Happy Earth Day to you, happy Earth Day to you! This year we are celebrating the 46th Earth Day. As we inch closer to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, there are many things that we can do to keep our planet healthy and make it more beautiful. Here are a few ideas for celebrating with Mother Nature in 2016.

Credit: Houston Arboretum

Credit: Houston Arboretum

Plant a Tree
This year’s theme for Earth Day is “Trees for the Earth.” According to the Earth Day Network, the planet loses over 15 billion trees each year. While it may be hard to replenish trees at the rate they are being lost, we can at least make an effort. Trees are necessary for helping to prevent climate change and filtering pollution. They also protect biodiversity by providing habitats for all types of creatures. So do a little research about trees native to your area, pick a favorite (or 5) and get planting!

Pick up Litter
This one is super simple. You can do it every day as you walk outdoors. Get in the habit of picking up garbage if you see it while you’re out and about. It is easy to carry a small plastic bag on walks to pick up bits of trash.

For some, this is an easy task that comes naturally. Many local governments provide recycling bins and will pick up your recyclables regularly. Some places put a deposit on aluminum soda cans and plastic or glass bottles to entice you to return them. For others, this can be more difficult if recycling facilities are not convenient. If you are in the U.S. you can use this website to find recycling centers near you.

earthday cupcakes

Making Earth cupcakes in World History Class. Photo: Hillary Hanel

Make Earth Day Cake
After doing something to help the planet, celebrate our amazing Mother Nature by making a cake (or cupcakes) in her honor. Bake whatever type of cake you like, then mix up both blue and green frosting. Paint your cake with the frosting to make it look like the Earth. Enjoy your treat, and make plans to help the environment often.


Just this morning, one of my students was looking at the calendar hanging in my classroom. She asked “Miss Hanel, are all of these pictures in Michigan?” I told her yes, and we looked through the beautiful pictures together. Our state has amazing lakes, sand dunes, and caves, but she has never seen them before. She was amazed that we have such incredible places here.

The calendar that inspired discussion.

The calendar that inspired discussion.

We did some research and found out that nearly all of the photos were taken in the Upper Peninsula, which is scarcely populated as compared to the Lower Peninsula where we live. We had a great discussion about the damage that people can cause to nature and that we are lucky to still have some picturesque scenery in our state. I hope that this impromptu discussion inspires my student to appreciate the beauty of nature and care about the environment by following some of these tips. How do you plan to help Mother Nature?

-Hillary Hanel
Museum Education Advisor
Girl Museum Inc.

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