My family usually celebrates Earth Day with a trailhead cleanup. Our go-to spot is the Ampersand parking area on Route 3 between Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. The Ampersand Parking area is the starting point for two popular trails, the Saranac Lake 6er Ampersand Mountain and a path to Middle Saranac Lake.
Due to its popularity it is also a place where people feel confident to hide unusual amounts of rubbish beyond the tree line. It certainly seems to be a state of out of sight, out of mind. It always saddens me to think that our society has become about tossing things away. It is reflected by the amount of fast food containers, drinking straws and plastic utensils we always find among the trees. Diapers and toilet paper are by far the worse to discover. I can explain away paper and straws that were perhaps blown out of a car, but I can’t begin to understand how a parent could change a child’s diaper in nature and then leave it there.
Cleaning up trash isn’t for everyone. It may even seem futile if it isn’t helping people to learn to change, but there are other opportunities to make change that is good for the earth.
About four years ago Transportation Director Nancy Dougal asked her supervisors at The Essex County Public Transit if they could help people recognize Earth Day all year long. Her solution was to offer free rides the first Wednesday of every month.
“It started with offering free rides on just Earth Day,” says Dougal. “We [the public transit] are part of the solution for going green. It’s been about four years now and we get a lot of people utilizing the system on those free days. Offering this allows people to try the bus system for free each month and see how convenient it is.”
For homeschoolers and their families the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb is celebrating Earth Day with an overnight Lorax-themed celebration. This free program will include hands-on programming exploring forest ecology, conservation and environmental ethics. Pre-registration is required. Call (518) 582-2000.
Sometimes Earth Day acts can be as simple as taking a no drinking straw pledge or walking to the market instead of taking a car. I hope you find the perfect way to spend the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.