By Meghan E. Gattignolo
Believe it or not, Earth Day turns 53 next Saturday, April 22! Chances are, commemorating Earth Day was a part of your own childhood, whether that was with an art project in school or learning about recycling with your family. Why not pass those experiences on to the next generation by creating more meaningful moments? Participating in activities that involve caring for the environment, even if they’re small, will have a lasting impact on kids through fostering a sense of community involvement with the entire world. Not just an American event, Earth Day is celebrated with acts of volunteerism in 193 countries. Need help getting started? Read on to discover great activities to do together this Earth Day!
Get Your Hands Dirty Together
Even if you don’t think you have a green thumb, gardening is an immersive way to spend hours of fun together. No matter what age or interest level, you might be surprised how gardening can appeal to your kids. Little ones especially love getting their hands dirty. The science-lovers will enjoy discussing photosynthesis and how soil helps plants grow. Artistic kids will love picking out and arranging colorful plants to decorate the patio. Find alternative ways to grow plants, create beautiful planters from used containers, learn how to compost together or make a game out of learning how to garden sustainably. For bonus points, research wildflowers native to Tennessee to include in your garden – especially ones that attract bees and butterflies! Check out this great resource for more tips and ideas for gardening with your kids.
Show Some Love for the Animals
Nothing brightens a child’s face more than taking care of an animal. Little children love feeding goats at the petting zoo, watching a bird nip at seeds in a birdhouse or feeding a pet dog. Why not use that excitement to teach about Earth Day and create a project around caring for animals in a way that’s helpful to the environment? Healthy native animals are critical to maintaining our natural habitat. Research together some sustainable ways to support the animals that may live around you. You can learn to make healthy sugar water to support hummingbirds, or plant flowers that support wildlife. Also, you can teach kids the importance of how to properly dispose of trash so that it doesn’t pose a potential threat to wildlife, such as cutting the plastic rings that come with packs of soda cans. Kids will feel good knowing they’re helping local animals.
Learn About the City’s Impact on Nature
An important part of Earth Day is remembering how humans affect nature simply by living near animal habitats. Urban development is constantly growing in Clarksville as our population increases, and the effect on wildlife is huge. Discuss these changes together as you take a walk through Dunbar Cave State Park. Informational plaques around the pond area discuss how soil run-off from development affects the water habitat home to several kinds of animals. Creating natural spaces for wildlife is of increasing importance in Clarksville. Parks provide a wonderful place to enjoy and support nature in urban areas. For more fun learning opportunities, check out the protected wetlands tour at Liberty Park.
Take a Trip to the Museum!
Last but not least, check out what the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center has going on this Earth Day! Possibly the most fun you will have all Earth Day long, crafts and family activities will be waiting for you from 11am to 1pm. Get there early so you don’t miss a moment. Appreciate the planet as a family by learning about water pollution, make a beautiful Earth-themed windsock and more!
Happy Earth Day, and we hope to see you there!
Meghan E. Gattignolo is a freelance writer and longtime Clarksville, TN resident. She loves to obsess about historical subjects and annoy her family daily with unsolicited random facts. Meghan holds a History B.A. from Austin Peay State University and lives in town with her husband and two daughters.