Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge/Berkley Bedell Join in a special Earth Day Event on Kenai Refuge Wilderness, April 22 (7 PM), at the Kenai Peninsula College.

Photo courtesy Kenai National Wildlife Refuge/Berkley Bedell Join in a special Earth Day Event on Kenai Refuge Wilderness, April 22 (7 PM), at the Kenai Peninsula College.

Refuge Notebook: Kenai Refuge celebrates Wilderness on Earth Day

The first Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 and was the product of local grassroots action to increase environmental awareness and to garner support for national legislation to solve urgent environmental issues. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed the first Earth Day’s activities. He insisted this day was for people to act locally, not a day organized by Washington bureaucrats, but by individuals and groups in their own communities.

Nelson’s decision to leave Earth Day to the grassroots exceeded all expectations. Nelson and his staff estimated 20 million Americans took part in the first Earth Day in 1970. Though students were the most numerous participants, a broad range of people including educators, workers, homemakers, farmers, scientists, and politicians — from Barry Goldwater to Edward Kennedy — made up the excited Earth Day crowds.

Senator Nelson acclaimed that “Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor the resources to organize the 20 million who participated from thousands of schools and local communities. The remarkable thing about Earth Day was that it organized itself.” In the 44 years following the first Earth Day, it has remained an important annual way to raise awareness of local environmental issues throughout the country.

That tradition continues in our community as a host of community organizations take part in Earth Day 2014 at Kenai Peninsula College on Tuesday, April 22. As a partner in the event, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will present a special program at 7 p.m. Refuge Manager Andy Loranger will present the story of how Refuge wilderness was created and how it is vital to conserving habitat for wildlife and fish resources as well as for the quality of human life on the peninsula. After his presentation, the hour long award winning film, “Wild by Law,” will be shown. This film shares the story of how the Wilderness Act was passed 50 years ago in 1964. This event is free to the public.

2014 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the landmark conservation bill that created a way for Americans to protect their most pristine wild lands for future generations. The 1964 Wilderness Act created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness areas across our nation.

Our own Kenai Conservation Society established in 1965 was instrumental in advocacy to create federally designated wilderness on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Dedicated members including Dr. Calvin and Jane Fair, Helen and Jim Fischer, Bill and Jean Schrier, George Pollard, and Marge Mullen exemplified the efforts of local “grass roots” citizens. Their advocacy was instrumental in the successful establishment of 1.35 million acres of Refuge wilderness which came to pass in 1980 as part of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

Joining in local Earth Day events is a wonderful chance to celebrate all that’s been achieved for conservation in our local community and to inspire us to continue future efforts to protect our wildlife and conservation legacy on the Kenai Peninsula.

As the Information & Education Program Supervisor, Candace Ward celebrates her 30th anniversary working at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge this April. Visit www.nelsonearthday.net and www.wilderness50th.org for more information.

More in Life

Homer students pose after their performance from the musical Shrek on Saturday after the three-day Broadway Bootcamp theater workshop with director Jim Anderson in October 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Emilie Springer/ Homer News)
Intensive Broadway Bootcamp offered in Homer in August

During the five-day bootcamp, youth participants will work with top performing artist educators to develop leadership skills through theater arts.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Young actors rehearse their production during a drama camp put on by the Kenai Performers in their theater near Soldotna on Thursday.
Kenai Performers’ drama camp trains young actors, puts on ‘super’ show

When they arrived, most of the actors had never performed before, but in just a week they’ll put on a real show

This 1961 drawing of the Circus Bar, east of Soldotna, was created by Connie Silver for a travel guide called Alaska Highway Sketches. The bar was located across the Sterling Highway from land that was later developed into the Birch Ridge Golf Course.
A violent season — Part 1

Like many such drinking establishments, Good Time Charlies usually opened late and stayed open late

Dillon Diering and Sarah Overholt dance while the Tyson James Band performs during the 45th Annual Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival in Moose Pass, Alaska, on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We’re about community’

Moose Pass throws 45th annual Summer Solstice Festival

This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Fueling happy memories

Fresh salad accompanies an outdoors Father’s Day meal

File
Minister’s Message: The way life will be

“Is this the way it was all meant to be? Is this what God had in mind when He created us?”

Photo provided by Art We There Yet
José Luis Vílchez and Cora Rose with their retired school bus-turned-art and recording studio.
‘It’s all about people’

Traveling artists depict Kenai Peninsula across mediums

Promotional Photo courtesy Pixar Animation/Walt Disney Studios
In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke) shows up unexpectedly. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters Summer 2024.
On the Screen: ‘Inside Out 2’ a bold evolution of Pixar’s emotional storytelling

Set only a year after the events of the first film, “Inside Out 2” returns viewers to the inner workings of pre-teen Riley

Calvin Fair, in his element, on Buck Mountain, above Chief Cove on Kodiak Island, in October 1986. His hunting partner and longtime friend Will Troyer captured this image while they were on one of the duo’s annual deer-hunting trips. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)
The Road Not Taken: A tribute to my father’s career choice

For the first 40 years of my life, I saw my father professionally as a dentist. Period.

Most Read