Learning Ahead: Earth Day
Earth Day & Ecopoetry
Each year, Earth Day takes place on April 22nd. Known as the birth of the modern environmental movement, Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and continues as a way to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Western Massachusetts is host to many secular celebrations and festivals that honor the commitment to sustainable and resilient living, giving the community many ways to come together to engage on Earth Day through service-based learning opportunities, eco-workshops, and local gatherings. Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for upcoming events that support sustainable living and connection to place.
Since National Poetry Month and Earth Day share the same season and month, it seems appropriate to feature Ecopoetry, a movement of poetry with a strong environmental ethic that acknowledges the relationship between humans and nature. Poetry has the power to reveal insight and to spark curiosity and inquiry. Ecopoetry is a way to reflect on our relationship with the Earth during Earth Day and develop a heightened awareness of how we directly interact with nature in our local Western Massachusetts communities.
In our region, we are also reminded of writers and painters such as William Cullen Bryant and Thomas Cole who helped shape an early American ecological ethic and appreciation for nature through their portrayal of the natural world in their works. Their championing of the American landscape, both pastoral and wild, contributed to the shaping of a unique American identity associated with the environment and sense of place. Thanks to them and other pioneers of the public parks and landscape movement in the 19th century, conservation organizations such as The Trustees of Reservations were founded. Massachusetts is home to many land trusts that work locally to protect the land that identifies our cultural and regional identities. On Earth Day, celebrate the land that shares beauty, inspiration, food, clean air, clean water, and refuge.
Discover poets that write about nature from an ecological perspective and ethic:
- Alice Oswald: The Thunder Mutters: 101 Poems for the Planet and Full-Length Portrait of the Moon.
Jay Ramsay & Carole Bruce: The White Poem
To discover more ecopoetry, peruse online journal Written River and explore ecopoetics of contemporary poets.
[Photo credits: (c) Sienna Wildfield]
Download our March/April edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.