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Let's celebrate the Earth together!

Written by Davita Flowers-Shanklin
    Monday, 11 April 2022
Let's celebrate the Earth together!

Spring in Wisconsin is the time of year when you can have warm, sunny weather one day, and snow the next. For the last few years, I have come to expect snow leading up to Earth Day, April 22nd. I often wonder why Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who was from Wisconsin, would pick such an unpredictable time to celebrate the earth. But then I remember that it doesn’t really matter what the weather is, Earth day is a day for us to connect with the earth, however, it is presenting that day. Spring is about change and growth, and sometimes that means snow in April.

We know that 52 years ago the first Earth Day was celebrated and has continued to be an important day for communities to come together to take care of, and celebrate the earth! We also know that Earth Day has been celebrated in all sorts of ways, from classes and workshops to cleanups and large-scale events. Whatever way you choose to celebrate Earth Day is wonderful and important.

earthweek wateringThis year, Earth Day’s theme, thanks to Earthday.org is “Invest in our Planet” which is encouraging everyone to take action in some way to combat climate change and the environmental destruction taking place. “We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably)” to build an equitable future for everyone (earthday.org).

Earth Day has always been an interesting idea to me. I love having a day dedicated to us thinking about the planet and I know that we need to think about the Earth for more than one day a year. Luckily for us, the Urban Ecology Center’s mission is to connect people in cities to nature and each other and I think Earth Day fits right in with that. We are working to celebrate the earth, the land, the sky, the city, the country. We are excited about connecting with people who also want to connect with the earth. And why celebrate Earth day just on one day, when you can celebrate with us all week long?!

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Last year, this group of volunteers helped pick up litter at Riverside during Earth Week. 

Earth Week 2022 is going to be a wonderful week, full of so many different volunteer activities and programs. Everything that we do at the Urban Ecology Center is in celebration of the earth so you won’t see many programs with earth day as a theme, but rather you will see lots of ways to volunteer with us! Check out our dedicated Earth Week page that is showcasing all of our volunteer opportunities for the week. We focus on volunteering for Earth day as it is the best time for us to get a ton of volunteers in to work on the land and support our parks. We are working on projects that will support the health and biodiversity of the parks, set up community gardens, and help us get our equipment ready for the season. We have decided to extend those activities over a week, rather than just one day, to allow for more people to attend and to have more offerings. Join us if you can!

If you are looking for other ways to celebrate earth day, check out Earthday.org for more information. I hope you are able to get outside. Below is a list of some ways you can celebrate the earth on your own if you don’t want to join a group celebration:

  • When going for walks in your neighborhood, pick up trash
  • Backyard Bird watching
  • Make bird feeders and bird houses
  • Do a plant bud study and take notes and drawings of buds in your yard as they grow
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Go without turning on the lights for the whole day
  • Start a compost bin
  • Pull garlic mustard from your yard
  • Plant native trees
  • Add native plant species to your home garden
  • Build a brush pile for wildlife
  • Install a bat house
  • Build a habitat for your favorite backyard animal
  • Keep your cat inside or pit a bell on it to help keep birds safe
  • Put nature window clings on windows in your home for bird safety
  • Sign up for ebird and record bird species you see in your backyard or local park
  • Make recycled art
  • Read about environmental justice and other environmental issues of today
Davita Flowers-Shanklin

Davita Flowers-Shanklin

A Milwaukee Native, Davita’s love for nature came from her time spent in her neighborhood park (Washington Park), the summers spent at camp, and visiting family in the Rocky Mountains. Davita’s dreams spanned from swimming with dolphins as a marine biologist, trekking into the great savannas of Africa as a big cat vet, and breathing in lots of old dust as a Egyptologist. Dreams change, Davita got her B.A. from Macalester College and M.S. from the University of Oregon, both degrees in environmental studies with concentrations in biology, ecological restoration, and environmental justice. She loves to travel and work outside. She has two cats and loves going to the movies.

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