IMPORTANT: Due to the COVID-19 virus, the Baltimore Earth Day 2020 festival at Oregon Ridge has been postponed until April 2021. We are constantly updating this page to help you celebrate EARTH DAY ANYWAY at home!
Celebrate Earth Day Anyway!
Earth Day connected millions on its first observance in 1970 and is now a global effort. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is a momentous time to continue and strengthen the efforts to restore the natural resources of the world in which we live, now and for future generations.
It is essential that we maintain connected to the spirit of Earth Day, especially as we are now being called to "Think Globally, Act Locally" for the sake of public health.
We invite you to celebrate Earth Day Anyway throughout the month of April with our curated list of actions you can perform from home. Together, our individual actions will add up to a better tomorrow.
Watch an environmental movie (or two)
- The Environmental Film Festival of the Nation's Capital is streaming a selection of its 2020 Festival schedule through March 31. The films include ones with a Chesapeake Bay focus, such as "A Voice for the Rivers: The Riverkeepers of Maryland's Eastern Shore" and "We Will Stay."
Inspire the next generation
- Cloud watch with your children- make a game of it- who can see the most faces?
- Learn about Maryland's birds with Lights Out Baltimore's coloring pages for American woodcock, Baltimore Oriole, Cooper's Hawk, and Ruby-throated hummingbird. Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds page to see what each species looks like, then learn about their natural history and distribution, as well as listen to their calls.
Clean Up Your Neighborhood
- Scoop the poop. Nearly a quarter of of the bacteria that pollutes our urban and suburban waterways can be attributed to pet waste. Check out the Maryland Department of the Environment's "Scoop the Poop" page for helpful resources like a yard sign, handout, and pledge.
- Pledge to (safely) pick up trash in your neighborhood. The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy (GVC) is encouraging people to coordinate their own family stream/trash-clean up as part of its spring Better Waterways clean-ups. Contact Darcy Herman, GVC Associate Program Manager, with how many bags of trash you picked up, as well as photos of any interesting finds!
Become more Bay-Wise
Stormwater runoff is one of the leading causes of water pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. Learn how you can take small steps to make your property Bay-Wise and support clean water in our local creeks, streams, and ultimately the Bay.
- The University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener's Bay-Wise Landscaping program promotes "Better Water Quality Through Smarter Gardening" throughout Maryland. View their list of Bay-Wise practices for homeowners.
- Learn where your water flows. Visit Baltimore County My Neighborhood and enter your home address. Scroll down to the "Environmental" section to identify your home watershed. For example, if you live in Perry Hall and are in the Bird River watershed, then the rain from your property flows to neighborhood creeks, to Bird River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.
- Plant native flowers to support pollinators. Native plants are beautiful, require less maintenance, and provide food and shelter to native wildlife. Purchase 12 native plants and create a 3 ft x 3 ft native plant garden in your yard!
- Visit GVC's native plant and Bayscape pages for information and resources. We highly recommend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping manual.
- Direct Native Plants is still offering online sales of their inventory. They are the retail section of American Native Plants based in Middle River. (as of March 25)
- Herring Run Nursery (Baltimore) is currently closed but you can browse their anticipated 2020 plant inventory (as of March 25)
- Chesapeake Natives (Upper Marlboro) is updating its website to allow for online orders that will be picked up at the nursery as a drive-thru. (as of March 25)
We're happy to share additional native plant vendor information here. If you are affiliated with such a company in the greater Baltimore area, send your information to Amy Young.
Engage in spiritual practices
- Seek inspiration from a Creation Care Calendar: Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake offers a Creation Care Calendar as a faithful guide to 30 Days of spiritual reflection and action suggestions. You can print it out and post it on your refrigerator, by your computer or on your desk. Even though you can not gather at your place of worship you can still venture outside to rejoice in God’s gift of our great beautiful Earth that is bursting with Spring grandeur.
- Connect to Mother Gaia with a free guided meditation download from Mare Cromwell, an award-winning author and Gaia Communicator and Priestess. Mare described it as "a rather healing and powerful way to connect with our Mother Gaia to be in more sacred relationship with her. And Mother is the Ultimate Healer... and we humans need all the healing energy we can get during these interesting times."
- Forge a connection with a Tree or Plant Ally with a a guided breathing session from Heather Engman (Song From the Trees), a DC-based shamanic herbalist. Heather kindly shared this exercise specifically for Earth Day Anyway.
- Take a Spiritual Nature Walk and observe the interdependence of God’s Creation. Use Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake's Spiritual Nature Walk guide.
Observe the Nature in your backyard
- Browse field guides and nature apps. Now is a great time to slow down and learn about the plants and wildlife in your backyard! Take a picture and/or write down notes. Hopefully these resources can help point you in the right direction.
- Field guides, including A Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Forests and Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas.
- The Seek app by iNaturalist uses image recognition technology to identify species. "Drawing from millions of wildlife observations on iNaturalist, Seek shows you lists of commonly recorded insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and more in your area."
- Start a nature journal. Pick up a pencil and start a regular practice of observing the outdoors from the comfort of your home. What do you hear? See? Wonder about? The National Wildlife Federation and Chesapeake Bay Foundation have some good suggestions on how to start journaling.
- Become a Citizen Scientist
- Document plastic pollution with the Earth Challenge 2020 app
- Observe when plants flower to help scientists understand plants' response to climate change with Budburst
- Become a bird watcher with Celebrate Urban Birds and learn how to report bird observations (even when you don't see any birds!)
- Map Maryland's invasive plant species with the Statewide Eyes Initiative
- Document light pollution by looking for specific constellations in the night sky with Globe at Night
And much, much more!
We've just begun to compile our Earth Day Anyway list and will be updating it on a regular basis. Stay tuned for information about climate change, land conservation, recycling, plastic pollution, and much, much more.