With Earth Day being trumpeted today on radio and TV (even Bush is laying claim to being environmentally aware today!), my mind keeps going back to the first Earth Day I celebrated....
It was the spring of 1971 - the 2nd Earth Day ever. I was in 9th grade at Curundu Junior High School in the Canal Zone and an active member of that school's first ever Ecology Club. Our sponsor, my 9th grade physical science teacher, Mr. Jack Pylant, told us about this exciting new holiday called Earth Day. To celebrate, we decided to do that quintessential 60's/70's activity: picket (the Commissary, in this case), carrying signs about saving the Earth.
I doubt that we converted any Commissary shoppers that day, but it was through Mr. Pylant and the Ecology Club that I developed my first real awareness of environmental issues.
We had a great time in Ecology Club. One of my favorite memories is of a film that we made: a Super 8 motion picture about "Captain Ecology", who jumped out of trashcans, shower stalls, and other improbable places, wearing a cape and catching environmental "wrongdoers" at the moment of their transgression. I get a smile just thinking of it.
So on this Earth Day, I would like to remember and honor Mr. Pylant, my 9th grade science teacher, wherever he may be. He instilled and nurtured in me a love for and an awareness of the environment that has been with me for my entire life. He enriched my life tremendously, and I hope that I have been able to pass along the torch, in some small way, to others. Thank you, Mr. Pylant.