Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

This day always reminds me of my mom.  She was into conservation before it was cool.  It started with birds and escalated somehow.

I remember being dragged (sometimes kicking and screaming) on these bird watching trips.  Getting there wasn’t bad but once we had gotten to the bird place the world slowed down.  I had to sit quietly and not jump about.  The car trips were so long and slow, not always fun for a kid.  I was always in the back seat someone would be driving and my mom would quietly say stop. Brakes slammed, everyone out the car doors with binoculars searching for the bird.  Oh and if you are ever birding here is a tip: don’t slam the car door. If you are with serious birders you will get a “look”.

My memory isn’t the best but the trip that stands out most in my mind was to the Everglades.  Back when alligators were afraid of people we walked through Everglades National Park and heard the roar of the bulls (male alligator) and could see them slithering off into the water.  On one path we ended up having to run for our lives because the mosquitoes were going to carry us off!

I saw painted buntings, peregrine falcons, bald eagles and more, not realizing at the time what a gift it was to be able to see these birds in their natural habitat.  Not understanding we would be destroying their homes.

My mom smoked so she always carried an empty baking soda can on the birding trips so she could flick the ashes into and store the butts.  Not once did a cigarette butt end up on the ground.   What we carried in we carried out.    

At home we were taught to turn off the water while brushing our teeth.  We hung our laundry outside to dry.  My mom also planted native plants so watering was at a minimum or whatever the rain brought.  She left a wonderful legacy as my cousin loves birding, my brother and his wife received an award for the native habitat they created in their yard and me....I have her smile.  We all try to be responsible citizens of this earth. 


  1. Ginny, thank you for sharing these wonderful memories of your childhood and your mom. I love that your mom was into conservation before it was cool. And now I know where you get "the look" from!

  2. cool! I visited the everglades and took my then-fiance and an anhingha caught a fish as we watched. He couldn't pop his head to shake the fish off his beak. We watched him hop to a tree and slap the fish as he swung his head trying to dislodge it!!! Another bird chased & was likely trying to steal it. It was an amazing moment-oh he got to eat his own fish. (whew!)

  3. Amanda - yep that is where I get the look!

    Martha - wow that sounds like a great moment!

    Thanks to both of you for your support and comments!