By Chandler Kinkade

April 6th of this year marked my dad’s five year anniversary of passing, and in celebration of him I immersed myself in what my dad cherished most: nature.

Growing up in the Kinkade household meant that at least once a day dad, mom and the kids would get outside. Whether it be for a swim, a hike, a stroll or a bike ride didn’t matter. These activities were non negotiable. Rain or shine we found a way. Being a kid there were days that a mandatory bike ride was the last thing I wanted to do, but I look back on those moments with great fondness and appreciation for my parent’s strong will to keep us active and out in the open air. I’m sure it wasn’t always easy to do with four little girls.

For my dad, these jaunts out in nature were a source of great peace and tireless inspiration. He would never leave the house without his sketchbook and camera to document the passing beauty, which he never missed.

Undoubtedly, you see my dad’s love for nature in his art; almost every one of his published pieces have some contribution from nature - a blooming flower, a magnificent sunset or the roaring sea. My dad took immense pleasure painting “en plein air” or in open air, which meant that he would pack up the custom plein air tote that he made by hand, take it to the highest peak or most astounding viewpoint, set up the easel and paint to his heart’s content. My dad painted in the studio for work, but he painted en plein air for pleasure. Being out in the elements gave my dad a recharge unlike anything else could.

For my dad’s five year anniversary I spent the day on the beach. I breathed in the sticky, salty air and let the sand stick to my skin. I sat in silence knowing that I wasn’t alone, because my dad was right there with me enjoying the vast expanse of the glistening ocean and wispy sky.

At the beach on the 5 year anniversary of my dad's death

At the beach on the 5 year anniversary of my dad's death

This Earth Day I encourage anyone reading to go outside and feel gratitude for our strong, powerful and endlessly beautiful planet. I feel that it’s our duty to care for Earth so that our children have the same opportunity to enjoy nature’s bounty as we had.

Join the Kinkade Family with these three ways you can give back and nurture Earth:

  1. Grow bee friendly plants and herbs in your backyard. Without bees to spread seeds, many plants and food crops would die off, but we can help by planting bee friendly plants and herbs in our yards to give bees more forage. Remember not to use chemicals or pesticides in your lawn or garden - they harm the biosphere and can cause damage to the honeybee systems. Here are a few examples of good plant varieties: Spring – lilacs, penstemon, lavender, sage, verbena, and wisteria. Summer – Mint, cosmos, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, oregano, rosemary, poppies, black-eyed Susan, passion flower vine, honeysuckle. Fall – Fuschia, mint, bush sunflower, sage, verbena, toadflax.

  2. Buy food, supplies and clothing locally and organically. Buying locally grown food likely means that you’re also eating seasonally and your food wasn’t grown from a monoculture. If you have trouble finding locally grown food, try seeing if there’s a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that you can support. You’ll end up consuming less pesticides and more nutrients (not to mention all of the fuel and resources saved on transportation) which is great for you and the environment. Organic supplies and clothing will likely will not have harsh carcinogenic chemicals found in many mass produced items, and if they’re made locally you’re also saving fuel, resources and packaging.

  3. Eat less meat, dairy and eggs. Eating less meat, dairy and eggs will reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like freshwater and fossil fuel. Raising cows, pigs and chickens generates 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions. It takes an enormous amount of water to grow crops for animals to eat, clean factory farms, and give animals water to drink. A single cow used for milk can drink up to 50 gallons of water per day—or twice that amount in hot weather—and it takes 683 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful day outdoors enjoying the rain, snow, wind or sun - it’s all beautiful and a gift!