|SCA interns celebrate efforts for trail work at Silvio. O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge in Connecticut. Credit: USFWS|
Earth Day remains a day to honor our planet and build a healthy environment for future generations. We are providing helpful information for you and for families – there is plenty that can be done at home! The linked pages have updates on planned dates and events. Then, head over to check out our list of virtual activities.
This year, take action on Earth Day with the Service’s 20 Eco Tips where you will find a range of easy activities. There is plenty you can do with your families and friends at home, in your neighborhood or at school. Plant a tree, pick up litter, remove invasive plants, clean-up a beach...the opportunities are endless! Click here to get the short list!
Imagine banding birds at a National Wildlife Refuge, raising fish at a National Fish Hatchery, conducting wildlife surveys, leading a tour or restoring fragile habitat. With close to 42,000 volunteers contributing in excess of 1.5 million hours, our volunteers perform a wide variety of tasks. Our volunteers are individuals who want to give back to their communities, parents who want to be good stewards of the land and set examples for their children, retired people willing to share their wealth of knowledge, concerned citizens of all ages who want to learn more about conservation and passionate people who enjoy the outdoors and want to spread the word about America’s greatest natural treasures.
2) Plant native
You can help! Every backyard can become an oasis for monarchs and other pollinators — even in cities. How ‘green’ is your garden? Well now may be the time to ensure that it is truly sustainable. You can order seeds of wildflowers native to your region that will give you low-maintenance blooms next spring and all summer long. Not only will they thrive — they’ll support native birds, insects and other pollinators that depend on familiar, home-grown species for a healthy ecosystem.
3) Create schoolyard habitat
Schoolyard Habitat projects are designed to achieve the mission and goals of the school, the Service and the community. They address multiple environmental and educational concepts that benefit all involved, particularly the students. Download the project guide. (8MB, PDF)
The benefits of a Schoolyard Habitat program include:
|Students watch members of the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team release a turtle at Cape Charles Beach. Credit: Becky Flory|
5) Prevent stormwater runoff
Poor water quality can harm fish, wildlife and their habitat. Many things are known to cause poor water quality, including sedimentation, runoff, erosion and pesticides. Stormwater runoff occurs when rainfall flows over the ground. Stormwater runoff picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants from hard (impervious) surfaces and washes them into storm drains. Anything that enters a storm drains flows often untreated into the rivers and streams that we use for swimming and drinking water. How you can help:
6) Protect pollinators
Each year, we celebrate National Pollinator Week in recognition of the importance of pollinator species to agriculture, forest and grassland environments and other ecosystems. There is increasing evidence that many pollinators are in decline. However, there are some simple things you can do at home to encourage pollinator diversity and abundance, such as planting a pollinator garden. Your garden is your outdoor sanctuary and can be a haven for native birds. Consider the following when choosing plants for your garden:
7) Reduce bird strikes
The Audubon Society estimates that in the United States and Canada, as many as 1 billion birds die each year due to collisions with windows in homes and modern office buildings that often use insulated and reflective glass. The primary cause of birds colliding with glass is due to reflection. When birds become confused or startled they see escape routes and possible safety zones mirrored in reflective glass and fly unaware into windows. There are many ways to reduce bird strikes at windows. Objects or ornaments hanging in windows will reduce the reflection by breaking it up. Hang ribbons or other material in strips no more than five centimeters apart on the outside of windows for the full width of the glass. Keep houseplants away from windows as they can appear like trees.
8) Clean up pet waste
Clean up after your pet to reduce pollution in local water bodies. Poor water quality can harm fish, wildlife and their habitat. Pet waste left behind may be washed into waterways by rain or melting snow carrying disease-causing organisms that make water unsafe for swimming or drinking. Water that drains off of agricultural sites and into surrounding ponds or ditches can cause the build up of toxins in shorebirds, waterfowl and fish. What should you do with waste you pick up? There is no perfect answer, but here are a couple options:
|Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine hosts an eight-week Youth Conservation Camp every summer. Credit: Lamar Gore / USFWS|
10) Let’s Go Outside
“Let’s Go Outside” strives to promote environmental awareness while reconnecting Americans with nature – encouraging healthier lifestyles and helping to ensure future generations appreciate the natural world around them. Let’s Go Outside encourages children, educators and parents to get outside and enjoy nature and wildlife. Experiencing nature can be as simple as visiting a local wildlife refuge, state park, bird watching in your own backyard or even taking a walk around the neighborhood to see wildlife. Watching wildlife is an extremely easy, fun and free way to enjoy the environment, spend family time or just to relax.