Preparing to Love the Earth
As I was cleaning out flower beds and putting some compost in my small garden bed last weekend, I was thinking about how to get children interested in our planet. Digging in the dirt might be one way to start. Being outside, going for walks, enjoying natural surroundings are not only restorative, but are also gentle and natural (pun intended) ways to encourage children to love the planet.
April 22 is Earth Day 2021. This year’s theme is Restore Our Earth. You can go to earthday.org for a three-day event called Three Days of Climate Action. Look through the site for the history of Earth Day, its global outreach today and its mission for the future. So much information may all seem a little overwhelming, but pick out some things that you and your family can do.
When I’m walking my dog, I notice all the trash and plastic that is thrown out. My dog likes to pick up cans and bottles and carry them home, so I follow her lead and pick up plastic bottles to put in the recycling bin. That’s an easy thing to do in your own neighborhood.
If you have a garden, plan and build a place to compost in your backyard. It’s a good way to get rid of kitchen waste and to get a beautiful garden. Talk to your kids about why it’s important to create less trash and waste.
Plant a tree. My parents had a tree for each of my kids in their backyard. Maybe you could do the same for your kids. Let them have ownership of the tree and learn how to care for it. Help them make a birdhouse or birdfeeder to put in their tree.
Make a wildflower garden using native plants in your backyard to attract butterflies and beneficial insects. When we moved from one house to another, I took seeds from my purple coneflowers (Echinacea) to plant in my new backyard. It always surprises me how much they spread. I’m a “trial and error” gardener, so I’m always happy to find something that grows without needing too much nurturing.
To learn about local plants, visit the Farmers’ Markets, herb and plant fairs and Linnaeus Garden at Woodward Park (currently closed due to the pandemic). Of course, the Tulsa Botanic Garden is a paradise of flowers, trees, trails and activities for all ages.
If you want to hike a couple of natural trails, head out to Oxley Nature Center at Mohawk Park, Turkey Mountain or the Keystone Ancient Forest near Sand Springs. Oxley was a favorite of my kids because it was easy to navigate – and we often saw a beaver or other wildlife.
For an inspirational virtual Earth Day in Oklahoma, check out okearthcoalition.org. You’ll find a month of events surrounding Earth Day. You’ll find music, poetry and information about local activism on this site.
Rather than telling your kids about Earth Day, show them nature. Let them experience the joy of planting seeds, flowers or trees. April in Tulsa is beautiful. Enjoy the outdoors with your family.
Do you have any suggestions for Earth Day Activities?