The month of April sees two important environmental awareness days: National Earth Day on April 22 and National Arbor Day on April 24. Traditionally, these days were celebrated by venturing out into nature and cleaning up parks or planting a tree. With everyone being kept indoors, or within their own yards due to the COVID-19 quarantine, it makes it difficult and unsafe to celebrate these environmental days in the traditional sense. Therefore, we've come up with a few unique ways to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day during this pandemic.
On April 22 we celebrate Earth Day. In the past, this day was spent cleaning up garbage from public areas, like parks, the side of the road, schoolyards, and more. With the quarantine happening, many if not all public areas have been closed down. Hopefully that means not much garbage is left to clean up. But a new, unsafe form of littering has crept up during this time. Many people have been throwing their gloves, masks and wipes on the ground rather than disposing them in the garbage. Not only is this disrespecting the planet by littering, it's also endangering others as these items may have come into contact with the virus. Leaving it out in the open risks spreading the disease further. Our suggestion for celebrating Earth Day this year while taking part in social distancing is to make people aware of this issue. Make up as sign to hang on your window, or draw suggestions on the sidewalk with chalk. Go to social media and post a recorded video showing the importance of proper disposal in a creative way. See if your message could go viral (the good kind). Here's a list of some other ways you can celebrate Earth Day while taking part in social distancing:
- Read a book instead of watching TV.
- Play a board game with the family using candles instead of electric lights.
- Make homemade disinfectants.
- Make reusable cotton face masks.
On April 24 we celebrate Arbor Day. In the past, this day was spent planting a tree in a public park or garden. With the quarantine closing down all public areas, this act is not plausible this year. But that doesn't mean you can't celebrate in other ways. If you can, try planting a tree in your own yard. Alternatively, create your own backyard garden with different fruits and vegetables to grow and eat. Plant a flower bed in your front yard to bring color and joy to those around you. Make your Arbor Day celebrations virtual by visiting National Parks online and taking virtual tours. Here are a few available options:
- Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
- Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
The 2020 theme for Earth Day is Climate Action. To celebrate this theme, we have compiled a related lesson that can be completed in the home. This lesson plan focuses on the connection between climate change, the environment and human health. Start off by asking the following self-reflective questions:
1. Have you ever experienced a heat wave? How did you stay cool and protected from the heat? What steps can be taken?
2. What are 5 things found in an ecosystem near your home?
Then, download the following FREE reading passages from our resource Climate Change: Effects:
Climate and Human Health
Climate and Ecosystems
Once you've read how climate change has an effect on both human health and the environment, reflect on what you know by answering the following questions:
1. Name and describe at least 1 major risk to human health due to climate change.
2. Explain why warming temperatures may lead to greater spread of disease.
3. Explain how the increase in global temperatures can lead to an increase in harmful air pollution.
4. Describe the effects of climate change that are already happening in your ecosystem.
5. Explain how climate change could cause one ecosystem to become more like another.
Click here for possible answers to these questions.
Finally, complete 2 related research activities. Download them here.
For even more free content, visit our Environmental Studies section of our FREE CONTENT page. Then, check out the Environmental Studies section of our online store for additional content.