In the Garden:
Mid-Atlantic
April, 2011
Regional Report

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This Earth Day 2011 poses the challenge - A Billion Acts of Green. Worldwide, everyone is encouraged to participate.

Earth Day at Forty-One

Every week, Recyclebank emails an updated points total -- a reward for the paper, cardboard, metal, and glass I've targeted for recycling rather than landfill disposal. I average 100 points a month towards groceries, movies, and hoagies.

My recycling habit dates to the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" motto from the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. In those days, we compared methods to best flatten metal food and soda cans and separated green, clear, blue, and brown glass.

By 1971, the United States had established the Environmental Protection Agency to mitigate severe air, land, and water pollution. Remember photos of Ohio's Cuyahoga River in flames in 1969?

Thanks to Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson, the first Earth Day sparked decade-long reform -- the National Environmental Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, stringent amendments to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and much water and wildlife protection legislation.

Earth Day Reflections Forty-One Years Later
Connecticut garden photographer, writer, and lecturer Karen Bussolini "will tuck my pants into my socks and get out into the garden. The more I garden, the more I see how everything is connected to everything. I've been learning from scientists to look at systems." She's extra cautious about deer ticks, having recently read Richard Ostfel's Lyme Disease: The Ecology of a Complex System.

Pennsylvania garden writer and photographer Liz Ball and professor Rick Ray connect earth and trees. "I can't think of a better way to honor and celebrate Earth Day than to work with soil," says Liz. "Gardeners are constantly celebrating Earth Day this way, though they probably don't think about it like that." For Arbor Day, April 29, the couple will celebrate with a public tree planting ceremony in their Tree City, USA town. (The Tree City USA program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, fosters urban and community forestry programs in towns and cities across the country.) "Like Earth Day, it's an opportunity to publicize issues about preserving our planet. Trees have a huge role in assuring cleaner air, preventing soil erosion, mitigating flooding, etc," Liz adds.

Philadelphia artist and blogger Betsy Teutsch, reminisces, "Earth Day means I am getting old, since I recall the first one well. It's mixed with memories of campaigning for Eugene McCarthy, listening to Paul Ehrlich talking about Zero Population Growth, and the discussion of reusable bags for Earth Day. For me, every day is Earth Day, but I enjoy seeing it as a program opportunity!"

At the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) office in Pennsylvania, executive director Beth Parke "will be celebrating all the credible and robust reporting that informs and engages society on environmental issues all year round. Earth Day helps draw attention to the beat. Readers, viewers, and listeners will be looking for environment-related stories. But honestly, to environmental journalists, it's just another day to do an important job."

SEJ office manager Linda Knouse expects to bird watch from her desk. "I'll be processing environmental journalism awards entries and watching a live web cam in the upper corner of my monitor of two American bald eagles at their nest...first egg hatching is imminent! (www.fi.edu/hawks). I'll also be scanning for red-tail hawks flying past my window. Even confined to an office, you can enjoy Earth Day."


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