Apr 24, 2020

Photograph Friday: Appreciating Our Corner of the Earth



This week marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  In 1970, the first Earth Day drew 20 million people together in support of a more environmentally sustainable future. At the time, that was 10% of the total population of the United States. We can trace the roots of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program back to that day, which set in motion a decade of environmental reforms and grassroots work for a greener future.

In 1972, the Clean Water Act established pollution control programs and protections for surface water quality. In 1987, Congress created the National Estuary Program through an amendment to the Clean Water Act. In 1995, decades of grassroots conservation engagement by our local community resulted in the designation of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, the first private nonprofit established through the National Estuary Program. (Of Marshes and Morros, an award-winning documentary short by local filmmakers, tells the story of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program’s foundation.)

So, while we believe that every day is Earth Day, we are also grateful for this annual opportunity to acknowledge that the work we do together in Morro Bay is part of a long-running movement for better environmental health around the world. Just as our work in the Morro Bay estuary and surrounding lands benefits both people and wildlife, the global movement to reduce carbon emissions and support more sustainable habits benefits every living thing on the earth.

Today, in the spirit of the local good adding to the greater good, we’re sharing photographs that show the beauty of our small corner of the world as a reminder of the beauty that exists in wild places around the globe.

A California poppy
This California poppy opens wide during daylight hours, but close at night. This phenomenon is called nyctinasty. Scientists have hypothesized that nyctinasty benefits plants by allowing them to expend less energy and conserve their pollinator-attracting odor for the daytime.


Turkey vultures over green hills.
Turkey vultures soar over the green hills, rising higher on thermal air columns, searching for the scent of carrion—a reminder that death and decay lead to new life and growth.


View of Morro Rock from Black Hill
Looking down from the top of Black Hill, the blue of the sky meets the blue of the sea and the estuary.


Estuary and sandspit, eelgrass in the foreground
The sun sets, brushing the clouds with strokes of rose gold. The wind dies down and the waters go still. A heron flies over glassy water, heading to a nighttime hunting ground, perhaps, before returning to roost in the trees.

Happy Earth Day, everyone. Thank you for being in the estuary’s corner; we’re glad to have you here.

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