The first Earth Day in the nation was celebrated on April 22, 1970.
That was a day after I began my career with ECM Publishers at the Forest Lake Times in Forest Lake.
I believe a story on Earth Day was one of my first assignments as a brand new news editor working for Duane Rasmussen’s publication.
I recall following some Forest Lake High School students around the city and taking photos of them cleaning up the city.
Earth Day is a day that has kept its importance over 40-plus years by placing an emphasis on an appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment.
Our 2012 Earth Day observance is set for Sunday, April 22.
Many Twin Cities area Earth Day events are planned.
Let’s look at some of our area events:
Friday April 20 – Sunday April 22: Como Zoo’s Party for the Planet
Como Zoo celebrates Earth Day with an annual party.
This year’s theme is Cats and Kilowatts, sponsored by Xcel Energy. Como Zoo’s annual Party for the Planet gives families the opportunity to see lions and tigers, visit with zoo keepers, and participate in family activities and entertainment.
Location: Como Zoo and Conservatory, St. Paul. When: April 20-22, During the zoo’s regular hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free, donations accepted.
Saturday April 21: Earth Day at Wargo Nature Center, Lino Lakes
Anoka Parks celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day at the Wargo Nature Center.
Outdoor activities like climbing on their climbing wall, canoeing, art activities, light refreshments and an Earth Day Fair featuring local organizations and businesses and their earth-friendly services and products.
Location: Wargo Nature Center, Lino Lakes.
Time: Saturday April 21, 12.30 to 3 p.m.
Saturday April 21: Earth Day at Harriet Alexander Nature Center, Roseville
Harriet Alexander Nature Center in Roseville opened on Earth Day in 1990.
Since then, it has celebrated Earth Day, and this year the nature center has family crafts, music games, environmental exhibits and the annual tree planting ceremony.
Location: Harriet Alexander Nature Center, Roseville.
Time: Saturday April 21, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 22: Minneapolis Recycle Run 5K
Run off the winter cobwebs at Lake Harriet, and support the environment.
The Recycle Run 5K Walk/Run and a Kids’ Half-Mile Run supports Minneapolis’ Earth Day Watershed Clean-Up efforts.
Bring old training shoes and running shirts to be recycled and be entered to win prizes.
Location: Lake Harriet Bandshell, Lake Harriet, Minneapolis.
Cost: Registration fees for the race benefit future Minneapolis Earth Day Watershed Clean-Up efforts. The kids’ run, for under 11, is free.
Saturday, April 21: Earth Day at the Midtown Global Market
The Midtown Global Market celebrates Earth Day with local farmers, green experts and a recycled art fair.
Cooking demonstrations, green exhibitors, local farmers, live music, children’s activities and giveaways all day at the Market.
Location: Midtown Global Market, 920 East Lake Street, Minneapolis.. Time and date: Noon to 4 p.m., Saturday April 21.
The city of St. Paul has planned many activities at St. Paul parks on Saturday, April 21.
Let’s travel to the Wikipedia Earth Day website and check on some Earth Day history.
We read,“Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.
“In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day.
“Earth Day is planned for April 22 in all years at least through 2015.
“The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco.
“The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the City of Saint Francis, patron saint of ecology.
“Earth Day was first observed in San Francisco and other cities on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.
“This day of nature’s equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations where it is observed each year.
“About the same time a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970.
“While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations.
“Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.”
The Earth provides nourishment for over seven billion people every day.
The Nature Conservancy is planning a Picnic for the Planet on Earth Day 2012.
Use these guidelines for planning a picnic anytime during the year.
Ten ways are described how you can green a picnic for the planet. These are the ways:
1. Choose a location near you
2. Use re-usable or compostable serveware
3. Bring healthy foods
4. Pack local, in-season ingredients
5. Lose the napkins
6. Compost and recycle your trash
7. Clean your picnic site
8. Enjoy nature
9. Use electronics wisely
10. Support nature
Find out what you can do to help celebrate Earth Day. Go to http://earthday.envirolink.org/
Happy Earth Day!
Editor’s note: Howard Lestrud is ECM Capitol reporter.