Christmas and nature really can go hand-in-hand.

At least that was the case recently at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center in Summit Hill, where members of Girl Scout Troop 3580 took part in a Christmas craft program.

Among the Christmas-themed projects the troop made were wreaths, spiders, yule logs, snowflakes and gift bags.

Devyn Hauser, a seventh-grader from Palmerton, said she was proud of the wreath she made.

"I'm going to take it home and put it on my front door," she said.

Later on, Natalie Mosier, a third-grade student from Palmerton, put the finishing touches on the spider she made.

That the girls were able to make projects for the holidays through the use of natural resources was what the program was all about, said Susan Gallagher, chief naturalist, Carbon County Environmental Education Center.

"This is an annual tradition," Gallagher said. "They're making gifts for their families, and hopefully having a good time."

Gallagher said the CCEEC provided all the materials, such as grapevines, birch logs and other natural materials. Attendees were asked to bring a glue gun and any small decorations, said Gallagher, who noted there was a nominal fee per craft.

In addition, those who participated could also choose instead to complete a jewelry project for a higher fee. That project involved learning how to make earrings, and allowed participants to take home three pairs for giving or gifting.

Jeannie Carl, a naturalist at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center, said the Christmas craft program has been in existence for over 20 years.

"We always try to get together to share ideas," Carl said. "I think it just gives them a real sense of accomplishment, to say, 'I didn't have to go to the store to buy this, I made this.'"

The mission of the Carbon County Environmental Education Center is to promote awareness and understanding of our environment through education.

By providing a variety of environmentally related services, and in stressing human environmental impacts, CCEEC encourages responsibility for, and appreciation of, all natural resources.

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