How I Learned About Earth Day

By Rita Patel

A lot of people can remember the first time they celebrated Halloween or Christmas, but I distinctly recall the first time I learned about Earth Day.

It was in the middle of class one day back when I was in the third grade. We had a guest speaker come in, and the lady had brought a giant terra cotta pot with her, filled with dirt. She began her presentation speaking about the Earth and planting and a whole bunch of other stuff that did not captivate the attention of an 8 year-old Rita.

But then she did something totally wild.

She offered to have someone come up and eat the dirt. Eat. The. Dirt. The one in the terra cotta pot.
Nobody in my class volunteered, and this lady, very clearly, was crazy. I know we always joke about eating dirt being good for you, but we were never serious about sticking a spoon into it and trying it. I glanced around the room and noticed that someone had finally volunteered. My classmate walks up, apprehensively, to the front of the room where the lady is smiling at him and holding out a spoon. He dips it into the dirt, eats the contents, and then grins.

“It’s good!” he shouts.

Now I’m convinced everyone is crazy.

It turns out that on Earth Day in 1999 I learned that dirt is both the stuff in the ground that you put plants in as well as a delicious and deceptive dessert comprised of chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos, and the occasional gummy worm.

What kinds of activities have you done to celebrate Earth Day? Let me know and perhaps we can create another fun and delicious moment again!


ANS Nuclear Cafe author Rita PatelRita Patel is a double-graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with bachelor and master of science degrees in Materials Science Engineering, as well as a certificate in Nuclear Engineering. She has been an ANS national member since 2011 and currently works in Washington, D.C. You can experience her witticisms first hand on Twitter via @RitaTherPita.

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