Earth Day

Earth Day, April 22 every year is a day to celebrate the blessings of our planet, and a day to commit to take personal responsibility for our environment, and a day to commit to green living.

Redwood Gaylord Nelson

Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin is considered the Father of Earth Day. After he visited Santa Barbara in 1969 following the oil spill there, he conceived the idea of a national "Teach In" on the environment. The purpose was to wake up the public and the Federal government about the risks to the environment.

According to Senator Nelson "Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grass roots level".

The first Earth Day really organized itself. Dennis Hayes, a student activist from Stanford University was selected as the national coordinator of the first Earth Day, along with an army of student volunteers. The first celebration involved thousands of schools, and an estimated 20 million participants across the country.

Get a thought provoking lesson plan for high school students here

My first Earth Day celebration in 1970 was as a young junior high school student. We were to arrive at school before sunrise that day (which as you can imagine made an impression on a junior hich schooler), we were fed hard tack and homemade butter (and if you have ever eaten hard tack, that makes quite an impression also), and talked about all the risks to the environment. April 22, 1970 was the beginning of a new awareness about the environment for me and millions of Americans.

Learn how to make Hard Tack here

As a result of the environmental awareness spawned by that first Earth Day, we now have the Environmental Protetction Agency, the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Many polluted waterways have been cleaned up, the air is cleaner, and Americans every day take individual actions to reduce their impact on the environment. Schools across the nation include lessons on the environment as part of their curriculum. Ecology is not longer a foreign term to most Americans.

Get a great Earth Day lesson plan for elementary school students here

Roosevelt Elk

As we celebrate on April 22, use this day to make a personal commitment toward inproving our planet. Talk to your kids about the environment and our impact on it. Drive a little less. Replace some light bulbs with Compact Flourescents. Add some water wise features to your landscape. Recycle more. Plant a tree.

This special day is a day both for celebration, and a day of action. Make it count!

California Coast

Learn how to make Hard Tack here

See a lesson plan for elementary school students here

See a lesson plan for high school students here

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