by Nova C.
On April 22, we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Earth Day was established by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to raise awareness of environmental issues after he saw the effects of an oil spill off the coast of California in 1969. At that point our gas was leaded, people didn’t ever think about recycling and a lot of things that we take for granted now were just an illusion.
In 1970, there were perhaps 500 breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States. They had been affected by DDT and your chances of seeing one were slim. Now we have over 10,000 pairs in the US, including a pair who nest here at Black Bayou Lake.
Earth Day led to the establishment of the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and Clean Air Act. Two of our state symbols – the brown pelican and the alligator regained their foothold in LA due to the ESA and banning chemicals like DDT.
The message of Earth Day still resonates though in the sense of knowing what is going on in our environment. Sometimes it can seem daunting if you just focus on the planet but starting in our city and communities with things like litter pick-ups and even bringing families out to enjoy the environment can have a huge impact.
This Saturday, April 25th from 12-4 Black Bayou Lake NWR will be celebrating Earth Day with the help of our partners in the community. If you are curious about what that bird you hear every morning might be, Louisiana Delta Adventures is sponsoring a “Birding by Ear” program with Roselie Overby at 1PM. Ongoing activities include: Hands on Science with the ULM Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society, animals from Louisiana Purchase Garden and Zoo, Water Safety with the US Army Corps of Engineers, and find out what a tree cookie is from Molpus Woodland Group. We also will have Dr. Terri Maness from LATech with her birds on a stick, a chance to play the migration game and see if you survive, and the bird-beak challenge! At 2 PM we will be turning our big blue goose to represent the spring migration and you can meet “Puddles” the Blue Goose and “Bobber” the dog. It’s a great event for families.
Call 318-387-1114 for more information.
Nova is the Education Specialist and Refuge Ranger at the Black Bayou Lake NWR in Monroe, LA.