Observe Presidents' Day...in Nature

Monday is Presidents’ Day!  We all know what that means...a day off to kick back, lounge around, and be thankful that we’re not stuck inside an office or school.  Instead of pulling out your stove-top hat to dress like Lincoln or donning Washington-esque wooden teeth like last year, use the extra time this long weekend to celebrate Nature.

Not sure what that has to do with presidents? Quite a lot, it turns out, depending on the president. Teddy Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman, creating 51 wildlife refuges and popularizing the wildlife refuge system. Today, over a hundred years after the first refuge was created, there are 553 in the United States! Jimmy Carter was also an avid environmentalist. Besides passing the Soil and Water Conservation and Superfund Acts, he installed solar panels on the roof of the White House. Unfortunately, they were taken down by President Reagan -- illustrating the many political difficulties of the environmental movement – but President Obama has promised to put them back on the White House this spring, taking a symbolic step back towards cleaner energy.

We often wish more could be done for the environment, but on this Presidents’ Day, why don’t we celebrate how far we’ve come?  On Monday, take a couple hours to thank the presidents who have brought us progress.  Plant a tree, start a garden, grab a friend and go for a walk, take your bike for a spin, or visit one of Roosevelt’s wildlife refuges (you can find one here). If you want to learn more about the leaders of the environmental movement check out our 40th Anniversary Earth Day curriculum.