Earth Day is a time to learn, a time to take action, and a time to pay homage in ways both big and small to this spectacular place we all call home. Are you ready to show the world some love on Wednesday, April 22? If you’re looking for a few tips and ideas to get started we’ve gathered some fun facts and some great activities you can do right at home—and share with your students, too!
It all started with a vision …
Earth Day was founded in 1970 when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson was looking for a way to promote the environmental movement. His plan included classes and projects to help the public understand what they could do to protect the environment.
An oil spill created a movement …
A massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA, prompted Senator Nelson to organize a national “teach-in” day to educate the public about environmental issues and the long-term damage these accidental catastrophes can cause.
They said Earth Day would flop, but it didn’t.
After he was elected to the Senate in 1962, Nelson was told repeatedly that the American people weren’t concerned with environmental issues. But that statement was proven wrong when 20 million people joined the first Earth Day celebration and teach-in on April 22, 1970.
Why April 22?
Nelson chose April 22 in an effort to mobilize college students to back his vision. The date came after most universities were past spring break, but not yet dealing with final exams. April 22 is also one day after John Muir’s birthday.
It’s a global thing now.
Even though Earth Day originated in the U.S., it went global in 1990 when Earth Day National Coordinator Denis Hayes, a graduate of Harvard University, recruited a staff of 85 young environmental crusaders and grassroots organizers, plus thousands of field volunteers, to organize similar Earth Day events in 141 countries. More than 200 million people around the globe joined in that year.
To infinity and beyond.
During the Apollo 14 moon mission in 1971, astronaut Stuart Roosa brought hundreds of tree seeds to the moon. Roosa and his seeds orbited the moon 34 times and scientists were curious whether or not exposure to microgravity would impact the growth of the seeds when they returned to Earth. During the post-mission decontamination process, the seed canisters broke open and the seeds were thought to be useless. However, most of the tree seeds were still fit for germination and were successfully planted and cultivated. These trees were planted around National Monuments, as well as in sites all over the world. After decades of growing side-by-side with their Earth cousins, the Moon Trees showed no differences at all.
Time for change.
Each year since 2016 there has been a new theme attached to Earth Day. The 2020 campaign is Climate Action and Wednesday, April 22 also marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
For the first time in history, Earth Day will go digital. To join in digital events, register for an event or learn more ways to share your Earth Day events on social media, visit Earthday.org.
Lessons to try and share …
Check out the FREE lessons below to try at home, or share with students. These are a great way to celebrate Earth Day, and they’re also perfect for year-round learning and fun. … Looking for even more lesson plans? We have hundreds of FREE lesson plans on NascoEducate.com. Check it out now and sign up for your FREE account today!
Happy Earth Day!
Get students excited about nature by giving trees a face and their own personal touch of character! Students can draw, color, paint, and animate their trees to express their own personal emotions while developing basic art skills.
Learn about two different forms of energy (optical and thermal), and build a solar cooker to make yummy S’mores based on the Solar Balloon Energy Kit!
Students will learn about different areas of geography in the world while incorporating the importance of critical thinking. Though the game is designed to be played in teams, it can also be a fun activity for families or smaller pairs.
Introduce students to the concept of reducing waste, reusing materials, and recycling through hands-on activities, STEM challenges, and a technology project!
Earth Day information sources: Earthday.org, ThoughCo.com, Mentalfloss.com.