Earth Day
April 17, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013 marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, when people and communities around the world celebrate our planet in any number of ways, from festivals to environmental awareness events to planting trees. There are several local events perfect for the whole family coming up, but remember, Earth Day shouldn’t be just one day of the year. If you can’t make one of the below events, consider other activities year round: volunteer at a park, start composting if you don’t, pick up litter on your walks. Ask your kids about how they think they can make a difference and help them follow through. Education and action are the keys to getting kids (and adults) to take ownership of taking care of the earth.

The Ecotarium in Worcester celebrates all week, from April 16-19, with a lineup of events centered on its 2013 theme, “Blast Off!” Activities include launching stomp rockets, playing the "Cosmic Trivia Show," maneuvering remote-controlled robots, exploring the science behind rocket engines, and making an "Earth-Moon-Sun" orbiter to take home. Most activities are free with museum admission. Earth Week culminates in an Earth Day Celebration, on April 19, with half-price admission, indoor and outdoor family-friendly activities, and, of course, the EcoTarium’s trails, ponds, and woods are open for exploration.

The whole family can pitch in at the 14th Annual Charles River Cleanup along the Charles River on April 20 from 9 a.m. to noon. Last year, more than 4,000 volunteers helped remove 40 tons of trash along the river! Organized by the Charles River Watershed Association, volunteers pick up trash (including television sets, bicycles, Styrofoam cups, and plastic bags) at over 100 different cleanup sites along the river and its tributaries. Last year, the nonprofit estimates that 50 tons of litter was removed! Check the organization’s website for a list of cleanup sites.

Also on April 20, the Massachusetts Park Serve Day is a statewide day of volunteer service aimed at cleaning coastlines, clearing trails, planting flowers, painting picnic tables at parks and beaches, and doing other tasks all across Massachusetts, from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. Visit the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s website to find a participating park near you and to sign up as a volunteer.

You can Party for the Planet at Franklin Park Zoo. The zoo has teamed up with Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and the Cambridge Science Festival (running April 12-21) to present a fun and engaging day to raise awareness for the planet on April 21. Learn how you can contribute to a healthy planet and preserve the earth, with opportunities to meet the zookeepers, plus enjoy animal enrichment activities, scavenger hunts, entertainment, a performance by The Chorallaries of MIT, eco-friendly exhibitors, and more.

Besides giving you and your kids a chance to celebrate the Earth this year, these and other nature events offer a chance to find some peace after the tragedy of the Boston Marathon. Talk to your kids about the importance of caring for nature as a community. Take a few deep, renewing breaths in the calm, spring air. And most importantly, cherish each other and the beauty of your surroundings, on Earth Day and every day



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Help a neighbor: Whether it’s the season for shoveling snow, raking leaves, or weeding their garden, your kids will get double benefits from being outdoors and building community.

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