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Charity spotlight

A Natural Selection

What are your plans for Earth Day 2012? When you think of charities to help out, think trees and grass and critters, and the organizations working every day to protect them.

We love nature, so it's only natural that we love The Nature Conservancy too. This organization works around the world to save lands and waters for nature and people.

The Nature Conservancy has preserved more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide — and they operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. With a foot in all 50 states and more than 30 countries, they protect habitats from grasslands to coral reefs in places all the way from Alaska to Zambia. Check Nature Conservancy out today.

Great idea

Earth Day is April 22, but you can celebrate all year long with clever craft activities!

One of our favorites is planting a simple herb garden. Just grab a grownup and a small planter. Decide on your three favorite herbs -- we recommend pizza toppers like basil and oregano, and mint for summer lemonade. Use a long rectangular planter and cluster the seeds in three areas so they grow together.

Start the seeds indoors now, and before you know it, you'll have a garden full of good taste. When the seedlings are sturdy in a few weeks, move the planter outside and enjoy your delicious greens!

Home The Team
The Team
Meet Tony

"Can you sit for a minute?"

That's something his three boys heard quite often growing up. Illustrator Anthony Letourneau always wanted some more time to finish his drawings of his boys. Even now he draws or paints every day and spends his free time learning and reading about being creative. Anthony (or as his friends call him, Tony) was raised in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, and later moved to the Minnesota north woods where he resides today. As a young artist, he studied the works of Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, and N.C. Wyeth.

He has an active home studio where you can find laughter from his boys, loud music, good coffee, and great food cooked by his wife, Michelle. Email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Things he loves:

  • Coffee
  • Painting
  • A lively discussion
  • Pixar movies
  • Apples
  • Fly fishing
  • Football

Things he doesn't:

  • Old coffee
  • Cucumbers
  • Bats
  • 100 degree days
  • Crunchy peanut butter
  • Short sleeves
  • Dull cutlery
Meet Karen

Before chasing around her two children as a full-time mom, Karen Duncan used to be a Physical Education teacher and Athletic Director at The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where she worked everyday to get her students moving! A former track and field coach, Karen likes all things speedy, except how quickly her own kids are growing up!

Karen was raised in Tasmania, which is the island state of Australia. It’s a long way from Chicago, where she moved in 1992 to live with her husband, who was a pro-basketball player in Australia when they met. Now she lives in Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., where she works at KaBOOM!, an organization dedicated to saving play. Her favorite thing to do each week is reading to a first-grader as part of a mentoring program called Everybody Wins! DC. Email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Things she loves:

  • Gerbera daisies
  • San Diego
  • Heath Bars
  • Reading to kids
  • Bright toenails
  • Driving
  • Calvin and Hobbes

Things she doesn’t:

  • Clutter
  • Sunburn
  • Ice skating
  • Reptiles with no legs
  • Sand
  • Being late
  • Uncomfortable shoes
Meet Kate

When she isn't running around Chicago to karate classes, soccer games, or ballet lessons for her three kids, Kate Hannigan Issa spends her time writing and editing. She used to work in newspapers, back in a time when people had ink stains on their fingers rather than websites at their fingertips. She loved her time at The San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, and The Californian in Salinas, and she once actually got to shout, "Stop the presses!"

Now she writes and edits for online media. And while she loves new technology, her heart belongs to a traditional medium: children's books. She writes picture books and middle-grade novels for young readers and has been published in more than 30 children's books. Email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Things she loves:

  • Big, stinky, drooly dogs
  • Peach picking
  • Hummingbirds
  • English Breakfast tea
  • Riding her bike
  • Sea dragons
  • Anything made with lemons

Things she doesn't:

  • Getting her picture taken
  • Gum
  • People who honk right when the light turns
  • Ferrets
  • Scary movies
  • Litterbugs
  • Feet