8 Active Ways to Celebrate Earth Day & Arbor Day

There are so many ways to show love for our green planet in the Garden State.

April 22 marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day worldwide. April 24 marks the impressive 131st Arbor Day celebration in New Jersey, with the first official celebration dating back to 1884. We’ve compiled a list of active ways to celebrate the Earth and its beautiful bounty throughout the state.

1. Participate in the Jersey City Adopt-a-Lot program

City residents can adopt a vacant lot and transform it from an eyesore to a productive urban garden through the Adopt-A-Lot program, which issues two-year leases for an affordable $1. Learn more about the program here and apply!

The Lafayette Community Learning Garden in Jersey City. Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The Lafayette Community Learning Garden in Jersey City. Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

2. Stop by the Earth Day Symposium on April 22 at the Plainfield Public Library

The Plainfield Garden Club celebrates its centennial this year and has set up an informative display in the Plainfield Public Library lobby about how to conserve water, attract pollinators, plant native species and save energy. The Plainfield Garden Club is known for its use of rain gardens and rain barrels to conserve water and will host a panel of experts for a free symposium at 7 pm in the Union County library’s Anne Louise Davis Room.

An example of a rain garden, which utilizes storm runoff and natural flooding areas. Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

An example of a rain garden, which utilizes storm runoff and natural flooding areas. Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

3. Experience the outdoors (from the indoors) at the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Princeton University, April 24-25

The prestigious Banff Mountain Film Festival showcases award-winning films featuring extreme sports in exotic landscapes, from rock climbing to mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking and heli-skiing. Ticket sales benefit the D&R Greenway and Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Screenings are 7-10:30 pm in Room 10 of McCosh Hall on the Princeton University campus. View the schedule online.

Valley Uprising: The Golden Age will be screening on Friday night, April 24.

Valley Uprising: The Golden Age will be screening on Friday night, April 24.

4. Head over to Earthfest in Overpeck County Park on April 25

The Overpeck County Park amphitheater in Leonia, Bergen County, celebrates the 2nd annual free Earthfest, with a recycled regatta, craft vendors and food trucks, live music, a beer garden, a petting zoo and more.

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

5. Or the Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival on April 25

Sustainable Cherry Hill hosts a rain or shine festival at the Croft Farm in Cherry Hill, Camden County to celebrate the great outdoors, featuring environmental nonprofit vendors, green and healthy food trucks and live entertainment. There’s also an organized family bike ride with 2-mile and 9-mile trail options.

A student from A. Russell Knight Elementary School in Cherry Hill shows how to recycle at the 2013 festival. Courtesy of Sustainable Cherry Hill

A student from A. Russell Knight Elementary School in Cherry Hill shows how to recycle at the 2013 festival. Courtesy of Sustainable Cherry Hill

6. Or take a stroll for the Sourlands Conservancy Wildflowers Walk on April 25

The Somerset County Sourland Mountain Preserve is a lush, boulder-strewn landscape popping with perennial wildflowers. Led by Sourlands naturalist adviser Jared Rosenbaum of Wild Ridge Plants, the 2-4 pm free informational walk will show why these aromatic native plant species in your backyard are fit to trim for your living room vase.

A wildflower peeking out from the rocks in the Sourlands. Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

A wildflower peeking out from the rocks in the Sourlands. Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

7. Attend the Rancocas Nature Center Arbor Day Festival on April 26

The Rancocas Nature Center in Westampton, Burlington County is a 210-acre environmental education center inside Rancocas State Park. Master Gardener Brian McDonald will lead a Tree Identification Nature Hike and naturalist Bella Ciabatonni will lead a Historic Trees Nature Hike, pointing out trees up to 200 years old. The Center is also giving away 100 free tree saplings to the first 100 guests, including Eastern White Pine, Norway Spruce (the desired species for a famed Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree), and Northern Red Oak.

Rancocas State Park. Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Rancocas State Park. Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

8. Attend one of the many Monmouth County Park Earth Day Celebrations on April 26

There’s a family-friendly interactive show and tell program of coastal animals, including sea turtles, whales and even plankton at the Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center in Port Monmouth. Then, a freshwater snake and reptiles show at the Huber Woods Environmental Center in Middletown and another one at the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center in Howell. Design eco-friendly jewelry and accessories from recycled material at the Thompson Park Visitor Center in Lincroft and learn how to become a earth-friendly gardener at Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown. Admission and parking to all events is free!

Manasquan Reservoir. Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

Manasquan Reservoir. Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

Share how you are celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day in the comments!

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