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For Sherrodsville family, everyday is Earth Day

By Carol McIntire

Earth Day
FLOWER PLANTING. From left: Valerie Gardner and her daughters, Sarah Worrell and Vikki Winter, spent Monday afternoon planting flowers around the sign at Sherrodsville Park. Gardner donated the flowers for the project.

Every day is Earth Day for Valerie Gardner.

The Sherrodsville resident doesn’t depend on a national observance to do something positive for the environment, but she uses that day each year to help build awareness and to improve her community.

“I was inspired by my parents,” she said Monday on the 43rd observance of Earth Day. “Taking care of the environment is something you do everyday. I was taught by my parents and I taught my children to recycle, conserve energy and water and other natural resources.”

Gardner, who is the fiscal officer for the village of Sherrodsville, coordinates an event in the community each year on or near Earth Day in an attempt to get others involved in taking care of the environment. Oftentimes she attempts to coordinate activities with youth organizations in the community.

Last year, she painted the sign in village park and planted trees with her two daughters. This year, she and her daughters, Vikki Winter and Sarah Worrell, planted flowers near the sing in the village park Monday afternoon.

Even though she is recovering from cancer treatments, on Saturday she organized a walk though the village to pick up litter.

“Even though no one turned out to help, my husband and I picked up three bags of trash in a relatively short distance,” she said.

Both Vikki and Sarah have learned to be environmentally friendly from their mother and are willing participants in events to clean up the environment.

“We grew up with an environmentally conscious mom so we both have an appreciation for the environment,” said Sarah.

Earth Day was first observed April 22, 1970, but its founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson, said the idea actually evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962.

For several years Gaylord said it had been troubling him that the state of the environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the county. He persuaded President John F. Kennedy to do a five-day, 11-state conservation tour in September 1963. Even though the tour did not succeed in brining the issue into the national political agenda, it was the germ of the idea that flowered into Earth Day.

During a conference in Seattle, WA, in 1969, Nelson announced an event would be held in the spring of 1970; a grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The idea took off like a wildfire and the grassroots effort quickly spread across the county, leading to the success of the first Earth Day and every once that has followed.

Worrell said her goal is for the word to spread even further and for residents to make every day Earth Day in their lives to help protect and preserve the environment for future generations.

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