My Wonderful Walls Blog — Community Service
Our Bee Wonderful Project 2
Stop killing our buzz! Learn about our Bee Wonderful Project and how you can help!
Here at My Wonderful Walls, we care a lot about our environment. Like most folks, we want to do what we can to help make the world a better, brighter place. So, we started the Bee Wonderful Project.
Our Bee Wonderful Project began in the Spring of 2016 as a personal endeavor of Michael Goins, the founder of our company. The decline in bee populations, known as “Colony Collapse Disorder” has already had a serious impact on the environment. The truth about the alarming decline in bee populations really hit home when Michael recently took a trip to Honey Island Swamp, near his childhood stomping grounds in New Orleans. Formerly known for their abundant bee population, Michael was stunned to find there are no bees in Honey Island Swamp now. That’s why we decided to take BIG action in helping out some of our little friends - the bees.
Inspired by Earth Day, we are taking 5% of the proceeds from our Earth Day Sale and putting it toward our Bee Wonderful Project. Join us on our eco-friendly adventure as Michael uploads photos, shares videos and provides updates of the bee-friendly garden and beehives he prepares outside the My Wonderful Walls design studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
A bee checking out our newly planted flower garden
Can you find the pollinator among our sprouts?
Future bee hive location
7 Ways You Can Help Our Bee-utiful Friends
From fruit, to nuts, to coffee beans, one out of every three mouthfuls of food in the American diet is, in some way, a product of honeybee pollination. So, if you’re nuts about your coffee, you’d better perk up! Bees are dying off at such a rapid rate, our food supply is at serious risk. Here are 7 ways you can help our ‘bee-utiful’ friends:
1. Stop using chemical pesticides: Neonic pesticides are the #1 killer of bees. The best way you can offer immediate assistance to our bee friends as well as other animals and insects, is to stop the use of pesticides all-together! Did you know when you use pesticides they make their way through the entire plant? That means if you use pesticides on your veggie garden, you are not only killing off pollinating insects, like bees, but you are consuming pesticides yourself and putting your own health at serious risk. *Tip: If your garden is in need of pesticides, try organic pesticides and natural insect deterrents like an herb garden, or night blooming flowers to attract bats - known as mother nature’s organic pest control.
2. Practice leave-it-alone gardening: Think about your garden as a habitat for wildlife, rather than a perfectly manicured lawn. Not only is it easier to maintain this type of garden because of the super low maintenance, but it’s also bee-friendly! *Tip from scientist Sylvia Fallon at NRDC’s Land and Wildlife Program.
3. Grow local: You don’t need those fancy-schmancy hybrids you find at plant nurseries to have a bee-utiful garden! They may look pretty, but most of them have the pollen, nectar, and even the scent bred out of them - which isn’t good for our bee friends. *Tip: To find out which bee and insect friendly native plants will work best in your area, visit the Xerces Society.
4. Grow wild: Plant native breeds of all shapes and colors that will bloom from early spring to early fall to attract bees, and butterflies alike! *Tip: Planting in clumps rather than individual flowers or plants will make it easier for our pollinating friends to find you! Also, Milkweed is a particular favorite of the Monarch butterfly.
5. Bee a smart shopper: When shopping for seeds to plant in your garden avoid any and all products that say “protected”. A product with this label means the plants and/or seeds have been chemically pre-treated with pesticides. *Tip: The best way to get seeds for your garden is to buy from organic local farmers, or smaller plant nurseries that specialize in organic gardening.
6. H2O will help them grow: It’s getting warmer outside and bees need cooling off too! Especially in drier climates. If you have a bird bath or a small bowl, fill it with a few pebbles and some fresh water. This will help the bees stay cool and hydrated so they can do their pollinating magic. *Tip: Keep fresh water on hand and change out daily to prevent mosquitoes from nesting.
7. Bee Brave: If you really want to get involved and help the bees in a BIG way, learn how to be a beekeeper! To get started, you can purchase a pre-made “bee box” at your local hardware store or farmer's supply store. Bees also make their homes from fallen branches and trees, so if you have a fallen tree branch on your property, drilling a few bee-inviting holes in the deadwood makes a perfect home for our high flying friends. This is one of the best ways to repopulate the bees and help save our environment. *Tip: For more information check out this inspiring video by Kirby Engleman, as she charms the beekeeper inside all of us.
We hope you’ll follow our journey and do your part to bee wonderful along with us!
5 Ideas For Spreading Color, Cheer & Beauty In Your Community 1
At the end of winter every year, Spring faithfully appears, bringing with it beauty, color, and a renewed sense of energy. Spring is nature's way of starting over, bringing new life to the world, by 'springing' up flowers, trees budding, the chirping of birds and most importantly, sunshine that we all long for during the gray winter. Amazingly, however, mother nature is not the only one who can spread color, cheer and beauty throughout your community – you can too. By simply planting some flowers, painting a mural, sprucing up the local playground, redecorating a wing of the library or just cleaning up your community, you can really make a difference.
1. Plant Flowers
In almost every community across the world, there is one little spot, whether it be a park or just a little sitting area in the center of town, where people come to relax and reflect on their lives. This is the perfect spot for you to donate your time and plant some flowers. Not only will you be assisting Mother Nature in her springtime festivities, but you will be brightening up your town and spreading cheer throughout the community. Ask your local florist or garden center for ideas on what will grow well in your community and have an eye-catching appeal, because it's time to stop and 'plant' the roses.
2. Paint A Mural In A Community Space
Not every town council is going to allow you to paint a mural on a wall somewhere, but think about talking to the director of your town's hospital. There is nothing more depressing than being in the hospital, except being a kid in the hospital. As many parents have likely experienced what the
inside of the children's ward of a hospital looks like – white, sterile, sad – why not volunteer your time and a few buckets of paint to add some color and brighten up a sick child's day. My Wonderful Walls offers themed wall mural stencil kits, paint kits, paint brushes and color guides to help you complete the project with ease. Any of our wall murals are ideal for community centers, day cares, church nurseries and other public places where children come, encouraging imaginative learning and play!
3. Clean Up The Playground
Many communities across the world have a playground designed to give children a place to play and grow while interacting with their peers. Unfortunately, many of these playgrounds have been built quite some time ago and are a little rundown, and in some cases, unsafe for the kids to play on. Get together with some friends and volunteer to clean up the playground area, maybe add a fresh coat of paint to the swings, replace the ladder to the slide, or freshen up the mulch and mow the grass. The kids will truly love a cleaner, safer place to play!
4. Redecorate The Library
Most libraries have an area that is a designated Children's Section, which is often decorated with characters and colors. However, as with many playgrounds, these rooms are often outdated and rundown. Consider freshening up the space with a wall sticker kit or painting with a wall mural stencil kit. Both are available in a wide variety of themes including: jungle safari, farm theme, flower garden theme, forest theme, ocean theme and more.
5. Community Clean-Up
There is nothing more appropriate during the spring that simply cleaning up. Gather together your close friends, or church group and go around your community gathering up trash – which you can recycle. Together, all these tips can freshen up your community, bringing that springtime freshness and cheer everyone is looking for.
So... what will you do?
Girl Scout Uses Ocean Wall Mural to Enrich Her Community 0
Recently My Wonderful Walls had the chance to give back to the community; this wonderful opportunity came in the form of Rebecca Ackermann, a dedicated Girl Scout looking to earn her Gold Award for community service. We donated our ocean stencil kit and ocean paint kit to her so that she could complete her quest. The project was, in her words, a smashing success, and the library she painted has been receiving rave reviews for the artwork every since.
Completed in late July of 2011, Rebecca’s project fulfilled the Girl Scout service requirements and earned her the coveted gold award soon after completing the ocean wall mural for her project. She had been keeping us posted along the way, and recently emailed again to follow up on her experience and to express how much the project meant to her and to the community. Here is what she has had to say:
“In November of 2010, I went to see my twin sisters’ new school for the first time. My sister has autism, and like many public special needs schools in the country, her school was underfunded and missing a lot of basic school supplies. Perhaps one of the most disappointing absences was the lack of a library or even a decent amount of books. So I decided to use my community service project to help create a true, wonderful library where the students could expand their reading skills. I collected furniture, technology, held book drives and painting sessions, and ended with an open house to commemorate the library. In addition, I helped create an easy system to help students navigate the library and the books it housed that was easier for them to understand than the dewy decimal system or even alphabetical categorization.
By working with teachers, administrators, non-profit charities, schools, churches, small businesses, and more, I gained the resources needed to carry out my project, which was completed in the end of July 2011. I was so happy to have found My Wonderful Walls; your donation helped make the library come alive with colors and images – something that will help stimulate and engage the autistic students on a really wonderful level.
The building where my painting project took place not only hosts an autistic support program, but also an early intervention program, a head start program, an English as a Second Language program, a literacy camp, and a YMCA day care. Adding a special library created unique improvements for the different groups who will access the building. For the autistic children, reading skills will help them in job training if they choose to pursue that path. Reading for the ESL children gives them opportunities to learn to read no matter their level of understanding.
I have received so many compliments about the wall stencils, and they turned out so beautifully. They really made the library pop, and truly made it such a fun place. Thank you again for helping me make my project something lasting and special!”
We at My Wonderful Walls want to say, “Thank You, Rebecca!” for inspiring us as well, and for giving us the opportunity to partner with you in an outstanding community service outreach project.
Michael Goins Paints Mural at His Son's School CSAS 0
Michael Goins, the mind and owner behind My Wonderful Walls, had the opportunity to design and paint a lovely mural for his son’s school, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences. The school wanted to personalize their lackluster office walls and asked Michael to lend his expertise at a mural in the school’s office. His son Isaac had just begun Kindergarten at the time. An artistic person by nature, Michael was glad to lend a hand at his son’s school and use his creative resources to make a difference at a school that was making a difference in his own family’s life.
Michael designed a mural that features the school’s logo and highlights six colorful silhouettes of children playing under a cloud-filled sky. After designing the mural, he then spent a day in the school office creating the painting. When it was finished everyone at the school was absolutely thrilled by it and was very appreciative.
Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences is a Paideia School- a magnet school in Chattanooga, Tennessee that is driven to have a richly diverse socioeconomic and racial student and parental demographic. It has a core curriculum of a liberal arts approach that leads back to original thinker and American philosopher, Mortimer Adler. The school utilizes seminars, “intellectual coaching of skills”, and truly teaching instead of entertaining their students. These principles, as well as many others, are what facilitates a passion for learning early on in it’s students—giving the school a 96 percent rate of attendance—with more than 95 percent of students graduating from there attending college. Test scores at the school are impressively high and have brought attention to the school from all over the nation.
Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences is very committed to a having a healthy amount of parental involvement- requiring parents to contribute 18 hours a year at the school. It really makes a difference when parents are able to be a part of the learning and can contribute their own gifts and skills to their children’s enrichment. Michael was able to do exactly that with the wonderful mural he created.
My Wonderful Walls sells wall stencil kits, stickers, canvas art, and wall murals. Their goal is to make it easy for parents – even those artistically challenged – to design unique and creative bedroom walls for their children. As a family company, they focus on a quality product, customer satisfaction, and feedback. For more information, visit them at https://www.mywonderfulwalls.com/.
My Wonderful Walls Brings Cheer to a Bulgarian Orphanage 0
Recently My Wonderful Walls had an opportunity to partner with students at Wildwood School in LA, as the students undertook a Community Involvement trip to spread hope and love to an orphanage in Gobrovo, Bulgaria. The students were able to partner with other students from Sophia, Bulgaria, adding to the wonderful cultural experience they gained in addition to lending a helping hand.
While the orphanages work hard to help give orphaned children a safe landing zone, the buildings there remain drab, bleak, and without the bright, lively touches that can be a bright spot in any child’s life. Here in the states we are blessed to have many customers that use our wall decals and murals in their nurseries and children’s bedrooms, and we are so excited that we are beginning to have a positive impact in children’s lives overseas as well.
This is why the teacher heading up the trip contacted us to see if we would be willing to help them select some wall murals in fun forest themes and flower themes to take with them to the orphanage. The teacher was looking to put together a project that would allow the students to decorate the bedrooms, ideally resulting in bright headboards and wall murals for the children. She thought that our reusable wall stencils would be the perfect solution, since not all of the students were artistically inclined. She also wanted to be able to engage the orphans in the projects as much as possible, and painting definitely spells f-u-n no matter what language it is spoken in.
Needless to say, we were honored to partner with them in bringing joy around the world to children in need, and were delighted when the teacher chose two of our favorite wall stencil kits to take with her: the Splendid Garden stencil kit and the Forest Friends stencil kit.
As you can see from the pictures, the orphanage comes alive with the bright colors and realistic settings that the murals create. What a blessing to have our wall murals be the first bright spot in these children’s day every morning!
The students were also able to paint the wall murals on the hallways and corridors of the orphanage buildings. These areas were – in the teacher’s words – “pretty bleak before we painted them,” – but with a little paint and a lot of love they were soon transformed into something bright and beautiful.