Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22 every year in the U.S. since 1970 as a way to bring attention to the protection of the environment. Since Michigan is home to many important natural beauties, from the Great Lakes and sand dunes to its diverse wildlife, it’s important to take measures toward their preservation. This year, there are several events and opportunities for people of every age and ability to get involved.
The largest Earth Day event in West Michigan is the Third Annual Grand River Green Up, presented by WMEAC and the Grand Haven Area Jaycees. On April 20, volunteers are needed to clean up the Grand River and its surrounding tributaries. Volunteers will meet for check-in and breakfast at 9am, depart to various sites at 9:30am, and return for lunch at noon at the Harbor Island Fairgrounds.
WMEAC is also hosting the West Michigan Needs Water: Earth Day Celebration 2013 on Tuesday, April 16 at the Frederick Meijer Gardens. The fifth annual event will include dinner, folk music, a silent auction, and presentation by freshwater advocate Maude Barlow, author of “Blue Gold.”
The Grand Rapids Public Library is hosting a variety of presentations and programs for all ages and at multiple branches, from Meatless Monday and a Family Gardening Workshop, to a History of the Rapids and a film on electric cars. The main event of the the week is the Green Market and Information Expo at the Main Library, which will include recycled art and jewelry, organic vegetables, and information booths on green living.
On April 30, The Grand Rapids Public Museum is combining Earth Day and Astronomy Day with Earth and Sky Day and will provide demonstrations on alternative energy and gardening. The event will also include telescopic observations, crafts, and live planetarium sky shows.
On Sunday, April 21, Saint Thomas the Apostle School will host E-cycle/Recycle Sunday from 8am to noon. De-clutter your home by donating your used clothing, furniture and broken electronics and support local organizations that will reuse unwanted items and keep them from landfills. Trucks will be parked in the Saint Thomas parking lot (behind the gym).
There is also a large selection of events for children. The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum has been featuring crafts using recycled materials all month and will have their official Earth Day Celebration on April 20. There will be representatives from Blandford Nature Center and the Swanson Foundation as well as information about recycling and composting.
Also on April 20 is John Ball Zoo’s Party for the Planet, which will include games and activities, prizes, and over 20 organizations to talk about green living. There will be a drop-off recycling station for electronics, clothing, and household items sponsored by Goodwill Industries. Blandford Nature Center is also hosting a number of hands-on activities for students and families the same day.
If you’re looking for something to get you moving, on April 19 Harvest Health and Gazelle Sports are sponsoring the free Green Day 6k Fun Run/Walk, as a way to thank customers for their support and encourage healthy living. Strollers and walkers are welcome, and participants are encouraged to sign up online. There will also be a Health Fair with multiple vendors and a site designated for free electronic disposal.
To learn more about these events and whether registration is required, visit the links above.