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John Lewis Memorial Walk, Cascade Springs

August 15, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am

This event is full – now taking waitlist

By any measure, Congressman Lewis will be remembered as one of the most important Americans leading social and cultural changes of the 20th and 21st century. His work set a better course for the future of the United States, and his work has improved life for all Americans and arguably citizens throughout the globe. 

In addition to human health and equality and justice, Congressman Lewis was very supportive of a healthy environment and environmental justice. His youth in rural Alabama influenced his views on the value of nature. 

In his book “Walking with the Wind,” Mr. Lewis relates growing up in rural southeast Alabama:

“There is no question about the beauty of the place, at least not in my mind. For all the wound and scars and pain that surround it, this is still home to me. My earliest memories are not of drudgery and labor, oppression and inequality, exclusion and neglect. Those memories would take shape later as I grew up. . . We were poor–dirt poor–but I didn’t realize it.”   ” . . . just about everything else that grew around our house became a part of our diet, from the muscadine grapes that spread wild at the edge of the woods (during the summer months my mother would set aside some of that muscadine juice in the icebox, where it became one of the coolest, sweetest beverages I ever tasted; the rest of the juice she would cook down into a sweet jam or jelly) to the peaches, pears, figs and blackberries that my mother would can or turn into cobbler, to the garden she kept behind the house, which was thick with the classic bounty of the South–green peas, okra, butter beans, cucumbers, turnips, tomatoes, collards, sweet potatoes, watermelons, green beans, peppers. That’s one of the very visible differences between being poor in the city and poor in the country – country poor almost always have the option of growing at least a little something to eat from the ground around them; city poor rarely have that choice” (pages 17, 19).

From Congressman John Lewis’s introduction to the Wilderness Society’s 2004 publication “Why Wilderness? What the Wild Lands of the Southeastern Appalachians Mean to the People of the Southeast”:

“I was born and grew up in rural Alabama. I return there as often as I can – to the outdoors I love and that has taught me so much. Walking through fields, smelling wildflowers, touching the ancient oaks, poplars and pines, I learned wonder. Drinking from a fresh water spring, I learned purity. Fishing with a simple cane pole I learned contemplation and patience. Feeling the dirt and pine straw between my toes, I learned the wilderness is a part of me – I cannot and never will separate myself from its beauty and peacefulness.

For those who have not experienced our wilderness, it will come without judgement. Take young people away from the concrete and asphalt jungle of the city and give them the chance to spend time in the woods, and they will be transformed by fresh air, the clean rivers, the openness, and the peace they find there. 

The wilderness lives in all of us, and we shouldn’t try to separate ourselves from it. To experience its gifts makes us better people. We live healthier and more wholesome lives when we spend more time in communion with our natural environment.”

In 2005, Congressman Lewis generously donated his time to speak at the inaugural event for the Keeping It Wild Program, initiated by Kathryn Kolb under the umbrella of the Wilderness Society’s Atlanta office. This program served as the precursor to today’s Eco-A programs.

We’ll meet at Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, located in John Lewis’ US House District, and after a few words and introductory comments, participants can share remembrances. We’ll have a few moments of spiritual respect, then silently walk a loop trail about 1-1.5 miles that pass through some of the parks’ old-growth trees and forest remnants.

We’ll wear masks and stay 6 feet apart at all times. 

To register, click HERE.  Details and directions will be sent to registered participants.

A donation of $15 or more helps sustain our programs.

Above photo: John Lewis, 4th from left, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President John F. Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, and other Civil Rights Leaders and officials, 1963. Below, Old Growth Beech Tree at Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, photo by Kathryn Kolb.


August 15, 2020
9:00 am - 11:00 am