Earth Day 2012: Fun Ways to Pitch In

Every day should be Earth Day, but sometimes we need a reminder. Want ideas for how to celebrate our planet this weekend? From planting trees to cleaning up parks, there’s something for every family in the following events. If you don’t get to all these places on Earth Day itself (Sunday, April 22, this year), don’t worry: Many of these activities can be revisited all spring and summer.

And don’t forget that caring about the environment requires more than rolling up your sleeves in the neighborhood. It also means advocating for better policies to protect our precious natural resources. The original Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement and helping to pass such landmark laws of the 1970s as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. So before you head out with your work gloves and picnic basket, consider supporting AMC and other nonprofits that protect our special places.

Friday, April 20
Earth Day Festival at the EcoTarium
Worcester, Mass.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enjoy half-price admission to the museum and grounds, which will feature special family and earth-friendly activities and entertainment.

Earth Day on the Rose Kennedy Greenway
Boston, Mass.; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Celebrate with free family activities in Dewey Square Park, including learning about rain gardens and composting at the new Dewey Demonstration Garden, music, face painting, food trucks, and a guided walk.

Saturday, April 21
Charles River Cleanup
Boston, Mass., to Bellingham, Mass.; 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
With pre-registration and drop-in options, this cleanup involves thousands of volunteers picking up trash at more than 100 different sites along the 80-mile Charles River and its tributaries. Last year’s event removed an estimated 50 tons of litter.

5K Run/Walk and Fair
Liberty State Park
Jersey City, N.J.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
At this northern New Jersey park with great views of the New York City skyline, the celebration will focus on green living, with family-friendly activities including art and crafts, kite-flying, entertainment, and “eco-Olympics.” The park also offers picnic areas, playgrounds, rental bicycles for adults and children, options for boating on the Hudson River and New York Bay, and ferry service to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Massachusetts Park Serve Day
Statewide, times vary
From the Berkshires to Cape Cod, join local efforts to fix picnic tables, improve landscaping, clean trails, and more. Search the website to find out what’s happening near you.

Earth Day Recycling Program
Harvard Recycling and Surplus Center, Allston, Mass.; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
As part of the Cambridge Science Festival, tour the big warehouse where used computers get refurbished, clothing is bagged, books are boxed, and all sorts of other things are stored for donation to charities. Rob Gogan, manager of Harvard Recycling Services, will help participants make recycled paper to take home. The free tour is recommended for kids ages 8 and up, accompanied by an adult. Call 617-495-3216 for reservations and more information, or visit the website.

Rivers of Ice: What's Your Question?
MIT Stata Center, Cambridge, Mass.; 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
As part of the Cambridge Science Festival, join mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears and climate change experts at a free public symposium, “Rivers of Ice: What's Your Question,” marking the opening of a new exhibition, “Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the High Himalaya.” The symposium will be in the Kirsch Auditorium, in the Stata Center, which is at 32 Vassar Street. Pre-register to guarantee a seat and submit a question that may be asked at the event.

Discover WILD New Hampshire Day
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Concord, N.H.; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At this free event, see live animals, big fish, and trained falcons, participate in archery, casting, and crafts projects, and learn about new trends in recycling, environmental protection, and energy-efficient hybrid vehicles. Exhibits will be presented by dozens of New Hampshire environmental, conservation, and outdoor organizations, including AMC’s local chapter. The Fish and Game Department is at 11 Hazen Drive.

Family Earth Day Project
Providence, R.I.; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Join members of AMC’s Narragansett Chapter and others in planting trees, seeding grass, removing invasive vines, and cleaning up litter at Neutaconkanut Hill. Pizza will be provided. Registration required.

Friday-Sunday, April 20-22

AMC Family Adventure Camp
AMC’s Highland Center, N.H.
This weekend will include guided indoor and outdoor programs for families with kids ages 5 and older. Nature walks will be offered each day, as well as hikes to local waterfalls or summits. In celebration of Earth Day on Sunday, kid-friendly games and activities will include recycled craft making, a recycling relay, and bottle bowling. Lodging, meals, guided activities, and free use of the L.L.Bean gear room are included in the rates.

Saturday, April 28
Boston Community Cleanup Day
Boston, Mass.; times vary
Register online to learn about efforts in different neighborhoods and lend a hand.

Photo: iStock

Great Kids, Great Outdoors is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Kristen Laine and Heather Stephenson. Heather wrote this post.

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