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Monday, May 20, 2024

Earth Day reminds us to care for the natural beauty of our planet every day


Above / Beginning April 1, Moser Tower at Rotary Hill along the Naperville Riverwalk stood in blue illumination to help promote kindness, understanding and acceptance during Autism Awareness Month. Now the 160-ft. tower with the 72-bell carillon is aglow with green lights to celebrate Earth Day April 22 and the week that follows. 

Every Earth Day is a reminder to remember the dedication and visionary activism of several Naperville women, among many individuals, who years ago began making a difference in our natural world. Namely, get to know the outreach of May Theilgaard Watts, Barbara Ashley Sielaff, Marjorie Osborne and Lenore Clow McDonald.

“So let’s make a bow to the Earth’s green leaves with a ‘thank you’ for things they give.” —May Theilgaard Watts

With 487 words, then-Naperville resident May Theilgaard Watts (1893-1975) changed history in the 1960s. Her letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune, published on Sept. 30, 1963, proposed a public footpath, now the Illinois Prairie Path. She has been recognized as the founder of the rails-to-trails movement in the United States and throughout the world.

While a resident of Naperville who worked at the Morton Arboretum, May Watts and her family lived in this historic house at 227 E. Jefferson Avenue.

In Naperville, the environmentalist, writer and teacher also is honored with her name on May Watts Elementary School and May Watts Park where a pond is a natural habitat for birds, waterfowl and a bounty of wildflowers and other wildlife.

May Watts Park is graced with a footbridge and an .89-mile trail around its pond where fish are again jumpin’.

Barbara Ashley Sielaff

A tribute to Barbara Ashley Sielaff was created by sculptor Jeff Adams who designed Symbiotic Sojourn for Century Walk. The bronze sculpture recognizes the woman who became a national leader in recycling with the establishment of the Naperville Area Recycling Center in 1973. 

Find Symbiotic Sojourn on the patio at Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House outside Main Street Promenade.

Marjorie Osborne

Lake Osborne is named in memory of civic leader Marjorie Osborne, an advocate for water resource management. The lake in a natural setting is north of the West Wind neighborhood and south of the Naperville Public Safety Center, with an entrance at 1380 Aurora Avenue, just west of the Public Safety Center.

A walking and bike trail follows most of Lake Osborne where picnicking and fishing as well as watching birds and waterfowl are popular activities that just come naturally.

Lenore Clow McDonald

To protect her beloved family farm forever from aggressive developers interested in her property, in 1992 Lenore Clow McDonald donated her 60-acre farm along Knoch Knolls Road to The Conservation Foundation, subject to a life estate kept for conservation, education and agricultural uses. Under the auspices of The Conservation Foundation, McDonald found comfort knowing the nonprofit organization would “carry on the causes of agriculture, conservation and education that were dear to her heart.” 

Today this road leads to the Headquarters of The Conservation Foundation and Main Offices, located on the farm property purchased in 1949 by Sterling and Lenore McDonald.

What can you do for Earth Day and every day to help care for our planet?

Simply put to share with youngsters: Recycle. Repurpose. Reuse. Donate gently used items to charity. Never litter. Pick up trash. Walk when time permits. Ride a bike. Shut off lights when not in use. Save energy.

Turn off water while brushing teeth. Carry a container to fill with drinking water at a fountain. Precycle to avoid plastic throw-aways. Conserve water. Keep water clean and healthy; never pollute.

Compost. Mulch. Plant a garden. Grow a tree. Grow worms.

Check out the growth of prairie plants in the Pollinator Station established in 2017 on the east side of the Naperville Municipal Center along Webster Street. Become familiar with the Earth Day efforts of The Conservation Foundation to benefit the organization set in the location of the former McDonald-family farm along Knoch Knolls Road.

Be grateful for clean water and much-relied-upon electricity that are available with a turn of a switch; yet, conserve more and waste less. Appreciate efforts to develop sustainable, renewable and efficient energy. Value all opportunities to enjoy nature in local parks and forest preserves. Help keep America beautiful! 

Seasons change as groups of regular walkers and other wildlife are constants and familiar along the winding brick path of the Naperville Riverwalk in the heart of the city.

Rotary Hill is alive with the sound of music sometimes…

Click here for schedule of Carillon Concerts at Rotary Hill every weekend now through August 2019, often with a theme that fits spring, summer or fall. Experience the changing seasons and wildlife along the Naperville Riverwalk every day. Right now, flowering trees have begun to blossom. And blankets of blue, white and yellow wildflowers freely add color to Sindt Woods. Enjoy the peace.

Editor’s Note / Your PN editor/photographer has been surprised at the number of residents who say they’ve never noticed Moser Tower at night, lighted in different colors to depict different holidays and special occasions throughout the year. As you’re traveling west along Aurora Avenue, the iconic tower is right across the street from Naperville Central High School.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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