Friday, March 20, 2009

Old School Woodsy

If you grew up in the 70’s, you might remember Woodsy Owl. I was big into Woodsy! He was green before going-green was popular. I was in girl scouts then and decided to start picking up trash along some of the country roads near my house. It started out as work to earn a merit badge. Somehow I even managed to get my parents and little brother involved. I’d like to think it was my clever persuasiveness but more likely I just wore them down with incessant nagging. We each put on a pair of heavy work gloves, toted big black trash bags and set out on more than one occasion to gather up whatever less-thoughtful people had tossed out on the roadsides. It was a pretty thankless job, messy and sometimes stinky. But I always felt good about it. Like I was undoing a bad thing. A little average kid from southwestern Pennsylvania, actually making a difference in the world around me.

Some years later when I was in my twenties, I went on a date with a forest ranger. We went on a hike to a beautiful, remote area in the Ouachita Mtns. When we got back from the hike to the parking area, we noticed some hikers had thrown a bag of trash out of their car. The ranger promptly wrote them a citation, tucked it under their windshield wiperblade and threw the trash bag in the back of his truck so it could be disposed of properly. My own personal Woodsy Owl — except he looked much better in the uniform — I was in love! (okay, that’s a little heavy on artistic license. Obviously there was more to it than that, but you get the idea.)

We now have two little woodsies' of our own and take small trash bags with us when we hike. Sometimes even when we walk in our neighborhood. So on this first day of spring when we’re all looking forward to spending more time outdoors, I’d like to challenge you to do your part. Pick up what others carelessly toss or accidentally lose. Keep an extra trash sack in your car or in your pocket just for the occasion. Get your kids in on the act. Let them learn firsthand that little acts of kindness and stewardship make a big difference in the scheme of things.

Happy Spring!

1 comment:

  1. long live woodsy!
    i need to introduce my kiddos to him.
    great post!


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