Earth Day Love
Is there a single day in this gorgeous Hudson Valley that we don’t celebrate Earth Day? Honestly, with such a fertile landscape, it’s hard to take nature’s gifts and generosity for granted. Still, swooning aside, there are many things we can all consider to make our Mama Earth even happier and healthier, along with our neighbors, birds and creepy crawlers, four-legged friends, plants and bodies of water.
Let’s all do what we can to show our love, today and every day. Here’s some inspiration:
Plant trees… as many as you can. They improve air quality, give us oxygen and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and flooding (which means less erosion and pollution in our waterways.) They give us delicious shade and help cut your cooling costs. They provide habitats, food, and protection for all kinds of critters. They’re majestic and divine. They are also compassionate listeners, never interrupt, and offer plenty of creative inspiration. Most excellent for hugging, not to mention, there’s nothing better to hang a hammock from.
Volunteering for road and park clean-ups is a great way to help tend to the earth, and it’s fun for the whole family! Join Parks & Trails New York – and thousands of volunteers across the state – on Saturday, May 6 (or anytime!) to celebrate and enhance New York’s parks and public lands. I Love My Park Day–-the largest single-day volunteer event in NYS–presents a perfect opportunity to clean up our favorite parks and shorelines, plant trees and gardens, restore trails and wildlife habitat, remove invasive species, and work on various site improvement projects–all which help to prepare our iconic state park system and public lands for the start of the season. How to sign-up for I Love My Park Day? Click HERE TO “register.”
Catskill Native Nursery | Kerhonkson
Gardening for a better environment, Catskill Native Nursery is love-and-green-energy fueled. They specialize in nursery-propagated North American perennials, fruits, shrubs and trees for woodland, meadow, and aquatic gardens. Their bog and wetland offerings include many hard-to-find natives and more. They propagate a large variety of water lilies including the native fragrant pond lily, Nymphaea odorata, and hardy hybrids. They also offer classes and landscaping services, tools and more!
Plant a veggie garden, especially with non-GMO and organic seeds…and please do include indigenous, non-invasive and heirloom varieties. These green-minded local companies offer lots of choices and great service.
The Phantom Gardener | Rhinebeck
The Phantom Gardener is a 6-acre garden center with a large selection of rare, unique and staple plants including annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees (B&B and container), vines, houseplants & tropicals, seasonal/holiday, organic vegetable & herb starts and more! Tools, gifts, statuary, organic seeds and fertilizers, soil amendments, topsoil, compost, mulch, and stone products, bagged or bulk. Shelves are stocked with chemical-free remedies for any insect or fungal issues. Classes, landscaping, and they deliver!
Hudson Valley Seed Co | Accord
Hudson Valley Seed Co. has all kinds of divine heirloom varieties and veggies, flowers, berries, herbs and tools. Check out their site or pick up at their shop in Stone Ridge. Protect and support the pollinators by planting bee balm, sunflowers, milkweed and other technicolor attractors, which they sell in gorgeous, seed packets with art by local creatives.
Go for Natural and organic pesticides over chemicals! Please do your own research about the deleterious impacts of RoundUp, Atrazine and other commercial pesticides. They are carcinogenic, pollute our soils and waterways, and cause all kinds of nasty issues to humans and our natural world.
These local companies offer natural and organic lawn care spray made from essential oils for tick, mosquito, flea and gnat reduction:
Backwoods ADC | Highland
ADC is fully licensed and insured. In addition to eco-friendly tick and mosquito fogging, they offer humane animal removal including beavers, woodchucks, bats and predators.
Pestmaster Services | (Mulitple Locations)
Bugs, rodents, seasonal pest control. Do ask for the organic upgrade if you can.
Treat our sacred waters with respect.
Don’t waste water and please use products that will be gentle to our waterways and avoid shampoos, detergents and dish soaps, as well as household and industrial chemicals that will be harmful to our planet.
You might also consider donating to/volunteering with River Keeper, a great organization that truly cares for our local waterways. Riverkeeper protects and restores the Hudson River from source to sea and safeguards drinking water supplies, through advocacy rooted in community partnerships, science and law. For over 50 years, they are New York’s clean water advocates, having helped set worldwide standards for waterway and watershed protection and serving as the model for more than 300 Keeper programs around the globe. To find out more, donate or volunteer HERE.
Use kelp as fertilizer. This sustainable, renewable resource is gentle on the earth, completely natural and organic, offering up more than 70 vitamins and minerals. Its rapid growth (about 2’ a day!) makes it a great resource for the ocean’s species and the home gardener. Not to mention, as Harvard and others report, kelp “will play a necessary role in preventing rising temperatures and future climate catastrophe” by permanently removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (This can be purchased at the garden centers and Hudson Valley Seed Co. mentioned above.)
Learn, help and give back.
Volunteer or work at one of the great Hudson Valley organic farms or permaculture education centers. Here are two to check out, though there are so many other great ones in the Valley:
SOULFIRE Farm | Petersburg
Soulfire Farm is an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system. They “bring diverse communities together to share skills on sustainable agriculture, natural building, spiritual activism, health, and environmental justice.”
The Center for Bioregional Living | Ellenville
Run by Andrew Faust, one of the premier Permaculture teachers and designers in North America with over two decades of experience in the field, he taps into the rich synergy between permaculture and biodynamic agriculture.
Consider taking an herbalism and wild foraging class with a local herbalist to know more on about the benefits and how-to of herbalism, as well as making medicinal tinctures, wild foraging and more!Local legend Dina Falconi offers wonderful instructional videos and classes. Her videos, classes, her wild foraging book by Botanical Arts Press and more are available HERE.
And for some other important earth-loving ideas:
- Consider making purchasing choices that will be low-impact environmentally. Shop locally, avoid products that are shipped great distances, that have wasteful packaging and are sprayed with pesticides.
- Remember that your purchases are votes so be sure to support companies that are excellent earth stewards, making products that are considerate, regenerative, and inspirational.
- Purchase new items minimally and necessarily, compost more, discard less and upcycle when and where you can.
- Innovations take their toll on communities and the earth. Batteries and electronics have a huge impact both in sourcing and as e-waste, yes, even for “green” cars. Please weigh your purchases thoughtfully.
- Water catchment systems are great ways to help reduce water use.
- Inoculate logs with mushrooms! What a delicious bounty they offer up! Fewer trips to the store, less plastic, more yum!
- Wait a couple of extra days or even weeks to mow! Allow dandelion, clover and other nourishing “weeds” to do their good work and feed the pollinators! Not to mention you can enjoy them too for their medicinal properties and wild foraged meals!
- When hiking, please do not leave trash on trails and even take out more than you carried in.
- Natural sunblock without oxybenzone, is better for our waterways and aquatic life. According to HRSD, “Scientific evidence reveals that 14,000 tons of sunscreen wash into the ocean yearly. These sunscreen chemicals go on to affect marine life and cause coral bleaching, a problem that is gaining more attention.”
- Encourage your kids to honor the earth in the choices they make–from the materials and packaging of toys and games, to things with batteries and heavy metals, there’s no age too young to gently raise awareness about being thoughtful.
- Natural and (especially) organic essential oil tick spray over Deet and other commercial chemical laden products with nasty warnings on the label.
- Honor open space. Build smaller and fewer houses and buildings. Less is more.
- Brush up on your homesteading skills. This will make you and your family less dependent on stores and factories. There are lots of great classes and instructors in the Hudson Valley, from basket weaving to canning, natural plant dyeing, farm animal care, to mycology and more. Just do a quick search or ask your local farmer!
- Hang your laundry on the line the old fashioned way! Not only does this cut down on electricity, evoke a bygone era and look picturesque, whites get brighter and clothes smell super fresh!
- Practice “sacred reciprocity” when harvesting and picking along paths and on hikes or as Robin Wall Kimmerer wrote in Braiding Sweetgrass: “Never take the first plant you find, as it might be the last—and you want that first one to speak well of you to the others of her kind.”
- And last but not least…get together with friends, family and community under stars and sky, make and grow things with your own hands, dance, create, laugh, cry. Remember, relationships and experiences are the greatest wealth of all.
Happy Earth Day Earthlings Thanks for honoring our beautiful and precious planet!
We will end with two more quotes from Braiding Sweetgrass by the ever-inspiring Robin Wall Kimmerer…
“In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.” ― Robin Wall Kimmerer,
“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.” ― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass