Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day!  Did you do something for the planet today? That seems to be the theme of the day on all the Facebook pages and Twitter tweets and email advertisements that have flooded my inbox.  Thank goodness we don't do this all by junk mail anymore, imagine the trees that would have died for the sake of Earth Day, ironic as that is.

I took my daughter for a walk today in celebration of Earth Day.  She's only 16 months old, but she loves the outdoors already.  I suppose she gets that from me, at least I hope she does.  She thoroughly enjoyed her walk, even if it was just around the neighborhood.  She learned what a stop sign was, she picked up several pine cones, she filled her little pockets with rocks from the neighbor's driveway, and she stopped to watch a pair of mallards waddle through a field, proclaiming at the top of her lungs "Ucks!"  She is fascinated with all things outdoors, from the tiniest leaf on the deck, to the pile of mulch in the driveway.  It's so much fun for me to see these things again, but through her eyes.  And we literally have to drag her kicking and screaming into the house to get her into the tub before bed.  That's my girl.

If you ever wonder how you make an outdoors person, don't discount these little moments.  Ask anyone in the field of outdoor or environmental education and most will tell you that they chose this career because of their memories of the outdoors.  Mine are with my uncle.  He was, and still is, and avid outdoor enthusiast.  He is an amazing photographer and, even now in his 60's, can still hike miles and miles in a day with his dog.  He used to "kidnap" me and my brothers and sister and take us on day-long hikes in the parks around our hometown.  It was fun, we felt like we were escaping.  He made us feel like we were sneaking off to some far away land that only we knew about.  I now know all the same parks and natural areas that we went to as kids and they are very well known and well used.  But, as a kid, I don't ever remember seeing anyone else out on those trails with us.  We always felt like we were so far away from everyone and everything.  It was great.

So, in celebration of Earth Day, don't just do something for the environment, let the environment do something for you.  Get outdoors! That's always the first step toward being an environmental steward.  Take a walk, catch a fish, spy on a bird, photograph a sunset.  Do whatever you can that will recharge your batteries.  Enjoy the outdoors!  And take a child with you.  You'll never see things the same again.