“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children.” – Chief Seattle
On Friday, April 22nd the City of Auburn Hills celebrated Earth Day at Hawk Woods Park & Campground with over 50 community members and staff who were there to make a difference through service. Many projects were completed including trail maintenance, a new coat of stain for the outdoor classroom, litter collection along Bald Mountain Road, revitalizing our geocache boxes, and prepping the cabins for seasonal use. The Clinton River Watershed Council also provided a wonderful program on identification of invasive species and things you can do at home to help manage the spread. Completion of these projects was very important and will impact people of all ages who visit for nature education, an activity or event, or on their own to enjoy the park.
But how do these projects benefit the Earth? It’s all about connection. Hawk Woods Park and Campground hosts many types of activities and visitors throughout the year for people of all ages. During every visit to the park, visitors connect with nature in some way, whether it’s through:
- Senses – listening to birdsong, smelling wild flowers, or feeling the breeze
- Emotion – experiencing joy and clam, sharing feelings of nature with others
- Beauty – taking time to appreciate the beauty in nature and engaging with it through art, music, or words
- Meaning – exploring and expressing how nature brings meaning to life
- Compassion – caring for nature, taking actions that are good for nature, supporting conservation charities, rethinking shopping habits
When someone is on hike and they feel a dragonfly’s wings flutter on their fingers, or hear a bee buzz around looking for nectar, they connect to nature through their senses. When someone comes to hike on their own, to enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of nature while exercising, they are connecting to nature through emotion and beauty. When someone comes to help pick up litter or remove invasive species, they connect through the compassion of caring for nature. Maintaining our park land and resources helps us to facilitate these nature connections in each visit for thousands of people, and research shows that nature connectedness is directly related to pro-environmental behaviors. Connections to nature established through the park are connections that make impressions and change future behavior towards the Earth and the environment.
Additionally, the park is home to many environmental education programs throughout the year. Environmental education is a process that helps individuals, communities, and organizations learn more about the environment and develop skills and understanding about how to address global challenges. These programs are offered on our trails, in our outdoor classroom, and in programs that happen in the cabins and around the campfire. Maintaining these resources helps facilitate environmental education in the park, influencing attitudes and motivating action, creating healthier and more civically-engaged communities for the environmental movement.
Through each project we completed on Earth Day, we have the opportunity to impact thousands of lives through nature connections, to educate about the environment, and to work towards changing our environmental behaviors and attitudes. We are grateful for the people who came out on Friday to work in the park, we thank Borg Warner for their generosity in sponsoring this event, and we encourage everyone to find ways at home to make decisions that will create a sustainable world for our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Sage Hegdal, Recreation Director