Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Earth Day !

Happy Earth Day, everybody !  Time to put on that little button that I bought for a dollar, back in 1970...

In 1970, the first Earth Day was a pretty big deal in Philadelphia – it was actually an Earth Week. [read about it here]

I lived in the suburbs not too far north of Philly, and to this 16-year-old, the news of the rallies made a big impression. Of course, I could not drive then,  and so could not join the crowds at Fairmount Park.

It turned out that it wasn’t necessary to go to Philly to awaken any environmental feelings.
All I had to do was look out my back window.
The Woods behind my house -- where I had spent many a carefree hour since I was six -- had just been bulldozed away, to make room for a new apartment complex. (which would ironically be called “Valley Green.”)
The Creek apparently had to go, too, and I was aghast that someone had the nerve to put it into a pipe --  to just cover it up and pave it over.
Gone were the minnies --the crayfish-- the sumacs -- the stickerbushes --
and the pheasants, whose morning calls would wake me.

I can still feel the sting of the stickerbushes on my bare legs,
and hear echoes of the pheasants.
But they aren’t there anymore.
 *  *  *
Forty-two years later, I still observe the day in some way.
This year, our local Audubon Chapter joined up with the Feeder Canal Alliance to help with their annual Canal Cleanup.

Thanks to the Alliance, the Canal has become a linear greenspace running through several towns.

Their hard work and perseverance over the years has helped turn it from a marginalized and somewhat forgotten area to a place enjoyed by many walkers and bicyclists. Not to mention songbirds, ducks, turtles, chipmunks and other critters.
(For some history of the Canal and the group, click this link. )

This morning, on the day before Earth Day, there was a good turnout,
and plenty of help.
The forecasted rains held off until we were done.
We split up into small groups of twos and threes, each taking a short section of trail.

We picked up several large bags-full of litter.

Some volunteers were cutting brush, Some were ferrying back and forth, hauling away brush and filled-up bags,

Others cleaned graffiti from trail signs.

Some of the folks told me that when they first started caring for this trail years ago, they had to haul things out of the canal like furniture, appliances and tires.
Most of what we picked up today were much smaller nuisances.
(Some of it pretty ironic.)

At one point during our picking-up, I took a breather and stretched,
looking at the surroundings.
I noticed that the spot we were in was directly next to someone’s back yard.

Maybe someone was looking out her back window,  as I did so many years ago,
and seeing something quite different happening to her Woods.


  1. Awesome! That last shot is super!
    Yeh, same sort of projects here on Saturday in central PA. Thanks for your posts!

  2. Wonderful post! If you don't mind I'd like to post the link to it on the Feeder Canal Alliance's facebook page. Thanks for being part of the clean up crew that day. We really appreciate it!

    ~ Sarah (the graffiti cleaning girl!)

  3. Nicely said and thanks for the historical links concerning the original event in Philly and the great logo!

  4. Thanks for all you do, Sue, to increase appreciation for nature's beauty, and for all you do to keep it beautiful.

  5. thanks to you all for visiting, my blog output is pretty haphazard lately, but I am ALWAYS inspired by what others (like you all !)
    are doing for nature -
    (yes Sarah, feel free to link to anything here, keep up the good work!)