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Happy Earth Day

I would like to think that Earth Day is destined to become a major American holiday as we become more conscious of our need to care for the environment. Other holidays have been created to commemorate significant events, ideas, or people. However, if we were to make a list of things vital to our daily lives, the earth would have to be right up there at the top. It is the very source of everything we need to live; air, food, water, and all the resources to sustain us, as well as providing us with inspiration, and unspeakable beauty. For that it seems fitting that we pause one day a year to celebrate, honor and reconnect to that source.

Educators seem to have taken the lead in celebrating Earth Day, encouraging students to create posters, plant school yard trees and take part in recycling projects. You could easily build on these activities with your own events by designing rich and imaginative traditions so memorable you'd look forward to repeating them year after year.

Allen Planting Chard with School Children When I think of holidays, I always think of eating (that's no surprise for those who knows me) and for each celebration there is usually some type of traditional food. Just think of the Thanksgiving turkey, Easter ham or 4th of July hamburgers. It might be fun to create your own Earth Day menu - perhaps a spring version of Thanksgiving, full of tasty items that celebrate the bounty of the earth. What a great reason for more pie!

Many of our holidays also have connections to the garden. What would Halloween be without pumpkins, Valentine's Day without roses or St. Patrick's Day without shamrocks? To me, the best symbol for Earth Day is the butterfly. The miraculous change that takes place when a caterpillar transforms into a winged beauty perfectly represents the kind of transformation we need in our attitudes about the earth. Those who love butterflies and plant gardens to attract them learn quickly that butterflies must have specific kinds of plants for their survival. Gardening has always been such a great teacher of these kinds of connections, reminding us of the reliance we all share upon the delicate systems that sustain us. Staying connected to the wonder and mystery of life through gardening can help guide us in becoming good stewards of the earth.

I encourage you to use your imagination and come up with a new Earth Day family tradition in your home; whether it's planting a butterfly garden, taking a hike through a natural area, beginning a home recycling project or just baking Earth Day cookies, consider creating a special event that you'll look forward to celebrating every April 22.