The Grass Stain Guru was a blog about “restoring childhood, and saving ourselves in the process.” The blog, written by Bethe Almeras, covered topics on unstructured play, children and nature, and education reform in an intimate, conversational tone that encouraged her readers to interact and share their experiences.1
Bethe had three main goals for writing her blog: to increase awareness about the issues of unstructured free play, especially outdoors; to encourage others to spread the word on the issues; and to effect behavior change in kids and adults alike. Her passion for outdoor play came from her own childhood where she was encouraged to play outdoors every day at her neighborhood wooded area at the end of her street. The movement to connect children and nature, prompted by Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, was something Bethe had been passionate about for years.2
Bethe is an award-winning author who wrote from her home in Washington, D.C. For over 20 years Bethe had been connecting people to nature and encouraging play through her work as a camp counselor, recreation therapist, educator, writer, and blogger. She firmly believed that “nature is the best therapist and teacher any of us will ever have, and that the magic of childhood should be rooted there, and the peace of adulthood is waiting there.”3
Bethe is a co-founder of the National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour, an online resource that provides parents “the inspiration and tools to make the outdoors a part of daily life.”4 She enjoyed encouraging nature play to her readers of The Grass Stain Guru by offering wonderful ideas for engaging children in outdoor activities as well as challenging them with her Mystery Critter quizzes.
As an active advocate of play and education reform, Bethe also kept her readers up-to-date on the issues of too much screen time, over-scheduling of children’s time, reduction of recess, and homework for young children. Bethe enjoys speaking at conferences, both nationally and internationally, on subjects such as “Play is Not a Four-Letter Word” and “Taking Childhood Off the Endangered Species List.”5
Bethe wrote the blog from May of 2009 until December of 2013. She continues to be involved with early education issues.
- 1. Chen, Gina. “The Grass Stain Guru writes about children and play.” Family Life Blog. 29 May 2009. Syracuse.com. < http://blog.syracuse.com/family/2009/05/who_are_you_and_where_3.html > 17 May 2012.
- 2. Shreeves, Robin. “Meet Bethe Almeras.” A Little Greener Every Day. 25 March 2009. < http://robinshreeves.blogspot.com/2009/03/meet-bethe-almeras.html . 17 May 2012.
- 3. Almeras, Bethe. “About.” The Grass Stain Guru. < http://grassstainguru.com/about/ > 20 Jan. 2012.
- 4. “What is a Green Hour?” National Wildlife Federation. < http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Be-Out-There/Why-Be-Out-There/What-is-a-Green-Hour.aspx > 18 May 2012.
- 5. “Speaking & Consulting.” The Grass Stain Guru. < http://grassstainguru.com/speaking-consulting/ > 20 Jan. 2012.