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Earth Day 2011 in Marin

kids picking up trashPresenting an Earth Day guest post by Marin mom and homeschooling parent Barbara McVeigh. Read more of her writings on her blog, Bsimplicity.com.

Our planet Earth, our home—it’s a spinning ball sustaining up to a 100 million life species and hanging suspended-like in a vast vacuum. It’s the ultimate marvelous concept when you really stop and think about it. And, lucky for us, we have a day marked to do just that.

Earth Day started as a grassroots effort over forty years ago by a small band of folks. Now the celebrated day is living proof that small efforts can grow tremendously into great changes. Last year over 500 million people and over 175 countries participated in Earth Day activities helping our planet, our home, be healthy.

Marin is offering lots of opportunities for families to participate in stewardship efforts, including those to help our watershed, wildlife habitats and community gardens or Earth Day again this year.

However, simplicity can work wonders—if the idea of traveling and committing to an event makes your head spin, there are so many simple yet create ways you and your family can nurture your home, our home—the planet—making us all the richer and healthier for it.

Though the official Earth Day is April 22, events are planned for Saturday, April 23. Here are some scheduled highlights, as well as ideas for more intimate, creative family activities.

Stewardship Opportunities, Saturday, April 23

  • My Earth Day Marin offers a great source for many service projects throughout Marin, such as weeding and mulching community gardens to picking up litter and restoring habitat. There is something for everyone. www.myearthdaymarin.org
  • Restoration on Lagunitas Creek, 10 am–3 pm. Join SPAWN volunteers, community members, and salmon-enthusiasts to help restore habitat near the Lagunitas Creek. BBQ follows! Contact Emi or Diana, or call (415) 663-8590 ext. 118. For more info, go to their website.
  • Mrs. T’s Mill Valley Beautification Day, 9 am–2 pm. Mill Valley calls for volunteers to join litter brigades and beautification projects at parks, schools and other locations. A celebration with prizes will follow at the Plaza. For more info, go to their website.

Celebrations

  • Earth Stroll 2011: An Earth Day Celebration, at Crissy Field Center, Presidio, San Francisco, 10 am–3 pm. Just across the Golden Gate Bridge there will be an adventurous, creative and fun day of family-friendly eco-activities and games designed to engage families in celebration of Earth Day and ten years of Crissy Field’s historic revival. Fore more info, go to their website.

Ideas/Inspiration

  • Plant a garden, friendly to bees and butterflies. Think about water wise and natives plants, too! Many local nurseries will help with good choices. Our favorites—sticky monkey, yarrow, lavender, California poppies and our lemon tree!
  • Make a water garden. Fill a large pot with water plants like water hyacinths and lilies. We rescued a few “feeder fish” from Craigslist once and they live happily now. The local bees and dragon flies love to help themselves to the water.
  • Plant sunflower seeds and participate in The Great Sunflower Project along with thousands of others across the country. For more info, visit their website.
  • Ready to clear clutter from your lives? Don’t throw it away! You’d be surprised how much others could benefit from your “stuff”. Post items on Marin Freecycle or Craigslist, if you can’t donate to a good cause.
  • Bicycle on Earth Day, and better yet, plan ways to curb your car driving habits during the week. This summer we are scheduling a "No Car Week", and maybe more once we work out a good plan. We’ll use only our bikes and buses.
  • Give your clothes’ dryer a day off—hang laundry to dry! The fresh air makes them smell and feel so fresh and the sun can help naturally bleach the whites.
  • Go for a hike or just sit under a tree and simply let your family connect with the grass, dirt, flowers and fresh air.

Green Literature

  • Marin County Green Living Library at the Civic Center Branch offers over 100 books on green design, green building, green business practices, and eco-conscious living, as well as children’s books on the subject.
  • Our favorite book (or better defined as a tome) at our local library: the Smithsonian's Natural History: The Ultimate Guide to Everything on Earth. With the rich visuals, you and the family will marvel at the amazingly vast diversity living on our planet, sharing our home!