Celebrate the 51st anniversary of Earth Day through everyday practical acts of service, sustainability and fun.
Earth needs our attention more than just one day a year. Make time to celebrate the place we live, love and play in on Earth Day and every day. Try one of the following ideas to get your Earth Day celebration started, or to carry it on throughout the year.
- Watch Amanda Gorman deliver her poem, “Earthrise.”
- Get involved with your local environmental organizations. Find one whose mission matches your passions, and reach out to learn more about volunteer opportunities from advocacy to outreach to implementation.
- Pack a picnic, or make a backcountry meal, and take yourself on an outing with the planet. Visit a favorite spot or discover a new one.
- Purchase a state parks, or national parks, pass for your family to incentivize visiting conserved spaces year-round. Or, if you live in Washington or Colorado, check out a pass at your local library through the Check Out State Parks and Check Out Washington programs.
- On this 51st anniversary of Earth Day, donate $51, or any amount, to an environmental non-profit. For the month of April, the National Forests Foundation is matching donations 1:1 to plant more trees and support reforestation across the National Forest System.
- Join a bird count and help with scientific research in your neighborhood. It’s as easy as going outside for 15 minutes and recording the types and number of birds you see. Learn more and share your sightings at eBird.
- Learn a skill that helps reduce your impact on the planet. It doesn’t have to be random—learn about something you or your community is interested in and would benefit from like bike repair, building a compost bin or patching or altering clothing.
- Trade-in your plastic wear for reusable gear. Try starting small with your water bottles and plastic bags.
- Support local agriculture and buy produce from a local farmer. Check out when and where your local community’s farmers’ markets take place.
- Plant a container garden or herb garden, or sign up to volunteer at a community garden near you.
- Take yourself on a natural scavenger hunt and use a guide to help you identify something new like tracks, spring wildflowers, bird calls or trees.
- Educate yourself on the history and current events of the Native lands you live and recreate on.
- Invite others to experience the outdoors with you! Make an outdoor play date with a friend, child or senior citizen whom you normally don’t recreate with outside.
- Make nature art! Build an outdoor sculpture or ephemeral art celebration out of natural materials found in your backyard.
- Set a goal to travel 51 miles by your own human power before the summer solstice, June 20th. Running, walking, swimming, kayaking, biking—whatever activity you prefer, get outside and experience the joy found in moving your body.
- Instead of throwing them out, repurpose your kitchen scraps and make your own vegetable stock—both a sustainable and delicious way to celebrate Earth Day.
- Make your yard more pollinator-friendly by planting native plants, removing weeds or starting a garden (see number 10).
- Check out your local library’s Earth Day collection.
- Brush up on the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace.
- Check your vehicle’s tire pressure to increase your fuel efficiency.
However you choose to celebrate, make sure it is a celebration and not a chore. Our planet needs narratives of positivity, hope and agency in the face of challenge. As the warmth of spring brings opening buds, returning birds and early wildflowers, it’s easy to see how much there is worth fighting for and protecting. We can follow the Earth’s lead with resilience and new growth, no matter what the past days held.
About the Author
Renee Igo was an Outward Bound student at age 15 and has been instructing wilderness expeditions for the Voyageur Outward Bound School for the past eight years. When not instructing, she holds a variety of other teaching positions and raises sheep in Maine.
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