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Celebrating Earth Day amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Celebrating Earth Day amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Published on: April 21, 2020


a man and a child with a treeApril 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

The annual event, which is normally celebrated with activities and events all around the world, is meant to focus attention on the environment. Traditionally, it is a time when people clean up their community, and pledge to take steps to make the world a cleaner place and improve the environment.

The Reverend Michael Keating, a professor at Becker College and the owner of Keating Enterprises Landscaping, is among those who remember what they were doing back when Earth Day started in 1970.

“Fifty years ago I was asked as a young landscaper to help prune some rhododendrons at Elm Park in Worcester,” Keating said. “Interestingly enough, there was a good chance I was pruning plants my grandfather planted and tended to when he was a groundskeeper for the City Parks Department.”

Keating noted that he has since participated in many similar efforts.

“For years, we who work within and have a relationship with nature have used Earth Day as a way to highlight the importance of being responsible towards nature, to preserve it for our enjoyment and existence,” Keating said. “Now many more realize the beauty and the ever- present power we share on this earth.”

This year, the need to practice social isolating makes traditional Earth Day events difficult, if not impossible. But Keating noted that we can celebrate what we have achieved by working from home.

“The important thing to remember is how much healing has come to our environment during this crisis, with the lack of traffic alone,” he said.

He also suggests celebrating Earth Day in a different way.

“We are all yearning for normal these days, and many are getting back in touch with sunrises and sunsets and everything in between as a way to handle the stress brought upon us,” Keating said. “As a landscape professional, professor, and transcendentalist, I celebrate today with a walk in the park, a brisk breeze in my face, and the joy of knowing better days will soon arrive.”

“Today I also think of my granddad with a poem about oak trees I walk by regularly within the park,” he added.

Memories while walking

In the Park

I sense my grandpa

while walking by these stately oaks

their roots deep into the soil

as his spirit weaves

within my soul a link

to these trees

the grass,

and park.

He walked this land,

pruned these trees when young,

and I feel his

presence

within my own soul

my own desire to touch the bark

feeling what he felt

unknown to his touch

was my touch

but my touch

knows his…

These trees remember it all

what a joy to

walk within the

shade

planted years ago

but rooted in now

yep,

my grandpa walked this grass

worked this land

left a memory

within my heart and soul…

oh I so love a walk in a park.

especially one he worked in…

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