From the desk of Lauren Axford, Executive Director of the Pine Hollow Arboretum
Happy Spring! We FINALLY have started seeing the long-awaited signs of spring. The bulbs I planted back in the fall (and forgot about until now) have started peaking up through the soil, I am awakened by the calls of migratory songbirds and my little kids are lulled to sleep by the chorus of spring peepers in our neighboring wetland.
Despite the celebratory mood today’s weather has me in, I can’t help but think of how global climate change has already started to impact our lives. As the director of a public arboretum with a large collection of Magnolia trees, I often get asked: “when is the best time to see the Magnolias?” The truthful answer is, “I don’t know, I will keep you posted.” For many years, the first weekend in April was when our early varieties started to bloom. Last year, it was the first weekend of May. The year before that, we had little to no blossoms due to an erratic winter and unusually late hard frost. Climate change is a critical issue that we, as inhabitants of Mother Earth, must address. It is a global (and somewhat terrifying) issue that can easily feel overwhelming as an individual who wants to help alleviate the effects. Luckily, there are 2 holidays coming up this month that provide ample opportunity for us all to take positive action on the issue of climate change for the benefit of future generations: Earth Day and Arbor Day!!
I wish you all a wonderful Earth Day AND Arbor Day and hope that we each find one small (or large!) way to celebrate and honor the “mother” that sustains us all!
International Mother Earth Day (aka Earth Day) – April 22, 2019
Earth Day has been recognized and celebrated around the world for many, many years. In 2009, the general assembly of the United Nations resolved to establish April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect and honor the “mother” that provides all life and sustenance and is an opportunity to prompt a collective call to action for us all to be stewards and protectors of our planet.
There are many family-friendly Earth Day celebrations planned for the Capital Region (this list highlights just a few):
Earth Day Lot Clean Up – April 22nd – 11:00am – 4:00pm
- 325 & 329 South Pearl Street, Albany
- (Ice cream social at 3:00pm, please contact ACLB to register).
South End Earth Day Celebration – April 27th – 10:00am – 12:00pm
- The Radix Center- 153 Grand Street, Albany
- (Community projects from 10am-1pm and a block party at the Radix Center with live music, great food and great folks to celebrate with).
Earth Day in the Pine Bush – April 27th –9:00am – 12:00pm
- Albany Pine Bush Preserve, 195 New Karner Rd #1
- (Various conservation service projects, space limited, register atwww.albanypinebush.org/events).
Down to Earth: Practical Actions You Can Take to Heal Our Planet – April 30th – 5:00pm – 8:30pm
- 405 Washington Avenue, Albany
Arbor Day- April 26, 2019
Arbor Day was first established as a day to plant and call attention to trees by J. Morton Sterling in 1872 in a place not known for its trees- Nebraska. Mr. Sterling desired to plant trees in an attempt to improve the area’s aesthetics and environmental conditions in order to attract more settlers (it was then the Nebraska Territory). On the first official Arbor Day in 1872, it is said that Nebraskans planted 1 million trees! Since then, Arbor Day has become a nationally recognized holiday and is celebrated in all 50 states as well as in many other countries.
Trees provide so many benefits to our environment and our lives. They improve air quality, they help to improve water quality and reduce storm runoff, they provide cooling effects in urban areas, they provide wildlife habitat, the list goes on and on. Therefore, in my mind, Arbor Day is just as environmentally significant as Earth Day as trees are critical to combating the effects of global climate change for the benefit of generations to come. As a mother, I especially appreciate this quote from the founder of Arbor Day:
“Arbor Day is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future.”
– J. Sterling Morton
Here are a couple family-friendly events to celebrate Arbor Day in the Capital Region:
Arbor Day Celebration at the Historic Myers Residence- April 26th – 11:00am – 12:30pm
- 194 Livingston Avenue, Albany
- Join The “Albany Goes Green” collective, The Pine Hollow Arboretum and the Underground Railroad History Project as we plant a hedgerow of lilacs at the historic Myers Residence. No pre-registration required.
Arbor Day Celebration in historic Washington Park – April 27, 2019 – 9:00am-12:00pm
- Help plant native tree species in Washington Park! This is a free event, but the Washington Park Conservancy is requesting that all participants register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arbor-day-tree-planting-registration-5942033983