The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970—before the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act—to call attention to environmental pollution in the United States. Over time, it became an international initiative, with activities organized around the world. The 2021 events include many sponsored by EarthDay.Org, ranging from global summits to local and individual efforts to decrease food waste, plant pollinator-friendly vegetation, and promote neighborhood clean-ups.
This Earth Day, following a year in which people have been encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Dartmouth News invited a few students to describe their most-cherished places on and near campus.
Yefri Figueroa ’21 paddles a stretch of the Connecticut River and shares his thoughts about the 400-mile-long waterway, New England’s longest. “It’s usually very tranquil, and when there is no wind, it’s just a really glassy, smooth surface,” says Figueroa. Floating on the water “gives you a lot of time to think and process emotions, thoughts, and memories.”
Reyn Hutten ’21 has built memories guiding mountain biking trips and exploring spring foliage with her ecology class at Oak Hill. The recreation area, about 2 miles from campus, is “also really important for mental health, it’s important as an ecological resource for plants and animals, and it’s a really important place for students to try new things,” Hutten says.
Jessica Chen ’21 explains why she loves going to the Dartmouth Organic Farm, where she served as a summer intern. “It’s a nice way to feel connected to the outdoors, Chen says. ”It’s also been a really meaningful place where I have learned a lot about food systems and really enjoyed the sense of community.“
When she’s looking for a place to run, walk, or study, Solange Acosta ’24 heads to Pine Park. ”It’s just a little pocket of New England, “ says Acosta, who is from Miami. ”There’s a certain sense of timelessness here. You enter, and it’s just different, and so calming.“
For Sugar Crew member Michelle Wang ’21, the sugarbush at the Organic Farm is a ”magical place“ to tap trees and have a lot of fun. ”During the winter it takes on an ethereal feel. Everything is covered in snow, and you’re just with your friends, tromping along, getting liquid gold from trees,“ says Wang. ”It’s wonderful.“