Tag Archives: environment

Earth Day 2017

Celebrate Earth Day

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – As the nature awakens, we celebrate Earth Day today. The first widely recognized Earth Day was held in 1970 when an environmental Teach-In group planned an event for April 22.

But every day is an Earth Day celebration to recognize the greatest resource of all, and that is our planet Earth.

To celebrate the Earth Week, I started my annual walk to the Franciscan Life Process Center (FLPC) on Monday. The 1.8 mile hike on a gravel road has been a staple of my mental and physical sanity since 1995 when we moved out into this northeast corner of Kent County in West Michigan.

I marveled at the untouched nature coming to life; plants vigorously emerging from the wet dirt from yesterday’s rains, robins hopping under the pine trees among the new ground cover.

Crisp morning air and dew covered the new grass and stems.

The area consists of preserved farmland thanks to late philanthropist Peter Wege, apple orchards, woods and streams. Wild flowers are now popping out in the woods, and morel mushrooms are around the corner, or should I say around the stumps.

I love the farm markets with the local produce starting soon with local asparagus.

Different trail systems like the Fred Meijer River Valley trails and Lowell Area trials meet here at the confluence of Grand River and Flat River. We’ve been blessed with an abundance of natural resources from the Bradford Dickinson White Nature Preserve in Lowell Township, Wege Wittenbach AgriScience center, Sessions Lake and Fallasburg Park. Hundreds of inland lakes dot the picturesque region.

The Midwest entices with its variety of seasons, landscapes, Great Lakes and diverse communities.

For more info on the trails go to:

www.traillink.com

Land Conservancy of West Michigan

www.naturenearby.org

Wittenbach/Wege Center

http://www.lowellschools.com

Franciscan Life Process Center

http://www.lifeprocesscenter.org

 

Copyright © 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Into May

May events feature crowds & peaceful manifestations of passion

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- In the quiet of an early hour, between night and day, when two energies meet, I am waiting for the daylight to break in.

I cannot see the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting the Earth, because of the clouds. The ISS usually moves over my garden heading south around 4 a.m.

I cannot hear the first bird yet, because it’s not his time. The first song comes around 5:30 right at daybreak.

Time to contemplate events,
Time to contemplate events,

I should be meditating, but I am not. Writing is the best meditation. I should be doing yoga, but I am not. Instead, I am exercising my brain.

I should be checking my e-mail, but I am not. Writing this today is more important.

I am thinking about the relativity of events and happenings that are all going on in May. May is the month of love, according to Czech poets and writers. I too celebrate the month of May for its freshness, rebirth and beauty. According to chefs, May is the month of Mediterranean cuisine, and according to the government, May is the Military Appreciation month. It also used to be the Mental Health month, according to mental health institutions.

Most events happening in May are by huge crowd gatherings in pursuit of something. A few of them are peaceful manifestations of passion for something.

The vicious circle of Roundup by Monsanto.
The vicious circle of Roundup by Monsanto.

In two hours I will be going to the annual customer appreciation day at Jones Farm Market. My aging parents Ella & Vaclav are coming to join us for a day camaraderie.

But, thinking globally, today are demonstrations around the world against the seed giant Monsanto, the creator of Round-up and GMOs. Both have crippled the environment, humanity, farmers and agriculture.

To stand and watch what’s happening is being a part of the problem. Yet, I have chosen to go to the peaceful farm market in the country. It’s not because I am afraid, it’s because I value bonding with the family more.

Am I feeling guilty? Yes.

I will make up for it by using the power of the word. That is by writing about how Monsanto is hurting us in a very complex and sophisticated way on everyday basis.

Okay I have to stop now to get ready to go to the farm market.

If you still have time, you can get on the Internet and find out about March against Monsanto in your community at

http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/may21/

#marchMay21

To be continued………………………..

 

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Remembering philanthropist Peter Wege

Wege set an example for the rest of the country

By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- A real friend without pretense, an honest, generous man at ease with himself wherever he went.
That best describes philanthropist Mr. Peter Wege, who passed away on July 7th at the age of 94.
Most people in the greater Grand Rapids Area knew of Wege, but very few met him in person or knew him directly.
I belong to the smaller privileged group. I met Wege in person at the Franciscan Life Process Center on April 23, 2008 at a community breakfast in honor of his preservation efforts.

Philantropist Peter Wege
Philantropist Peter Wege

“One couldn’t help but be touched by his presence,” I wrote at the time in an article for the Lowell Ledger and other freelance publications.
His personality was shining through and lighting up the meeting room on a dark gloomy April morning. It lit up a ray of hope for the Heffron family, who were one of the first farm families to preserve land in Grattan Township.
“We should have been preserving since 1950,” he said time. “It should be as normal as kindergarten. It has taken us 40 years to get it started.”
Wege, an astute businessman, was first and foremost, a visionary. His father Peter Martin co-founded Metal Office Furniture, now Steelcase, and the largest office furniture manufacturer in the world. Wege joined Steelcase in 1946 and worked in different executive posts including sales, research and design, and as an officer on the Board of Directors of the Steelcase Foundation. He retired as vice-chairman of the Steelcase Board in 2000. Wege made Steelcase famous as one of the earliest environmental manufacturers in the world. The office furniture maker went “green” long before it became trendy.
Wege always made sure that people knew it was his father’s innovative genius that provided the wealth he gave away to make life better for others.
Wege’s passion for the environment originated in his service to the country as a World War II pilot. While flying from Dallas on a training plane, he wanted to stop in Pittsburgh, but couldn’t find it in the smog in the middle of the day.
“That jarred me,” he said at the preservation breakfast.
Inspired by Health Education and Welfare Secretary John Gardner, Wege embarked on a lifelong mission to save the planet in 1967. That year he established the Wege Foundation in honor of his parents Peter Martin and Sophia Louise Wege.
Wege was a firm believer in doing things together for the better of civilization and to preserve the planet.
“We have to think about what we are doing to this country,” he said in 2008 at the Franciscan Center.

Franciscan Life Process Center in preserved area
Franciscan Life Process Center in preserved area

Wege loved the northeast Kent County area that he helped preserved.
Driving around the farmland in Vergennes in Grattan townships you will find bright blue and green signs with a red barn on it. These designate the preserved land through easements funded by Wege. They include area farmers from Heffrons to Konings and Wilcox.
In donating farmland preservation easements, and other conservation efforts Wege wanted to set an example for the entire country.
Wege often visited with the Franciscan Sisters. When the Franciscans came to the area in the early 1970s, he donated 230 acres to what had become the Franciscan Life Process Center.
“He believed in our mission,” said center director Sister Colleen Ann Nagle. “He helped us meet people in the area and to raise money.”
Wege served as the chairman of the advisory board for the Franciscan Center. He participated in many fundraisers.
“He was genuinely interested in anything that would help people,” said Nagle. “He was one of those special people where you do not have to put on any pretense.”

Preserved farmland in northeast Kent County
Preserved farmland in northeast Kent County

And Wege, who kept a farmhouse on the Franciscan property, always stayed in touch with the center and its mission. He attended events and meetings on regular basis, and moreover Wege brought people with him to the area.
“He would just stop in the kitchen for a cup of coffee,” said Nagle. “That’s the kind of person he was.”
Most people will remember Wege for his unbelievable generosity and honesty, as well as for his versatility. Although best known as an environmentalist, Wege was also an author, poet, painter, photographer and an accomplished athlete.
He liked to say, “Educate, Educate, Educate.”
That is why he co-founded the Wittenbach Wege Agriscience and Environmental Education Center in Lowell along with many of other nature centers.
A business man, Wege coined the word economicology to define his advocacy for striking the right balance between a healthy ecology and a profitable economy. He wrote two books titled Economicology, the first in 1998, and the sequel in 2010. In both books Wege wrote his version of the Eleventh Commandment:
“Thou shalt not commit abuse against the environment, but rather honor it with respect for sustaining life.”
That commandment summarizes Wege’s life philosophy.
“He will be missed for the person he was,” said Nagle.

Thank you Mr. Peter Wege for living in our times, and for giving us the inspiration, passion and love to follow you.”

Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova