Earth Day 2019: Protecting our species

Planting flowers is just one way to help protect our native species. (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

With Easter falling on April 21 this year, we want to make sure that Earth Day doesn’t get forgotten. Though I’m sure we are all doing what we can to help reduce plastics and our waste, it is always nice to have a day to remember that we really do only have one earth. Every year my family takes Earth Day as a way to reevaluate our buying practices and to discuss new ways to help support a healthy planet, like a New Year’s resolution for the planet.

This year EarthDay.org has chosen its theme to be “Protect Our Species.” In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was passed. The two federal agencies responsible for implementing ESA are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service. The FWS maintains a list of endangered and threatened species. In the Adirondacks, there are many organizations dedicated to ensuring that the native species can thrive in their natural environment.

Now that it is spring, a simple way to help protect our species is to stop the use of pesticides and start a pollinator garden. Most recently the Lake Placid Land Conservancy, AdkAction.org, and the Adirondack Pollinator Project worked together providing free seeds and information to anyone interested in providing garden space to pollinators. Over 75% of all plants depend on pollinators to produce healthy fruit making pollinators an essential link in the food chain. Not only bees, but hummingbirds, ants, bats, wasps, butterflies, and small animals help to move plant pollen. To find out what plants are local to your area go to pollinator.org or call the Paul Smith’s VIC (518-327-6241) or check out the Adirondack Pollinator project at adkaction.org.

If animals are your passion, stop by Wilmington’s Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, Paul Smith’s VIC, Saranac Lake Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, or Tupper Lake’s Wild Center. (Please call for hours of operations. The Wild Center is closed in April and other locations may have limited spring hours.)

Though reducing plastic may not be this year’s theme, it needs to continue to be part of our daily conversation. My family has always cleaned a favorite trailhead and will continue to do so. Walking away with bags of garbage is a great reminder that trash never really goes away. My family needs to do better by remembering our own reusable containers and metal straws. Just because “Take Away” is convenient, doesn’t make the containers that are used briefly and then tossed acceptable.

I don’t feel like there are right or wrong ways to celebrate Earth Day and I’m not judging how other people live. My family is a work in progress and is just trying to keep learning and doing better.

Diane Chase is the author of the “Adirondack Family Activities” guidebook series, “Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities.” For more family-friendly activities go to www.adirondackfamilytime.com.