It’s Earth Day, April 22, the 123rd day of the year. Yesterday, the temperature of Lake Michigan was 47 degrees at the Chicago crib and 49 degrees at the Chicago shore. Yesterday and today, the Evanston Police and Fire departments are cheering on health-care workers at Evanston and Saint Francis hospital. The first responders gathered at Evanston Hospital near Central Street and Girard Avenue yesterday afternoon, lights blazing and signs aloft, clapping and honking as hospital workers walked along Girard Avenue at the beginning or end of their shifts. The Saint Francis cheer-along will take place along Austin Avenue between 6:45 and 7:30 this evening. Ramadan begins tomorrow evening.

Earth Day, conceived by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, is 50 years old today. He is quoted as having said, “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy, and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” While the celebration has gained notoriety, the planet itself is waning. “Environmentalism” was the byword then; now it’s “climate crisis.” Local efforts are becoming stronger, despite or because of lack federal leadership. Maybe the economic pandemonium caused by the global glut of oil will shift people toward renewable energy.

In addition to the 1970 celebrations, here are some other events that took place on this day (from

1889, the Oklahoma land rush began at noon, opening up to white settlers land where several Native American tribes – Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Apache, Comanche and Choctaw (whose language gave the place its name: okla and humma, meaning red people) – had been, euphemistically, “relocated.” The people who waited until the gun boomed the start of the land rush were called “Boomers”; those who jumped the gun were called “Sooners.”

1978, The Blues Brothers make their world premiere on Saturday Night Live.

2020, Last day in Evanston to go into shops and businesses without mandatory face-coverings.

The prolonged stay-at-home order focuses our attention on the panoply of nature. The Lyrid meteor shower will peak tonight and tomorrow morning. Still above the ground but flying lower are Evanston’s magnificent raptors.

The four peregrine falcon eggs on the library ledge may, fittingly, hatch by Mother’s Day.

Under the mother’s watchful eye, these great horned owlets, photographed by Mike Roche, he notes, “practice social distancing from 60 feet in the air” in a tree in northwest Evanston.

JoDe Dietsch snapped this red-tailed hawk in the Lee Street/Ashland Avenue area. On her early-morning walks, Mary Mumbrue has been able to catch the beavers in the cooling lagoon in Northwestern’s lakefill. There’s an occasional heron in the canal and coyotes are still on the prowl.

Chalk a tree, love your planet. Happy Earth Day to all.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...