by Mary Teeter, Greenheart Director of Development
Each year, the world celebrates Earth Day on April 22. Originally conceived by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, this one-day grassroots education and awareness event in 1970 was actually meant to be just that: one day. 20 million people celebrated this first Earth Day, capitalizing on the era’s political fervor and leading the way to significant government action (including the creation of the US federal department, the Environmental Protection Agency, later that year and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts).
Today, 500 million people celebrate Earth Day in more than 180 countries:
- Planting trees, flowers and vegetable gardens.
- Attending Earth Day community events.
- Advocating for important environmental policies.
- Teaching lessons on conservation and environmental protection.
It’s become a day of celebrating nature, remembrance for Mother Earth, good deeds for the environment, and action in the community. And it remains an amazing grassroots awareness campaign – our annual bell toll counting down the years to *hopefully* a cleaner, more sustainable future. But it’s still that: a day.
Join us this year in planting the seeds to grow something more than flowers and trees for our future. Help us grow an enduring commitment to the environment by providing transformative experiences to young people through Greenheart’s Environmental Service Learning Scholarship.
Greenheart’s ESLS is a special 2-week environmental and cultural immersion program for economically disadvantaged Chicago high school students. Students live with Costa Rican host families, volunteer at an animal wildlife rescue center in the rain forest, visit a local agricultural high school, and take group classes on conservation and community development. The program is designed to inspire a love and protective spirit for the environment, while providing the project management and leadership skills to help teens take action in their communities.
“So, what has Greenheart helped me choose as a prospective major? Environmental Studies, with a possible focus on Environmental Design,” said Luzmaria Guzman, a recent scholarship student. “The questions I am most concerned about deal with making environmental conservation at the forefront of growing populations, especially towards dealing with lower socioeconomic classes.”
This year, for Earth Day, inspire a young person like Luzmaria to change the world. Help us plant the seed and grow a new environmental leader and global citizen. Donate now to the Environmental Service Learning Scholarship.