22 Apr 2017

Earth Day

It’s Earth Day! The one day each year where we all stop to take stock of the environment surrounding us. From the plants and animals to the air and soil, we slow down to appreciate the life sustaining forces on the planet.

When you turn on the news, it can be easy to get the impression that the planet is doomed. There are ice caps melting, air and water pollution, and species are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate. It’s easy to sit back in shock, freeze in place and throw your hands up in the air. But maybe just maybe there is a simpler more constructive approach.

When I was in first grade I entered an Earth Day essay contest. The topic of the essay was something to the effect of how are you going to save the planet? Now this is a pretty tall task to assign to a 6-year old. But I was determined I could make a difference (my teacher had said I could after all!)

I grabbed my pencil and paper (No one had a computer back then) and began to brainstorm. Ultimately my idea was that if every person picked up just one piece of trash each day that wasn’t theirs the world would be a much cleaner place to live. My teacher liked the essay and so did the judges of the essay contest. I won the contest, but more importantly I learned that even a 6-year old could make a difference.

Earth Day can be a gentle reminder of simple ways that we can support the healing of the planet. Maybe you’re feeling a little inspired this year. If so, consider trying any of the following:

  • Eat closer to home. Consider purchasing your groceries from a local farmer’s market, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture, or growing a garden in your backyard. Here at Sunrise Springs we harvest much of the produce used to teach our culinary classes from the greenhouse and garden on site. The best benefit is it tastes fresher!
  • Conserve water. Rain catchment is a key method for minimizing the use of our limited water resources here in New Mexico. Rain catchment can be used to water gardens and landscaping. The Sunrise Springs greenhouse pulls off water collected in our cistern before utilizing any other water resources for our plants.
  • Get the most out of every purchase of food by composting the leftovers in your backyard, or giving it to a neighbor that can. Composting not only keeps tons of useful material out of the landfill, it also creates fantastic organic soil that can support many future plants. Vermicomposting is used in the Sunrise Springs greenhouse to compost left over food, coffee, tea and plant clippings from classes.
  • Have you found a great way to help the planet? Teach others how to do it too! Here at Sunrise Springs our passionate experiential instructors eagerly share from their own experiences to help others shift and change their habits. Better yet, they get inspired by the ideas that each guest shares in turn!

There are a multitude of small things you can do each day to ensure a healthier planet. Take it one step at a time and realize that every effort counts!

Happy Earth Day!


Danielle Simmons, Horticulture and Animal Interactions
Inspired by her childhood experience of play in the forests of upstate New York, Danielle has devoted her career to connecting human wellness with a deeper engagement to the natural world. Danielle planted and manages the greenhouse and the garden beds at Sunrise. She enjoys teaching guests the many uses of herbs, from first aid to making herbal teas and salves. When she is not being inspired by the big trees and abundant water at Sunrise, she is enjoying time with her family and their organic garden, which they tend on their homestead south of Santa Fe.