When the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, America's natural landscape seemed under siege. There was not yet an EPA, and key environmental regulations like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act were in their infancies. The previous year, in Ohio, an oil spill—and decades of unchecked pollution—caused the Cuyahoga River to catch fire, and not even for the first time. Here in Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was just two years old. We've come a long way since then—or maybe we haven't—but one thing is for sure, it's always a good idea to spend some time in nature. So whether that means a hike in the woods, attending a street festival, or rolling up your sleeves for a stream cleanup, we've got an local Earth Day event to help you connect with Mother Earth.
Patterson Park hosts a park cleanup beginning at 9 a.m. Participants should meet at the white house prepared to mulch trees, pick up trash and leaves, garden, and edge walkways.
Oregon Ridge Nature Center marks Earth Day with a "Love Your Mother Earth" celebration with trail cleanup and a tree-hugging contest complete with prizes. Event is free and runs Saturday and Sunday from 1-3 p.m.
Carrie Murray Nature Center in Leakin Park will host an all-ages "Clean up the Gwynns Falls Trail" event on Saturday from 12-2 p.m.
Civic Works, a local job-training and sustainability nonprofit, invites volunteers to its campus in Clifton Park for several Earth Day activities from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Volunteers can help mulch pathways, plant new trees, remove invasive plants, build a pollinator garden, or assemble decorative mosaic stepping stones.
Druid Hill Park will host its monthly 4th Saturday workday from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Come prepared to clear debris/leaves/trash off the paths and mulch a garden (in preparation for next weekend's Charm City Bluegrass Festival).
Pigtown will host its 5th annual Bloom the Boulevard on Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Attendees are invited to help collect litter, plant flowers and trees, and spread mulch along the 700-1300 blocks of Washington Boulevard. Participation will earn you a $10 credit toward your city stormwater fee, and there will be an after party at Cheat Day Bar & Grill.
Blue Water Baltimore, Baltimore City's watershed watchdog group, will host several events, including a cleanup at Herring Run Park on Saturday, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and a make-your-own rain barrel workshop at Herring Run Nursery from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Many of these cleanup events are part of Project Clean Stream, a bay-wide effort to collect 100,000 pounds of trash from local waterways by June 9. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has an interactive map that lists all area cleanup sites and events.
And next weekend, on April 29 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., is the Mayor's annual Spring Cleanup. Participating residents can earn credits toward their stormwater fee. Communities and individuals are encouraged to register by calling 311.
Concurrent with Pigtown's Bloom the Boulevard, the neighborhood will host its annual Flower Sale offering annuals and perennials for gardens or planters. Everything is under $7.
Herring Run Nursery is Blue Water Baltimore's native plant nursery, and a great local resource for eco-conscious gardeners. In honor of Earth Day, the nursery will be giving away native species of trees to its customers on Saturday morning (while supplies last). There will also be 250 native species of trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, and plants for sale. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
University of Maryland Baltimore is throwing its 2nd annual Neighborhood Spring Festival, Saturday, April 22, 2017, on the 800 Block of W. Baltimore Street, from 11a.m.-2 p.m. Festivities will include live music and dance performances, taekwondo and outdoor zumba, local food and craft vendors, and Earth Day activities, as well as free health and dental screenings, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, mental health resources, and legal advice.
Scenic Rivers Land Trust and the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks are partnering for the 12th Annual Walk for the Woods on Saturday. From 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the public is invited to the Bacon Ridge Natural Area in Crownsville for feature guided hikes, educational programming, and a chance to explore the county owned property that is not always open to the public. The event is free and dogs are welcome after 10 a.m. Rain date is Sunday, April 23.
After the grownups finish tidying up Patterson Park, kids can convene at the playground at 10 a.m. for fun and games.
Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School in Locust Point will host a free Earth Day Mommy and Me class on Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The event is geared toward children ages 2-5 who are not already enrolled in the school. There will be a craft, snack, and playground activities.