Throughout the month of April, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area will host a variety of Earth Day activities that make caring for the planet fun for all ages. You can pitch in and help clean up any of the region’s parks or attend a family event that includes learning ways to improve our environment and make a difference.
Earth Day, the modern environmental movement, has been celebrated each April 22 since 1970. The founder, Gaylord Nelson, began the movement as a Senator from Wisconsin after witnessing the global damages of the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. Today, millions of Americans participate in the fight for a clean environment.
If you're visiting Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. this April, you could spend the day helping out a local community. If, however, you're looking for a bit more fun on this environmental holiday, you can also attend one of many events happening in the region to raise money for environmental causes.
March For Science
Although the inaugural March for Science on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was held on Earth Day in 2018, the event's second year will take place on April 14, 2018. Due to the Trump administration slashing funding for science-related organizations, the march focuses on standing up for science and facts and raising awareness about environmental issues the current administration is rejecting to address like global warming and commercial waste.
Additional marches will be organized throughout the country, and more than one million people around the world participated in marches in 2017. However, like last year, the March for Science in D.C. is expected to draw the biggest crowd.
Anacostia River Festival and Cleanup
On Sunday, April 15, 2018, from 1 to 5 p.m., the 11th Street Bridge Park and the National Park Service will host the fourth annual Anacostia River Festival, the official closing of the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival. Both the Cherry Blossom and River festivals honor Earth Day through a variety of activities including outdoor recreation, musical performances, a photography exhibition, bike parades, and lessons about the environment and sustainable practices.
On April 21, 2018, the Anacostia Watershed Society will be organizing volunteers for a day of cleanup along the Anacostia River and down local streams and tributaries. Nearly 2,000 volunteers pick up trash and enjoy the river at 30 different sites around the southern D.C. area. If you're traveling in Maryland and Virginia instead, you might consider joining the Potomac Watershed Cleanup on April 14, 2018, which will celebrate its 30th year at over 270 sites along the Potomac River in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia.
The National Zoo and United States Botanic Garden
The Smithsonian's National Zoo will commemorate Earth Day with green-themed activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 21, 2018. During the "Earth Optimism Day" celebration, you can get gardening tips from expert horticulturists, take a tour of the Zoo's green facilities, attend special demonstrations, or take a ride to the zoo sustainably as part of the Bike to the Zoo event.
If you're looking for a more plant-themed day, you can check out the Celebrate Earth Day Festival at the United States Botanic Garden on April 20, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can enjoy cooking demonstrations with seasonal produce or meet with representatives of environmental organizations from around the region. Drop by and learn all the ways that you can make the planet a healthier place and become a more active steward of the plants that support life on earth.
Alexandria Earth Day
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, 2018, the city of Alexandria with host its 25th annual Alexandria Earth Day Festival on the Lenny Harris Memorial Fields at Braddock Park. Featuring upcyling showcases, special exhibits and demonstrations, local food, and a ton of great activities and games, you're sure to enjoy your day learning about how the people of Alexandria give back to the planet year-round.
The event focuses on efficient and eco-friendly transportation options such as walking, bicycling, ridesharing, and riding public transit. Activities include recycling and composting demonstrations, live music, an Arbor Day tree planting, a performance by local bands, and a launch of the Eco-City Action Plan Phase II.
Arlington and Montgomery County Events
While many of the bigger cities will host community events on Earth Day this year, many community organizers treat the entire month as an opportunity to celebrate the planet by giving back.
Arlington County in Virginia, for instance, will celebrate Earth Day with free events and cleanup programs all month long including the Invasive Plant Removal, Cleanup by Bike, Raise a Tadpole, and the Sustainable Landscaping projects. Earth Fest at Arlington Mill Community and Senior Center on April 9 is the community's annual celebration of Earth Day and features games and activities, workshops and demonstrations, and conversations with some of the naturists from the Arlington Nature Center.
Meanwhile in Maryland, Montgomery County celebrates Earth Day with volunteer activities hosted by parks, nonprofit and community groups, businesses, schools, and clubs every day of the month. You can sign up for a neighborhood cleanup project or create your own environmental initiative to tackle in your community. Highlights from the month include the Potomac Watershed Cleanup's 30th anniversary on April 14, the Anacostia Watershed Earth Day Cleanup on April 21, and the Earth Day Festival at the Brookside Gardens on April 22.