unnamedWhen we picked up our mail last week, we were thrilled to receive a bag of brightly colored ribbons, each of which held a copy of the beautiful poem we’ve included below. The poem was written by Roots of Success instructors at Richland Correctional Institution in Ohio, along with participants in their Roots of Success classes. These instructors, all of whom are serving long-term or life sentences, are teaching Roots of Success to men serving shorter sentences in an effort to prepare them for employment and successful transition upon re-entry.

The 11 men who developed and assembled the gift are  members of the prison’s “Ribbon Society Club”, a community service group at Richland that distributes ribbons in recognition of a variety of social, humanitarian, and environmental issues. Inspired by their Roots of Success experience, and motivated by the pressing ecological issues they discussed during the course, these teachers and their students composed an insightful ode to Mother Earth and attached the poem to green and blue awareness ribbons.


Hundreds of ribbons and poems were distributed in celebration of Earth Day 2013, with the goal of inspiring recipients to get involved in environmental education and advocacy. The creativity exhibited by the Richland Correctional Institution’s Ribbon Society Club is truly inspirational; we are grateful that Roots of Success could help motivate this action, and excited to share their gift with our partners, colleagues, and supporters.

Mother Earth

Praise to you Mother Earth
Beautiful planet of our birth
To keep her sustainable, what is it worth?
Praise to you Mother Earth

We’ve polluted our oceans, rivers and lakes
Reverse this trend, for all our sakes
Our wasteful ways have got to be stopped
Or someday soon we’ll be left without a drop

We pump dangerous toxins into the air
The wind then blows then everywhere
Producing smog and acid rain
It happens worldwide again and again

Though deforestation precious tress are lost
Millions of acres at such a high cost
So much waste, landfills overflowing
What do we do? The problem keeps growing

Reduce, recycle, reuse, let’s make a stand
Get involved, take back our land

Go green, use more renewable resources
Tighten the envelope, make better choices

We need to harness the wind, water and sun
Make the future viable for everyone

So, Praise to you Mother Earth
Beautiful planet of our birth
To keep her sustainable, whatever it’s worth
Praise, praise, praise to you Mother Earth.