Richard Lewis


On the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, I was four and a half years out of Forestry School working as an Area Forester for the New Jersey Bureau of Forestry in the Kittatinny Mountains of New Jersey. My busy work schedule was filled with preparing forest management plans for dozens of forest owners and helping them manage their woodlands by marking their timber for harvest, marking precommercial thinning’s, and preparing reforestation plans.

I received two Earth Day speaking invitations. One from the high school my younger sister and brother were attending and the other from the Newton, N.J. Rotary Club. I had not given many public presentations at that point in my career and was quite nervous. Back in those days the only AV equipment available was the overhead projector and the 35 MM projector. Fortunately, I had a pretty good slide collection, so I pulled together a Kodak Carousel reel of slides and headed back to high school. I recall my remarks covered wildfires, Smokey Bear, wildlife, trash disposal (at that time NYC was loading it’s garbage into barges and towing it out in the Atlantic to be dumped and hypodermic needles were washing up on New Jersey’s beaches!) air pollution (New Jersey oil refineries were frequently casting a foul stench over Newark, Hoboken and Jersey City) and the absence of recycling. I described the lakes in the high country of the Adirondack Mountains devoid of trout and aquatic life because of the “acid rain” from industrial complex emissions in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Author Richard Lewis is vice president of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and immediate past president of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. Richard, his wife Jakie, and their two dogs live four miles west of Gettysburg in the Adams County countryside where they enjoy growing fields of wild flowers, taking their grandchildren on walks and watching the deer, turkeys, fox, mink, muskrats, beavers, kingfishers, bald eagles ,waterfowl, and other wildlife along Marsh Creek that flows 75 yards from their front doorstep.

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