Today is earth Day and hopefully no one reading this will not know that. What most of you will not know is my history with environmental affairs and so I thought I’d brag a little bit.
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. By then I was already very active in environmental affairs because I had been one of the founders of one of the first environmental citizen-based organizations in 1968 at the University of Florida where I was a PhD Candidate. In 1980, I was featured speaker at the 10th Anniversary Earth Day celebration in Colorado because I was at that time the President of the Colorado Open Space Council–now the Colorado Environmental Coalition.
During my presidency the organization (a consortium of forty associations and government agencies) grew tremendously and had many successes. The greatest was the passage of the Colorado Wilderness Bill of 1980 that put 4.5 million acres of Colorado into the Wilderness system. That was the result of the efforts of many people, frequent meetings with Senators and Representatives and the support of Governor Dick Lamb.
My next position was as a Trustee of The Nature Conservancy Colorado Chapter for seven years and President for two years. During that presidency I helped get 13,000 acres of pristine mountain land at 9,000 ft. purchased and turned into the Mueller State Park. I then hosted about 200 natural scientists who did a complete inventory of all the natural components of the park.
During these years I was also putting together the private Westerness Wildlife Preserve on the west side of Pikes Peak. One result of all this time and effort is that my daughter Heather is now Dr. Heather–the Wildlife Ecologist for Boulder (Colorado) Open Space and Mountain Parks with over 43,000 acres of wildlands where she is responsible (with her staff and rangers) for all wildlife. She is responsible for tracking the mountain lions to change the batteries in their radio collars, and so much more.
Now my two grandsons spend time at Westerness and are learning about the natural world from their mom and granddad. It’s all a very thrilling and rewarding part of my life over the past 44 years.
Happy Earth Day! I hope you take it as seriously as I and my family do.