Stories from the Field

50 Years of Celebrating Planet Earth

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In 1968, astronaut Bill Anders snapped this photo, Earthrise, from the capsule of Apollo 8. Seen around the world, people paused and reflected on their relationship with our home planet.

Just two years later, Earth Day was launched. Raising awareness about environmental concerns, it spurred the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. It provided common ground for Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, and urban and rural populations to advocate for the health of their communities.

It also inspired the creation of NatureBridge. In 1971 we opened our doors as Yosemite Institute. In fact, Bill Anders served on our founding Board of Directors. Today, his wife Valerie Anders serves as the Emeritus Chair of our NatureBridge Olympic Board and for 49 years we’ve connected young people to the natural world, deepening science learning and inspiring a lifetime of environmental stewardship. All because of a moment when humans set out to explore the moon, and instead discovered the Earth.

Today we celebrate our 50th Earth Day. With so much work still to be done, I find hope in the next generation, in the empathy exhibited daily by my two sons working alongside me in this pandemic, and in Earthrise:

It still reminds us that distance and borders and division are merely a matter of perspective. We are all linked in a joined human enterprise; we are bound to a planet we all must share. We are all, together, stewards of this fragile treasure.
Bill Anders

This message rings truer than ever as we confront the crisis that has swept our globe. We are all connected. This planet is our only home. It is our greatest gift, and our greatest responsibility is to care for it and for each other.

Whether it is safely going for a walk or finding an activity from our Outside Still Open Guide for you and your family, we hope you find time today to celebrate our planet and reflect on your relationship with the natural world.

Happy Earth Day! And please, take care.


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