Did you know that Earth Day—April 22—was first celebrated in 1970 when 20 million Americans protested the impacts of industrial development?
“Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes,” according to EarthDay.org.
To do your part in bringing about change, consider pitching in at one of the many Earth Day efforts happening around Virginia on April 22.
Those who enjoy Cabin Branch Stream in the Sterling Park area can help maintain its beauty this Earth Day by removing trash and litter from the waterways that feed into it.
“Easy access to the cleaning area and shallow water makes this event appropriate for all ages,” organizers said, so feel free to bring the whole family.
The cleanup effort will last from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at Sterling Middle School. While trash bags, gloves and grabbers will be provided, it’s strongly encouraged that you wear rubber boots.
Make sure you register here.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is one of the biggest gems in the NOVA Parks portfolio. It’s tranquil and home to tons of meticulously cared for plants. Volunteering to make sure the gardens stay beautiful is a great way to spend Earth Day.
From 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, April 22 volunteers will be working to remove invasive plants from the gardens to rescue a section of the woodlands.
“At this volunteer workday, participants will learn how to identify and control English Ivy and a few other common invasive plants that are negatively impacting our natural communities in Northern Virginia,” NOVA Parks said.
Click here to register.
If you haven’t been to the truly unique site that is Natural Tunnel, use Earth Day as an excuse to visit the 850-foot-long and 10-story naturally carved limestone ridge.
“Celebrate Earth Day by joining Natural Tunnel State Park in our effort to rid plastic litter along the roadways and creek,” organizers said. “This will keep our roadside and waterways looking beautiful and will encourage biodiversity within our area.”
Don’t worry about bringing supplies because they’ll be provided at the Stock Creek Recreation Area between 9-11 a.m. Saturday, April 22.
Location: King George
This year’s Earth Day event at Caledon State Park isn’t your average cleanup effort. Instead of simply collecting trash that has washed up along the shoreline and tossing it, volunteers will instead turn the trash into unique pieces of art.
“Give back to our beautiful planet and create art at Caledon State Park as part of our annual Earth Day celebration,” organizers said.
Judges will be on hand to assess the pieces and prizes will be awarded. You can either work on your own or as part of a team.
Call 540-663-3861 to register.
Once you’re finished volunteering, spend some time walking through the park’s forest, which is quite popular with bird watchers due to it being home to many American bald eagles.
It’s going to be all about pollination at Occoneechee State Park, which is on the John H. Kerr Reservoir, this Earth Day.
“Grab your gloves and trowels and join us as we celebrate Earth Day by planting over 250 native pollinator species throughout the park to encourage sustainability and growth of Virginia’s natural landscape,” organizers said.
Volunteers will be working to aid in the regeneration of native pollinator habitat and species diversity at three separate locations at the park from 9-11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 22. Don’t worry about bringing tools or supplies since they will all be provided.
Those who love to hike should visit Staunton River State Park on Earth Day. The 2,400-acre park, which sits 25 miles from the North Carolina border, is comprised of woodlands, meadows and shoreline along the Dan and Staunton rivers.
“Volunteers should come to the visitor center where they will be provided with gloves and trash bags so they can collect any litter they see while hiking and enjoying nature,” organizers said. “Participants can then choose a trail to hike or clean up along the shoreline.”
The cleanup will last from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, April 22
If you enjoy going to the beach, you can do your part this Earth Day to ensure that it stays clean by visiting Chippokes State Park, which is across the James River from historic Jamestown.
“Earth Day is a special excuse to find ways to volunteer and make a difference out in your local communities,” organizers said. “Help us keep our shorelines clean and safe for others to enjoy.”
After stopping by the visitor center between 8-11 a.m. Saturday, April 22 for instructions and supplies, head over to the beach where a ranger will be leading the cleanup effort. The volunteer with the biggest bag of trash at the end of the day will receive a prize.
If you have time to stick around after collecting trash, a garden tea special event will be held by the Friends of Chippokes State Park.
If you aren’t up for volunteering but would still like to celebrate Earth Day, then Earth Day Fairfax is for you. It’s going to be a day-long extravaganza at Sully Historic Site from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 22 that will feature workshops, vendors and activities to help improve the environment and health.
This year’s theme is “healthy planet, healthy people.” Those looking to learn more about proper tree care should participate in the tree care clinic.
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