Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” This idea was never more apparent than on Earth Day 2017. I had the pleasure of attending the Earth Day celebration at Warner Park April 21, where Mayor Paul Soglin, State Assembly Representative Melissa Sargent, high school students and Madison Parks staff helped children plant a tree and gave great speeches to encourage thoughtfulness of the environment.
But the real stars of the celebration were the students and teachers from Lakeview Elementary School. Students presented heartfelt speeches, songs and even a rap about Earth Day and the environment. They were abuzz with the blazing sunshine and the looming activities for the rest of their day at Warner Park. Their spirit wore their colors throughout the day.
You see, I thoroughly enjoy working in community service and more specifically for parks and recreation services. The joy of seeing young people interact with city parks is very gratifying. Throughout this Earth Day, I saw children playing ball on the softball diamonds, hiking along trails, playing on playgrounds and most importantly learning to give back by engaging in community service. Children were everywhere — picking up trash along the fences at the Duck Pond, collecting sticks and garbage that had blown into the marsh and cleaning the park around the Warner Park Community Recreation Center (WPCRC). If we teach young people to give back — whether it’s to help the environment or help their neighborhoods — we all benefit in the long run. That is the spirit of Ralph Waldo Emerson; that is the spirit of Earth Day; and that is the spirit of the Northside.
I want to send a big thank you to the teachers who helped organize the Earth Day celebration and the Lakeview students who spent the day cleaning up Warner Park. As summer begins, come enjoy Warner Park with all its activities and stop by the WPCRC to say hello. We look forward to a great summer of events and activities. See you at Warner Park, where everyone is welcome.