Much like the grassroots campaign known as Earth Hour (which was celebrated only for the third time on Saturday, March 28 — with a goal of reaching more than 1 billion people — in which people all across the globe turned out the lights in a stance against global warming), Earth Day started small, with big goals.
For 39 years now, along with a sense of renewal and rebirth, spring — and, specifically, April 22 — has also brought Earth Day. Founded in 1970 by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and organized by businessman Denis Hayes, it is a day set aside to give all people a chance to both actively celebrate the earth, while advocating for its protection and for sustainable practices. More than a billion people worldwide participate in Earth Day Network campaigns each year.
This year, many will be participating locally, with the following events:
Saturday, April 18/>
For those looking to celebrate with fun outdoor activities, the Salisbury Zoo will be hosting their Earth Day event on Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. There is a 5K run/walk through the zoo and the surrounding park that starts at 9 a.m. and there will be more than 30 exhibitors participating, all with their own environmental message or product.
“It’s a carnival-type day,” said Zoo Education Curator Leonora Dillon. “There will be a concession area, a bouncy house, a scavenger hunt of sorts where the kids will have to answer questions to receive a goody bag and a tree sapling, as supplies last.”
She added that some zoo animals will be invited to roam among the visitors, and people will be able to ask questions about certain species. Also, the American Zoo Association, or AZA, will have information about “saving the frogs,” and there will be a discovery station about turtles — specifically the Diamondback terrapin, as this year’s theme of the Earth Day celebration at the zoo is “The Diamondback Terrapin.”
As always, it is free to enter the zoo, but donations are accepted. There will be a nominal charge for the concession activities and some of the games. For more information on the 5K, which starts at the east entrance, or to register for the race, visit www.salisbuyzoo.com or call Mary Seemann at (410) 860-6880, ext. 8. Registration costs $18, or $20 the day of the race, and is sponsored by Vernon Powell Shoes.
Other area events include an Earth Day Delight birding trip on Saturday, April 18, at Cape Henlopen State Park from 8 to 11:30 a.m.
From 11 a.m. to noon, there will be Earth Day Delight: Salt Marsh Saunter, in which participants can hike through the maritime forest. From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., there will be an Earth Day Delight: Snakes, Turtles and Mother Earth presentation, in which people can learn about the roles they play in keeping the planet healthy. The cost for each is $3 per person.
Cape Henlopen State Park is located at 42 Cape Henlopen Drive. For more information, call the Nature Center at (302) 645-6852 or the park office at (302) 645-8983.
Also, on Saturday, April 18, at 9 a.m., at Killens Pond State Park in Felton, there will be an Earth Day celebration hosted by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority. This ninth annual celebration will include fun activities for all, including hayrides, inflatables, arts and crafts, demonstrations from local artists and more.
Killens Pond State Park is located at 5025 Killens Pond Road in Felton, Del. For more information, call the Nature Center at (302) 284-4299 or the park office at (302) 284-4526.
Saturday, April 25
On Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., at Trap Pond State Park in Laurel, there will be an Earth Day Canoe Trail Cleanup to remove logs and trash and to re-post signs on canoe trails.
The park advises participants to bring their own water, work gloves and clothes that can get muddy and wet, and they will provide the tools, canoes, personal flotation devices and paddling instruction. They also advise to call ahead to reserve a spot, as space is limited.
Trap Pond State Park is located at 33587 Baldcypress Lane in Laurel. For more information, call the Nature Center at (302) 875-5163 or the park office at (302) 875-5153.
Locally, Good Earth Market in Clarksville will host its Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be a food tasting, information provided on sustainable living and solar energy, plus activities for children. For more information on this and other upcoming events at the market, visit www.goodearthmarket.com.