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.
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On Sunday, April 14, 2019, 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 2019 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 13, 2019, 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 13, 2019, which will celebrate its 31th year at over 270 sites along the Potomac River in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia.
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The Smithsonian's National Zoo will commemorate Earth Day with green-themed activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 22, 2018. During the "Earth Optimism Day" celebration, you can sample bird-friendly coffee, learn about conservation, attend special demonstrations, and talk to green leaders in the community.
If you're looking for a more plant-themed day, check out an Earth Day tree tour at the United States Botanic Garden on April 20, 2018, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This outdoor adventure will be lead by a gardening expert, who will point out native D.C. trees.
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From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2019, the city of Alexandria with host its annual Alexandria Earth Day Festival on the Lenny Harris Memorial Fields at Braddock Park. Featuring a fashion show with recycled materials, 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 in the past have included 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.
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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 talks about climate change, an Earth Day breakfast, Ecofit yoga, and a park cleanup at Bon Air Park Shelter. Learn more about all these events here. EarthFest at Arlington Mill Community and Senior Center on April 17 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 on April 13, the Anacostia Watershed Earth Day Cleanup on April 13, and the Montgomery County GreenFest at Brookside Gardens on April 28.