Best Gifts of 2014 for Nature Lovers

Smithsonian editors, gardeners and scientists offer ideas to give the gifts that keep wildlife thriving


Does your blood run in shades of green—teal to viridian? With the holidays at our throats again, it’s time to put the friend in Earth-friendly and give the gifts that keep songbirds singing, garden bees pollinating and other wildlife thriving. Here are a few suggestions for every nature lover and eco-maniac on your list, and even a few for those who could use a lesson in environmental stewardship.

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Mason Bee House ($19.95)


With honey bees threatened due to colony collapse disorder and pesticide exposure, encourage your friends to turn their apartment balconies and backyards into safe havens for native pollinators. The non-aggressive garden lovers rarely sting and are hugely helpful pollinators. In early spring, mason bees will quickly take up residence in these compact, high-rise tunnel homes. Find a south-facing wall and mount the nest about 7 feet high and within about 300 feet of their favorite spring-blossoming foods—azaleas, dandelions and coneflowers. Leave some moist mud handy so that the female can manufacture the nesting plugs that give the creature its name. The bees will return the favor, helping to pollinate all your wildflowers, vegetables and especially fruit trees.

Suggested by Beth Py-Lieberman, museums digital editor

About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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