Neighborhood Cleanups Mark Earth Day
My siblings and I practically drooled in expectation. Junk food and candy were reserved for long trips, and we were off to grandma's house, three hours away. We pounced on that candy, tearing off the wrappers at lightening speed. But mom was faster!
"Give me your wrappers" she demanded, reaching her hand back from the front seat. These bits of paper were placed in her purse or coat pocket to be thrown out later in a trash can. "It's not nice to litter" she would remind us.
Mom, of course, never went so far as to found a national event, but it was that same spirit that spurred the designation of April 22 as Earth Day. Started in 1970 by American John McConnell, Earth Day remains an opportune time for parents to teach their children about the environment, share their concerns, and discuss ways the family can help.
Tidying your small corner of the world is one way to contribute. A community clean-up, whether of the local playground, park or roadside, will allow you to get more done while also getting neighbors together socially.
Begin by recruiting volunteers, and be sure to include both children and parents.
A church or fire department may be willing to donate space for an organizational meeting. Inform your neighbors of the meeting by distributing fliers, making phone calls or placing an article in the local paper.
At the meeting, set a date and time for the event. You may also want to check with your city, town, or village to see if there is an official cleanup with which you can coordinate.
Form teams and map out what areas are to be covered. Remember to address issues such as safety, including how to handle needles and broken glass. Remind parents that children need to be accompanied by an adult.
Make arrangements with a sanitation company for garbage pick-up or ask for volunteers with trucks to transport the garbage to a landfill.
Plan on snacks and drinks to be served after the event , or ask volunteers to contribute a food item and have a potluck dinner. It will be a welcome treat after a day's work and a chance to mingle with the neighbors.
On the day of the cleanup, hand out bags and boxes to hold the garbage collected. Agree to meet back at a specified time. At that time, prepare the garbage by separating it into individual categories: glass, plastic,paper, and everything else.
Children will have the reward of seeing just how much trash has been collected. Explain to them that, while items such as cotton, rags and paper take about 6 months to decompose, while plastics and aluminum can take up to 500 years! As I often tell my kids, imagine if everyone in the world threw just one gum wrapper or soda can on the ground....
Earth Day Everyday
- Plant a tree- Paper, furniture, toothpicks, and cosmetics are just some of the 5,000 items made from trees and tree extracts. Tress also help cool the earth and air through shading and water evaporation. By giving off moisture, trees help create rain.
- Beautify your home- chemicals in our homes and offices create health problems. Placing houseplants in a room will absorb these chemicals and put oxygen back into the air. One potted plant per 100 square feet will clean the air in an average sized home or office.
- Recycle old paper- Flyers, gift wrap and wall paper all make great canvas for budding artists.
- Make a compost pile- Biodegradeable garbage such as fruit and vegetable scraps are the pile's ingredients. When it turns to compost, use it in the garden.
- Don't litter- Be a good example.
For the Kids....Make a Litter Critter!
This craft will remind children that we share the environment with all living creatures.
You will need:
Plaster of paris
Acrylic or all-purpose paint
magnets (if desired)
Mix 1 cup of plaster of Paris according to directions on the box. Slowly pour the mixture into the bowl part of the plastic spoons and let dry.
When hardened, pop the shapes out of the spoons. paint your critter as desired with eyes, ears, paws, etc..
Apply a magnet to the back, if desired.