Earth Day in the Every Day
7 Earth Day Activities
Next week is Earth day. At my children’s school, we had big plans. We were going to dedicate the garden in front of our school with a plaque, officially confirming its status as a Monarch Waystation. We were going to have Earth Day crafts and were going to spend the day honoring our beloved planet. When we found out we would be sheltering in place for the month of April, I quickly realized that this fun celebration planned for Earth Day would also not be happening.
At first, I was sad and frustrated. Then as time has passed and more things have been unfolding with the current crises, I realized the current situation is an opportunity. We have time to slow down and re-evaluate our relationship with planet earth. The news stories are rolling in about how the current COVID-19 crisis has cleared air pollution across China. Now there are fish seen in the clear waters of the canals surrounding Venice, Italy. Mother Earth is recovering quickly.
The other day, my brother-in-law in New Mexico reported that on their family hike into the mountains they could see ranges they have never encountered before because the air was less polluted. I see all these as examples of what our world could be like if we took a moment and were more thoughtful about our industrial impact. For more info on this new paradigm shift and how to build a green stimulus to rebuild our economy, check out this article.
Earth Day is a moment where we get to spend time in reflection, asking ourselves the question, what does our planet need to stay healthy and vibrant? What can we do as a community to support this change? And finally, what can we do in our own homes to stay on this upward trend?
While you and your family are sheltering in place on this Earth Day, here are a few activities you can do to engage with our lovely planet.
1. Write a letter to Mother Earth
My daughters started writing letters to Mother Earth on Earth Day a few years ago. This is a lovely way to show how much we care about our planet and our children’s future on it. It is also a great way to spend time reflecting on the above questions. You can write a letter, too!
2. Make Seed Balls
One way to help our planet and make it beautiful is to grow more flowers. Seed balls are a great way to have flowers handy to plant when you are in your backyard or on the go. When you make these seed balls you can literally toss them into a field and see the results a few months later. You do not need a flowerbed to make seed balls. Follow the recipe in the link to learn about this simple, green activity.
In Under the Canopy classes, one of our favorite activities is to paint on paper using mud. It is a great way to have the sensory experience of touching mud. You also get to look closely at the different colors of mud. I love seeing the nature-themed creations my family comes up with after using the medium of mud to paint. Ochre, charcoal, chocolate brown and burgundy are some the beautiful colors that we have found naturally by inspecting dirt around our neighborhood. This recipe uses water, but I find using a white base paint and adding the mud gives the texture of the paint a smoother finish.
The classic Earth Day activity is to plant a tree. Luckily our local tree seedling source is still open and will do delivery! “Up with Trees” has many seedling trees and resources to help you pick the best tree for your yard and let you know what requirements your tree needs to grow.
5. Clean up trash
Another classic activity on Earth Day is to do a trash clean up. Most local parks and green spaces are still open at this time. Many could use help gathering the trash that accumulates especially near our rivers and streams. Stay safe while picking up trash by using gloves. Don’t over fill your bags so that they are too heavy to dispose of easily. Also, take precautions with young children and make sure the area is safe for them to be collecting trash.
One of the biggest environmental impacts on our planet is the green house gases emitted from large scale animal farms. It’s an ongoing process to change your diet completely from eating animals, but even doing it for a day can help you set up a new mindset. Especially when you see how easy and yummy it can be! Make it fun with the kids and have them help you come up with a meal that does not include any animal products. In the link above find yummy, nutritious, kid friendly recipes to try in honor of Earth Day.
7. Build a Bug Hotel!
This version of a bug hotel is made using recycled plastic bottles, sticks, pinecones and other natural materials. According to naturallivingideas.com, because insects are “an integral part of a successful garden…By providing these insects with inviting homes, you can help promote their wellbeing and contribute to increasing their numbers. When spring arrives, you’ll have all the pollinators on hand that you need and many of your guests will devour the unwanted pests in your garden, getting the season off to a good start.”
It is great to spend Earth Day in community, but it can also be wonderful to celebrate at home. Whichever activities you decide to do, know that you are actually helping our planet heal when you use less fossil fuels and that you have the ability to change the current paradigm by shifting where you put your money. Take this Earth Day to consider how you want the future to be for our children and the planet.
About Margaritte Arthrell-Knezek
Margaritte Arthrell-Knezek is a naturalist, writer and community educator committed to teaching the skills of sustainability and instructing children and adults on how to connect with the natural world that surrounds them daily. Arthrell-Knezek hails from New Haven, Connecticut where she began her work in the arts and environmental activism in 1997.
She graduated from The Evergreen State College In Olympia WA, 2010, with a bachelor’s degree in multi-media art and sustainability studies. She has traveled the world and landed in Tulsa, OK, where she is the Executive Director and Lead Educator of Under The Canopy LLC. Margaritte is a parent to two awesome children and wife to Mykey Arthrell-Knezek.
You can learn more about the programs she teaches at www.underthecanopy.org She is a regular contributor to TulsaKids.com and also keeps a personal blog about parenting in all its real and messy forms called Tap the Root. She was also published in Hilary Frank’s 2019 book, “Weird Parenting Wins.”
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in TulsaKids’ Guest Blog in April 2020. It was updated in March 2021.