Earth Day

Warm sunshine.  Rainy days.  Blooming plants.  The Earth is alive in this wonderful Spring season!  This is the perfect time to have Earth Day.  I guess that is why in 1970, 47 years ago, the first Earth Day was observed.  Earth Day is held to  “demonstrate support for environmental protection”.  Topics can include environmental clean up and awareness to endangered/extinct animals.  What Earth Day looks like is unique to each community.

Some community groups come together to do clean ups and activities to promote taking care of our precious planet Earth like clean ups of local parks and waterways to keep the environment in good shape for wildlife.

In Swain County, the NC Cooperative Extension is offering a free Norway Spruce Seedling to the public on April 29th from from 9 to 12.  While this is not exactly on Earth Day, it is close to the actual day and Arbor Day, which is April 28, so it makes sense that they would do something on this particular date.

In Jackson County they are having the annual Greening Up the Mountains Festival.  It will be their 20th year of doing this and according to their website it is, “Strengthened by its early roots as an Earth Day celebration, the festival includes a focus on environmental protection, sustainability, and promotion of local businesses and civic groups.”

Fontana Regional Library has materials available to help you and your family learn about Earth Day including ideas of how to get you involved in keeping our Earth clean and healthy for years to come.

The Earth and I by Frank Asch

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals

The Earth Book by Todd Parr

Earth Day by Julie Murray

Every Day is Earth Day by Jane O’Connor

Every Day is Earth Day:  A Craft Book by Kathy Ross

Celebrating Earth Day:  A Sourcebook of Activities and Experiments by Robert Gardner

Earth Day:  Keeping Our Planet Green by Elaine Landau

It’s Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer

Earth Day Birthday by Pattie Schnetzler

Biscuit’s Earth Day Celebration by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Engineering an Awesome Recycling Center with Max Axiom, Super Scientist by Nikole Brooks Bethea

The Smash! Smash! Truck by Professor Potts

Don’t Throw That Away!  A Lift the Flap Book About Recycling and Reusing by Lara Bergen

Recycling is Fun by Charles Ghigna

Recycling by Rebecca Pettiford

What Milly Did:  The Remarkable Pioneer of Plastics Recycling by Elise Moser

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle:  A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches

We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers by Lauren Child

Plastic Free:  How I kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry

Waste and Recycling by Sally Morgan

One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul

Remake It!:  More than 100 Recycling Projects for the Stuff You Usually Scrap by Tiffany Threadgould

Eco Books:  Inventive Projects from the Recycling Bin by Terry Taylor

Why Should I Recycle Garbage? by MJ Knight

Recycle EveryDay by Tammy Gagne

The Great Trash Bash by Loreen Leedy

Early Childhood Activities for a Greener Earth by Patty Born Selly

Planet Earth:  25 Environmental Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kathleen M. Reilly

Taking care of our Earth is key to its survival.  Take a moment and think about how you can make an impact whether you decide to start recycling regularly, plant something, or just take the initiative to clean up trash in your neighborhood.  It all matters and your efforts do make a difference!  Happy Earth Day!







Spring Ephemerals

 By Sarah


“Once you learn the name of a wildflower, you no longer pass it by  as just another ‘weed,’ especially if you discovered and identified it yourself.  The flower then has an identity that is rooted not only in a guidebook, but in you as well.”

A patch of trout lilies

This quote comes from page xii of the introduction to Wildflowers of the Southern Appalachians: How to Photography and Identify Them by Kevin Adams and Marty Casstevens.  I’ve certainly found it to be true to my experience as an amateur connesiuer of wildflowers.  Having grown up in the suburbs of a blue-collar city, I didn’t have much exposure to flowers outside of regular garden annuals.  I moved to the mountains, and suddenly I yearned to know the names of everything around me.


With the recent beautiful spring weather, I’ve been fortunate to be able to get out and partake in a couple extended hikes.  The mountainsides have been flush with blooming flowers.  The picture above is just a small sampling of a mountside that I saw covered in trout lilies.  And why do they have such a name?  According to Wildflowers of the Smokies, it’s because the markings are said to resemble a brook trout’s.  Laura C. Martin’s Wildflower Folklore also tells me that trout lilies, which have also been known as fawn lily and adder’s tongue, are edible and can be prepared with butter or as a tea to cure hiccups.  Mmm!  Martin’s book is a treasure tove of natural lore.  It purports to be able to tell you what wildflowers can be used as freckle removers, snake repellants, and even love potions.


Trillium are also in bloom right now — you can see white and deep red varieties.  Their entry in Harold William Rickett’s Wild Flowers of the United States: The Southestern States has an asterisk next to the heading.  The corresponding footnote asks the cheeky question, “If we translate Lillium into Lillies, why not Trillium into ‘trillies’?”  I can’t answer that, but who knew wildflower guides could be so rhetorically sassy?  I can pass along this fun fact, though: it takes up to six years to grow from seed to flower.  So don’t go picking them!  Besides a little scientific attitude, Rickett’s massive multi-volume tome also has beautiful illustrated plates along with a wealth of botanical knowledge.

Fontana Regional Libraries have a plethora of wildflower books (besides those previously mentioned) to help you identify whatever you come across on the trail.  Check out some of these titles: