"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
Henry David Thoreau
That's how it's been for Earth Day through the years. Today's senior citizens might remember the first Earth Day as it took its first steps toward making people aware of environmental concerns.
And through the last 42 years most people have become aware of the environment and the day set aside to focus on it.
Few people in Seneca County paid much attention to the first Earth Day in 1970. As the Earth Day Network website (www.earthday.org) states, 'Environment' was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.'
The same was true for much of the United States during a time when war protests were among the top news.
Area residents are invited to celebrate Earth Day 1:30-4:30 p.m. today at the barn at Hedges-Boyer Park.
Kids can see a puppet show at 2:15 or 3:15 p.m. at shelter 3 behind the city swimming pool. They can participate in tree climbing 1:30-3:30 if they wear long pants and tennis shoes.
And there is plenty more earth-related fun.
People attending are encouraged to use the Coe Street entrance to the park.
But after publication of Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" in 1962, people started to take notice of environmental concerns.
"The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health," the website states. "Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center."
The idea to set aside a day for the Earth was suggested by founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, after a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969.
Nelson decided to channel energy going toward anti-war sentiments toward environmental awareness.
"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," according to the website. "The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental
Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990, Earth Day was promoted globally with about 200 million people taking part in 141 countries. And by 2000, 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries joined the cause.
Locally, Earth Day is a reminder to everyone to treat the Earth kindly by recycling, wisely using natural resources, learning about alternative energy - and just plain enjoying the earth.
Here are some comments from local people whose work deals directly with the Earth.
is a retired district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (among other positions).
"I spent the very first Earth Day in a bunker in South Vietnam, learning of the stateside celebrations by reading the 'Stars and Stripes' and by watching some of the events on a small black-and-white TV.
"Having recently graduated from college with a degree in conservation and water resources, I was elated to see the entire country strongly endorsing the importance of caring for our 'Spaceship Earth.' All we had then and still have now is dependent on the quality of our soil, water, air, plants and animals. We all have responsibility in doing our share to maintain them. To do otherwise fouls the resources that support our existence."
Janet Del Turco
is a retired elementary school principal, A-T gardening columnist and
active volunteer with the Seneca County Park District, Tiffin Tree Commission, Seneca County Master Gardeners, the Commission on Aging (and probably more).
"On Earth Day, I will be helping at the Master Gardener booth in Hedges-Boyer Park. We will be helping children plant sunflower seeds in recycled water bottles.
"The (Tiffin) Tiffin Tree Commission will be planting two trees in Little Hedges Park with seventh- and eighth-graders from Calvert Catholic School on April 27 to celebrate Arbor Day.
"As far as my own reaction to Earth Day As I am driving through and around town, it often strikes me what a good job we have done in covering up the earth. Aside from such necessities as streets and parking lots it seems that builders and developers have been enthusiastically spreading asphalt and concrete wherever they go. Even when a building is torn down, you may be sure that the driveways and cement surrounds are preserved for us to admire. Easier upkeep than bare earth or grass I suppose. Just think of all the acres that have been smothered for decades! And when a business is gracious enough to provide a flower box for our admiration, they most likely build a cement container and place it on top of the hardtop! So what Earth Day means to me is a heartfelt cry to "Free the earth!"
is stream quality monitoring coordinator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft Scenic Rivers Program.
"I'm sure you are familiar with the book and phrase, 'purpose-driven life.' I believe that my purpose is to learn as much as I can about my corner of this Earth, to share what I have learned, as well as my passion for nature, with people while learning about their corners. The natural world is my heart and soul."
Sister Shirley Shafranek
is education coordinator at the Sisters of St. Francis Franciscan Earth Literacy Center.
"The Franciscan Earth Literacy Center takes part in the Earth Day activities at Hedges- Boyer Park. We make candles with the kids, using soy wax and crayons for color.
"God's creation is so amazing. If it wasn't for people, everything would be in balance. Now that we have messed with the earth we need to do everything possible to get it back in balance. To be able to show kids, all people, the awe and wonder of nature is one of my blessings. We have a gift from God that we are called to take care of. It is all of our responsibility to care for our own part of the universe."
is area chairman of Ducks Unlimited.
"Besides family and faith, nothing could be more important than the earth. Everything we have comes from it - not only food, shelter and clothing, but literally everything.
"The focus of Ducks Unlimited might be viewed by some as quite narrow, as our fundraising activities center on restoration of prime waterfowl nesting and wintering habitat. However the big picture shows that hundreds of species of plants and animals are dependent on wetlands and associated uplands, and of course water could be called the lifeblood of the earth."
is wildlife specialist with Seneca Soil and Water Conservation District.
"Earth Day to me is just another day. It is one day when everyone gets together and says, 'Yeah, I love the earth! Lets plant a tree.'
"What makes that one day so special? I think every day should be Earth Day. Every day, we should strive to make the world we live in a better place, not just one random day out of the year."
is organization director with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation's Hancock, Hardin, Seneca and Wyandot county offices.
"'Every day is Earth
Day to a farmer.' This is a quote we at Farm Bureau use quite often."
is teacher and administrator for Out & About nature-based preschool and program director with the Seneca County Park District.
"The (Seneca County) park district will be networking with Tiffin Park & Recreation, Earth Literacy, Master Gardeners and OSS at Hedges-Boyer (today).
"Earth Day is a time to respect and reflect on what Mother Earth and Father Time have given to us. It is a time to get up in the morning and say hello to the sunrise, to take in a breath of fresh air, listen to the birds sing, watch the moon and stars as the day ends and appreciate the outdoors.
"For children (and adults too), it is a time to learn about nature and what it has to offer from that tiny insect buzzing by to the largest mammal, and all creatures in between. It is watching the first crocus bloom in the spring to the falling leaves in autumn.
"The saddest part of Earth Day is that most people celebrate it only one day a year, April 22, whereas it should be celebrated every day of your life."