By Janet Miron
April 22nd is Earth Day. Arkansas is gearing up for Earth Day Festivities. Teachers are planning their lessons on environmental awareness and organizations are scheduling clean-up projects. But what is “Earth Day”? How did it start? Does it have a founder? How long have we been celebrating Earth Day? Is it just celebrated in the United States? How do we protect the earth? In this article you will learn about “Earth Day”. You’ll read about its history and objectives. Below, we’ve supplied you with great Earth Day resources to use in the classroom or at home with your families.
The first Earth Day in 1970 put environmental concerns front and center. Earth day founder Gaylord Nelson, a Senator from Wisconsin, was inspired after witnessing the massive 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara California. Gaylord Nelson was quoted as saying “The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” Earth Day went Global in 1990. It mobilized 200 million people in 141 countries.World-wide recycling efforts were implemented after this mobilization and this paved the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) for his role as Earth Day Founder.
Earth Day revolves around the theme of “Reduce, Reuse & Recycle”. Community recycle programs, area clean-up days, landfill disposal awareness and the elimination of leaded gasoline were products of the Earth Day environmental movement. Environmental Stewardship is a hot topic in all levels of government and in many educational, social and corporate communities.
Arkansas’s 12th annual Arkansas Earth Day Festival is planned. The Festival’s Theme this year is “Let’s Get Back to Our Roots”. The festival will be held on April 18, 2015 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Heifer International Grounds in Little Rock, Arkansas. Check their website at Heifer International Website for more details.
April is a great month for teachers and organizations to Contact South Fork Nature Center to schedule a trip to South Fork nature center. Our Docent Staff is ready to make your visit to our facility an educational experience that can be a “hands-on” outdoor extension of traditional, classroom lessons. Visit our Website at https://southforknaturecenter.org/ and click on the education tab for more information on how to schedule a field trip for your class or group.