Every April 22 we celebrate the fact that we are, as far as we know, the only sentient creatures in the galaxy. How do we show this appreciation, you may ask? By celebrating Mother Earth, the blue miracle of a planet that sustains all known life. The modern environmentalism movement isn’t all that old—it began in 1970—but Earth Day is one of our greatest reminders to appreciate the world around us. In Virginia, you can rock Earth Day at any of the following 10 places.
The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum on the James Madison University campus holds a tree and native plant sale every year in deference to Earth Day. City and public officials get a 10 percent discount on all purchases. While there, why not wander the arboretum and enjoy the fifteen unique gardens? Reflect on your place in the universe, write a poem, or simply look for tips on how to landscape your own garden at home.
The Virginia Museum of Natural History will host its annual Earth Day Festival on at the J. Frank Wilson Park in Martinsville, Virginia. This free event includes games, face painting, crafts, and live music. Learn more about the earth and the museum while enjoying a family-friendly afternoon out.
The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia, celebrates Earth Day first by providing special accommodations for the animals on site. The museum showcases live animals that best represent Virginia. On Earth Day, the animals receive special treats while the museum offers programming regarding the environment and recycling. Earth-friendly vendors and environmental organizations will be on site with more information.
The annual Alexandria Earth Day celebration changes its theme yearly. In years past, the themes were “Choose to Reuse – Your Choices Matter,” and “It’s Your Turn to Lead!” The celebration includes demonstrations, hands-on activities, and exhibits. The Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award is given out at the event, too. Exhibitors, events, and activities are regularly added between now and Earth Day, so make sure to check the website. Volunteer opportunities are also available.
Many breweries throughout the state pride themselves on having sustainable business models, as well as raising environmental issues. Several craft breweries, including Aslin Beer Co., in Herndon, Badwolf Brewing Company in Manassas, Coaelacanth Brewing Company in Virginia Beach, and nine more are donating a portion of their sales to the Keep Virginia Beautiful and Virginia Green non-profit organizations. If you don’t have much of a green thumb but want to contribute, then there isn’t a much easier way than kicking back a brew, supporting your local businesses and green non-profits.
Enrichmond is a foundation “serving Richmond’s people, parks, and public spaces” that has been serving Richmond and the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts for over two decades. Exhibitors, craft markets, and art are available for sale. The festival takes place alongside the James River in one of Richmond’s most beautiful natural retreats.
In Roanoke, you can celebrate Earth Day by planting trees and learn from various Earth Day educators. In addition to tree planting, vendors and exhibits are available throughout the parks. Be sure to check their site for more details!
Keswick Vineyards and others throughout the Commonwealth celebrate Earth Day by providing guided walking tours throughout the vineyards. Winemakers and other employees discuss “the challenges of growing grapes in Virginia and what practices we implement to combat those,” taking a different approach to how the Earth provides for its people. Oh, and participants will be tasting chardonnay, viognier, merlot, and others.
Join the people of Historic Manassas for the annual Live Well Festival on Earth Day. Not only will this festival celebrate the earth, but it pays special attention to human health as well. Free health screenings, fitness classes, kid activities, and entertainment are offered as part of the festivities. Exhibitors and civic organizations are on-site to educate, and artists will display and sell artwork. One of the most popular attractions is the farm to table brunch. Make sure to pick up a brunch ticket early.
Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach is host to various exhibits, activities, and displays that explore different ways to green-ify your life. But perhaps the biggest activity is the AAA Recycling Zone. Electronics recycling, document shredding, car battery round-up (for a $5 gift card), and child safety seat recycling are just a few of the options. A limited amount of rain barrels, used to conserve rainwater, are available for sale. Live music, recycling dumpster painting, a Zen Zone with yoga demos, and more are all available throughout the day.