Earth Day 2010

Earth Day 2010 in Washington, D.C. Credit: American Forests

Every day, American Forests celebrates the Earth by protecting and restoring forests across America and around the world. Each April, we’re joined by millions of people, groups and companies across the country in a month of environmental awareness that culminates on April 22 with Earth Day. While it seems second nature now to revel in the planet’s natural beauty each April, it was actually an idea that took more than half a decade to accomplish.

In 1962, Wisconsin’s Gaylord Nelson was elected to the U.S. Senate, and for the next seven years, he would try — without success — to get his fellow lawmakers to focus on environmental issues. All of that would change in 1969 when he was struck with the idea to harness the energy from anti-Vietnam War “teach-ins” by applying the same model to a “teach-in” for the environment. Upon his fall 1969 announcement of a planned national grassroots demonstration to take place in spring 1970, the idea took off. Nelson’s staff was flooded with requests by interested citizens, which led to the formation of Environmental Teach-In, Inc. to handle the logistics of the event. Although this group would help with some logistics, a key component of the very first Earth Day’s success was its grassroots support. Local communities were encouraged to set their own agendas and own initiatives. The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 with an estimated 20 million people participating across the globe. Later that year, Congress would authorize the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. While Nelson never intended or planned for the event to be repeated yearly, the movement caught a life of its own, and 42 years later, it’s still going strong enough to support a whole month of Earth-loving fun and awareness.

Here at American Forests, we have a couple of big launches happening in honor of Earth Month:

  • A newly launched feature on our website allows you to directly email your members of Congress and key administration leaders about important issues related to forests. This advocacy tool contains pre-written letters that highlight the important facts and information about a specific topic, so all you’ll have to do is sign — the letters also contain areas for you to add your own thoughts, if you’d like. First up is a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency about the USDA Forest Service’s Watershed Condition Framework since forests and water are so vitally connected. Each month moving forward will feature a new letter and issue.
  • The spring 2012 edition of the National Register of Big Trees will be published on April 27 with some new species, new champions, new guidelines and new pictures of the nation’s biggest trees.
  • The Spring 2012 issue of American Forests will be hitting mailboxes mid-month and will be on the website beginning April 27. Some of the highlights in this issue are a big-tree adventure in Washington’s Bogachiel Valley, the biking and canoeing highlights of Maryland’s Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and a look back in time to when forests ruled America. If you don’t currently receive our magazine, a $25 donation to American Forests will help further our work protecting and restoring forests and will give you a quarterly subscription to American Forests magazine. To make your gift now, please visit our Donate Page.

Of course, we’ll also be on Facebook, Twitter and our Loose Leaf blog throughout the month with all of the latest and greatest from American Forests and the forested world, so make sure to visit us there.

Many of our partners are also spreading the love this Earth Month with new specials and conservation efforts:

  • For every three ACTIVATE drinks purchased, ACTIVATE will plant a tree throughout April, up to 10,000 trees.
  • On April 22, CB2 stores across the country will be donating $1 to plant a tree for every purchase made.
  • For every person that signs up to receive a free coupon book worth $50 in savings through May 31, Earthbound Farms will donate $1 to plant a tree on that customer’s behalf.
  • At Forever 21, for the purchase of the company’s Rooted in Fashion tanks, $1 will be donated to plant a tree with American Forests.
  • This Earth Month, IKEA will be planting its two millionth tree with American Forests, and throughout April, when IKEA customers use their IKEA FAMILY cards at checkout, money will be donated to American Forests to plant more trees.
  • Through Recyclebank, Eco Power will plant one tree with American Forests for every user who takes a pledge to use cleaner and greener motor oil for their car’s engine and redeems 250 Recylebank points.
  • From April 10 to April 30, when customers on UncommonGoods purchase a specially selected outdoor item and select American Forests at checkout, $2 will be donated by Uncommon Goods to plant two trees.
  • For every qualifying USA Bouquet purchased in April, a portion of the proceeds will go to American Forests.

This Earth Month, we hope that you will take the time to enjoy our planet and our beautiful and beneficial forests. Chances are, wherever you decide to take a hike or to camp out under the stars or to canoe or kayak through a natural preserve, American Forests has been there. This Earth Month, we ask that you remember our work by making a tax-deductible gift to help us continue protecting and restoring forests, which will help preserve our planet for generations to come.