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Baby names: 16 nature-inspired options for Earth Day

If you want to honor Mother Earth with your child's name, here are some options that are more "hip" than "hippie."
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Since Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, we’ve become more aware each year of how important it is to protect our natural resources for future generations. So how about passing on your concern for the environment by choosing one of these earth- and water-friendly names for your baby?

Here are 16 of our favorite fresh picks at Nameberry.


1. Bay — Bay, which actually means "berry," is one of the most pleasant of the cool water-themed names, and could make a refreshing middle name alternate to the more expected May or Ray. It also fits into the color and culinary categories.


2. Brook — The bubbling Brook is more often seen in its Brooke spelling for girls, and sometimes Brooks for boys, though there is a character named Brook Soso on "Orange is the New Black." Brooke was boosted in popularity by Brooke Shields and peaked at 52 in 1981.


3. Canyon — The grand name Canyon is a fresh natural entry to the boys’ list of popularity, and we have begun to hear it as a more evocative alternate to names like Kenyon.

4. Dale — One of the early unisex options, Dale was a Top 50 name for boys in the early 1950s, and in the 2000s for girls. Associated with long-gone figures like cowgirl Dale Evans and pop psychology guru Dale Carnegie, Dale is also long-gone on both genders’ popularity lists, but might be ready for a comeback.

Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell named their second daughter Delta -- big sister is named Lincoln.Evan Agostini / AP

5. Delta — It’s the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet and the name of an airline, as well as the word for an island formed at the mouth of a river. Oozing with Southern charm, it was chosen not long ago by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard for their second daughter. Though off the national list since 1934, it ranks at 795 on Nameberry.

6. Dune — An unusual beachy option with a haunting sound and sci-fi connections to the eponymous Frank Herbert novel and film. An alternate spelling, Doon, was created by photographer Diane Arbus for her daughter, inspired by the East Coast sandscape. (Ed's note: For a certain population, Dune will conjure thoughts of 1980s Sting and Kyle MacLachlan rather than timeless nature. Up to you whether that's a good or a bad thing.)

We're purring for Eartha Kitt's name.
We're purring for Eartha Kitt's name.DIANE BONDAREFF / AP

7. Eartha — You couldn’t get a more direct connection to the earth and Earth Day than this, a name used by the Puritans, then in more modern times by the parents of singer Eartha Kitt, possibly inspired by African-American philanthropist Eartha M. M. White.


8. Forest — Though the Forrest spelling is more commonly used, this one takes you back further into the woods. This is the version used by Forest Whitaker — a great believer in nature names for his children — and is Number 546 on Nameberry.


9. Glade — This leafy word name meaning a clearing in a forest is just waiting for discovery by parents seeking a short, evocative nature name with the trendy ‘ade’ sound — and that’s a lot cooler than Wade. (Ed's note: Too bad about the air freshener.)

Lake stock photo

10. Lake — Another of the refreshing new water names, this one came to the fore via actress Lake Bell, mother of a girl named Nova. Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady used it as a middle name for daughter Vivian.


11. Marsh — A gentle and original nature surname name which, when used on its own, takes it miles away from the dated Marshall or Marsha.


12. Meadow — It always seemed somewhat ironic that the daughter of Tony Soprano would have this peaceful, pastoral nature name. Meadow entered the Social Security list in 2001, and is borne by the daughter of the late Paul Walker.

Moss on tree

13. Moss — The soft greenery that grows near damp or shady spots has an appropriately soft sound and image. A variant of Moses, it was most famously associated with 20th century playwright Moss Hart (born Robert) and was also used for characters in "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" and "The IT Crowd."


14. Ocean — One of the unisex nature names chosen by Forest Whitaker, Ocean, once seen as hippie-dippy back in the day, has been flowing back into the realm of possibility. French version Océane is wildly popular in Paris.

15. River — Ocean’s little brother has found success in the baby-naming world as one of the leading nature names, used primarily for boys. Keri Russell and Taylor Hanson both have sons named River. It entered the Top 1000 in 1994.

16. Terra — An explicit back-to-the-earth name, this Latin form of the word sounds more modern than dated cousins Terry or Tara.

This story was originally published on April 21, 2015.