Trust Our Land: Earth Day … why not Earth Week?
Eagle Valley Land Trust
A river on fire. The eerie quiet of a Silent Spring. The acronym “EPA” not yet in the American lexicon.
We can be thankful that the months leading up to today Earth Day 2022, sang a different tune than those before the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Thank you to the former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, activist Denis Hayes, and the countless others that sparked a 52-year-and-counting celebration.
It would, after all, be difficult to hook an afternoon trout with flames lapping at your waders.
On the environmental front though, we still have our work cut out for us. Grim report after grim report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells the story of a rapidly warming climate and the associated effects. Here in Colorado, drought and wildfire dominate the headlines. Declines in wildlife populations and habitat loss and fragmentation suggest the need for more land conservation.
Confronted with such domineering forces, Eagle Valley Land Trust and its partners across the valley choose to keep it local and keep it positive. Much like the organic beginnings of the Earth Day movement, we believe change happens from the ground up. So to start, why not change it from just a day to a whole week of conservation activities?
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This Earth Week, EVLT is launching its signature Community Land Connection Series, raising money for conservation through an auction and board match, and sharing our new strategic plan with our community.
On Monday, EVLT teamed up with Todd Winslow Pierce, founder and executive director of Eagle Valley Wild, to deliver a photography workshop on Brush Creek Valley Ranch and Open Space. Todd uses the power of photography to make conservation happen, including the conservation of the property itself.
EVLT is rounding out the week with a birding tour led by Jerry Fedrizzi (who we coaxed out of retirement to inspire prospective birders) and a native plant tour and discussion with local ethnobotanist, Lynn Albers. And before we start preparing for Earth Week 2023, we’ll be getting our hands dirty volunteering with the Bureau of Land Management this Saturday. Will you join us?
The fun doesn’t stop. As EVLT winds down, Walking Mountains Science Center is firing up with a slate of activities over Climate Action Week, where you can learn to build a solar array and how to “green” your building. Get your hands even dirtier and sign up for Earth Day Poo Patrol with the town of Vail or the Watershed Council’s Community Pride Highway Cleanup.
In May 1971, a quarter of the U.S. public declared environmental protection an important goal, marking a 2,500% increase from just two years prior in 1969. The enthusiasm of Earth Day’s first organizers sparked a decade of environmentalism, resulting in a number of important pieces of environmental legislation, including the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act and the foundation of the land trust conservation movement.
It’s encouraging to read about such an about-face in public opinion. Earth Day’s inception and the resulting movement speak to our capacity to change our ways when the situation is dire.
Our community does an increasingly good job stewarding local lands, but there is always room for improvement. So, why not get outside this week, enjoy newly opened trails, listen to the not-so-silent spring and volunteer for a cause or two?
Just as those in 1970 did for us, let’s give future generations an Earth to be proud of. Perhaps one they can celebrate for an entire month.
How will you make an impact on Earth Day? Let us know at email@example.com.
Oliver Skelly is the Eagle Valley Land Trust’s community conservation coordinator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about EVLT’s conservation work and Earth Week programming, visit EVLT.org.