Earth Day is a 46-year tradition designed to show Mother Earth some love.
People can plan an eco-friendly project of their own (plant a tree and turn off a light bulb), but local towns and groups are also hosting Earth Day events all month, including the Bethany Beach Nature Center, in Fenwick Island, at the Indian River Life-Saving Station, in Millsboro and in South Bethany.
The events range from planting good stuff to throwing away bad stuff, or just taking a moment to appreciate the local ecosystem.
Bethany Beach festival
Bethany Beach Nature Center will host its Fifth Annual Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 16.
The family-friendly event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, at the Nature Center at 807 Garfield Parkway, next to Grotto Pizza on Route 26.
Special displays include Liz and her Raptors, the Fish Mobile with interactive exhibits, Eric Energy and his Science Spectacular Show, plus the regular nature trail, science displays and playground.
Kids should dress for the weather and bring a few dollars for snacks.
Fenwick Island cleanup
Fenwick is joining the Earth Day lineup this year with a town cleanup. Volunteers will meet at Town Hall on Friday, April 22, at 9 a.m.
Cleanup equipment will be provided, but guests should dress for the weather. Breakfast refreshments will be provided beforehand at Town Hall.
The first 50 participants will receive a commemorative tumbler. Afterward, volunteers can win drawings for door prizes.
The event is hosted by the Environmental Committee of Fenwick Island.
Indian River Life-Saving Station events
Delaware State Parks is digging into Earth Day, as the Indian River Life-Saving Station hosts events all day Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Children get to participate in a beach cleanup, followed by an “upcycling” craft.
Meanwhile, a park naturalist will teach adults about coastal native plants and lead them in planting and “sprucing up” the flower beds around the museum. People can bring gardening gloves if they’d like.
Families can come out for the full day, or just a few hours. Volunteers should dress to get dirty, bring water to drink and wear sunscreen.
The rain date is April 30. The Life-Saving Station is located on Route 1, north of the Indian River Inlet Bridge.
For more information or to pre-register, people should contact Volunteer Coordinator Lee Temby at Lee.email@example.com or (302) 227-6991.
Pre-registration is being strongly encouraged, since programs are first-come, first-served.
Millsboro’s blessing of the river
The Indian River has flowed through Millsboro memory for centuries. To honor and inspire a cleaner river, resident Dotty LeCates has planned a Blessing of the River on Friday, April 22, at 10 a.m.
The public and local dignitaries will gather at Cupola Park, including state legislators, the town’s mayor and representatives of the Inland Bays Foundation and Delaware Center for Inland Bays.
The one-hour event includes guest speakers and a tree planting by the Millsboro Garden Club, as well as coffee and cookies.
“I live on the river. We can no longer eat the fish. We can’t swim the river. We can no longer boat [because of silting],” Lecates said.
“It’s time to start taking care of our rivers,” she added. “This is just like a football game. This is the kickoff.”
She also called the event “an opportunity to start celebrating and honoring the Native Americans,” the original people of the river, said Lecates. “I have a real fondness for our native brothers and sisters. … They live on the north side of the river. I live on the south side.”
South Bethany garden planting
South Bethany aims for eco-friendly beautification by planting a garden each year. The Fourth Annual Earth Day Celebration there is Tuesday, April 19, at 9 a.m.
Guests should wear gardening attire and bring gloves and a shovel to the Route 1 canal end between Henlopen Drive and Brandywine Drive. Public Works will till the land and provide the plants.
People can park on either side-road, but not the highway. The event should last about 90 minutes.
“Earth Day is about giving back to the earth,” said Sue Callaway, head of South Bethany’s Community Enhancement Committee, which sponsored the project as a way to reduce stormwater runoff and make South Bethany more attractive.
“It gives us an opportunity to feature the [Adopt-A-Canal End] program, and it shows the Town’s commitment and CEC’s commitment to doing this,” Callaway said. “The part that I love is we get volunteers and community members involved, and they feel like they can take part in improving South Bethany.”
They also take ownership and pride in their town.
“We find that really true of people that are down here, … they feel really strongly about South Bethany and they really like it,” said Callaway.