The backyard serves as a constant source of wonder and fascination for all ages and is the inspiration for Earth Day activities. These activities are designed to spark curiosity and generate questions from explorations and discoveries in your backyard, nearby park or at school about the world we share with other creatures.
Plant an edible garden full of vegetables and herbs, along with some native pollinator plants and watch as a healthy ecosystem grows before your eyes. The learning opportunities are endless – What are the perfect growing conditions required for a plant to grow? How much sun and water do they need? What are the different parts and functions of a plant? How do plants rely on pollinators to flower and reproduce? Gardening teaches us sustainable backyard gardening practices and we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor!
Need help deciding on the collection of native plants and design element? The Habitat Hero Birdwatcher Pre-Planned Garden from High Country Gardens has a variety of perennials, shrubs and ornamental grasses designed to attract and benefit songbirds, pollinators and other wildlife. Another great option is the Habitat Hero Edible Garden from Urban Farm Company which has a collection of both flowering plants and edible crops – with my favorite plants being Orange Butterfly Weed and Red Heirloom Tomatoes.
Set up a good ol’ fashioned peanut butter and bird seed crusted pinecone outside your window and watch as birds begin to flock to your makeshift bird feeder. You can either quietly observe as the songbirds pluck away the seeds or you can be a more active observer using field guides to determine the species and learn facts about them. Record your observations and findings in your nature journal. Do you notice different species during different times of the day, month, or year? Can you tell the difference between male and female birds of the same species? Can you begin to identify species of birds based on just its call?
Any nutrient-rich soil is filled with an array of organisms feeding off the microbes and decaying organic matter. Roll over some rocks, look under logs or dig and watch all the insects scamper. Grab a magnifying glass to see all of their intricate details and with over a million insect species worldwide, you are guaranteed to find at least one to examine!
Art in Nature
Taking the time to observe and record in our nature journals is a nice break from our modern fast-paced world. Grab a sketch pad and some colored pencils, crayons, chalk or even paint and capture what you see, feel and hear around you! Don’t worry if your work of art is not frame-worthy, just enjoy your experience connecting with nature and its beauty.
Earth Day Events
The City of Fort Collins is hosting their annual tree planting along the Cache la Poudre River on Saturday, April 18th at 9:00am. For more details and to register for this free event – Click HERE
Organized by the Sustainable Living Association, Earth Day Fort Collins is an all-day celebration in Civic Center Park, on Saturday, April 18th. Stating at 11:00am, this event has it all, with a combination of activities for the entire family, featuring informational booths and displays, arts & crafts, live music, speakers, local food and a beer garden. Admission is free and attendees are asked to bring nonperishable items for the Food Bank.
On April 22nd – Habitat Hero is celebrating Earth Day by planting a wildflower bed at Twin Spruce Junior High in Gillette, Wyoming. This school has a large planting area and children that are a part of their gardening club work with the Master Gardeners during afterschool programs to prep, plant and maintain the bed. Stay tuned for more details and photos of this transformation project and to learn about this Habitat Hero success story at Twin Spruce!
Enjoy Earth Day on the 22nd, and keep these activities as a reference to enjoy throughout the year. By connecting with nature, and learning more about our environment and appreciating the natural wonders around us, we can ultimately bring conservation home!