Small lake in Karula National Park, Valgamaa County, Estonia
© Sven Zacek/Minden Picture
Eye of the world. Earth Day
On Earth Day, we find ourselves floating above a small forest lake reflecting the clouds over Karula National Park, the smallest national park in the smallest Baltic nation, Estonia. The ghostly outline of white trees surrounding the water might suggest they are diseased, but in fact they are evidence of a thriving beaver population. They build so many dams, the water level rises and floods the forest floor, rotting the roots of trees around the shoreline.
This park is home to a variety of endangered species, including the pond bat, the lesser spotted eagle and the black stork. Rare plants thrive here too, like the endangered Baltic orchid, mezereon and the daisyleaf grape fern. As well as its amazing biodiversity, visitors come to Karula for its camping, adventure tourism, fishing, nature photography, hiking and cycling.
Earth Day started with environmental rallies in the USA on this day in 1970, but it is now celebrated in nearly 200 countries and has grown to include Earth Week and even Earth Month celebrations. That's good news for Earth's residents, big and small.