From foot races to scavenger hunts, state departments, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and others are hosting events online and in person over the next week to celebrate Earth Day Thursday.
Earth Day’s 2021 theme, Restore Our Earth, examines natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems, according to earthday.org.
While many programs will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s plenty of opportunity to head outside. Visit Parks and Trails for Health, or PATH, a new initiative designed to encourage physical activity in North Carolina’s parks, greenways, and other outdoor spaces. PATH encourages physical activity and promotes diverse experiences around the state, according to the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
While outdoors, snap a photo and share it on social media with the tag #NCEarthDay for the social media photo challenge, which began Monday. Get outdoors with #NCPATH and count down to Earth Day with a daily photo challenge.
On the Outer Banks, Coastal Environmental Educators Network, or CEEN, is celebrating Earth Day through a scavenger hunt.
From Saturday, April 15, to Sunday, April 25, participants of all ages can complete a scavenger hunt that takes them to various venues around the Outer Banks to see and learn what makes this natural environment so special. Download the activity booklet from nccoast.org/obxplorations
Participants can travel to sites of their choice to complete an assortment of activities ranging from beach cleanups to tie dying. There are many activities that can be complete at home as well, organizers said.
Submit completed activity responses to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 26 and be entered to win a prize.
CEEN is an organization formed in 2014 by a group of educators representing a variety of federal and state agencies, and other nongovernmental organizations. The group works to increase the knowledge and understanding of the unique marine environment of the Outer Banks.
Partnering organizations and CEEN members for this Earth Day event include North Carolina Coastal Federation, Coastal Studies Institute, Jennette’s Pier, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research, Hatteras Island Ocean Center, National Park Service and Outer Banks Arboretum.
The following events are scheduled to celebrate Earth Day:
- Triangle SciTech Expo 2021 April 19-24 with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Scientists and technical professionals from universities, organizations and industry will engage visitors of all ages in science and technology during the six days of virtual programming. Programs are designed for all ages and stages of learning, and families are encouraged to attend.
- Party for the Planet-Virtual Earth Day at North Carolina Zoo April 19 23. Party for the Planet and discover new and fun ways to celebrate Mother Nature and to learn more about ways that you can make a difference through water conservation, protecting green spaces, and living the green life with the 3 Rs. Capacity at the zoo is limited and reservations are required.
- Race for the Planet at North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher Friday through April 25. The aquarium will host the 2021 Race for the Planet with two options for participation. The virtual race can be run from anywhere, at any time April 16-25 with three different distances of 5K, 10K or 13.1 miles. Some spots remain for the in-person 5K on Sunday, April 18. The annual event raises fund for green initiatives at the aquarium. Registration at http://www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher-race-for-the-planet.
- “Party for the Planet: Virtual Trash Pick Up” with N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The virtual event starts on Earth Day, April 22, and ends on Endangered Species Day, May 21. The aquarium usually hosts a beach sweep, but this year participants can pick up trash in the location of choice. The first 50 registrants will be sent cleanup supplies. Participants will also receive sustainable prizes after sending in a brief follow-up report on their cleanup. Participation is free, but registration is required at ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher.
- Earth Day at the Museum of the Albemarle 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 17. Receive a Take-and-Make activity packet, watch a children’s conservation film, and tour the exhibit, The Day the Lights Came On in the Elizabeth City museum. Request Take-and-Make packets by email email@example.com and RSVP.
- Earth Day Outdoor Movie: “Leaning into the Wind” by Andy Goldsworthy 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Celebrate Earth Day with a movie under the stars that conveys the powerful intersection of art and nature. “Leaning into the Wind” (PG, 2017) is a documentary about British sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy, who produces astonishing site-specific sculptures in natural and urban settings. Tickets must be obtained in advance at https://visit.ncartmuseum.org/2319/3140.
- Coastal Carolina Riverwatch and Hammocks Beach State Park are hosting a litter cleanup 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Call Hammocks Beach at 910-326-4881 to register. You can participate on foot or by paddle. Bring your own paddle craft or go to paddlenc.com to rent a kayak. Mention the cleanup for a discount. This is also the launch of a new marine debris education program.
- Vermiculture 101 6 p.m. Thursday with Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, NC Cooperative Extension, and Carteret Food and Health Council. The free, virtual workshop is on vermiculture, the practice of keeping earthworms for composting. A limited supply of worm bin starter kits are available for purchase. Register to receive ordering details.
- NCSciFest 1o a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at Sturgeon City, 50 Court St. Jacksonville. The free Earth Day celebration will include food and craft vendors, activities and games for the kids, and more. Attendees must reserve a time slot in advance online and check in inside at the check in table.