Celebrate. Explore. Act. That’s what the folks at Acorn Naturalists like to do on each Earth Day. We hold the old adage, “everyday is Earth Day,” close to our hearts, and also acknowledge that it is nice to have one specific day each year to recenter our intentions and connection to the land beneath our feet. Whether it’s Earth Day or “Earth Year” for you, we have lots of ideas.
How are you celebrating Earth Day this month? This spring? Here are five ways to celebrate, explore, and act. Let us know how it goes in the comments below, or if you have additional ideas to share. We’d love to hear from you!
You could have predicted this action item for Earth Day fun. Why not find a nearby park to explore? Can you bring along a magnifying glass and a nature journal, in case some curiosities find their way into your adventure?
You can also look up what native land this local or city park is currently residing on, and consider learning more about that specific community near you. Many native communities offer opportunities for people to contribute to their own local efforts. For example, you can calculate your “native land tax” and pay it forward to the indigenous communities who have been in your local area for centuries.
A great example of this is the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, which is a women-led Indigenous land trust based in the San Francisco Bay Area. They call on native and non-native peoples to heal together and “rematriate the land.”
Make Wildflower Seed Balls
These are a great activity and can be done with kids of all ages too. All you need is some clay, compost, and seeds. Cookie cutters are a bonus if you want to make these seed balls in fun shapes too. Before you begin, head to your local native nursery and see what native wildflowers grow in your area. Usually a quick search for “local nursery” will connect you with a place where you can also ask questions about what native wildflowers are in your area. Conversely, you can research all this online and order native seeds right to your door!
Most “recipes” for this recommend 5 parts clay to 3 parts compost to 1 part seeds. Depending on how many wildflower seed balls you’d like to make, for example, you could combine 5 tablespoons clay, 3 tablespoons compost, and 1 tablespoon of seeds. If you don’t have compost, a simple potting soil will do. Combine all three ingredients in a mixing bowl before adding water until the texture is sticky. Then form into shapes with cookie cutters, or leave as small circles!
You can also specialize these seed balls by making “Butterfly Friends” seed balls. Research native butterfly plants in your area, and purchase those seeds. If giving away as gifts, encourage your friends to plant in a pot outside or a small backyard space, if able.
Pro tip: let these dry overnight before putting them in little bags to give away. The clay needs to dry otherwise it will be an extra sticky mess.
Sign a Petition for Equity & Parks
There are so many online petitions and they take a couple of moments to research before taking action. We love this Earth Month Pledge that the Trust for Public Land brought to our awareness. Communities need park funding, and you can tell your local Representative that you are “All in for Outdoors.”
The Parks, Jobs, and Equity Act is a $500 million emergency investment to bring more parks to more people in more places. This would be a historic investment in our parks and our communities.
Plant a Tree
So you may have predicted this action item too, but it’s a classic “Earth Day action” for a reason! This is a great opportunity for educators, families, schools, and other educational groups to connect a group of people to each other and the land. If planning ahead for next year, research a native tree or plant in your area. If you are in California, and many states, an “acorn to oaks” project can be a year-round project with your students or family. Acorns need to be planted in the fall and watered throughout winter (unless there is ample rain) before they are removed from their pots and planted in the soil in the following fall.
Acorn Naturalists is based in southern California, and native oaks are vital parts of the ecosystem. Last fall, we planted two additional Coast Live Oak trees (our favorite) and it is such a small action that goes a long way.
Read Earth Day Books
Everyday is Earth Day, which means that it is always a great time to learn more and lean into all the knowledge and wonder that our blue planet offers.
We’ve been loving All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they are too often missing from the proverbial table. More than a problem of bias, it’s a dynamic that sets us up for failure. To change everything, we need everyone.
We like to give back too, so through September 2021, anything you purchase through our NAAEE Bookstore will go to supporting environmental education programs. It’s one small way that we can support the programs and actions we believe in.
Wherever you are, Happy Earth Day and Happy Earth Month and Happy Earth Year! Let’s celebrate, explore, and act, together.