Grove Dispatch: Summer 2017 Digital Magazine

Grove Dispatch: Ocean Tide Summer 2017 Magazine

Grove Dispatch Summer 2017 Theme:

Ocean Tide Expedition

Hello Explorers! Are you ready for summer adventures? This week I am working on my latest magazine for The Pinecone Grove. This summer edition is paper-free! Because we love trees and digital downloads make for quick delivery. Currently, I am looking for work from parents, homeschoolers, students, educators, scientists, park rangers, and other nature science specialists. Here are 3 steps to get published.

Grove Dispatch: Ocean Tide Summer 2017 Magazine

The Grove Dispatch is an activity based publication from The Pinecone Grove. Content focuses on kid-friendly nature topics in botany, zoology, geology, and astronomy. Articles with The Pinecone Grove are geared toward parents needing wildlife adventure tips for their homeschoolers. My goal is to create a community where parents & kids can connect with other nature oriented families.

Send in your Ocean Tide Expedition themed work
by Sunday, June 18, 2017

Step 1: Create

First, you’ll need to decide what you’d like to publish in The Pinecone Grove’s refreshed digital magazine. Make sure all work submitted is kid-friendly.

Fiction Nature Short Stories

Write a short story about the life of a sea turtle or how a seahorse saved the coral reef.

Nonfiction Wildlife Articles

Share your nature studies with readers so they can learn more about the wildlife you love. You may include photographs with your article if you wish.

Expedition Articles

Recount your latest tide pool, snorkeling, or beach experience.

Nature Science Articles

Report wildlife species finds in the ocean, your successful beach cleanup project, or results from your salt water experiment.

How-To Articles

Because everyone loves a DIY! Write how you take care of the beach. Let us know how to recycle trash into ocean art. Teach an ocean inspired cooking lesson. Or maybe how-to exchanging everyday disposables for reusables.


Did you get a new pair of water shoes or a tropical field guide? Write a review about it. Reviews should include the product and brand, where you got it (gift, Target, etcetera,) your experience in using that product, and a rating: 1 being the worst, 5 being the best.


Construct an ocean inspired poem with us that is at least 10 words in length.

Illustrations and Photography

Your ocean wildlife inspired art and photographs can be digitally created or handmade, scanned, and emailed to I do not accept mailed submissions at this time.

Kid-Friendly Brands

I love to support small business owners. Write an article or send me a pitch for approval on something parents or kids would love to learn about. Include a small feature on your brand or a related product so my readers can connect with you and your brand.

Step 2: Guidelines

Note: the article guidelines listed below do not apply to poems, illustrations, or photography submissions.

Now that you have decided on the type of article you want to write, follow these guidelines when creating your work.

  • Article Length: Your article must be 500 – 2,000 words in length.
  • Article Images: 1 Feature Image (1600px width x 1101px height) & 1 or more Content Images (262px width x 325px height or 800px width x 800px height). Be sure to cite image sources (Photographer/Illustrator/Designer/Etc. & URL). If you are using your own images include your info with the images.
  • Article Links: 1-2 Topic Relevant Links & 1-2 links to your Blog, Shop, or Social media account where readers can follow you. Place links in brackets after the intended linking text.
  • Article Style: Snippet Introduction (125-160 characters), Main Introduction (1 Paragraph), 1 or more Headings, 2 or more Subheadings, Conclusion (1 paragraph), & a Call-to-Action (visit a site, subscribe to something, donate to a cause, etcetera).

Step 3: Email

Finally, you can submit your summer ocean themed work. Please send your email to me: Start the Subject line with OCEAN TIDE and your topic or pitch. I can’t wait to see what you have created!

  • Briefly tell me who you are.
  • State the title of your proposed article or work.
  • Tell me how The Pinecone Grove readers will benefit from your work.
  • Paste your article or share an outline of your pitch.
  • Especially important, sign with: “Pinecones Grow On Trees, [Your Name]” so I’ll know you read the guidelines 😉

Why You Should Publish with The Pinecone Grove

  1. Sharing your passion for nature with other families is a great way to encourage earth conscious living.
  2. A great project to work on with your kids and get the whole family excited about a nature friendly publication.
  3. Plus, if your work is accepted, you’ll receive a FREE digital copy of the summer magazine.

Accepted Work

I accept most submissions to the magazine. Within 24 hours you should receive an email back from me about your submission. Due to large amounts of email, I do not respond to most rejected works. However I may respond with constructive notes to help with the creation of future submissions.


Note: I retain the copyright of all material published in The Pinecone Grove magazine. An author/artist/photographer cannot republish the same work elsewhere; it must remain unique to The Pinecone Grove.

Work NOT Accepted

This magazine is for families so all content must be suitable for children. Consequently, any work submitted to my magazine containing inappropriate content will not be accepted.

  • Work with adult-themed or sexually explicit content will NOT be accepted.
  • Work that promotes hate, violence or discrimination in any way will NOT be accepted.

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3 Steps to Get Kids Published in Grove Dispatch This Summer


Our Series of Unfortunate Events

Toad on Fallen Leaves photographed by Ashley Shelton

 Our Series of Unfortunate Events

Have you every had one of those months weeks days where one bad thing after another keeps happening? Lately, we have had our own series of unfortunate events. Bad stuff can be super hard to share sometimes. You don’t want to over share and honestly it really isn’t that bad. Right? Since there is a ton of stuff I could share, I’m going to stick with the OUCH moments for now.

Toad on Fallen Leaves photographed by Ashley Shelton on an unfortunate ankle

Poisonous Plant Expedition Leads to the Tooth Fairy?

Each week, our homeschool group has a meet up to go hiking and talk about nature topics. Last week we met up at the nearby reservoir to talk about poisonous plant identification. I was really looking forward to this because I have always stuck to the motto “If you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it. Or at least just poke it with a stick.” I want Emmett to learn more about what to avoid in nature and why, so he can enjoy exploring the safe wildlife up close.

Unfortunately, Emmett got hurt knocking a tooth loose when his chin hit his knee before our meet up even began. Lots of blood. The other moms were super helpful and supportive as we worked our way back to the car and off to the dentist. He had yet to lose a tooth. So it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Damage beneath the gum and tooth worried me the most.

Thankfully he did NOT lose his tooth or have any damage underneath and his tooth felt much better by dinner time.

Beach Expedition Winds Up In Stitches?

For mother’s day weekend we went to the beach. We had a great time despite an incident that happened on the beach playground. My son was climbing one of the ladder structures when another boy started climbing from the other side. Then the boy proceeded to climb overtop of my son to reach the landing on the play set. Then the boy’s foot slipped and he landed on my son’s head. Neither boy cried, they both seemed a bit startled for a moment. I helped Emmett get down safely while the other boy proceeded to play on the play set. During the collision his chin made contact with a rung of the ladder and split open the skin. Just DAYS after he hurt his tooth. I thought for sure he was going to need stitches or something.

We were blessed again to discover his chin just needed to be cleaned, and covered with bacitracin and a bandaid. I took him to the doctor when we got home and she confirmed it was fine, no stitches needed and it wasn’t infected.

Steps to Crutches?

Yesterday morning was a 70 minute drive for us to meet for a hike with a park ranger and our nature study club. It started off a bit hectically. When we arrived, I discovered that we had to pay for parking or you would have to pay an extra fee or some such… And I didn’t bring cash with us. So I went ahead and parked anyway, deciding I’d pay the fee later. My son and I put on our sunblock and sprayed DEET on our shoes, hats, and clothes before heading over to the visitors center. The park ranger told me I could pay with a credit card so I headed back out to my car to get my wallet.

On my way out… the step was much closer to the door than I realized and I twisted my ankle. We had a long drive and I knew Emmett was really looking forward to hiking with his friends and the park ranger, so I stuffed some ice cubes in my sock, got my card from the car, and proceeded to hike a mile with the group.

The ice kept my ankle numb throughout the hike. My sock was soaked from the ice on the drive home. But it was worth it. I’m not on crutches. At most it is a slight sprain however it is most likely a bad twist. I might go to the chiropractor in a few days to readjust my ankle. For now I’m just going to prop it up, walk on it as little as possible, and soak my foot in some Epsom salt.

Fortunate Blending with Unfortunate

So really, all those unfortunate events were not so unfortunate. Emmett and I ate frozen yogurt after the dentist. Thanks to bandages, we still had a lot of fun at the beach. And I get to soak my feet in the bath this weekend. Things can always be so much worse and sometimes it is easier to focus on the negative. But when we take a moment to focus on the positive, it really brightens everything up.

Spring Mini Session with MeganBreeden Photography

Spring Mini Session with MeganBreeden Photography

Spring Mini Photo Session

With MeganBreeden Photography

Last month, Emmett and I met with Megan of MeganBreeden Photography for a Spring Mini Photo Session. The sitting doubled as his “6-year-old” photos since we hadn’t gotten around to them yet. I love working with Megan. She is great with kids, goes with the flow, and makes the time a lot of fun. As always, the photos turned out fantastic. Naturally, I want to share some of my favorites with all of you.

Six Years Old

Growing Up So Fast | by MeganBreeden Photography

Black & White Classic Photos

Megan is great at editing photos to add extra expression and feeling. I love how timeless black and white photos are. The absence of color creates room to focus on the moment, expression, and meaning of an image. In these photos, it doesn’t matter what color his shirt or the wildflowers were.

Sepia Heritage Photos

Sepia photos are a lot like black and white photos. They have a monochrome color set making them classic and timeless. However I think the feeling is different. With sepia photos I think of “heritage”, “roots”, and “vintage”. When my son is older, and we look back at the photos, it will add to the sentimentality of his younger years.

Mother & Son Moments

Megan also gave us the chance to have some mommy & me pictures. As a mother, it don’t get in many photos since I am usually the one behind the camera. On rare occasions I am in photos with Emmett, I really treasure them. It makes me feel present when I look back through albums. If you’re planning a photo session for your little ones, don’t forget to get a few with you. Your bond is special, and an important part of your child’s life; it should be captured in a photo or three.

Get a Photo Session with Megan

You should send Megan a message or give her a call if you live in the area in and surrounding Orange, Virginia. Her Facebook page is here: On Instagram, her handle is @MeganBreedenPhotography.