Celebrating Our Earth and National Parks

Apr 22, 2024 by Gayle M Irwin

Today is Earth Day, and this week is designated as National Park Week. These two celebrations go hand-in-hand in my mind. Where would we be in the United States without our national parks? The visionary people who set aside unique places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Glacier, the Great Smoky Mountains, and so many other natural, cultural, and historic sites sought to preserve unique landscapes and conserve wildlife and historic amenities.


After the United States crafted the idea of conservation and preservation of lands and the animals found in those special spaces, other countries followed. Throughout the world, we see preserves, provincial parks, and other natural wonders saved from development. However, as Earth Day reminds us, the jobs of conservation and preservation remain open. Plastics in oceans, air pollution from factories, lakes and rivers diminished and dirty, forests and other natural vegetation cut down, habitats destroyed, populations of pollinators like bees and butterflies at critically low levels … all of this and more continue to negatively impact countries around the world.

Earth Day should be every day, for every day something can be done. We are all in this together, today and in the future. What lies ahead for the young people and the children of this world? Will drought and fire continue to plague not only the United States, but other nations throughout the world? Will famine overtake even more countries? Will waterways, from oceans to streams, continue to serve as garbage dumps? Will wildlife continue to disappear?


Yes, there are problems worldwide, and they seem insurmountable. However, each person, each family, can do one or two things to make a difference, in communities, in states, and in countries. Take or two steps at home to make a positive difference, from turning off unnecessary lights and not letting water run while brushing your teeth, to planting trees, shrubs, and flowers for bees and birds and reducing the amount of plastic you use.


In addition, take time this year to visit a national park if you can. Or travel to a state park or even walk through a community park or botanical garden. Studies show spending time in nature lifts mood, relieves stress, and reduces anxiety and depression. Sunlight offers Vitamin D, which is good for the mind and body. As spring and summer take root, go outdoors and heighten your senses. Listen to birds sing. Watch squirrels, rabbits, deer, and other wildlife. Note the little things that you see, hear, and smell that can bring joy and laughter – the color of roses, daisies, and wildflowers; the antics of animals playing nearby; the trill of robins and other songbirds from nearby trees; the rocky, snow-covered peaks of mountains; the ripples of water in a stream or river … All of these amazing natural wonders are available for us because someone knew natural spaces and places are vital to the human spirit.

National parks I’ve visited include Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Olympic, Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce, Zion, Joshua Tree, and Mesa Verde. What about you – what national parks have you been to and is there one you enjoy the most?


Whatever you do today, this week, this season, this year, take the time to appreciate the natural beauty around you.


Not only do I enjoy nature and national parks on a personal level, I also weave them into my sweet, contemporary pet rescue romance books. Primarily Yellowstone and Glacier are woven into the books I’ve written thus far. In the next year or two I plan to promote other parks (subtly) into new stories. My characters will spend time in South Dakota (Badlands), North Dakota (Teddy Roosevelt), Wyoming (Devil's Tower), Colorado (Rocky Mountain), and Arizona (Sagauro). I look forward to introducing readers to these new stories, characters, and places within my books!


In the meantime, I’ve created a boxed set of my Yellowstone Country series that is currently on sale. Available via online retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords, you’ll find the 7-book collection a delight to the senses as well as to the heart!

Here are links:




Sale price offered through April 27, 2024.