THE CONCLUSION OF AUTHORS FOR EARTH DAY by A4ED founder and director, Brooke Bessesen.

Some years back, I wrote an essay for The A4ED Blog entitled The Creation of Authors for Earth Day. Now, as you might guess from the title of this new essay, our program is coming to a close.

After a decade of leading our amazing Authors for Earth Day coalition, I have decided to step away as director to pursue a longtime personal goal. Building upon my years of scientific research in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica, I’m heading back into the field to take on a doctoral program in marine biology. Good data can provide decision-makers with information to protect vibrant marine life. That inspires me.

Still, it isn’t easy to let go of Authors for Earth Day. After thoughtful consideration and wise counsel from our volunteer staff members, Dan Gutman, Debbie Dadey, Yolanda Ridge, Patricia Newman, Barb Gowan, and Jennifer Ward, who have helped so much through the years, I am reminded of quote by an author whose identity remains unclear but whose words perfectly capture my sentiment:

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

Growing the A4ED program has been a deeply rewarding endeavor, every moment meaningful. Wrapping it up is certainly made easier by the extraordinary mile-markers we surpassed: 10 years of community service with 173 special school visits that resulted in $108,000 donated to 100+ conservation organizations around the world, empowering more than 80,000 students!

My heart cheers for all that we’ve accomplished!

Seventy-three extraordinary participants have given their time, expertise and money as trailblazers for our mission, and even though we will no longer have an official team, many are committed to continuing their annual A4ED-style school visits, giving kids a vote in their future. So, our mission lives on.

Indeed, I hope you will stay tuned for more green ideas on our Facebook page. Earth Day, founded by a hopeful crowd on the White House lawn in 1970, is celebrating a half-century of existence next spring. So we will spend the coming months encouraging you, our fellow authors, teachers, librarians, parents, students, and advocates, to find your own unique ways to promote environmental education.

This A4ED Blog will have new posts through December and our Eco-Book of the Month will be shared on Facebook through March. Our social media will conclude on the landmark 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020. And then, our website and online platforms will remain up at least another year or two to champion our past efforts.

I am, of course, suffering the sentimental sadness that comes at the end of an era. The future will surely find me reveling in nostalgia. But I cannot cry because it’s over, for a new era is beginning. There is much to do as I prepare for my studies in the wild waters of Costa Rica. Interesting new trails lie ahead for all of us. But I can tell you this…

As I pack my field logs, binoculars and mosquito net, I will be thinking of all the people who supported Authors for Earth Day through these joyful years. And I will be smiling because it happened.

Brooke Bessesen is a conservation biologist and the award-winning author of several picture books, including Look Who Lives in the Ocean. She is also the founder and director of Authors for Earth Day. Take a trip around her world of words and wildlife at www.brookebessesen.com.

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