More than one billion people in 192 countries around the globe celebrated the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day 2012. On the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the flagship event of all Earth Day celebrations included a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) exhibit staffed by NRCS employees. The theme for this year’s exhibit was “Healthy Soils, the Foundation of Life,” and our demonstrations provided those who visited with a wealth of information. The many children and adults who visited were thrilled with our 3-D photos of landscapes and the earth’s natural elements, and also enjoyed the interactive demonstration of till vs. no-till farming. We also took the opportunity to gain visibility for USDA’s 150th Anniversary.
Harris Sherman, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, joined in the celebration and spoke to the crowd on the Mall and those watching the event which was streamed live over the Internet. Under Secretary Sherman oversees the Forest Service and NRCS, so it was not hard for him to speak passionately about the vital importance of conserving natural resources. On stage with the Under Secretary was Smokey Bear, the Forest Service’s very own star. While the crowd cheered at the arrival of the Under Secretary and Smokey, they cheered louder for the words Under Secretary Sherman spoke about conservation of natural resources.
After his remarks on stage, the Under Secretary visited the NRCS exhibit and spoke with many visitors about the critical importance of healthy soil. He also enjoyed the 3-D photos and soil demonstrations at the exhibit. We look forward to participating in Earth Day celebrations again next year and have plans to introduce our own Sammy Soil to the big stage on Earth Day.