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Inspiring Conversations with Penny Bauder of Green Kid Crafts, Inc

Today we’d like to introduce you to Penny Bauder.

Hi Penny, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’m an environmental scientist-turned-entrepreneur. Growing up, I always held a deep appreciation for nature. I spent most of my childhood building forts in the woods next to my house, and this contributed to a lifelong love of the natural world. As a teen, I gravitated towards taking environmental action for issues and systemic injustices that pervade globally. Studying environmental science and becoming educated across disciplines such as clean energy, biology, economics, and anthropology seemed to me the best way that I could arm myself with the knowledge to truly make a difference in the world. I eventually received a B.A. in Environmental Management and an M.S. in Environmental Science. I went on to work as an environmental scientist, environmental planner, climate change coordinator, and park ranger, working in wild areas all over the United States.

Motivated by a passion to raise a generation of environmental leaders, in 2010 I founded Green Kid Crafts, a children’s media company that provides kids around the world with educational resources and convenient and sustainable STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) activities. Today, the company has become a sustainable business leader, with over 2 million packages shipped worldwide that have influenced a generation to think about and take a leadership role in sustainability.

The mission of Green Kid Crafts is to encourage kids to see themselves as leaders, scientists, designers, and engineers through activities designed to help them discover, explore, and create. As an environmentalist scientist, I recognized a need for a convenient solution that would allow families to bond while enjoying screen-free, nature-based STEAM activities that would foster a child’s creativity and confidence while also empowering them to take environmental action. I knew the importance of making sustainable materials more accessible and was passionate about building a company to inspire the next generation of creative leaders that could serve as a model for environmental responsibility and corporate citizenship. Green Kid Crafts is carbon neutral and offsets 100% of the carbon dioxide generated by business activities. Almost all products are made and packaged with recycled and sustainable materials, a tree is planted for each order, and at least 1% of sales are donated to global environmental organizations.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s never a smooth road! Over the past ten years of running Green Kid Crafts, my goals have evolved, from creating STEM products for kids, to creating a platform for kids’ STEM resources, to encouraging child activists and new business owners, to providing advice and resources for the people behind that work. Just like people, businesses and their goals change, and I now find myself making professional ideas and inspiration as big a part of what I do as creating kids’ products. Our world today faces serious challenges: global warming, pollution, climate change and species extinction, to name a few. These challenges will require significant adjustments in the way we work, play, live and govern, and I have found myself part of the conversation on how to enact positive change. And my side of that conversation includes fostering future leaders with my company, Green Kid Crafts, and mentoring and supporting other women business owners through my business mentoring program as well as authoring books such as Lessons from Inspirational Women STEM Leaders, How to Improve the United States Education System, and How to Inspire the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Green Kid Crafts, Inc?
Green Kid Crafts has shipped over 2 million educational packages that inspire kids to exercise creativity and learn more about their natural surroundings, encourage screen-free time, and foster the next generation of environmental leaders.

Green Kid Crafts’ products deliver discovery, learning and fun. We delight kids each month with creative, nature-based, eco-friendly STEAM activities (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) delivered to them monthly through our company’s subscription program. Every month’s package is packed with up to 6 science and art kits designed by teachers and STEAM experts to foster a child’s creativity and confidence while helping to raise the nation’s next generation of scientists, artists, designers, and makers. Junior Discovery Boxes are perfect for kids ages 2-4; Discovery Boxes are sent to kids 5-10+. Each box includes a 12-page STEAM activity magazine and achievement badges. Green Kid Crafts’ themes generally fall within four categories: Ecosystem Science, Environmental Activism, Wildlife Science, and Earth Science. Past kits have included Outer Space, Save our Oceans, Green Energy, Rocket Science, Climate Change, and Arctic Science.

Green Kid Crafts was founded by an environmental scientist. With these strong roots, it makes sense that Green Kid Crafts is committed to ensuring that all of our activities, from process to product, have as little an impact on the environment as possible.

Green Kid Crafts’ program has won a variety of awards including Dr. Toy’s Best Green Products, Academics’ Choice Brain Toy Award, Parent’s Choice Recommended, NCW Eco-Excellence Award, PTPA Winner’s Seal of Approval, MACT Excellence Award, MACT Green Award, and Green America’s People & Planet Award. Green Kid Crafts’ Founder, Penny Bauder, was the recipient of the Female Founder Fellowship at the Founder’s Institute and Entrepreneur’s Build it Like a Woman Award. The company has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wired.com, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, the Associated Press, Parents Magazine, Redbook Magazine, and more.

As a values-driven company, Green Kid Crafts strives for sustainability and takes a step beyond to try and create positive change. This commitment to being a socially responsible, green company is at the heart of Green Kid Crafts and a part of every aspect of our work. We operate as a natural, sustainable, and responsible business and work with our community to invoke positive change in the following ways:

– Green Kid Crafts is certified carbon neutral through our partnership with CarbonFund; we offset 100% of the carbon dioxide generated by our business to help fund the development of renewable energy projects across the United States.
– In partnership with OneTreePlanted, one tree is planted for every order that is placed.
– Green Kid Crafts’ products are painstakingly sourced to align with earth-friendly criteria. Our boxes are 100% recycled. We minimize packaging and printing and use recycled materials. Our kits are bundled in special bags that are made of 100% recycled materials. We integrate sustainability into our box themes as much as possible.
– As a 1% for the Planet member we have committed to donate a minimum of 1% of our revenue to environmental non-profits.
– Our Discovery Boxes are designed to engage children with nature and develop a love for the environment, helping to develop future environmental leaders and advocates.

Our desire to benefit people and the planet is at the very core of our business, from our mission to the way that it is translated into action. Our mission to foster the next generation of creative leaders by engaging kids with the planet in positive, hands-on, creative ways has exposed over two million kids to think about and take a leadership role in sustainability.

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