This year, there was something extra poignant about recognizing Earth Day. Humans might be having a hard time right now, but since we are all contained to our houses, the natural world seems to be thriving. Have you seen all the beautiful photos of what our cities look like with less pollution? It’s unbelievable how quickly we can clean up the earth when we all work together.

We’ve also noticed a ton more wildlife around our house, like a pack of wild turkeys yesterday! I’ve heard similar stories from all over the world, about animals spotted exploring places previously filled with people. It’s definitely a good time to be a gator in Florida.

Last weekend, National Geographic contacted us to create something for their Earth Week Neighborhood Safari. Now, I am not normally I very craft-oriented person, but since we are stuck at home with limited opportunities for fun, this sounded like something new and different to do. If this had been a normal time, we would have come up with an idea and then taken a trip to a craft shop to get materials, but since we are locked down at home, we had to scrounge around to see what we had to work with and what we could do.

Luckily, I had Harlow as my secret weapon. As most of you know, Harlow really likes to throw herself into projects, so she was all-in, trying to come up with the best idea for our at-home safari. After seeing what we had on hand, we realized we could probably make a decent looking giraffe using a combination of boxes, wrapping paper rolls and some construction paper we had at the house.

I think the effects of social isolation are probably creeping in, because at some point, we decided that our giraffe was actually going to be a girafficorn. We obviously weren’t shooting for total taxidermic accuracy over here.

After we taped brown spots on our girafficorn’s body, I thought she looked pretty good and was going to call it a day. But Harlow really wanted to paint her neck. I really didn’t want to make a mess with paint, so I said that we didn’t have the right colors. Nope. Harlow wasn’t buying it. She went through her paint supply and ran back in the room with exactly the right colors. THERE IS NO LAZINESS IN HARLOW’S HOUSE!

Of course, she was right and painting the neck made our girafficorn 100% more impressive.

When we got the assignment from Nat Geo, I really didn’t think we would be able to pull off anything close to this good, especially with a bunch of garbage I had lying around the house! For the record, we used construction paper, tape, paint, five wrapping paper rolls (I pulled them out of our holiday wrapping stash), a Costco sized 4 pack box of Ziplocs for the body and one of the single Ziploc boxes inside for the head. The ears and horn is a headband we happened to have in the house.

Harlow and I were both SO PLEASED with ourselves. Even Mazzy thought it came out amazing, and she is a tough critic.

Once we had a few minutes to bask in the glory of our girafficorn, we decided to take things one step further. Harlow had the idea to camouflage her electric kid’s car for a proper “tour” in the “jungle” (our yard). I swear this girl’s enthusiasm knows no bounds. I love it. So, we made a Safari Tour sign for the side of her car (Harlow had the idea to decorate the letters with different animal prints) and then we cut out construction paper leaves to decorate the car.

Harlow was so excited the next day when it all came together and she got to pull her safari tour vehicle out of the garage.

We set up our girafficorn in the tall grass by the creek so that anyone paddle boarding by could appreciate it’s glory.

Then, the big moment. Harlow conducted her first tour.

“Welcome to Harlow’s Safari Tour! Today, we are going to see a really rare species for this part of the gungle. The girafficorn!” (You can watch a video of Harlow’s Safari Tour on Instagram.)

Yes, Harlow, the girafficorn is super rare. Especially one constructed out of our garbage found in our house. I hope this is what National Geographic had in mind when they asked us to participate in this project!

Made up or not, I think we can all agree that this one fantastic looking girafficorn.

Next up, Elepanticorns!


If you’d like to be part of National Geographic’s Neighborhood Safari for Earth Week or check out their free learning resources for both parents and teachers, visit Nat Geo!