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Browsing articles by " Monica Erskine"
Jan
15

Chocolate Holidays

blog_feature_dec13It’s really no surprise that each and every month has a day dedicated to chocolate. Check out this list of national chocolate food holidays - links within our calendar take you to interesting ways to celebrate (My fav? Dec 16th – Eleven Seriously Weird Chocolate-Covered Foods) or send you to the perfect Endangered Species Chocolate item to indulge in for the day!

 

 

January 3

National Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day

January 10

National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

january 27

National Chocolate Cake Day

february 1

National Dark Chocolate Day

February 5

National Chocolate Fondue Day

February 19

National Chocolate Mint Day

February 25

National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day

march 19

National Chocolate Caramel Day

March 24

National Chocolate-Covered Raisins Day

April 21

National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day

May 15

National Chocolate Chip Day

June 7

National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

June 26

National Chocolate Pudding Day

July 28

National Milk Chocolate Day

August 4

National Chocolate Chip Day

August 10

National S’Mores Day

september 12

National Chocolate Milkshake Day

september 13

International Chocolate Day

september 22

National White Chocolate Day

October 28

National Chocolate Day

November 7

National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

December 16

National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day

December 28

National Chocolate Day

 

Dec
4

To: Nature | From: You

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Why not put the planet on your gift-giving list this season? Here are 3 conservation organizations we know and trust to fight for at-risk species and habitats!

Send support to the sea

SEETurtle Holiday Gift Pack

Make a year-end $110.00 donation to SEE Turtles and receive a gift bag filled with ocean-friendly loot to commemorate your generosity!

SEE Turtles supports community-based sea turtle conservation projects worldwide. Your donation will help protect 100 baby turtle hatchlings.

The ULTIMATE TURTLE LOVERS’ GIFT PACK includes:

  • 3 Endangered Species Chocolate bars
  • 18oz. Klean Kanteen bottle
  • Organic goat milk soap ‘Cause Bar’
  • Sea turtle garden flag
  • Koteli reusable shopping bag
  • Glass Dharma glass drinking straw
  • 3 baby sea turtle postcards

Get your gift that gives back direct from SEE Turtles and The Ocean Foundation.

For the bees (and other pollinators)…

xercesOur 10% GiveBack Partner, The Xerces Society, is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists to implement conservation programs.

Join The Xerces Society in combating unnecessary pesticide use and advocating for pollinators. Make a year-end donation to The Xerces Society – you’ll receive a bi-annual subscription to Wings: Essays on Invertebrate Conservation to keep you informed of your donation at work!

Go in on a joint gift with Betty White!

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Elephants have a secret weapon against poachers – Betty White! Join the Golden Girl in a quest to protect African wildlife by making a donation to our 10% GiveBack Partner, African Wildlife Foundation. Ms. White will double your gift when you give before December 20th.

Act now and double AWF’s resources to fight to save Africa’s rare and precious wildlife! With your donation you’ll receive

  • 16-month calendar with stunning African wildlife photography
  • AWF’s quarterly newsletter
  • The pride that you are making a difference for Africa’s wildlife, wild lands and community.

Chocolate Gifts Supporting Species

Want to combine a charitable donation with indulgent chocolate? We can help with that!

Pick one of our AWFliongiftAWF ADOPTION CHOCOLATE COLLECTIONS.

African Wildlife Foundation works to support 80+ species every day. We’ve paired their purpose with Endangered Species Chocolate bars for gifts that give back in a big way.

Your AWF Adoption Collection purchases send a $15, $25 or $40 donation to African Wildlife Foundation and gives you a delicious chocolate assortment, cute plush animal, and a 1-year AWF e-membership – all wrapped up in a great gift box.

 

SAVE THE SEA TURTLES GIFT PACK
Save sea turtles and savor chocolate! With this purchase, a $10 donation is made to SEE Turtles, a conservation tourism project that supports seeturtle giftcommunity-based sea turtle protection efforts.

Your purchase supports work in Costa Rica, Baja California Sur and Trinidad – vital nesting habitats for endangered sea turtles. Each pack bundles three 3oz. Natural Dark Chocolate with Blueberries chocolate bars with a card acknowledging your SEE Turtles donation.

What a sweet gift (that gives back)!

 

 


Oct
3

GMO Impact on Wildlife

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October is Non-GMO Month – a great time to mull over myths and truths about genetically modified organisms so you can make an informed choice…for your health and the health of the planet. What are the impacts of GMOs on the environment? Over 80% of all GMOs are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of herbicides has increased 15x since GMOs were introduced – herbicides that persist in the environment and harm wildlife. There are also GMO crops that produce a Bt toxin insecticide which may harm non-target insect populations such as butterflies and beneficial pest predators. The long-term inpact of GMOs are unknown, and once released into the environment these engineered organisms cannot be recalled.

We believer Mother Nature knows best. That’s why we source Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients for our chocolate. Look for in-store displays during October and celebrate your right to make an informed choice about the foods you eat.

-Sources: Non-GMO Project | Learn More , GMO Myths and Truths, and Non-GMO Project Communications Toolkit

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Look for our Non-GMO Project Verified Natural Chocolate Halloween Treats on store shelves in October!

And find Endangered Species Chocolate in store displays throughout Non-GMO Month

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Aug
20

Purse with a Purpose

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What do you do with the overstock of obsolete chocolate bar wrappers? When you’re an eco-minded company, you seek out ways to reuse them. While we keep our inventory tight to avoid waste, rare changes like ingredient updates, discontinuations, and design revisions leave us with wrappers to re-purpose. Some, we shred and use as recyclable packing material in our chocolate shipments. Others, we hand over to Ecoist to make into pretty purses full of purpose!

Ecoist handbags are made through a fair trade manufacturing partnership with artisans in Peru. Fair Trade is a manufacturing partnership that embraces: 1) fair wages to workers, 2) healthy working environments, 3) long term relationships with suppliers, and 4) respect for the local cultural identity. See how the artisans turn pre-consumer waste into environmentally conscious style And icing on the cake – Ecoist plants a tree for each purse sold!

Enter to win one of 64 Ecoist purses, handcrafted from Endangered Species Chocolate bar wrappers!  Add your name to our e-card list between August 5th – September 27th for a chance to win.

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Jul
22

Throw a S’Mores Soiree

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I love spending time with my friends but I hate planning parties. That, in a nutshell, is why throwing a S’more shindig is perfect for people like me. This easy-to-assemble party spread provides the food AND the entertainment, leaving little for the host to do but to join in the fun! And if Pinterest has taught me anything, it’s to mimic great ideas.  Below are photos from my co-worker’s backyard S’more feast. Feel free to glean ideas for your own backyard bash!

THE PERFECT(LY EASY) S’MORE SOIREE

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The key to a successful S’more soiree? A well-stocked ingredient table and a well-tended fire pit. Need a great graham? Look for Annie’s Organic Graham Crackers! Make it vegan with dark chocolate and this recipe!

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Elevate the experience by offering an assortment of premium chocolates. Our host served up cherry and orange dark chocolate squares from Endangered Species Chocolate.

Smore Recipe OrangeCherry       Smore RecipeAlmondJoy

S’more making is a delicious art form!

 

These recipe cards serve to inspire.

 

Use these or come up with your own concoctions. Fun part? Naming them!

 

 

Smorepinecone

Clever touches like pine cone card holders make the table memorable and extra delicious. Speaking of delicious, you can purchase this bulk box of bite-sized chocolate squares from Endangered Species Chocolate.

So. Who’s ready to throw a party?

Share your s’more party ideas with us below.

Jun
6

World Oceans Day

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Join people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all! Visit World Oceans Day’s website to find an event in your area to connect you to saving the sea. Or set off on your own to make a difference; 5 Ways You Can Protect the Ocean, written by Brad Nahill, Co-Founder of SEE Turtles, can get you started Want more ways to help? Check out our post on ways you can protect the ocean while on your next beach visit.

May
15

Endangered Species Day

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This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, one of the most successful environmental laws in U.S. history. Friday, May 17, 2013 is the 8th annual Endangered Species Day – a day to spread awareness of species at-risk and to share success stories of species that have recovered. Join us in raising awareness!

  • Attend an Endangered Specie Day event. Find one here!
  • Spread the word on social media. Mention @savespecies in a tweet to help Endangered Species Coalition gain supporters (be sure to hashtag #ESDay). Or share a wildlife message with your Facebook friends (include @Endangered Species Coalition in your post so they can see your support).
  • Learn about conservation efforts in your state! U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s interactive map can help you discover which species are being protected in your area.
  • Use Endangered Species Coalition’s 10 Things You Can Do list to make simple changes that can have a big impact on species conservation.

Apr
15

Get Ready for Earth Day

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On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. Here are some ways to connect and participate:

The Face of Climate Change | Submit a photo to help Earth Day Network build a global mosaic of climate change to share at events around the world.

The History of Earth Day| Get a quick overview of the how and why  behind Earth Day with this short WatchMojo video.

Earth Day Toolkit | Endangered Species Coalition is a great Earth Day resource. Find events in your area or plan your own!

 

Feb
28

The Xerces Society

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When we announced The Xerces Society as one of our 2013-2015 10% GiveBack Partners, we were well-educated about their work. What we didn’t know was how incredibly passionate their supporters are! Since our commitment to donate 10% of our annual net profits to The Xerces Society, we have received countless emails and phone calls from members, thanking us. Their passion is infectious; my interest, piqued!

So, Xerces Society, what’s with the name?

This conservation non-profit is named after the Xerces Blue, an extinct species of butterfly. The Xerces Blue is believed to be the first American butterfly species to become extinct as a result of loss of habitat caused by urban development.

Bring back the pollinators!

Want to help bees, butterflies and other animals that help pollinate our planet? The Xerces Society’s Bring Back the Pollinators Campaign works with four simple principles that will easily turn your backyard into a place where pollinators can thrive! Become an expert at attracting beneficial insects to your landscape with the help of Xerces Society’s book, Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies.

Why their work is vital…

Of the more than one million species of animals in the world, 94 percent are invertebrates. They pollinate, spread seeds, recycle nutrients, and are a food source for wildlife. Without them – whole ecosystems would collapse. But these little guys are often overlooked with decisions are made about environmental policy and land management. The Xerces Society speaks up on their behalf through advocacy, policy, education and applied research.

Become a member of The Xerces Society.  We promise – you’ll be in good company

Jan
28

SEE the WILD: Last Refuge

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Main image courtesy of Mike Liles. All other photos via Brad Nahill | SEEtheWILD

Follow our guest blogger, Brad Nahill, Director and Co-Founder of conservation non-profit SEEtheWILD, as he continues his mission to protect sea turtles  in El Salvador.

The Last Refuge

A wide beach on a warm clear evening may be the most relaxing setting on earth. We weren’t likely to come across any nesting turtles on this beautiful evening in the far northwest corner of Nicaragua (the tides weren’t right), but we didn’t mind. The soft sound of surf provided a soundtrack for the brightest Milky Way I’ve seen in years. Just being out on the sand was enough entertainment. But we didn’t travel 10 hours by bus from El Salvador for a tranquil beach walk.

We came to Padre Ramos Estuary because it is home one of the world’s most inspiring sea turtle conservation projects. Our motley group of international sea turtle experts was there as part of a research expedition to study and protect one of the world’s most endangered turtle populations, the Eastern Pacific hawksbill sea turtle. Led by the Nicaraguan staff of Fauna & Flora International (FFI, an international conservation group) and carried out with support from the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative (known as ICAPO), this turtle project protects one of only two major nesting areas for this population (the other is El Salvador’s Jiquilisco Bay). This project depends on the participation of local residents; a committee of 18 local non-profit organizations, community groups, local governments, and more.

The coastal road leading into the town of Padre Ramos felt like many other spots along Central America’s Pacific coast. Small cabinas line the beach, allowing surfers a place to spend a few hours out of the water each night. Tourism has barely touched the main town however and the stares of the local kids hinted that gringos are not yet a common sight walking around town.

After arriving at our cabinas, I grabbed my camera and took a walk through town. A late afternoon soccer game competed with swimming in the cool water for the favorite pastime of the residents. I walked out to the beach as the sun set and followed it north to the mouth of the estuary, which curls around the town. The flattened crater of the Cosigüina volcano overlooks the bay and several islands.

The next day, fully rested, we set off early in two boats to try to catch a male hawksbill in the water. Most of the turtles studied in this region have been females easily caught on the beach after nesting. We spotted a hawksbill alongside an island called Isla Tigra, directly in front of the Venecia Peninsula, and the team sprung into action, one person hopping out of the boat with the tail end of the net while the boat swung around in a large semicircle, the net spreading out behind the boat. Once the boat reached the shoreline, everyone hopped out to help pull in the two ends of the net, unfortunately empty.

Despite our poor luck at catching turtles in the water, the team was able to capture the three turtles we needed for the satellite tagging research event. We brought one turtle from Venecia, which is located across the bay from the town of Padre Ramos, to involve members of the community who participate with the project in the satellite tagging event. Little is known about these turtles, but satellite transmitters have been part of a groundbreaking research study that has changed how scientists view the life history of this species. One finding that surprised many turtle experts was the fact that these hawksbills prefer to live in mangrove estuaries; up till then most believed they almost exclusively lived in coral reefs.

A few dozen people gathered around as our team worked to clean the turtle’s shell of algae and barnacles. Next, we sanded the shell to provide a rough surface on which to glue the transmitter. After that, we covered a large area of the carapace with layers of epoxy to ensure a tight fit. Once we attached the transmitter, a piece of protective pvc tubing was placed around the antenna to protect it from roots and other debris that might knock the antenna loose. The final step was to paint a layer of anti-fouling paint to prevent algae growth.

Next, we headed back to Venecia to put two more transmitters on turtles near the project hatchery, where hawksbill eggs are brought from around the estuary to be protected until they hatch and then are released. The tireless efforts of several local “careyeros” (the Spanish term for people who work with the hawksbill, known as “carey”) was rewarded with the opportunity to work with cutting edge technology on this important scientific study. Their pride in their work was obvious in their smiles as they watched the two turtles make their way to the water once the transmitters were attached.

Turtle conservation in Padre Ramos is more than just attaching electronics to their shells. Most of the work is done by the careyeros under the cover of darkness, driving their boats throughout the estuary looking for nesting hawksbills. Once one is found, they call the project staff who attach a metal ID tag to the turtles’ flippers and measure the length and width of their shells. The careyeros then bring the eggs to the hatchery and earn their pay depending on how many eggs they find and how many hatchlings emerge from the nest.

It was only a couple of years ago that these same men sold these eggs illegally, pocketing a few dollars per nest to give men unconfident in their libido an extra boost. Now, most of these eggs are protected; last season more than 90% of the eggs were protected and more than 10,000 hatchlings made it safely to the water through the work of FFI, ICAPO, and their partners. These turtles still face several threats in the Padre Ramos Estuary and throughout their range. Locally, one of their biggest threats is from the rapid expansion of shrimp farms into the mangroves.

One of the tools that FFI and ICAPO hope to use to protect these turtles is to bring volunteers and ecotourists to this beautiful spot. A new volunteer program offers budding biologists the opportunity to spend a week to a few months working with the local team to manage the hatchery, collect data on the turtles, and help to educate the community about why it’s important to protect these turtles. For tourists, there is no shortage of ways to fill both days and nights, from surfing, swimming, participating in walks on the nesting beach, hiking, and kayaking.

On my final morning in Padre Ramos, I woke up early to be a tourist, hiring a guide to take me on a kayaking excursion through the mangrove forest. My guide and I paddled across a wide channel and up through increasingly narrow waterways that challenged my limited ability to navigate. Halfway through, we stopped at a spot and walked up a small hill with a panoramic view of the area.

From above, the estuary, which is protected as a natural reserve, looked remarkably intact. The one obvious blemish was a large rectangular shrimp farm that stood out from the smooth curves of the natural waterways. Most of the world’s shrimp is now produced this way, grown in developing countries with few regulations to protect the mangrove forests that many creatures depend upon. While crossing the wide channel on the to return trip to town, a small turtle head popped up out of the water to take a breath about 30 feet in front of me. I like to think it was saying “hasta luego”, until I’m able to return again to this magical out of the way corner of Nicaragua.

Want to get involved?

Visit FFI to learn more about Nicaragua’s key species, leatherback, hawksbill and olive ridley sea turtles.

Volunteer with this project!  Help local researchers manage the hatcheries, tag turtles, and release hatchlings. The cost is $45/day which includes food and lodging.

Make a donation here. SEE Turtles supports this work through donations, helping to recuit volunteers and educating people about threats sea turtles face. Every dollar donated saves 2 hawksbill hatchlings!

Brad Nahill is a wildlife conservationist, writer, activist, and fundraiser. He is the Director & Co-Founder of SEEtheWILD, the world’s first non-profit wildife conservation travel website.  To date, we have generated more than $300,000 for wildlife conservation and local communities and our volunteers have completed more than 1,000 work shifts at sea turtle conservation project. SEEtheWILD is a project of The Ocean Foundation. Follow SEEtheWILD on Facebook or Twitter.