By Rick Sobey
During the last few years, former vice president Al Gore and other environmental activists have brought the topic of global warming to the forefront. Gore made a documentary about the issue, which encouraged the public to act immediately or problems will continue. The green initiative is trickling down to the local community, where students and adults are trying to help the environment.
Two upcoming environmentally-friendly holidays bring awareness to matters affecting the planet Earth Day, April 22 and Arbor Day, the week of April 28. A number of events have been planned around both to coincide with their message of appreciating the environment.
Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Hampden will be hosting an environmental program called "Laughing Brook Third Saturday Nature Series: Vernal Pools" on April 19 at 10 a.m.
This event, which is open to families with children ages four to 16, will teach why it's important to protect vernal pools, and what people can do to help ensure their protection.
Vernal pools are breeding grounds for many state-listed amphibian species , and the pools are critical for the animals. The month of April is often the only time to see animals such as spotted salamanders and wood frogs.
At this program, naturalist Kevin Kopchynski will explore a vernal pool, looking for egg masses, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates. The cost is $3 for members and $5 for non-members. Call 584-3009 for more information.
Another Earth Day event in the community is taking place at Better Life Whole Foods in Springfield on April 22 from 1 to 5 p.m.
The purpose of the free Earth Day event is to teach the public how to bring down the carbon in the world and make Springfield a better place to live. There will be several free information tables set up for the program.
One table will have the community gardeners, who make it possible for citizens to buy local organic vegetables. In addition, Gooseberry Skin Care will be present at the event. This company uses all natural earth-friendly ingredients for personal care products. Another table will consist of Prospect Lawn Care, which will give people environmentally-safe lawn care instructions.
Better Life Whole Foods is located at 1500 Allen St. in Springfield.
On April 23 at the Forest Park Branch Library in Springfield, environmental advocate and radio talk show host Charlie Spencer will be speaking about the environmental problems facing the earth today and how citizens can tackle these issues. The program is called "Caring for Creation: An Earth Day Celebration."
Spencer, a radio talk show host on WHYN-AM 560, will be talking about the failures of major institutions to protect the earth. He believes that these organizations have not been doing their jobs.
"Very few people know very much about the complex environmental problems facing us today," Spencer said.
Also, he thinks that because everyone in the world is constantly busy, it's hard to find time to research and understand all the issues.
Spencer's discussion will give solutions for a better environment, and he will share his observations of the conservation land and bodies of water that he has walked or canoed in Springfield.
The Forest Park Branch Library is located at 380 Belmont Ave. in Springfield. The presentation begins at 6 p.m., and registration is not needed. For more information, call 263-6843 or log on to the Web site www.SpringfieldLibrary.org.
Arbor Day is being observed in Massachusetts during the week of April 28, and Mountain View Elementary School in East Longmeadow will be hosting a ceremony for the holiday.
Arbor Day is when individuals are encouraged to plant and care for trees, and on April 30 at 10:30 a.m., the school will be planting a tree. In addition, students from third, fourth and fifth grade will be reciting their own tree poems. Principal of the elementary school, Carolyn Wallace, is having the entire school get involved with writing poems this year, which is different than previous years. She is quite pleased with the participation from everyone.
"There has been a very good response from each grade level," Wallace said. "The kids are really excited about the poems, which I think is great."
The tree for the ceremony was donated by the town committee, and every student will be taking home a sapling from the Arbor Day celebration.