Spring has sprung in the D.C. area and everyone is in the mood to get outside. It’s perfect timing for Earth Day, an event that has been celebrated annually on April 22 since 1970. Naturally, there are tons of opportunities to honor the day, even if most of them fall on different dates. Attend a festival to learn about going green or get dirty at a local cleanup. Can’t make an Earth Day-related event this month? That’s OK! There are plenty of chances to do your part with conservation throughout the year. Here are 10 to consider.
photo: Michel Curi
Easter Monday and Earth Optimism Celebration at the National Zoo
This free event features egg hunts, food trucks and games centered on saving animal species. Hear Smithsonian conservation success stories, watch animal demonstrations, and meet scientists and conservation partners who work worldwide. Education stations include coral conservation, giant panda research, and Eyes and Ears in the Forest. Do your part to help our planet by taking the Metro or walking to the zoo if you can.
When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., April 22
Where: 3001 Connecticut Ave., NW
Alexandria Earth Day
The theme for this year is “Climate Change – Take Action,” and will feature an art display by students who create 3-D pieces on the topic, a student-created Trashin’ Fashion Show that repurposes materials into something new. Check out educational exhibits and hands-on activities for kiddos, too. Of course, earth-friendly opportunities aren’t limited to this one four-hour span. Check out programs at the Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center (5750 Sanger Ave.) such as Nature Play ($5) for children 2-5 years old or the Nature Buddies After School Program, which is open to children 5-10 during the school year for $350/month.
When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Apr. 27
Where: 1005 Mt. Vernon Ave.
photo: Herald Post via flickr
This free annual event, a partnership between the Fairfax County Park Authority and Clean Fairfax, attracts more than 5,000 people and 75 exhibitors, vendors and food trucks. Children will enjoy a Recycling Pirates puppet show, petting zoo and touch-a-truck. There will also be an environmental obstacle course and crafts, while parents can buy plants for their garden. Can’t make it to this festival? Schedule a community clean up through Clean Fairfax for any day that meets your schedule. Tell the organization where you plan to clean and it will send 30-gallon trash bags, clear bags for recyclables, safety vests and other supplies to support your effort.
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Apr. 27
Where: 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly
Earth Month at Montgomery County Parks
Why dedicate only one day to helping the environment? Choose from several opportunities to help with here. There’s the Week Warrior Workdays, held on weekends from 10 a.m.-noon, during which a trained volunteer supervisor leads warriors through identifying and removing invasive plants. Or assist with park and stream cleanups at places like Little Falls Watershed, Sligo Creek and Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park. Additionally, there are three Trail Workday projects this month – and more through June 22 – to beautify sections of the county’s 165-mile natural-surface trail network.
When: Check website
Where: Check website
GreenFest at Brookside Gardens
OK, so this is technically part of Montgomery County’s Earth Month, but this event is worth highlighting. It’s a merger if GreenFest and Brookside Gardens Earth Day Festival, and it will have live performances, kids’ activities like tree climbing, a plant sale, and an electric vehicle and car show. There will also be educational workshops on topics such as fermentation and growing a vegetable garden. While you’re at the gardens, take a look at the Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit, which reopens for its 22nd year on April 17. Get in the spirit by taking the Metro to the Glenmont stop and then hopping on the free shuttle to the event.
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Apr. 28
Where: 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton
EcoArlington Earth Day Cleanup
Remove litter from Bon Air Park and Arlington’s bike trails. Participants can bike the Arlington Loop – a 16.5-mile loop along four trails or “plog” the park. Plogging is picking up trash while jogging, so you’re doing good for your body and the environment. Come back June 2 from 1-5 p.m. for the 17th annual Green Home and Garden Tour to see homes with energy-efficient technology, solar energy, water-saving techniques, native plants and more.
When: 9 a.m.-noon, Apr. 27
Where: 850 N. Lexington, Arlington
What to bring: Bike and helmet, running shoes, reusable water bottle
Terrariums for Kids Presented by the Great Falls Garden Club
Not directly related to Earth Day but very much educational nonetheless, this event will give kids ages 7-11 a chance to learn about the science of creating a self-sustaining environment in a terrarium. Participants take home their projects. Registration opens April 11 at 4:30 p.m.
When: Apr. 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Where: 9830 VA-193 A, Great Falls