Earth Day

Local Earth Day activities and events may change; readers are encouraged to do their own research.

This year’s Earth Day will celebrate its 50th anniversary on April 22. The theme for 2020 is climate action, and local schools in Arcadia planned on spending the day – and even the month – teaching children new and inventive ways to help keep the planet clean.

U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson started Earth Day in 1970 as a response to growing concern over industrial waste and other toxins that were affecting the environment. Over 20 million people rallied around the United States on April 22, 1970 to demonstrate for a healthier environment.

The success of the first Earth Day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Over the years, the overall message of Earth Day has shifted from conservation efforts to advocating for a clean environment.

Students at various Arcadia schools will take part in Earth Day activities that focus on how to keep the Earth clean. At Christ Lutheran School, students will participate in the City of Phoenix’s “Keep Phoenix Clean” program and have an assembly with the Recyclesaurus (a dinosaur that teaches kids ways to treat the environment better).

Christ Lutheran will also have a “green” architect talk to students about designing environmentally friendly buildings. There is also a third-grade “green team,” said Megan Gotshall, the service-learning/outreach coordinator at CLS. “They spend one day a week with their green vests and trash clampers, cleaning up our campus.”

At Biltmore Preparatory Academy, third graders will learn and perform a special song for an Earth Day assembly.

Biltmore Prep Principal Stephanie DeMar said, “We are fortunate to have one of our student’s parents, Donna Larson, helping to coordinate some of our Earth Day activities. [She] is working with some local agencies to promote at our assemblies and helping our teachers become familiar with the lessons from recyclingsimplified.com.”

Hopi Elementary’s Environmental Club plans to celebrate Earth Day with its Penny Wars, where they collect money to send to the Rainforest Trust. The school will also observe what they call Hopi Earth Hour, where for the first hour of the school day, all classes will turn off lights and technology to bring attention to the significant issue of climate change.

Hopi plans to celebrate Earth Day for the remaining month of April. Each day the school will challenge its student to one task that makes a positive difference for the planet, such as turning off the lights when not in a room, investing in a metal straw, or volunteering for environmental-related events.

Besides events hosted by local schools, the City of Scottsdale organized an art contest for local K-12 students to submit artwork with the theme of “The Art of the Tree.” The winners of the competition will receive a gift basket and are recognized at a City Council meeting. Their artwork will be on display at the Earth Day Mayor and Council Breakfast at Horizon Park.

There are plenty of other activities for families and kids to do in celebration of Earth Day. Some ideas include creating art with items found in the recycling bin, planting a tree, making s’mores in a solar oven, or making a terrarium mini-garden. Find more ideas at climatekids.nasa.gov.