Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Self-Professed Tree-Hugger

Happy Earth Day! I’ve been a nature lover since I was a young child. That love may have stemmed from summers spent on my grandparents’ farm or countless camping trips with my parents. Nowhere am I more content and at peace than in the quiet of deep woods, surrounded by stately trees and bird song, with dappled sunlight filtering through a verdant canopy, and the scent of soil or pine filling my senses.

Naturally, I’m environmentally-conscious. I recycle and try to be aware of my energy consumption footprint. (Though I do admit to a fondness for long hot showers.) When I was an adolescent/young teenager, I wanted to grow up and be an ecologist or a forest ranger, so I could lead campers on nature hikes. When I was 15, I had my first summer job – I worked for the Youth Conservation Corps at Camp Cherry Tree in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest. I was in my glory, building and maintaining hiking trails, releasing ducks into a nature reserve, damming up a stream to help beavers (why they needed help, I have no idea).

At age16, a misguided orthopedic surgeon told me I’d never be able to do that kind of work because it might be strenuous and I have a crooked spine.

How many of us abandon our first love because of someone else’s opinion?

April 22 was designated Earth Day in 1970. But I like to think that every day is Earth Day to the Master Creator. At no time do I feel closer to God than when I’m outdoors in His beautiful world. Yes, I know, He’s everywhere, but I feel closer to Him outside. And that’s where I most love to worship Him. Some of my favorite Bible verses tell us how all of nature praises the Maker.

Psalm 96:11-12  Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord.

The Bible also tells us that we are to be the caretakers of the earth. As stewards, we are to protect the world and all the creatures that live here.

Genesis 1:26  Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

In my personal interpretation, “rule over” does not mean abuse and deplete, but rather responsibly tend to and/or use for food and resources.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite childhood TV commercials, a popular public service announcement from 1977 featuring Woodsy Owl. “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!” You can watch it here.

I don’t understand people who litter. Do they have such little regard? Have they no pride in their planet? I’m not above picking it up when I see it and I have the litter hotline in my phone. I dare anyone driving in front of me to toss a McDonald’s wrapper.

I wish Earth Day was a bit more of an event here. Sure, a few schoolchildren may plant a tree or two. But I want to celebrate! Why is there no festival or something?

How did you celebrate Earth Day?


Common Household Mom said...

Happy Earth Day to you, Angie!

I celebrated by working outside in the garden (just raking up leaves remaining after our LONG winter). But I could only work for about 20 minutes - then it started to rain.

Briget Murphy said...

I worked at Camp Cherry Tree the summer of 1974. What a blast that was!

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Briget, I was there in 1976. One of the best summers of my life.