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Dueppen: Make every day Earth Day and take part in 1,000 Acts of Green | COMMENTARY

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”

Margaret Wheatley

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Recently a phenomenal thing happened in the southern part of Carroll County. Concerned about the possibility of Piney Run Lake being drained as part of a dam improvement project, over 2,000 outdoor enthusiasts and conservation-minded citizens came together in just a few days to make it clear that protecting this natural resource was vital to the community’s and the local wildlife’s well-being.

A similar groundswell might arise in Westminster if plans to develop Wakefield Valley stray too far away from what is presently a place that the wilderness is reclaiming and residents use to seek quiet contemplation or to spend wholesome and healthy time in nature with friends and family.

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One value most Carroll County residents agree on is enjoyment of the outdoors and stewardship of the pastoral landscapes and other natural treasures around us. This Earth Day, VOCAL Carroll County invites you to join our 1,000 Acts of Green campaign!

Whenever you do something to nurture nature — like planting a bird-friendly bush or donating money to your favorite conservation organization — or be nurtured by nature — like meandering on a nearby trail or photographing a flower — please post about it publicly on social media using the hashtag #Carroll1K.

VOCAL will be keeping a count of every act you share. If social media is not your thing, you can add to the tally by filling out a short form on the VOCAL website.

There are so many ways to participate!

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Give: Contribute to the Carroll County Park Legacy Fund. Perform acts of service like trash pickup, recycling, or volunteering with your community parks.

Grow: Set up a compost bin. Plant a pollinator garden. Make and mount an owl nest box with your kids.

Rove: Kayak on Little Pipe Creek. Bike one of the cycling routes mapped by the County’s tourism office. Go bird watching.

Revel:. Paint a landscape. Stargaze. Listen to the sounds and songs of insects, frogs, and birds at dusk or dawn.

Want more ideas? VOCAL has created an online interactive directory of local agencies, earth-friendly organizations, and events that is also linked on the campaign web page. We will tally the 1,000 Acts of Green until the end of April. But by now everyone knows that making every day Earth Day is ideal, therefore we will keep the web page with resources for local environmental stewardship and outdoor experiences available even after Earth Month is over.

VOCAL is an inclusive grassroots group advocating for ethical and just principles, policies, and officials in local government. While many readers are probably more familiar with our work to get out the informed local vote (like our current municipal election project Main Streets Matter), pushing for state-compliant ethics ordinances in Carroll jurisdictions, or partnering with other groups (like the local League of Women Voters affiliate, Carroll Values Education, or the Braver Angels alliance), one of our top priorities is to embrace nonpartisan community building, rejecting divisiveness. Respect for our county’s natural ecology and semi-rural character is highlighted as a key principle in our statement of purpose, a principle that unites us as Carroll Countians.

VOCAL’S desire to encourage civic engagement and good government is for the ultimate purpose of strengthening our community. It is a positive feedback loop — just like nurturing nature also brings us individual and community benefits in return.

So please take the time to be a part of 1,000 Acts of Green for the compounded good they bring.

Muri Dueppen writes from Mount Airy and is VOCAL Carroll County steering committee co-lead.

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