Celebrate Earth Day at School
On April 22, 1970, we celebrated the first Earth Day. More than 20 million people took part with parades, clean ups, and environmental awareness talks and songs. This was the beginning of the “environmental movement.” People began to become more aware of how we were affecting the Earth. The second Earth Day was not for 20 years, but this time more than 100 million people worldwide took part. Now people celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22nd. What will you do this year?
Remember that we are all interconnected. The things you do to help the environment helps everyone on Earth. It is never a waste to save, recycle and protect. Air pollution blows and water pollution flows across borders into other states and countries. Resources can be used up and wasted, including oil, clean water and even land for planting food. Our landfills are overflowing with wasted stuff. It’s important to respect the Earth for all of us.
1) Organize an Earth Day Party! Use some of the fun activities in this collection as party games. Make recycled paper pinwheels, pinecone wind mobiles, animal totem stones. Eat earthworm dirt cups. Ask everyone to bring a can of food to donate to the local food shelf. For party favors send everyone home with a tree seedling in a cup to plant in their yard. Saving the Earth can be fun too!
2) Start Paper Recycling at School: Schools use a lot of paper. It is a good place to save paper… and trees!
• Have everyone in your class bring in a cardboard box.
• Cut the top flaps off.
• Decorate the boxes by drawing colorful trees, flowers, mountains and lakes on the sides. Then write in big, block letters, “Save Trees – Recycle!”
• Deliver the boxes around the schools to the classes who want to take part.
• Collect 10 cool facts about trees to give out with your recycling boxes to get people motivated.
• Start a contest to see which class can recycle the most paper. Give out baby trees as prizes!
3) Talk to your principal about your school becoming a “Green School.” There are many advantages to becoming a Green School, like improving learning about the environment through hands-on activities to make the school more energy efficient. It can also save the school money by reducing energy costs. You can get information about becoming a Green School from the Alliance to Save Energy at http://www.ase.org/
4) Recycling for Trees! You can start a bottle collection to raise money to buy trees to plant at your school. Make up a cool notice to put up at school and around town about it. This has a double advantage. You recycle and you plants new trees!
5) Adopt-a-Wetland. Many schools have wetlands on their property. You might be able to find some interesting plants and animal signs. Go to the EPA site and learn about how your class can participate in the "Adopt-a-Wetland" program. http://www.epa.gov/region4/water/wetlands/education/adopt.html
5) Adopt a roadway. Your class can adopt a roadway or park to keep clean. It is a great way to teach about community service while picking up litter. Once your class does it, maybe other classes will want to adopt a road to keep clean too. For details, contact your county Department of Transportation.
6) Have a “Protect the Environment" poster contest. To raise awareness about environmental issues have a poster contest. Students can choose from topics like coral reef protection, air, water or ocean pollution, climate change, acid rain, over-fishing in the ocean, endangered species, alternative energies, deforestation, etc. Give organic chocolate as the prize.
7) Help reduce product packaging. Every year millions of pounds of product packaging are stripped from the things we buy and sent to the landfills. Write to the companies that make your favorite foods and products and ask them to use recyclable containers, less shrink-wrap, and less plastic coverings. Consumers do have power!
8) Reduce Junk Mail. More than 17 billion catalogs are sent out in the United States every year. Have students collect all the junk catalogs that their parents (and anyone in their house) get in a month into an old grocery bag. Then students can cut out each name on the labels and make a list of all the names (with the exact spelling, even if it is wrong). Use the left over catalogs for art projects if you can. Then recycle them!
Then students can each mail in their list with $1 to the Direct Mail Association. For $1, they will remove all your names from their national database for 5 years. Make sure you give them everyone’s name in your family who gets junk mail, spelled in every way you get them on labels (even misspelled). Send to: DMA Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512. Get more about this at: DMAConsumers.org.
9) Have students ask your parents to buy federal duck stamps from their local post office the next time they need stamps. This supports wetlands.
10) Join an environmental group as a class! Here are a few you can try:
Environmental Groups You Can Join:
The Cousteau Society
870 Greenbriar Circle, Suite 402
Chesapeake, VA 23320
Educates the public about natural ecosystems.
3 Clock Tower Place, Suite 100, Box 75
Maynard, MA 01754
Promotes the conservation of our natural resources and cultural heritage through research, education, and conservation.
Environmental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Works to protect clean air, water, and human health. Educates people on endangered species, rainforests, and recycling.
Friends of the Earth
1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005
To defend the environment and champion a healthy and just world.
1436 U St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Works to preserve the earth and the life it supports. It has almost 2 million supporters.
Keep American Beautiful, Inc.
1010 Washington Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06901
To engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments.
National Audubon Society
New York, NY 10003
Tells people how to use wildlife, land, water, and other natural resources intelligently.
The National Environmental Trust
1200 18th Street, N.W., Fifth Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036
Informs citizens about environmental problems such as global warming, ocean conservation, energy, and clean air.
National Wildlife Federation
8925 Leesburg Pike
Vienna, VA 22184
Works to protect nature and wildlife.
Natural Resources Defense Council
40 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
An influential lobbying and litigating group on environmental issues.
The Nature Conservancy
4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203-1606
Works to preserve plants and animals by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
65 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
Works to save tropical rain forests worldwide.
The Sierra Club
85 Second Street, Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-3441
Works to preserve national parks and wilderness areas.
Trees for Life
3006 W. St. Louis
Wichita, KS 67203
Helps people in the developing countries plant and care for food-bearing trees.
World Wildlife Fund
1250 24th Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
Dedicated to protecting the world's wildlife and wildlands.