This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and we, like many other organizations, had an event planned to celebrate this milestone. Social distancing means that all these events have been cancelled or postponed (we are dedicated to holding our volunteer event when we can get together again). But this hasn’t stopped our community from celebrating the true meaning of Earth Day, coming together to work for the betterment of our world and environment. So what can you do while respecting social distancing rules? We’re here to answer that question!
The Earth Day Network is holding a digital Earth Day event where you can find ways to take action all day with their 24 Hours of Action, join an online conversation, or watch live-streamed events. Oregon State University has also pivoted their Beyond Earth Day events to offer digital offerings. You can visit their online calendar to find talks and other digital events that focus on the wellbeing of our society, economy, and planet. Earth Day Oregon is asking people to sign a pledge for a healthy planet and hang it in your window to show your support.
If you are looking to get out from behind your computer, you can join us in the City Nature Challenge starting this Friday. This year, organizations from across the Upper Willamette watershed are encouraging nature fans to observe and document the world around you from your own window, balcony, backyard or sidewalk! The City Nature Challenge is a community science effort to count as many species possible in a given community. Participants from more than 150 communities worldwide contribute and so can you! Find out the name of the mystery plant growing nearby with iNaturalist, a free and easy to use app and website that’s useful to beginners and experts alike. Observations recorded through iNaturalist in the Eugene-Springfield area on April 24-27 will contribute to the City Nature Challenge count for our area. Check out our Facebook page for a great how-to video created by our very own Molly Shea, and while you are there find out how to make a suet feeder for your backyard!
And finally, if you want to just curl up with a good book at home, check out this book list of Earth Day reads and this one by the Earth Day Network with more of a focus on climate change.
We know that our current situation is trying and makes getting involved with your community difficult, but we hope that these suggestions help you to connect with a global community of people celebrating Earth Day. We invite you to explore the natural world around your homes and super-local neighborhoods and find ways to embrace the true meaning of Earth Day. While you are getting out, please follow our State’s travel and social distancing guidelines and join in as we bring technology and nature together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and discover the people, plants, animals, and fungi that make our region so unique.