Celebrate Earth Day...don't you mean Everyday??

For those of you who don’t know, Sunday, April 22nd marks the 42nd year of observing Earth Day. When you think about it, it’s really ironic that we had to set aside a day 42 years ago to celebrate the Earth we rely on for our survival.  So when we asked our very own Nature Center curator and retired minister, Leonard Raker about his thoughts on a special day set aside for the Earth…well…we just had to share it with you…

“Earth Day? Did you really ever think about it? Maybe that could be the problem with this old world! We live in it daily. We see all that’s around us. We walk on it, we look at it, we play on it and we even walk by the mess that others leave. It is kind of funny that we have to have a day to appreciate all that God gave us to live in, when it really needs to be appreciated every day. Thank God for every day! God when I see your wonders…I really love you. Thanks!”

So, Leonard inspired us to come up with some easy things we could all do to that would help the Earth out, not just today...but EVERYDAY!

1. Make the switch for the light switch! Swap out your light bulbs to the compact florescent bulbs. They use significantly less energy than older light bulbs and they last longer! By doing this not only will you help the Earth out, you can also help increase that bank account of yours!

2. Unplug and turn off! Walk around your house and unplug anything that is unnecessary, like cell phone chargers, ipod chargers, blenders, coffee pots, etc. All those devices are using energy even when they’re not being used. Also, make sure to turn off those lights when you are not in the room, nothing like lighting the whole house for nothing but the furniture!

3. Stop putting the pedal to the medal! Now, if you’re like me this one could be rather challenging and take the most effort! But, by driving the speed limit you actually can increase your miles per gallon, which means less trips to the gas station. And, with the price of gas lately, we could all use one less trip to fill up! Trust me, I know it’s tough, but this one’s a win win! For you, and the Earth.

4. Just say “No” to plastic bottles!  With all the different types of reusable bottles there are out on the market today, (including our very own Ocean Lakes Stainless Steel Water Bottle available for sale at the Recreation Office, yes we know shameless plug) there really is no reason not to rid those plastic bottles for good. They actually take a ton of energy to make. And believe it or not, most people don’t recycle them, which only causes them to overfill the landfills. Not only will a reusable bottle save you money, but it will also help reduce your carbon footprint. Best of all, you can use them to express your individual style…like showing everyone where you love to make family vacation memories with your very own Stainless Steel Water Bottle from Ocean Lakes Family Campground! Okay, we promise that was our last plug! But really, they are nice!

Available at the Recreation Office...in case you were wondering!
5. Drip, drip, drip… Do you leave the water running while you’re brushing your teeth? Or guys, while you shave? Well, if you do, you are just pouring gallons and gallons of perfectly good usable water down the drain…literally! By using less water, we are able to conserve more energy, and it also could help you conserve more cash. Because, believe it or not all that water you’re pouring down the drain, you’re paying for…and it adds up! Here is a site for 100 ways to conserve water. Try a few and see how much it saves on the next water bill.

6. Paper, plastic? No thanks I brought my own! We all have those non-woven grocery bags that we get as a giveaways at trade shows, as welcome gifts, when you set up a new bank account, etc. So instead of throwing them in the back of your closet, why not start putting them to good use? Stash a few in your car for when you go to the grocery store. Yes, it may be a hassle to remember to put them back in the car for the next time you go, and yes, it may be at the end of your shopping trip that you remember that you have forgotten them in the car, but make the effort. It doesn’t take that long to step out to your car and get them.

7. Hang those clothes out to dry…literally. Mother Nature has been extremely generous to us this year with all of the beautiful weather we’ve had lately, why not use it to our advantage while helping out the Earth at the same time. Instead of using all that energy to dry a load of laundry, put it outside on a clothesline. Yea, it may take a little longer to dry, but think of it as time you get to relax, or finish other chores, or relax…or start a project on that honey do list…or relax...whatever you chose! Even if you don’t have an existing clothesline in your back yard, you can always make one.  All you need is some rope, and two unmovable objects to tie it to. Then let the sun do its job!

These are only just a few examples of ways to make everyday Earth Day. We’d love to hear more! So, if you have a simple solution to make everyday Earth Day let’s hear it! If not, just pick one of these and start trying it out today.


An Easter Story from the Table

By Leonard Raker

Could an ugly old Catfish have an Easter message for us? The answer is “yes” if it happens to be the Sail Cat. Ugly as it may be, the story is ever so beautiful.

Like all of our thoughts, reality gets lost as we overlook the truth of the God of Easter. As you begin to clean the fish in preparation for dinner, you begin to find signs of a heavenly message. That message fully appears when you finish the enjoyment of your dinner. There is something so very different to that backbone. There before you is the story of the Crucifixion, plain as the nose on your face.

Looking upon the top of that bone, plain as day, you notice the stripes that Jesus received. As you partially turn the bone, there lies a puncture; the spear in the side while on the cross. Completing the turn you see the shape of the Cross on which Jesus died, and if you want to get a “wow” moment, just shake the bone and you will hear the rattle of the dice thrown for His Robe. Yes, you can see the story and hear it completed before you get up from the table.

And the truth of this story? We really don’t like to look at the truth before our very eyes. That truth? We walk in the creation of the God that surrounds us in just about everything we find in this old world of ours. Try it for a while. I am sure you will be amazed!

About the writer…
Leonard Raker is Curator at the Ocean Lakes Nature Center Discovery Lab located inside the Myrtle Beach campground on Lovestone Drive. The Raker family has had a place at Ocean Lakes Family Campground for years. Leonard has been collecting shells, fossils and facts since he was 9 years old.

As his collection grew, the Raker family realized there was enough to create a learning center - a place to teach people about marine life. The retired minister approached the Jackson family and the management of Ocean Lakes with the willingness to donate his collection and his time if they could dedicate a place. In the mid 90’s, Ocean Lakes Nature Center became a reality. Today it contains more than 10,000 shells and fossils in displays that Leonard personally built. More than 14,000 guests tour the Discovery Lab every year. It has been reviewed by Museum Specialists from the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History on several occasions. It contains displays about shells, fossils, as well as area and campground history. Many students have started their science projects for school armed with the information Leonard has shared.

At age 79, Leonard continues his ministry through this educational outlet. Not only does he minister about God’s great earth, he mentors everyone about how to be good stewards. And he practices what he preaches! Two thirds of the displays in the Nature Center are built from recycled materials that Leonard has collected from various construction projects in the campground. Of course, now and then he does require a trip to the hardware store. But even Ocean Lakes’ teammates marvel at his dedication to make the most of what you have. While he was building one of the “new” displays with used materials, teammates commented to him that he didn’t ask for any nails. Leonard replied, “I didn’t need to, I straightened what I had.”