Celebrating Earth Day

Key Points

  • The recognition on Earth Day can inspire everyone to take action throughout the year and find ways to promote sustainability.

  • Here are seven websites and resources to find additional ideas and materials for Earth Day.

earth day

Earth Day is a worldwide event celebrated annually on April 22nd. It was first celebrated in 1970, and since then, it has become a significant global event, with over 1 billion people from more than 190 countries around the world taking part each year. Earth Day serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting and preserving the environment and our need to take action to address climate change and other environmental issues. It helps to raise awareness about the importance of environmental conservation and is a special time to show appreciation for Earth and learn how to take steps to protect it. The recognition on Earth Day can inspire everyone to take action throughout the year and find ways to promote sustainability.

The theme of Earth Day this year is “Invest in Our Planet” which focuses on efforts to rebuild ecosystems, combat climate change, and reduce waste and pollution to improve our environment and secure a better and safer future. Earth Day provides an opportunity for individuals, communities, and governments to take action toward addressing these challenges and creating a more sustainable future.

Earth Day is also closely tied to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which serve as a blueprint for working towards a better and more sustainable future for all. The celebration of Earth Day helps us to focus on several of the SDGs, including Goal 13 (Climate Action), Goal 14 (Life Below Water), Goal 15 (Life On Land), and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). The event has been instrumental in shaping environmental policy, with the first Earth Day leading to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States.

There are many activities that can be organized to raise awareness among students and the school community about the importance of environmental sustainability. Here are 4 ways to celebrate Earth Day in our schools:

  1. Community Clean-Up Day: Organize a school-wide clean-up day to work in the community to clean and beautify the surrounding areas. This activity will teach students about the importance of keeping our environment clean and the impact of litter on our ecosystems.
  2. Plant a School Garden or a Tree: Planting a school garden can be a fun and educational way to engage students in environmental conservation and also focus on place-based learning. Students will learn about the importance of plants in the ecosystem, and develop a sense of responsibility and ownership over the garden that they plant. It can also be an opportunity to teach students about healthy eating and sustainability. Another idea is to organize a tree-planting event on school grounds and involve students in planting trees.
  3. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Encourage students to reduce waste by bringing reusable water bottles, lunch boxes, and bags. Teach them about the importance of recycling and composting and organize a school-wide recycling program.
  4. Environmental Science Fair: Organize an environmental science fair where students can showcase their projects related to environmental sustainability. Through this activity, students can learn about different environmental issues and solutions. It is also beneficial to find a speaker to come in and share ideas with students and the school community.
  5. Sustainable Art Projects: Encourage students to create art projects using recycled materials or objects they find and can repurpose. These opportunities will help students to express their creativity while also learning about the importance of sustainable materials.

Here are seven websites and resources to find additional ideas and materials for Earth Day:

  1. Earth Day Network – provides a wealth of resources for educators, including lesson plans, videos, and activity guides. They offer a list of activities for Earth Day 2023 and ideas to explore for hosting a successful Earth Day event in your school or community. Teachers can get the Action Toolkit which is full of ideas for schools and has ideas for 14 different communities!
  2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides many resources for teaching about the importance of environmental sustainability. The website has lesson plans, interactive tools, and other materials that can help educators teach about the environment. It also has a coloring sheet and more for students to participate in this year’s recognition.
  3. National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) – There are a lot of resources available for everyone to learn about ideas to focus on lifelong environmental learning. NEEF offers a variety of resources not just for educators, but for everyone to find ways to take actions that will protect our planet. For teachers, there are blogs, lesson plans, and activity guides. Find ideas for creating a garden in the spring to celebrate Earth Day. The Education resources page offers links to STEM ideas, projects for students, and other ways to focus on place-based learning.
  4. National Geographic Education – National Geographic offers a variety of resources for educators, including lesson plans, activities, and virtual field trips. Their Earth Day Toolkit provides resources and ideas for teaching about environmental issues and taking action to protect the planet.
  5. NASA Earth Day provides a wealth of information on the environment and its preservation. It has interactive games, educational resources, downloadable posters and images of the Earth from space. Through their resources, people will understand the importance of taking care of the planet and be inspired to take action to protect the environment.
  6. PBS LearningMedia PBS offers thousands of free digital resources for educators, including videos, lesson plans, and interactive activities. Their Earth Day Collection includes topics such as climate change, conservation, and sustainability and materials for students in all grade levels.
  7. Teach the Earth is a site created by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers that provides a variety of resources for teaching about the environment. You can search their site to find other earth education websites and also find teaching activities and other resources.

There are many options and resources that help us all to celebrate Earth Day, not just in April but throughout the year.

Rachelle Dené Poth

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Spanish and STEAM: Emerging Technology teacher at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle is also an edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, and the author of seven books, her most recent Things I Wish [...] Knew includes stories from 50 educators. Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator. Follow Rachelle's blog at www.Rdene915.com.

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