By Callista Popp
This year, Earth Day falls on Friday, April 22, 2022. This holiday originated in 1970 as a holiday dedicated to educating people about how their wasteful habits were harming the environment. Today, Earth Day represents this initial premise, and now includes different community efforts to improve and protect our environment.
Also celebrated in April, Arbor Day shares this mission of doing excellent work to improve the environment. This day, which falls on Friday, April 29 this year, encourages tree planting worldwide. Planting a tree in honor of a loved one is the most popular way to celebrate this holiday. Arbor Day was first celebrated on April 10, 1872, making this year the 150th celebration!
Both holidays’ missions complement PHS’s commitment to promoting sustainability and creating healthier living environments for everyone. From planting trees to building butterfly feeders, there are activities for people of all ages to participate in this year to honor Mother Nature. Here’s how you can get involved.
Make an impact on your local community’s environment this Arbor Day. Volunteer to help plant over 1,500 trees in local neighborhoods in and around Philadelphia. Tim Ifill, Director of Trees at PHS says, “planting days are so rejuvenating” because the newly planted trees will help the neighborhood “maintain a healthy environment and residents live more healthy lifestyles.”
Plus, people of all ages are welcome to participate! In fact, children 8 years old and up are encouraged to get involved. Not only do they learn to appreciate trees, but they also get to see the trees grow over the years. If your child is under 16 years old, they will need a guardian to accompany them. If they are over 16 years old, they may volunteer unaccompanied, but a parent will need to approve their unaccompanied participation on their volunteer sign-in form.
PHS Tree Tenders Spring Basic Training is a four-part webinar series in May where participants learn about the importance of trees, as well as proper tree planting and tree care techniques. The class also focuses on community-building techniques and how trees play a role in maintaining a healthy community. Ifill welcomes people of all ages to experience the program. He also notes that participants come from many different backgrounds. “They all care about making their neighborhoods better," he says. “You will leave this program with a newfound appreciation for trees and your local community.”
You’ll need: washable green and brown paint, 1 paintbrush, and 1 piece of paper.
Start by painting the tree trunk on a piece of paper using brown paint. Next, help your child paint their hands with green paint. (Be careful, this could get messy!) Let your child press their hands all around the paper and tree trunk to create their tree. As you and your child do this craft together, discuss the importance of Earth Day and Arbor Day.
Set up your butterfly feeder and fill it with butterfly food — a sugar-water mixture and slices of fruit are popular menu items. Next, locate the perfect spot in your backyard or garden to hang the feeder. Tip: butterflies prefer moderately shady areas with flowers nearby. Place your butterfly feeder close to a window. This way, you can watch the butterflies munch away without disturbing them. Once you find the perfect place, hang up your feeder and watch the butterflies fly by for a bite to eat!
Many universities host a plethora of Earth Day-themed activities. If you are a college student, check out the Earth Day activities on campus. No on-campus Earth Day celebrations at your university? Organize a group of friends to clean up litter around your outdoor campus environment.
PHS works with local gardeners to maintain thriving community gardens across the Philadelphia area. This Earth Day, take your family to your local community garden and discover what is growing in the garden. Everyone will get to witness the value of growing fresh produce. Locate your community garden here.
The Philadelphia region hosts over 300 different bird species. Explore Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park or John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge for a chance at seeing some amazing birds. Please remember to respect the birds and their natural habitat throughout your adventure. Find more information on bird watching in Philadelphia here.
This Earth Day, make a commitment to improving our environment and practicing sustainability. At PHS, that is our goal every day of the year. We hope you will choose to join us in our mission.