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Earth Day

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​​The annual Earth Day Festival has been cancelled, but the celebration lives on! The City of Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations and GIVE365, on behalf of the Earth Day Festival Committee and in partnership with the A2Zero initiative, have established this online resource: www.a2gov.org/earthday, that features all of the tools needed to celebrate our big, blue planet right now from home. Included is a variety of educational resources, videos, articles and activity challenges from a range of sources, suitable for many ages. The activities are mindful of what you may already have on hand, and are meant to guide you to connect with our natural world.  Remember to keep Earth Day as every day! 

“On Earth Day 2020, we seize all the tools and actions that we have, big and small, to change our lives and change our world, not for one day, but forever. While the coronavirus may force us to keep our distance, it will not force us to keep our voices down. The only thing that will change the world is a bold and unified demand for a new way forward. We may be apart, but through the power of digital media, we're also more connected than ever. While you may feel isolated, you're never alone, because we're all in this together, here on Earth." (from www.earthday.org)​​

Let's celebrate!

Learn more about the history of Earth Day as we celebrate all month long.

April 2020 marks the 50 year anniversary of Earth Day! The first international Earth Day celebration was April 22, 1970. You can thank Earth Day for helping keeping our nation’s air and water clean, protecting endangered species, and the creation of the EPA. In Ann Arbor, there was a week’s worth of events in March 1970 including teach-ins, exhibits, films, and workshops. Leftover funds from this celebration were used to launch the Ecology Center! Also around this time, the Environmental Education Network of Washtenaw (EENOW) was formed and hosted the first Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival at Leslie Science and Nature Center. This festival has been held in a variety of locations including the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, UM’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and Washtenaw Community College. Nowadays, the committee is comprised of people from various organizations including LSNC, The Ecology Center, Recycle Ann Arbor, GIVE365, The City of Ann Arbor Public Works Dept, Washtenaw County Parks, Elders for Climate Action, and Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice.

For more information on Earth Day and how you can celebrate, check out www.earthday.org

Listen to how Ann Arbor will achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Ann Arbor has the ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. To learn more about how Ann Arbor is planning on reaching this goal, and all of its other sustainability initiatives, tune in to this CTN episode of Green Room to listen to Dr. Missy Stults, the City’s Sustainability and Innovations manager, talk about the A2 Zero initiative. To learn more, visit A2Zero.org and get all the resources you need to create your own event about carbon neutrality!


Read​ the draft of Ann Arbor's Living Carbon Neutrality Plan.

Provide your own feedback and insights to sustainability@a2gov.org.

Quiz yourself!

Now that you've learned about the history of Earth Day and how Ann Arbor is doing its part to combat climate change, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test with an Earth Day quiz. Test your knowledge of environmental literacy, climate change, clean energy, deforestation and biodiversity, and more!

Connect with others.

What does Earth Day mean to you? Why is caring for the Earth important to you? Take a picture of your favorite things on Earth or how you are taking care of it. Send to volunteer@a2gov.org to be a part in a special collage. You can also fill out this form​- just submit a one-word answer for our word cloud!

Challenge yourself and reduce your waste.

From the Office of Sustainability and Innovations, comes a Waste Reduction Challenge! Last year, City of Ann Arbor employees competed to reduce their waste, win prizes, and learn about their habits. Compete against friends, family, or just challenge yourself to see how much you can complete. Share your progress to volunteer@a2gov.org or sustainability@a2gov.org. Please note that the dates and prize deadlines are from 2019 and no longer in effect.

Discuss with your friends and family.

Talk out the answers to these questions below. Connect with your friends and family to celebrate Earth Day together. For kids: if you have sidewalk chalk, write or draw your answers to the following questions. If not, draw or write your answers on paper. Take a picture and email to volunteer@a2gov.org or post to social media with the #a2earthday

  • What does Earth Day mean to you?
  • How will you celebrate this year? How have you celebrated Earth Day in the past?
  • What are some ways your family likes to spend time in nature? How do you feel when you are outside?
  • What are your favorite activities to do outdoors?
  • Are there any ways you can show Earth how you care for it?
  • Have you ever been in a bad mood, and felt “I just need to take a walk?” how did you feel after? If you felt better, what are some reasons?
  • Do you have a pet animal? How does it enjoy nature?


 

Activity Challenges

Each time you complete an activity, take a picture, and share with us! Send to volunteer@a2gov.org or post to social media with the hashtag #A2EarthDay. We would love to see how you are celebrating!

Activity Challenge #1

Get outside! Complete this scavenger hunt list by searching only outdoors. If you can't get outside, what can you observe from your window? Remember to keep to the CDC guidelines and stay 6ft away from others. The following are off-limits: playgrounds/play structures, game courts (basketball, tennis, pickleball), sport fields, golf courses, the Skatepark, disc golf courses, dog parks, BMX course and pavilions/shelters.

From: https://www.doinggoodtogether.org/bhf/nature-scavenger-hunt

Nature+Scavenger+Hunt.jfif 

Activity Challenge #2

Build a seed blaster! Spreading seeds can help grow flowers and plants in your backyard, or consider using birdseed to provide a snack for our feathered friends. Parents: always research before you spread- try seeds that are native to Michigan, or natural pollinators. Follow these steps. If you don’t have seeds at home, look for some plants that are already sprouting or blooming outside! Do you know what type of plant it is? Take a picture and share with us: volunteer@a2gov.org

Activity Challenge #3

Create your own fossils by pressing items that you found on your nature walk, like leaves, twigs and shells, into clay. Once the clay has hardened, you have a lasting memory of your time spent outside! You can also press leaves or flower petals in the pages of a notebook and see an imprint.

Activity Challenge #4

Composting is a fun and rewarding way to give back what we take from the Earth. Watch this video​​ from the Ecology Center that explains what compost is, how to start a pile, and how to start a worm bin! 

Complete this worksheet that explains what compost is and afterwards, cut out the items from page two of this worksheet and ask yourself: can it be composted or not? If you’re unsure, ask us! Email: volunteer@a2gov.org

Are you ready to start a compost pile? Before your family throws something away- ask if it can be composted and add it to your pile. Every week, mix the pile with a shovel (or ask for help) until it turns into a dirt-like texture. This process can take a couple months so be patient!

Activity #5

With the stockpile of toilet paper you may have at home, upcycle the empty rolls into a windsock craft. Take it outside and see how it flows through the wind or hang it outside your window and watch it dance! For other fun, simple ideas with toilet paper rolls, visit this website. 

Rainbow windsock toilet paper roll craft

Supplies:

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Blue paint
  • White paper
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Tissue paper in rainbow colors
  • String for hanging
  • Hole puncher

Activity Challenge #6

Write a thank you card. Encourage kids to write a thank you card for essential personnel, such as delivery people/postal workers, sanitation workers who continue trash and recycling pickup, or healthcare workers if you know any. If you don’t know any, write your thanks on a large piece of paper or cardboard. Add color and pictures then set on your front porch, or in your front window during pick up days. Share with a hashtag #ThankYouCoronavirusHeroes or email them to customerservice@a2gov.org to be shared with staff.

Activity Challenge #7

Start a “walk and wonder” journal, and spend time exploring outside while you draw what you see and use your senses to identify what you smell, hear or feel. Stay silent during a walk and write all your thoughts and wonders in the journal.

From AAPS Environmental Education Dept, try this meditation activity and write your thoughts in your journal:

  • Find a peaceful place where you can be alone or with family members who are participating in the listening exercise. This could be indoors near a window, on your front steps, or in a backyard.
  • Consider setting a goal for how long you will listen. Maybe you start with three minutes and work your way up, if you decide to try this again on another day.
  • Get comfortable and close your eyes. Take deep breaths. Focus your attention on the sounds around you.
  • Pay attention to both loud and soft sounds, near and far. Notice sounds that come and go or change while you are listening. Try not to let your mind wander. Just focus on listening.
  • Afterwards you can discuss or journal about the sounds you noticed. Were there any sounds that were surprising?  Did you notice any nature sounds? Did any sounds make you wonder about something that you’d like to research?

Activity Challenge #8

Make a bag out of an old t-shirt! This is a no-sew method to make an old t-shirt into a reusable bag. Follow these steps and let us know how it turned out. Also try making a dog toy! Are they any other items that you don’t use in your home that you can up-cycle?

Activity Challenge #9

Make a paper mache Earth (or another favorite shape!) Some of our favorite things to make out of paper mache are bowls, a favorite animal, or a birdfeeder you can paint and hang outside. Follow these steps to make paper mache and how to make an Earth. For a substitution for a balloon, find an old ball you may not use anymore!

Children making paper mache globes 

Activity Challenge #10

Choose your own adventure! Visit Michigan DNR site of Natural and Historical Resources for Home. Complete an activity and let us know which one you choose and how it turned out! Email volunteer@a2gov.org or share on social media with the tag #a2earthday