As we commemorate Earth Day's golden anniversary, things are less than golden here on Earth. The coronavirus pandemic is at the forefront of daily life, but Earth Day reminds us that environmental stewardship is not to be eclipsed. Fortunately, several local organizations have seized a golden opportunity to educate and enlighten us, a captive audience, for Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, and through the rest of the week:
With an Earth Day launch at 11 a.m., Ganondagan State Historic Site manager Peter Jemison will host Ten Minute Teachings. The series continues every Wednesday and Friday through May, offering ecological wisdom from the Seneca perspective.
Also on Earth Day, the Nazareth College Sustainability Task Force presents Virtual Earth Day @ Nazareth, with practical lessons on attracting pollinators, sustainable cooking (with recipes), composting, and more - capped off with a presentation by local organic farmer Elizabeth Henderson, a pioneer in the practice of community supported agriculture.
Simultaneously, Seneca Park Zoo's Earth Day to You will provide an entire day of live Q&A, discussions, and animal experiences with expert zoologists and naturalists. Take a virtual birding trip though Sapsucker Woods, observe lions and baboons, learn how to be a local conservationist, and more. Return to the zoo on Saturday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for World Penguin Day, where you can see penguins, learn about conservation efforts, and enter drawings for prizes.
Citizen science opportunities abound with some big names in the field. On Earth Day, 11-11:30 a.m., the public can learn how to Measure Trees to Help NASA Measure Global Warming. The data gathered can help scientists determine the amount of carbon that trees are absorbing from - or releasing into - the atmosphere. It's no small task, but it's simple and important; the more people involved, the more data to work with. Similarly, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology seeks public input to take inventory of urban birds. It's fun, fascinating, and meaningful work. The website is a great resource for any level of birding - if even to just watch owls, kestrels, hawks, and more on their many live bird cams.
Can't get enough animal peeping? The Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen has multiple live cams on its pastures and barns where you can watch rescued sheep, llamas, turkeys, pigs, and more. Students in grades K-12 can stop by the sanctuary's website on Earth Day to check out the humane education program with classes, a sing-along, and a puppet show. Programs are free and continue into May, but registration is required.
For more activities in sustainability, National Environmental Education Foundation's Environmental Education at Home offers basic to in-depth experiments, projects, and resources for students in grades K-12. Kids can earn badges as they practice citizen science, from observing local plant life and animal behavior to proactive courses in improving the environmental quality of their homes. The site is also a hub for virtual treks through national parks, world-class zoos, and the sea itself.
If contemplating Earth's place in the cosmos is more your style, stop by the Strasenburgh Virtual Planetarium, with a new show about Venus streaming at 11 a.m. Wednesday and "The Sky this Week" at 4 p.m. Thursday. Even if you can't see them live, check out the rest of Rochester Museum and Science Center's video channel to see past episodes plus live and archived experiments, story times, and encounters with lots of reptiles.
If amphibians are more your pace, you'll want to meet the folks at A Frog House in Pittsford. With a passion for frogs, their habitat, and conservation, they're collaborating with the town and village to present Save the Frogs Day: Pittsford Nature Symposium Webinar on Saturday April 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Talks range from the philosophical to the practical, led by the Gandhi Institute, Rochester Area Interfaith Climate Action, Genesee Land Trust, and more.
Also on Saturday, at 1 p.m., sustainable transit advocates Reconnect Rochester present Getting Back on Your Bike: An Introduction to Cycling in Rochester. Sponsored by Central Library, this all-ages Zoom class is a comprehensive look at a viable commuting option, providing informed guidance to instill confidence in one's own pedal power.
Local Earth Day celebrations continue into Monday, as Rochester's League of Women Voters sums it up best in the name of their upcoming presentation, Climate Change: This Time it's Personal. Meet Hridesh Singh, co-founder of the Brighton High School Climate Club, as well as other knowledgeable climate activists as they present "small steps towards reducing global warming" (April 27, 7 p.m.).
Of course, we can be responsible global citizens beyond Earth Day. Arleigh Rodgers reflects in Life in the Finger Lakes how Earth Day Inspires us to Help Our Environment. Even the simple act of picking up litter from the lawn - or a neighbor's lawn - can strengthen our connection to the land and to one another.
Take care, and Happy Earth Day!
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