Take a look around you for a minute, and take a second to realize that everything around you came from the Earth.  Your chair from trees, your coffee cup from clay and sand and your clothes from cotton. Earth Day isn't for hippies anymore - it is for everyone.

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. It was pioneered by United States Sen. Gaylord Nelson to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment.  Why April 22?  This date was selected to maximize participation: it doesn't conflict with any major holidays, it is late enough in the spring for decent weather, schools aren't taking final exams and spring break is over.

Twenty million people participated in this first Earth Day.  Earth Day is still celebrated on April 22 and now draws 1 billion people from 192 countries around the world.  In celebration of Earth Day, Victoria, in conjunction with The Texas Zoo, will conduct an Earth Day Expo: Jungle Jubilee from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at the Texas Zoo, at 110 Memorial Drive. Admission is $1 per person or free for Texas Zoo members. The event is open to the community.

The Earth Day Expo is a family event featuring booths, inflatables, craft activities and scheduled events throughout the day. Come listen to Lucas Miller, the Singing Zoologist, croon about animals.  Try your hand at atlatl throwing with the Museum of the Coastal Bend.

If you can't make the event, you can still celebrate Earth Day with a list of things you can do to enjoy nature and protect the environment:

Plant trees or start a garden

Reduce, reuse and recycle.

Ride your bike or walk instead of driving.

Create an energy and water savings plan for your home.

Clean up litter in your neighborhood.

Go paperless (in the office, in the kitchen, get creative).

Take your car in for a tune up.

Update your light bulbs to energy-saving fluorescents.

Start a compost pile or compost bin.

Remember your reusable bags, or get yourself a set of them.

Marie Lester, is the Environmental Programs Coordinator for the City of Victoria's Environmental Services Department. You may contact her with topic ideas, inspiration, questions and comments at cmlester@victoriatx.org.