Earth Day was started by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970 to raise awareness about environmental issues and increase public concern for the health of the planet. In the years since, several pieces of legislation have been passed (like the Clean Water Act) and many groups have been formed (like the Environmental Protection Agency) to protect natural resources.
This year, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Several events that were planned throughout the world have since been canceled due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Nonetheless, environmental and conservation groups are hoping citizens will participate in Earth Day by taking time to appreciate and care for the places they call home. Here are a few ideas to show your appreciation for our planet!
Five Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Your Home
(1) Pick up Trash and Help Contribute to Global Data about Plastic Pollution
Often in the spring, after the snow melts, trash is exposed along roadways or perhaps in your own backyard. If you can safely walk along your street, wear gloves and bring a trash bag to gather debris. You can also help contribute to citizen science by collecting valuable data on air quality and plastic pollution and submiting your findings to the Earth Challenge 2020 app. Learn more.
(2) Plant a Garden
Spring offers us all hope as buds emerge, flowers grow and green once again returns to our landscapes. You can ready your garden or lawn by raking leaves, pulling weeds and pruning branches. Organize your supplies for the months ahead and plan out what produce, flowers or herbs you would like to grow. For advice and ideas, tune in to Extension's Facebook Live video series: Granite State Gardening.
(3) Report Sightings of Garlic Mustard and Make Your Own Pesto
We do not recommend doing any stewardship or invasive plant work on conservation lands during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. However, if you spot invasive garlic mustard in your neighborhood or on a daily walk, please report your sightings to Nature Groupie! Additionally, if you have garlic mustard on your property, you can pull it and make some delicious garlic mustard pesto.
(4) Watch the Birds and Join an Online Birding Community
Backyard birding is a fun and relaxing activity. How many different species can you spot? Take photos of each kind and then report your sightings on eBird, the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year. Look up at the trees and marvel at all the creatures taking flight! Here are some tips about effectively using birdhouses in your yard.
(5) Write a Poem
Artistic interpretations can provide meaningful ways to show gratitude. Get creative. Write a poem or a song, perform a dance, paint a picture or make a craft that conveys your appreciation for Earth.
Afterwards...Be Sure to Get Social!
Sometimes, it’s necessary to be alone in nature. Other times, it’s important to gather with friends. Connect with people you love through video chat, e-mail, phone or social media. Share with one another how you’ve celebrated Earth Day. We would love to see your photos! If you post on social media, be sure to tag UNH Extension and Nature Groupie. Additionally, if you would like to contribute citizen science findings from your own backyard or local trail, download the iNaturalist app on your smartphone.