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Discover your forest on Earth Day

There are many ways you can get involved

Thirty-eight years after it began as a grassroots effort to grab the attention of American politicians, Earth Day continues to promote the ideals and actions aimed at helping our world become a cleaner, healthier home for all living things.

Earth Day 2008 will be celebrated around the world Tuesday, April 22. And there are lots of ways you can help make your world a healthier, brighter place to live this Earth Day.

One way you can get involved is in the Mt. Hood National Forest, which is taking part in several Earth Day activities, including an event right here on your Clackamas River Ranger District.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 19, the Mt. Hood National Forest is partnering with SOLV and Clackamas County Dump Stoppers to clean up trash from roadsides and illegal dumps and shooting areas on the forest.

Volunteers are encouraged to register through www.solv.org/volunteers/volunteer_calendar.asp and should meet at Promontory Park, 6.5 miles southeast of Estacada on Highway 224, to receive instructions and materials for the day. For more information on how to help clean up your forest, call Brett Lyon at SOLV at 503-844-9571.

Or you can join in the spirit of Earth Day celebrations from decades past by pitching in to do your part to make your own yard, street, neighborhood, school yard and city or town a healthier place to live, work and play. We at the Mt. Hood National Forest believe the grassroots efforts made by individuals, families and other organizations make a difference, whether it's observing Leave No Trace practices while out in the forest or wilderness lands, walking or riding your bike instead of driving when possible or turning off your home's lights when they are not in use. Small efforts can make a difference.

This Earth Day, consider grabbing a biodegradable garbage bag and walking around your neighborhood or near a road you often travel and picking up trash. For safety's sake, make sure you wear safety vests or walk with adults if you choose to pick up litter near a busy roadway.

If your school hasn't made Earth Day plans, consider talking to your teacher or principal about planting a native tree or wildflower seeds on the school's grounds, or organize an outdoor cleanup day at your school.

If you don't recycle, start! And if you do, take in a load of recyclable materials on Earth Day and consider other products you may be able to recycle. While shopping on Earth Day, take reusable bags to the store and send a message to others that you care about conserving natural resources.

Earth Day is also a good time to learn about and become more aware of issues facing our environment, including forests, and how we can become better environmental stewards.

Take time to read about an area of environmental stewardship that interests you, or join a volunteer organization that promotes a cause you support. Kids, you have important ideas and thoughts about how to take care of our world - you've been sharing them with me as I've visited your classrooms - so share them with your family, friends and your community by writing a letter to the editor of this newspaper.

Join the Mt. Hood National Forest and make this the best Earth Day yet!

Call us in Estacada at 503-630-6861 or e-mail me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with any ideas, forest-related discoveries you'd like to share or volunteer projects on which you would like to partner with the Forest Service.