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Back to Basics 2013! Registration is Now Open!

It's December, and that means that Back to Basics is just around the corner. Registration is now open for participants. We've got a great line-up of workshops and presentations that will help you find your "steps toward sustainability." We've got workshops for beginners (Composting 101 and Soap Making 101) and workshops that cover a variety of topics (from learning healing tonics to addressing climate change). But, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Our keynote speaker is nationally renowned speaker (but local boy!) Charles Marohn. Creator of Strong Towns, Charles will speak on How Ordinary People Can Do Extraordinary Things. Charles has been speaking on the topic of creating sustainable communities for years. Here's a TED Talk he did a while back

There will be many vendors from all over the area, and if you need continuing education credits, we've got you covered. 
Join us on January 26th at the Pine River-Backus High School for the 7th annual Back to Basics. Registration material can be found here.

Shop Locally to Improve Your Community.

The holiday season is here and many people are still shopping for their gifts. Here's a gentle reminder that shopping online or at big box stores can be convenient. However, for every dollar that you spend at a big box store, only 14 cents stays in the community. Shopping locally will keep almost 70 cents local. That's HUGE! You can read more about it in a blog article we posted a couple of weeks back. 

Grant Hanscom over at has written a great article on shopping locally. In fact, he takes it a step further and asks his friends and family to give his kids nothing for Christmas.  

Now remember that shopping online has its benefits, but to create and encourage a sustainable community, shopping locally should be your first choice. 

Easy Do It Yourself Hot Apple Cider Recipe

So, what's the worst part of the Minnesota winter? Some would say the mountains of snow. Others might say that it's the furthest away from the baseball season. You can bet that the bitter cold you would have to endure could make for some miserable winters. Many make the best of the situation and find things to do in the cold, dark Minnesota winters. (For example, check out this guy who found a neat trick to do with boiling waterthese kinds souls who will jump into freezing water for charity.) 

But, for those that do not enjoy the cold (or for those that need to warm up after frolicking outside) here is a wonderful recipe that is sure to put the nip back into your nose.

Hot Apple Cider


4-5 cups apple juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 ounces spiced rum (optional),
2 cinnamon sticks 
1 turtleneck sweater
1 apple to slice for garnish.


  1. 1

    In a small pot heat the apple juice, spices and rum (if using) over low/medium heat. Stir often while the mixture is heating so the spices will blend into the juice (you don't want any spice clumps). Once it's hot pour into two mugs and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Serve warm, while wearing a turtle-neck sweater (Note: turtle-neck sweater is optional).

Resilient Living Online Store

HDT has partnered with to provide an easy 
method to purchase books on sustainability and other useful tools.
Click here to check it out.


Healthy Green Communities Partnership

Dam Park Task Force

Meetings: 1st Thursday, 5pm at HUG Campus
Buy a Brick to support the installation of the swimming beach at the Dam Park.
GreenStep Task Force
Dec. 19 at JR's BBQ on Barclay Ave.
Show up early for the great food!
Pine River Main Street Beautification


Local News

Brainerd Area Environmental Learning Network (BAELN) Upcoming Events
December 20: What is the Minnesota State Grain? DIY Wild Rice
January 17: How to Plan For and Get the Most Enjoyment Out of a Trip to the BWCA

Congratulations to Paul and Lynn Hunt
On December 13,
Paul and Lynn Hunt were awarded the John Yourd Pillar Award 
from Lakeland Public Television for volunteer work.
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