Tips to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and contribute to a tradition of creating a healthier planet

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Get into the spirit of the 50th annual environmental observance by taking action and celebrating safely.

On April 22, 1970, Americans planted the seeds for a cleaner and more sustainable environment with massive rallies across the country. An estimated 20 million people from 10,000 elementary and high schools as well as 2,000 colleges and more than 1,000 communities participated in that historic Earth Day.

This Wednesday will be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day which has grown into a worldwide movement that is a call to action in support of the environment and sustainability policies.

“Michigan has been a leader in environmental protection since the first Earth Day 50 years ago and today our goal is to be a leader in climate action, as well,” said Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Director Liesl Clark “Climate change affects our environment and lakes, public health and quality of life, and even infrastructure. Its impacts can be felt in your backyard and across the state, which is an important lesson for future generations to learn.”

In addition to, 11 actions for the planet during a pandemic or finding a digital Earth Day event, you can experience nature up close in your own community.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order allows outdoor activities while still maintaining proper social distancing, so take some time to explore the backyard, take a nature hike or visit a nearby park.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources suggests planting some trees or native wildflower seeds as well as putting in a rain or butterfly garden, and even just taking a bike ride for your family to contribute to a healthier and cleaner planet.

Check out these resources for students, teachers, and parents:

  • EGLE’s Environmental Education webpage has environmental education resources, student online activities and teacher resources for all grades, including professional development, scholarships and funding opportunities.
  • Get lost in EGLE’s EnviroMinute videos with topics like composting, geology, recycling, invasive species, sustainability and much more in a quick, fun and informative way for all age groups.
  • If you want a deeper dive into environmental issues, check out EGLE’s Shoreline Stewards videos, presentations, lectures and tutorials as well as our Brownfield Flips series.
  • The Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum offers lessons on air and water quality, ecosystems, climate change and energy resources.
  • Learn about recycling best practices from Paper MacKay, Nyla P. Lastic and the rest of the Recycling Raccoon Squad.
  • The DNR offers Natural and Historical Education Resources for Home provides nature lessons, virtual field trips, ways to explore and engage with nature and lessons for students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has environmental resources for educators in areas such as climate change, energy, air, water and waste.
  • Energy Kids by the U.S. Energy Information Administration talks about ways to save energy as well as energy-themed games and activities.

EGLE is hosting a livestream event on Wednesday from 10-10:30 a.m. with EGLE Director Liesl Clark and EGLE Office of Climate and Energy Adviser Brandy Brown. They will both talk about ways Michigan students can take steps to help protect the Earth as well as recognizing EGLE’s student poster and school service award winners.

Be sure to check out the original illustrations that have been chosen for top honors in EGLE’s Earth Day 2020 Poster Contest winners. First place awards went to:

  • Kindergarten: Onour Davis, Sharp Park Academy, Jackson.
  • First Grade: Juliana Gjokaj, Monfort Elementary, Shelby Township.
  • Second Grade: Eli Oquist, Jenison International Academy, Jenison.
  • Third Grade: Yajur Kandagatla, Vera Ralya Elementary, Haslett.
  • Fourth Grade: Lucia Hall, Sharp Park Elementary, Jackson.
  • Fifth Grade: Ashrah Kelly, Waterloo Elementary, Monroe.

Also, see what Kearsley Community High and Armstrong Middle school in Flint, and Alpena High School did to win the Environmental Service Award Competition.

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