The First Earth Day

It was a big deal to me then and still is

I celebrated the first Earth Day — April 22, 1970 — while an eighth-grader at St. Mary’s Catholic School in my hometown of Clarksburg, W.Va.

It was a big deal for several reasons. First, it was my 14th birthday. Also, I was already an outdoorsman because of Scouting and our very secluded yard of oak-pine canopy, ponds and Elk Creek. So, I thought it was cool that the two coincided. It is also memorable because of how much it was celebrated in our school and parish. In this relatively large Catholic school attached to one of the largest parishes in the states, there were subversives. They believed in Vatican II. They had us making felt banners celebrating the day.

I’ve never stopped. So, to celebrate, today I share another photo essay from the natural world. Check back tomorrow, as we’ll have a special essay for this very special Earth Day.

Shoshone Point, Grand Canyon in Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Blackwater Falls, West Virginia
Blackwater Canyon, West Virginia
Sunset over Blackwater Falls Canyon, West Virginia
Sandstone Falls, West Virginia
Sunrise in the Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, California
Wilson Creek, North Carolina

© Michael M. Barrick, 2020


  1. Michael,

    Thanks for the post & happy Earth Day. I was just graduated from High School and in my first year at Penn State when this, along with the Vietnam Draft/students shot at Ohio State occurred. It was a heady time indeed. Sad to see how far we’ve fallen from those optimistic days. Somehow the ad at the end of your piece (realize you have no control over this commercialization) sort of counterpoints and underlines how far…


    Gary Zuckett

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