All That Science-y Stuff
Last Saturday was Earth Day. Ironically, in a great show of who’s the boss, Mother Nature chose to attempt to flood all outdoor activities. But, despite the deluge on Friday, Saturday was merely unseasonably cool. I was happy to see the March for Science wasn’t rained out.
I don’t pretend to know much about science, but I really liked it when I was a kid. That was before it was part of the acronym STEM. My acronym for school subjects would have been RASH: Writing, Art, Science, History.
I remember learning about the scientific method. That made sense to me. I also liked all the hands-on and outdoor activities associated with science subjects. We hatched chicken eggs under a warm light in fifth grade. We went on nature walks and observed animals and plants. I still do that. Just this week, I picked up a perfect bluejay’s nest that had blown from the pine tree in our backyard. It was a work of sculptural art, incorporating many elements that I recognized from my yard such as the seed top of an Echinacea plant, dried grasses and delicate stems all woven together in a mud plaster. How do birds get mud up in trees like that?
Because I like to be outside, my kids were outside a lot. My youngest was a rock collector, baby bird rescuer and regularly invited the neighbor’s cat in for extended visits. She also was the resident toad catcher. Her best birthday party was inviting friends to wander the trails at Oxley Nature Center.
I’ve always thought that the best way to get kids to appreciate the environment is to give them plenty of opportunities to explore outside. Organized sports are fine, but not the same as digging holes in the mud or finding fossils in a riverbed.
In honor of science and the environment, I’d like to give a belated shout-out to Earth Day, which, much like Mothers Day, should be every day. Here is a description of the first Earth Day from earthday.org:
On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
The founder of Earth Day was Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.
To learn more about Earth Day, and to find activities you can do with your kids all year long, go to www.earthday.org.
Why does science matter to you?