Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 22, 2013

Pioneer Ridge celebrates Earth Day

By CINDY TOOPES Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — When it's time for Earth Day, it's a good time for a family to plant trees, bushes and other greenery.

Saturday was Earth Day, and Kurt Baker, director of Wapello County Conservation, hosted families who wanted their children to treasure all the natural greenery in their environment.

Baker talked about native prairies and wildflowers and how to create a pollinator that will help the plant world at Pioneer Ridge Nature Center, south of Ottumwa.

"Pollinators like bumble bees, honey bees, butterflies and various fly species are very important to the plant world," Baker said. "They create nice attractions for the pollinators. One group is the humming birds, and others include anything that visits flowering plants."

Why did Baker decide to do an Earth Day program?

"It's good to get people out and get them engaged in outdoor activity," he said. "I want them to think about how small things in the environment can mean so much."

Baker had quite a bit of company at Pioneer Ridge. A few families participated in Baker's activities, and Noah Massey of Ottumwa was in one of the groups. He's a Cub Scout and was fascinated by Baker's talk of pollinators.

Heavy rains earlier in the week made Baker wonder whether outdoor activities would occur. He was pleased with Saturday, which offered lots of sunshine and warmer temperatures.

Earth Day marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It was the height of the hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, and 1970 also brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Although mainstream American remained oblivious to envionmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries.