & Others, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, The Resource Conservation Alliance, ReThink Paper (a project of Earth Island Institute), The Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund.

Six Easy Steps for an Earth-Friendly Mother's Day
. Send an electronic Mother's Day card through the following Websites: WoodWise Consumer, or Earth-justice Legal Defense Fund, .
2. Shower mom with gifts, handy tips and useful resources for protecting forests by ordering a free WoodWise Consumer guide. Call 1-800-58-GREEN. Or check out the guide yourself at .
3. When purchasing greeting cards from your local shop, always turn the card over and look for the familiar 'chasing arrows' recycled symbol. Choose cards with high post-consumer recycled content.
4. If you are giving a gift in addition to a card, find a substitute for wrapping paper. Use fabric, newspapers, old maps, magazines, out-of-date calendars or reusable bags or boxes to prepare your present for Mom.
5. Write the presidents of Hallmark Cards, American Greetings and Gibson Greetings asking them to offer more tree-free and high post-consumer recycled content greeting cards and gift wrap. Or send a light-hearted verse via the Inter-net. Messages and sample letters can be found at .
6. If you prefer to send a paper greeting card, try a tree-free or post-consumer recycled card from the companies listed below. A comprehensive list of companies offering forest friendly cards and paper products can be found in the WoodWise Consumer guide.

Fiber Options Paper Company
P.O. Box 222
Williams, OR 97544
Telephone: 1-888-290-1919 or (541) 846-6665
Fiber Options Paper Company offers a huge selection of tree-free greeting cards, letterhead, cardstock, envelopes and note pads, including products made of kenaf, organic cotton, bamboo and hemp. Aroma Notes® are also available. Free catalog.

Green Field Paper Company
744 G St., Studio 201
San Diego, CA 92101-6419
Telephone: (619) 338-9432
Fax: (619) 338-0308

Green Field Paper specializes in high-quality organic cotton and hemp recycled paper made in the United States. The company's Grow-A-Note® cards - embedded with seeds such as wildflowers, forget-me-not, catnip, thyme and even vegetable seeds - are favorites for Mother's Day. Another popular line, Paper Evolution, features gourmet papers made of corn, garlic, coffee, tea, hemp and junk mail.

Eco-Scape Images
P.O. Box 50775
Eugene, OR 97405
Telephone: 1-800-903-2334
Fax: (541) 302-6136
Eco-Scape Images sells photographic greeting cards and journals of the Western United States, including ocean, river and mountain scenes. Spring scenes of flowers with mountains in the background are often favored for Mother's Day. Cards are printed on tree-free kenaf paper. Call for information, samples and price list. Free greeting card with each dozen ordered.

Acorn Designs
5066 Mott Evans Rd.
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Telephone: (607) 387-3424
Fax: (607) 387-5609
Acorn Designs sells recycled paper notecards and stationery. New kenaf tree-free paper line as well as 100% post-consumer paper cards. Cards feature beautiful images from nature.


Co-op America You can join Co-op America for only $15 a year. Check out the website at  or write for more information to: 1612 K Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006. Phone (202) 872-5307, Fax 202-331-8166.

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