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The sharing of the green: Holiday giving that's also good for the environment

An ecologically balanced Earth is a holiday gift for all humankind.

Let's face it, the holiday season would be pretty Scrooge-like if endangered animals vanished, great rain forests disappeared, and our air and water became more polluted. So, instead of dreaming of a white Christmas this year, think green. Why not consider these suggestions while there's still a full month left to do your Christmas planning and shopping:

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For friends and family

Page by Page makes elegant note paper and envelopes from great photos taken from old magazines such as Life and Vogue. Ten note cards with envelopes and labels are $18.50 at Eclectic in the Gallery. Eclectic also sells romantic picture frames made from recycled paper for $45.

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The William Arthur Co. is offering personalized stationery made from recycled paper. Printing on the paper will be done with soybean ink. Selections range from $59 to $177 and orders placed at Downs Inc., on North Charles Street, take about three weeks to complete.

The 1993 World Wildlife Calendars, made of recycled paper, are $10.95 at the Pleasure of Your Company in Green Spring Station. Royalties go to the World Wildlife Fund.

The Daily Planet Desk Calendar at the Nature Company in Harborplace and Towson Town Center is made of recycled paper and is filled with information about endangered plant and animal life. Your $12.95 purchase helps support the Nature Conservancy.

For a one-of-a-kind gift, choose a 100 percent cotton sweater or vest decorated with reclaimed items, such as fabric scraps, old buttons and pieces of lace. They are at Craft Concepts in Green Spring Station and cost between $195 and $300. Seeking a designer look? Saks Fifth Avenue at Owings Mills Mall is stocking JOE (Just One Earth) T-shirts by Joseph Abboud in 100 percent cotton for $42.

Energy savers will be thrilled with Milano's solar-powered calculator with big numbers, for $40; the Store Ltd. at the Village of Cross Keys has it. And the Nature Company is selling a pocket-size solar radio for $45 and a handsome solar-powered wristwatch for $79.

For fans of things recycled or recyclable: A Mikasa Christmas tree ornament made from recycled glass is $10 at Hecht's. A recyclable mesh body sponge is $8.50 at Nordstrom at Towson Town Center. Eastern Mountain Sports' fabric lunch bags, starting at $6, also are at Towson Town Center.

If you need an ecology-minded gift for a holiday host or hostess, pick up a bottle of organic wine from the Wine Merchant in Lutherville. Choose a Frey Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon for $15 or a red merlot for $12.50, both from Organic Wine Works.

Or choose a pound of Cafe Mexico, Cafe Nica, Cafe Nica Decaf or Organic Breakfast Blend for $7.40 from the Coffee Mill at Belvedere Square. They are all made from organically grown coffee beans.

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For home and garden

Start with the basics -- recycling stands from the Bagit System at Environmentally Sound Products in Towson. The most popular model is a $24.95 stand that holds two 18-gallon reusable bags with a handle on the bag for easy dumping. Know someone who needs a can compactor? Lechter's in the Gallery has a model that mounts on the wall. It's $19.99.

You can light up someone's holiday season with an accent lamp from Uzzolo in the Pratt Street Pavilion of Harborplace. The 15-inch lamp has a metal base and a recycled paper lamp shade in peach, green or tan. It costs $99.

Another accent for the home is a Silvestri water globe containing a figure of the bald eagle, the panda or the whale. They make excellent paperweights. The cost is $35 each at Saks Fifth Avenue. Sales benefit the World Wildlife Fund.

What's the holiday season without bells? Craft artist Tom Torrens makes them from reclaimed oxygen and acetylene tanks. Great for ringing in the New Year, they cost between $140 and $150 at the Store.

Plants and trees make great gifts for conservation fans. At Valley View Farms in Cockeysville, you can find spider plants, peace lilies and fig trees, priced from a few dollars to $200.

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For kids only

Kids are never too young to learn about ecology.

"Global Warning," by Sandy Ransford is a colorful pop-up book for preschool and primary-grade children that teaches about ozone depletion and global warming. It's $15 at Learning How at Kenilworth Park. For $12.99, the store also has Eco Detective, an ecology kit from Educational Insights that comes with magnets and litmus paper.

Need a stocking stuffer? How about Rubber Stampede's eight rubber stamps depicting animals of the rain forest for $8? A portion of the purchase price goes to the World Wildlife Fund.

A big hit at Natural Wonders in Towson Town Center is a creative recycling kit called Replay, for $12. Geared to kids 5 and older, it contains more than 70 recycled components such as foils, rubber, paper and felt, in assorted colors and shapes. Kids can use these to make puppets, bugs or whatever creature they can dream up.

Gifts that keep on giving

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Want to give a gift that directly benefits organizations working toward keeping this planet in ecological balance? For $15, Tree-mendous of Maryland [(410)-974-3776] will plant a tree in the name of anyone you designate and will send a gift card to that person.

Maryland Save Our Streams [(800)-448-5826] has $6 white porcelain coffee mugs that say "Enhancing and Protecting the 17,000 miles of rivers and streams in Maryland."

The Save the Bay Shop of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis offers the 1993 Save the Bay Calendar, with color photographs by David Harp, for $8.95. The shop also sells a "Wetlands" T-shirt, $14, and sweat shirt, $21.

Just about all national environmental groups offer gift memberships that include subscriptions to some handsome and informative magazines.

The Wilderness Society [(202)-833-2300] has a membership for $15 that includes quarterly issues of its magazine, Wilderness. The Sierra is a bimonthly magazine that comes with a $35 membership to the Sierra Club [(415)-923-5653].

Want to give an ecology-minded family member or friend the gift of a lifetime?

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Treat him or her to a trip with Earthwatch. This group sponsors research projects around the globe. Coming up in the summer of 1993: a black rhino watch in Zimbabwe and a dolphin observation project in Sarasota, Fla. These trips run 10 days to two weeks and cost $2,000; call (800) 776-0188 for more $H information.

Happy shopping -- and remember to wrap all your gifts in recycled holiday paper!


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