Earth Day is a secular holiday designed to help raise awareness about environmental concerns and encourage people to strive towards creating a healthier planet and protecting the environment. It was created as a teaching opportunity in the 1970’s by U.S. senator Gaylord Nelson and was later expanded with the help of Dennis Hayes, former head of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to become an international celebration including over 180 countries worldwide. Throughout Nashville and surrounding Middle Tennessee areas families, students, and schools are using Earth Day as an opportunity to increase knowledge about their community and their impact on our environment. On Thursday April 22nd many Nashville Earth Day event are available as a fantastic learning opportunity.
Vanderbilt University will host an Earth Day celebration on the Rand Terrace from 11am until 2pm. Families can participate in drawings for prizes and trivia questions. Students from the Vanderbilt Eco-Dores program will be giving away free t-shirts, hats, and koozies all branded with recycling logos courtesy of Coca-cola. The Vanderbilt Society Promoting Environmental Awareness Responsibility organization (SPEARS) will also be available to talk with children and adults alike who are interested in learning more about Nashville’s environmental impact.
Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville Tennessee will host a family friendly Earth Day celebration on April 22nd 2010 from 4pm until 6pm. Families, students, and children of all ages can enjoy environmentally aware themed games, and activities such as identifying different species that live in Mansker Creek and performing water tests to determine the quality of the water. This is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about the environmental impact that pollutants have on our water and marine ecosystem. Families can also take part in a tree identification adventure and learn about what type of trees are native in and around Middle Tennessee.
A trip to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens is always an excellent learning opportunity and can encourage children to learn about the environment throughout the year as well as on Earth Day. Tour groups are available for both Elementary and High School groups as well as Home School groups as well. Children can stroll through the gardens and learn about season plants and botanical resources available in Nashville such as the Tennessee Gesneraid Society. Lunch and lecture series are also available the third Thursday of every month as a year round educational opportunity.
One of the best hands on learning opportunities for parents of elementary age children is right inside their own homes. Use Earth Day as a chance to teach children about local recycling centers and how recycling helps contribute to a healthier environment. Scour your home to find recyclable items such as plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and old newspapers then take these items to one of Nashville’s many public works recycling drop off centers. Information about where recyclables go, statistics and a list of drop off centers can be found by visiting the Nashville Public Works website.
Protecting our environment is an important lesson that even the youngest of children can learn and understand. Children, especially elementary age, love to make games out of helping parents sort out recyclables. Helping the environment can be a rewarding experience and educational experience for both parents and children alike. For more information about Earth Day 2010 or to learn about environmental concerns which affect our planet please visit www.epa.gov/earthday.