From the Editors
Looking for ways to honor and celebrate Earth Day with your kids in Champaign-Urbana and beyond this year?
We’ve got the dirt on some of the best environmentally-friendly events in the community that are both fun and educational and even some suggestions for how you can show your love for the planet in your own backyard!
Earth Day is Saturday, April 22 but many of the events we’ve listed are scheduled either before or after the official date. So feel free to attend one of them or all of them. Your kids and the planet will thank you!
We’ve included the events in chronological order. If you know of any additional Earth Day related events, please add them in the comments.
Nature at Night: Magnificent Moths, Friday, April 21, 6-8 p.m., Homer Lake Interpretive Center. Did you know there are 1,850 species of moths that live in Illinois? As we hike and search for these winged creatures, we’ll practice some identification techniques that will be very impressive in the spring. This experience is one of a kind, and is great for the whole family. $3 per person. Registration required.
Zahn Learning Center Open Hours: Upcycled Earth Day Crafts at the Spurlock Museum, Saturday, April 22, 1-4 p.m., The Zahn Learning Center closets are bursting with recycled materials! We have bottle caps, chopsticks, puzzle pieces, beads, ping-pong balls, origami paper, buttons, yarn, and more! Join us on Earth Day to reuse these materials to make a picture frame and a wind chime—or whatever else you can think of! Then explore our exhibits to see how people recycle materials all over the world. $2 per crafter to cover materials. Weekend parking is free in non-metered, non-reserved spots in lot D 22, behind the Museum (enter lot on Oregon).
Friendship Grove Nature Playscape Grand Opening, Saturday, April 22, 4-6 p.m., Anita Purves Nature Center, Urbana: With the Big Reveal set for 4:15 p.m., visitors can play in the nature playscape, create nature art, explore Busey Woods during a self-directed scavenger hunt and visit with the education wildlife. Refreshments will be available. The event is stroller and wheelchair accessible.
Sunday Morning Bird Walks, Sunday, April 23, 7:30-9 a.m., Anita Purves Nature Center, Urbana: The Sunday Morning Bird Walks started in the 1940’s. Birders of all skill levels are welcome! The walks begin every week at the Anita Purves Center parking lot and then decide whether to walk into Crystal Lake Park or Busey Woods. The walks continue until around 9 – 9:30am, although some birders in the group may continue later into the morning, especially when the birding is good.
Boneyard Creek Community Day 2017, Saturday, April 29, 9 a.m.- noon, Scott Park, Champaign: The event brings together community and campus volunteers to clean-up litter from sites all over Champaign-Urbana and Savoy. Lunch, music, and educational displays at Scott Park follow the clean-up. For more information, visit the Facebook page. Please register via the website here. Registration ends Monday, April 24, 2017 at 5 p.m.
If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day at home, consider one these basic, kid-friendly ideas:
Go to one of the many local parks in the area and play! Make sure to bring some garbage bags and plastic gloves and after playtime, have your kids help pick up any litter in the area.
Plant a tree, a bush, a flower, a seed- anything that allows your child to dig in the dirt and learn about living organisms.
If you don’t already recycle, set up recycling bins and explain to your kids why it’s so important to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Take advantage of the Champaign Target’s Car Seat Recycling program April 17-30, 2017. For more on local recycling options, click here.
Watch The Lorax or the Disney movie, Earth. Turn out the lights and make a point to tell your family you are conserving electricity!
What are your plans to celebrate Earth Day with your kids? We’d love to hear them!