On April 22, 1970, Americans of all ages, creeds and walks of life joined together to commemorate the very first Earth Day. Conceived by Gaylord Nelson, formerly a Wisconsin senator, it was a day to focus on the growing environmental concerns of the time: air pollution, inefficient fuel usage, oil spills, unregulated waste disposal and construction, and the endangerment and extinction of certain animals and plants.
Over 20 million people across the country rallied to the cause of a sustainable environment, and today, 46 years later, we still honor Earth Day as a time of public awareness for the conservation and protection of the world around us.
There are so many different ways to celebrate Earth Day and to include your family in the support of clean air, clean water, and protection of our planet’s precious resources.
1 – Celebrate Earth Day!
Spend Saturday, April 22 at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, From 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, park visitors can enjoy vendors, exhibits, live music, great local food. A children’s area will provide arts and crafts, projects, and games. Guests can also explore the property, taking in the natural beauty the park has to offer.
Additionally, take advantage of guided nature walks and talks, the Wild About Birds presentation, and everything else Washington Oaks has to offer.
Visit here for more information and be sure to join the party!
2 – For The Birds!
Get crafty by making a source of nesting materials for the local birds. All you need is a suet cage (available at garden or hardware supply stores, or online), and then get creative! Kids can collect twigs, straw, leaves and grass cuttings from the yard or woods, or they can gather bits of cut up cotton, pieces of yarn, feathers from old pillows or other such objects from around the house. Stuff the items into the suet cage (tightly enough that nothing falls out, but not so tightly that the birds can’t easily grab the materials) and hang in a tree.
Not only is this a great project to help out our feathered friends, but kids can research the birds they see visiting the nesting container and observe these backyard critters in their natural habitat.
3 – Recycle!
Even the youngest members of the household can get in on the recycling action. Separating newspaper from plastics and aluminum is an incredibly simple task, that can even be incorporated into a year-round chore (parenting win!)
Older kids or adults can help by clipping any plastic rings or collars that can pose a hazard to our marine animals so everyone can get in on the recycling action.
4 – Adopt!
Florida is home to some unique and beautiful creatures. One of our family’s favorites is the manatee, a peaceful, and (sadly) endangered marine mammal. “Adopting” a manatee, or other animal in need of protection, allows kids a chance to donate to a good cause and follow how their monetary assistance is making a difference.
Virtually adopting an animal makes a wonderful gift. Depending on the organization, members receive things like photos and updates on the animal they are sponsoring, as well as the education, rescue efforts, rehabilitation, and research to which their funds have contributed. Savethemanatee.org is just one of the many organizations dedicated to helping endangered species.
5 – Clean It Up!
Only by awareness can we keep our beaches and parks pristine and beautiful. Garbage left behind by careless visitors or debris washed up on shore is both an eyesore and an environmental hazard. Cleaning up after ourselves is vital to the continued preservation of our natural treasures, and it’s easy enough to make sure you and your family leave no trace of your visit when you pack up from your hike or swimming and head home.
Whether volunteering with an organized group like North Florida Coastal Caretakers or taking it upon yourselves to fill one bag of garbage to be disposed after a day at the beach, your actions will make a huge difference. Not only can it help teach children about personal responsibility, but it can also instill pride in helping to protect our gorgeous coastline and parks.
How will you be celebrating Earth Day with your family this year?