I have heard it said that going green is just a fad, a trend, a hippie dream, but my green convictions are not new. I think they started when I was very young thanks, in large part, to my dad, who was and is a biologist. Growing up with a biologist for a dad is a daily adventure and every event on the almanac is noticed or celebrated. The first day of spring, the longest day of the year, the first morning dove’s coo, the first red-breasted robin sighting, first frost, leaves changing, water levels shifting, birds migrating, dandelions yawning, winter stars. My earliest memories are of hiking through the woods with my dad while he pointed out every kind of oak tree and prairie grass. We chanted kingdom, phylum, genus, species. I remember him making a big deal out of cattails in the marshes near our home. I remember numerous trips to the pond, collecting specimens, taking them back to the lab, gazing at them through microscopes. Raising frogs, letting them go. I really should be able to identify poison ivy by now but I still get it confused – sorry, dad! I think what was impressed upon me most was the splendor of nature and my dad’s excitement, and the shared sense of adventure our whole family experienced whenever we stepped outside and onto a trail. This was the birth of my green affection. Both my dad and my mom nurtured it, my appreciation for the outdoors, my sense of adventure, my desire to protect the wild and to steward it wisely. In grade school I remember my mom attending local community meetings in an effort to prevent housing developments from hijacking our northern Illinois farmlands and marshes. Every family vacation involved state parks and hiking trails and finding animal tracks and seed collecting and watching for native or invasive species. Love of, and concern for, the green and the wild was all around me and it formed me. It formed my dreams and my hopes for the future, it instilled awe and appreciation, and it gave me a foundational ethic of respect for the natural world and the way that our mutual survival is intertwined. An ethic that I am sure many of you share.
When spring comes and I crawl out of the dark hibernation that is winter in Wisconsin, I am reminded of the natural world and that I am not alone. It is like we are all waking up together…the birds, the soil, the critters, and us; all turning our heads, blinking our eyes, and stretching. So today, inspired by the warm spring winds blowing my hair into a giant knot, I am launching a little series I’ll just call the green series. It will be an ongoing series of occasional postings on this thing I care about, highlighting relevant books, products, art, tutorials, etc. I hope you enjoy and that you will share your own thoughts and inspirations on this topic, too!