Celebrate Earth Day in Fun Ways!

When a polluted river caught fire about 50 years ago, Americans were called to into action and vowed to take better care of our natural resources. We have been celebrating Earth Day annually on April 22 since 1970. 

Why should YOU celebrate? Why should you CARE? 

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

“The Lorax” is one of my favorite books to read when I’m hosting fall field trips for school children because it reminds us that everyone, no matter how big or how small, has a role to play in protecting our environment. I had characters from the book made into signs, which are hidden throughout the Enchanted Forest. I lead groups on nature hikes as we search for characters and other items on a “scavenger hunt” list.

Many of the hands-on activities we host at Enchanted Acres also have the same goal in mind. Today I’m sharing with you three ideas:

  1. Recycling Relay
  2. Nature Walk
  3. Growing plants from seeds

As a Girl Scout leader, I looked for ways to make caring for the environment relevant to kids of all ages. One year I set up a recycling relay. Girls were divided into two teams. There was a series of containers at the end of each “racing lane” for: (1) Trash, (2) Recycling, and (3) Compost. Each team was given a box of the same items to sort: newspapers, plastic milk jugs, aluminum cans, banana peel, etc. Even if you don’t want to do a relay, you can help your kids get into the habit of recycling by having them help you sort the recyclables. Kids can learn how to reduce waste in the landfill while practicing fine motor skills.

Nature walks also are a popular Girl Scout activity. As a lifelong Girl Scout, I guess it’s only natural that I would make them apart of the activities offered at Enchanted Acres. We host group Nature Scavenger Hunts when groups request them, but you can easily do this on your own. There are so many great parks to explore across North Iowa! A few of my favorite include MacIntosh Woods State Park by Clear Lake, Lime Creek Nature Center near Mason City, and Beed’s Lake State Park in Hampton.

You can find lots of ideas, and you can even print many adorably designed Natural Scavenger Hunt Lists online. Here are a few ideas for those of you who want to create your own list:

  1.  Acorn
  2. Pinecone
  3. Unique rock
  4. Wildflower
  5. Stick shaped like a letter
  6. Animal tracks
  7. Nest
  8. Feather

There is so much to see in nature! We will soon be planting flowers and pumpkin seeds at Enchanted Acres. Your kids can discover the magic of watching seeds and plants grow, too. Here’s a link to a blog post about planting seeds in a clear cup and watching them sprout and grow into seedlings.   

April is National Gardening Month, so you can celebrate that by starting a few seeds inside your house. Many local greenhouses and nurseries will be opening soon, too. Perhaps you and your family will be inspired to plant a tree this year in celebration of Earth Day.