Each year, April 22 is set aside as Earth Day, a chance for us
to appreciate our planet and make sure it's still here for years to
come. But at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, every day is
earth day. Kathy Johnson, manager of teacher and student programs,
says this year, we should make Earth Day about more than
"Get out and appreciate the best things about our earth," she
Here are some of her ideas for celebrating Mother Earth:
Go fly a kite. Maybe it's not as serious as
visiting a recycling plant, but setting a kite aloft can be just as
illuminating. Or hit the shores of Lake Michigan for some
beachcombing-you never know what beautiful shells or sea glass
you'll come across. "We can play with the earth," Johnson says.
Take a hike. Whether you head to the Botanic
Garden or your local forest preserve, there's much to be seen this
time of year. Johnson says to keep your eyes peeled for "spring
ephemerals," wildflowers that show off before the trees have
started to leaf out. Check a field guide out from your library and
see what you discover.
Green your thumb. It's a little early to tend
your tomato patch, but you can still try your hand at planting.
Johnson recommends larger seeds for your kids' little hands such as
the nasturtium, which produces vibrant flowers. "Things that have
showy flowers make kids feel really proud of what they've done,"
Sing in the rain. If April 22 dawns wet and
dreary, you're not off the Earth Day hook. Johnson says to pull
that umbrella out of your hall closet and go for a walk to see
worms wiggling in the dirt. "That's another way of experiencing the
wonderful things about the earth," she says. And if you really hate
the idea of getting wet, there are a bunch of greenhouses in the
area to visit.
Team up. Take the opportunity to think about
what you can do as a family to care for the earth. Johnson says it
can be as easy as thinking of a way to remember to bring those
reusable bags to Jewel, reducing the amount of stuff in your house,
or helping to put the dishes away after dinner.
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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