Gotta love Spring!
Today is the 45th Earth Day, and many many not be aware of Michigan’s role in this holiday. The Ann Arbor Chronicle has an excellent feature titled Turbulent Origins of Ann Arbor’s First Earth Day that looks at the national movement in the late 60s to call attention to environmental degradation:
One of the first tasks facing the national organization was to choose a date for the proposed mass teach-ins. They settled on April 22 – “Earth Day,” as it would eventually be named – largely because that date fell optimally between spring break and final exams for most American colleges. (The fact that it is also Lenin’s birthday is apparently a complete coincidence.) But the University of Michigan operated then as now on a trimester system, with April 22 falling right in the middle of finals. As a result, the U-M environmental teach-in was scheduled for mid-March 1970.
The fact that it took place more than a month prior to national Earth Day has led to the misconception that the ENACT teach-in launched Earth Day, or that U-M was host to the first Earth Day celebration. In fact there were environmental events on other campuses as early as December 1969. But that does not in any way diminish the importance of the Ann Arbor event, which was to have a huge influence on the course of what has been called the largest mass demonstration in American history – Earth Day 1970, in which an estimated 20 million people participated.
“The University of Michigan teach-in was not the first or even the second or third – a few small liberal arts colleges had environmental teach-ins in January and February 1970,” says Adam Rome, a professor of history at Penn State who is working on a book about Earth Day. ”But the Michigan event was by far the biggest, best, and most influential of the pre-Earth Day teach-ins. The media gave it tremendous coverage. It was the first sign that Earth Day would be a big deal.”
…Events ran from the early morning until well after midnight, on topics such as overpopulation – “Sock It to Motherhood: Make Love, Not Babies” – the future of the Great Lakes, the root causes of the ecological crisis, and the effect of war on the environment. More than sixty major media outlets covered the action, including all three American television networks and a film crew from Japan. It was the biggest such event that had yet been seen in Ann Arbor – and coming as it did at the tail end of the sixties, it would be one of the last.
At the kickoff rally around 14,000 people paid fifty cents to crowd into Crisler Arena and listen to speeches by Senator Gaylord Nelson, Michigan governor William Milliken, radio personality Arthur Godfrey, and ecologist Barry Commoner, and groove to the music of Hair and Gordon Lightfoot. Another 3,000 who couldn’t get in listened on loudspeakers that were hastily set up in the parking lot.
The photographer shared a nice lyric too from Carol Johnson:
The Earth is my mother / She good to me / she gives me everything that I ever need
food on the table/ the clothes I wear/ the sun and the water and the cool, fresh air
The annual Festifools returns to Ann Arbor next Sunday, April 12 at 4 PM. The event is in its 9th year, and they explain:
A new local tradition, kicking off Ann Arbor’s outdoor festival season, FestiFools is a gigantic public art spectacular, created by members of the community and U of M students. Magnificent, huge, bizarre, politically incorrect, human-powered papier-mâché puppets join thousands of Foolish friends frolicking about downtown for one fun-filled hour. Don’t miss out on this eight annual celebration of foolishness!
Myra took this photo back in 2007 as she documented the very first year of what has become an Ann Arbor tradition. View her photo on Flickr and definitely check out her 2007 FestiFools April 1st Parade slideshow.
The beacon shines brightly from both the North Breakwater Lighthouse and the South Breakwater Light in Ludington Michigan at night. The Milky Way and other stars shine brightly on this Lake Michigan scene.
The Independent reports that a US record 109,318 fans turned out at Michigan Stadium to watch a “friendly” pre-season match between Manchester United and Real Madrid on Saturday. Read more in their report on the match and also see this SB Nation article for more pics of the massive crowd.
Three Michigan teams take to the hardwood today for the NCAA Men’s Basketball tourney. It starts with theWestern Michigan Broncos facing Syracuse at 2:45 followed by the media darling Michigan State Spartans vs Delaware at 4:40 and #2 Midwest seed Michigan vs Wafford at 7:10!
More basketball on Michigan in Pictures.
Jonathan Schechter of Earth’s Almanac marks Squirrel Appreciation Day, saying:
Squirrel Appreciation Day is here; like them or not. January 21st is the day to look at America’s favorite rodent as something other than pancake-flat road kill, a clever feeder-robber or free entertainment for a frustrated window watching cat. Take time today to appreciate their adaptability and ability to not just survive but thrive in our midst. This slightly nutty ‘holiday’ is saluted by the National Wildlife Federation and was founded in 2001 by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina. Despite the fact that many fail to look both ways before crossing a highway even squirrel haters should salute these creatures that bury nuts; helping to spread trees to areas where the nut did not fall.
In Oakland County the squirrels seen in winter are the evergreen tree loving red squirrels, the rusty orange colored fox squirrel and the gray squirrel, a squirrel of the great American hardwood forests that is sometimes jet black. We are also home to the northern flying squirrel; a nocturnal creature that is more common than many realize! Chipmunks are seldom seen in winter and our 13 lined ground squirrel are under ground snoozing until spring thaw.
Andrew took this photo at the University of Michigan. Due to the high degree of squirrel activity on campus, there’s a Squirrel Club at UM. View Andrew’s photo background bigtacular and see more of this little guy in his Squirrel slideshow.
More squirrels on Michigan in Pictures.