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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Recycling Projects: Featuring Jennifer Kemper

Today, Viridorari's eighth Guest Writer, Jennifer Kemper, will provide you with four recycling projects!  I discovered Jennifer at an arts and crafts show in Cazenovia, NY.

Jennifer Kemper has been an artist and potter all of her life. Though pottery is her main work, she has fun using other media as well.  A junk-collector from early on, she learned through experimentation to make various things using items that might have been thrown away. Her creations include wind chimes, hurricane lamps, garden totems, terrariums, candles, jewelry, lampworked glass beads, masks, clothing, and more. Some of these items can be found on her website
You can also see her work at The Artisans Guild in Oneonta, NY and at her studio at 120 Taylor Rd, Morris, NY.
So, I give you Jennifer, and her four projects:

Recycling Projects
Here are four projects kids can do using recycled materials. Some parental supervision may be necessary.


Supplies Needed:
-Soap scraps
-Zip-lock bag
-Mallet or rolling pin
-Large bowl
-Water or liquid soap (shampoo, hand  soap, dish soap)
-Molds for making shapes  

                                                                                                                                                                        First, save and collect hotel soaps, soap slivers, guest soaps, and specialty soaps found at rummage and garage sales. When you have enough to fill a sandwich bag or more, put it into a larger zip-lock bag and beat it with a mallet or rolling pin until it is all broken up and crumbly. Some lumps are OK. 

Next, put it in a bowl and add water (or any liquid soap such as shampoo, hand soap, or dish soap) a little at a time, mixing with your hands until it clings together like clay.

Press the “clay” into a mold such as a square or round plastic container, muffin pan, etc, or form it with your hands into a shape. I usually make a large oval bar. Let it dry out for a day or longer, and then it is ready to use. It will be a little lumpy on the outside, but that will go away with use, and you will have an amazingly smooth, multi-colored, marble-like soap that lasts a long time.

Picture courtesy of: Jennifer Kemper

Supplies Needed:
-Wax (old candles and stubs found in the home, yard sales, etc.)
-Container (cat-food or tuna cans, glass jars, candle jars)


Take candle stubs and chop them up with a knife, saving the wicks to use.

Stand one of wicks or another candle stub and hold it in the center of your container, and add the chopped-up wax until full. You can make layers of different colors if you keep them separate when you chop them up.

Now your candle is ready to use. Leave it in the container and light, with an adult’s permission of course.


Supplies needed:
-Wine bottle
-Paint markers
-Knife and brillo pad for removing labels.


Take an empty wine bottle and remove the labels by soaking and scraping. Keep the cork or cap.

Dry well.

With paint pens or permanent markers decorate the bottle as desired. Let dry. Now it is ready! Fill it with water and chill in the refrigerator, and bring it out when you have a meal, for an elegant water container for the table.


Supplies Needed:
-Glass votive candle cup
-Empty wine bottle
-Votive candle
-E-600 Glue or epoxy glue.
-Paint pens (optional)


Clean the bottle (or not, if you like the label).

Glue the glass cup to the top of the bottle, making sure it is centered. Let the glue dry for as long as the manufacturer directs.

Place the candle in the cup (ready for use!)

You may decorate with paint pens if desired.
Picture courtesy of: Jennifer Kemper
Thank you Jennifer! Please check out her business, Kemper Pottery, at Viridorari has been short on Guest Writers lately! If you are interested in becoming a Guest Writer or know someone who might be, please contact me at Guest Writers can write about any topic under the environmental sun, and they bring a fresh view and style to Viridorari.
Animal of the Month Update
Today, I would like to introduce the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund (MGCF), an organization that works to protect our animal of the month. Ruth Keesling and supporters of the primatologist Dian Fossey founded MGCF 1983 when Fossey asked for help with protecting these beautiful creatures.

Picture courtesy of: 

One of MGCF’s current projects is expanding their veterinary programs, which are offered to Ugandans and Rwandans at Makerere University. The programs teach students how protect and care for their wildlife, namely gorillas. Another current project is the building of a wildlife museum to house gorilla remains for future studying and research. 

MGCF provides a teacher training guide for teachers in Uganda to use to educate students about mountain gorillas, their habitat, and conservation efforts. These training guides provide gorilla education to over 50,000 students. MGCF’s Sister School Relationship program connects African schools with schools from around the world, allowing students to exchange letters, cards, and posters about their local ecosystems. The organization is also working to start a fund for African schools, which will help purchase school supplies and send students on field trips to see the gorillas in the wild.

Currently, garbage pits near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are open, allowing gorillas and other animals to access unfamiliar and potentially dangerous wastes. MGCF is working to build sixteen protected and closed garbage pits and to educate locals about garbage related health concerns. Lastly, MGCF is introducing guinea fowl husbandry to communities near the national park, teaching residents how to raise and market guinea fowl and associated products, such as eggs. The hope is that with a sustainable food and income source, illegal hunting in the national park will decrease.

To support MGCF and mountain gorilla conservation, you can click here to make a direct donation. MGCF also provides Gorilla Events for individuals, friends, or families to take part in. You can find a list of Gorilla Events and see pictures from past events here. For a catalog of gorilla merchandise, including coffee, stuffed animals, carved wooden statues, and even gorilla suits, click here. To view and purchase mountain gorilla jewelry, click here. Coffee is produced by Silverback Coffee of Rwanda, and proceeds from purchases are donated to organizations like MGCF that support mountain gorilla conservation. There is also a brand of beer that supports MGCF; Silverback Pale Ale. Fifty percent of the proceeds from this beer are donated to MGCF.  
I hope you will consider donating to an organization like MGCF before the month of July is out. Remember, the African Wildlife Fund is on For this month, choose AWF as your benefactor and earn money for African wildlife conservation (including gorillas) each time you search. You can sign up to stay informed on MGCF’s gorilla activities here. To learn more about MGCF and mountain gorillas, visit their website here.

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