April 22 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. It was started in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to bring
an increased awareness to an America, which still had leaded gasoline engines and very few regulations for
maintaining water and air quality. It was originally envisioned as a way to bring increased environmental
awareness to Americans, however, it has since spread all over the globe. Since April 22 is just around the
corner, and preservation of our environment is just as important as ever, several local experts weighed in
with their own tips for ‘green living’ as well as upcoming local events in celebration of earth day.
Native Plants Help
According to Betsy Yankowiac, director of Preserves and Programs at Eagle Marsh, there are many things we can all do to “green up” as we prepare for Earth Day. She recommended: planting milkweed and other native plants to encourage native pollinators; creating a rain garden in your yard to prevent run-off; removing flowering pear trees from your yard and replacing with plum trees or other native trees; and, of course, riding your bike along the Rivergreenway to Eagle Marsh, located on Lower Huntington Road.
Give Yourself a Name
How cool would it be to have a park or part of the Rivergreenway with your name on it? That’s another way to “keep it green” this Earth Day. “Adopting one of our parks or a section of the Rivergreenway is an option for people who want to organize a group project that is both fun and enhances our environment,” said Amy Hicks, outdoor recreation coordinator for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.
One way outdoor Hicks encouraged green living is by picking up trash! “We encourage our patrons and program participants to pick up any litter they see as they are walking through our parks,” she said. “Every little bit helps keep our parks clean. If you see a piece of litter on the ground, please don’t walk by without picking it up! Other people may feel encouraged to do the same when they see you trying to keep the park looking nice.”
Lettie Haver, outreach manager for ACRES Land Trust, encouraged readers just to get outside. She hopes we can all enjoy the beauty of our natural landscape and help in preserving it. ACRES has over 72 miles of trails with difficulty levels ranging from easy to difficult. ACRES also provides docent-led hikes for groups, which can increase appreciation and understanding of the beauty of our natural landscape here in Indiana. The trails are open sunrise to sunset and Haver suggested, “Use your smart phone to find them [ACRES trails], and put it away to enjoy them.”
Local Earth Day Celebrations
• Eagle Marsh, Little River Wetlands Project, April 26 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
• ACRES Land Trust 26th Annual Adopt a Tree Festival, April 19, Wing Haven in Steuben County
Additional Tips to “Keep it Green”
- Bring reusable bags when shopping. If you tend to forget them, keep them in the car.
- Designate a section of the fridge for food that should be eaten sooner rather than later. You will waste less food and save money, too.
- When parking in a crowded lot, pick the first spot you see. You’ll get more exercise and save gas from discontinuing the search for a closer-to-the-door parking space.