With the DC Metro area under stay-at-home orders and individuals practicing social distancing, all the usual celebrations for Earth Day and Arbor Day have been canceled. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate these environmental holidays. We compiled a list of virtual events, resources, and at-home activities you can participate in to celebrate these special days while practicing social distancing.
1. NASA’s 50th Earth Day Virtual Celebration
Celebrate Earth Day turning 50 years old with NASA’s virtual celebration on Wednesday, April 22nd. The special earth day broadcast will feature NASA experts discussing how NASA science and tech are used to understand and improve the environment, discoveries about the planet, advances in green technology and aircraft, and introduce an interactive app for viewers to assist map coral reefs. It airs at 3 p.m. EDT on NASA TV, YouTube Premium, Facebook’s Watch Party and Periscope/Twitter.
2. Celebrate with Social Media
Post a picture of your favorite tree on social media using the hashtag #arbordayathome and tagging the Arbor Day Foundation. In response, the Arbor Day Foundation will plant a tree on your behalf…up to 50,000 trees total!
3. Online Learning for Kids
When you can’t make it outdoors, stay in and learn about it. Carly’s Kids Corner, on the Arbor Day website, is full of fun and educational resources to connect children with nature. The site includes interactive games that highlight the value of trees.
4. Plant a Tree
One of the best ways to celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day is to plant a tree. To quote Warren Buffet, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Invest in the environment and make a memory by planting a tree to celebrate this year. Many local nurseries and the Arbor Day Foundation Nursery are providing no-contact deliveries so you can safely purchase a tree to celebrate.
5. Donate to environmental causes.
A great way to celebrate Earth and Arbor Day is to donate to causes that help the forests and the environment in general. Some of our suggestions include:
The Environmental Justice Alliance (RTEC’s non-profit). – Your donation goes towards installing a community vegetable garden at the Patrick Henry Family Shelter.
The Arbor Day Foundation. – Your donation goes towards planting trees in a forest that needs revitalization.
The Nature Conservancy. Your donation will go towards protecting and restoring the natural environment in all 50 states and 70 countries.
6. Take a Virtual Tour
Google has created 360-degree tours of 113 different national park sites, including monuments, historic sites, and shorelines. The Nature Conservancy also features a series of virtual field trips designed for grades 5-8.
More into wildlife? Monterey Bay Aquarium offers live feeds of their marine animals. And Explore.org provides a series of different feeds, from remote locations throughout Africa to rescue animal facilities around the world.
7. Help Scientists Through the Earth Challenge App
Download the Earth Challenge 2020 app to help scientists compile environmental research. When you collect data, like air quality and butterfly sightings, your readings are added to a global database helping scientists maintain a cleaner and healthier planet.
One current project on the app, Monarch Butterfly, has the goal of collecting 1 billion data points before the month’s end. Users can submit photos of insects around their area and submit them to be verified. This helps scientists understand the distribution of butterflies and migration patterns which is essential in order to identify regions that need habitat restoration.
8. EarthX Virtual Celebration
Join EarthX and National Geographic online Wednesday, April 22nd from Noon-7:30pm, to commemorate the 50th Earth Day. This is a milestone event for environmental and sustainability efforts worldwide, and for the people, movements, organizations, businesses, and governments that have supported, collaborated, advocated, activated, and advanced the causes, initiatives, projects, and concepts that have, and will continue to create positive change for our world and its inhabitants into the future. Register for FREE.
9. Take a Walk
Take a walk around your neighborhood or on a neighborhood trail to get in touch with nature. Getting out in nature during this time is a great exercise for mental and physical health. Just make sure to abide by social distancing guidelines and local orders.