On my walk through the holler today, Earth Day was on my mind. I remember watching NBC's Today Show coverage of the very first Earth Day and thinking, "Wow! I sure hope this catches on!"
At the time, I was a new graduate of Michigan State's Parks and Recreation Administration program in which I'd focused on environmental interpretation. I'd been married about 18 days and had moved to Denver to start a new phase of my life -- one that would eventually include my launch as an Earth activist.
Today -- here in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee -- I continue that interest, but what a difference forty-some years make. On Earth Day 1, I remember feeling a sense of urgency that we, as a human collective, make significant and swift adjustments in the ways we were relating to Earth. On Earth Day 41...well, let me just say that sense of urgency is a lot more intense, and there are many more signs that people and nature are under stress in this relationship.
The more our interpendent lives show signs of trouble, the more I find myself in need of quiet space in nature to stay balanced. I unexpectedly found new levels of harmony and connection with fellow Earth species when I became an observer in the USA-National Phenology Network.
For one thing, I think that watching the seasons cycle through another species has huge potential for connecting us with more subtle energies of change within ourselves. I know that's happened for me.
Beyond the very personal exchanges I have with each individual that I observe, there is also a very satisfying element of contribution to the body of scientific knowledge about the species with whom we humans share Earth space. And, in particular, I understand that my notes as a citizen scientist helps professional scientists guage the responses that plants, animals, birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians might be making to shifts in climate.
Ultimately, we and all these other living beings are in this situation on Earth together. That's why I'm putting out this Earth Day challenge to anyone reading this blog who hasn't already signed up for the Nature's Notebook project.
It's easy to get started. Just click on the image in this post or the one in the sidebar, and you'll get to the sign-up page. There's lots of information that you can read before you hit the button that actually creates your own notebook where you'll record observations.
This is something you can do wherever you live in the United States, very urban, very rural, or anyplace in between. Please check it out and start celebrating Earth Day any day of the year!