Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22nd. It was founded in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson as a day to raise awareness about the environment and environmental issues, and to highlight the fact that there weren’t any environmental protection laws nor regulation. Similar to the “teach-ins” of the 1960’s, rallies were held in various large cities, such as Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles, and about 20 million people participated. In December 1970, the U.S. Congress created a new agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, to tackle environmental issues. Soon after that, a large number of environmental pieces of legislation were passed during the 1970’s, including the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, and the Endangered Species Act , amongst others. More details about the history of Earth Day and of the Environmental Protection Agency can be found at: EPA History: Earth Day | EPA History | US EPA.
Other Governmental Agencies that have information about Earth Day include:
U.S. Department of Commerce. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earth Day Find out ways to become a citizen of science, read about climate change, view how the Earth actually looked on Earth Day from 1970-2020, and discover 10 simple things you can do to protect the environment.
Find out recent action steps and activities the Department of Energy is doing to protect the environment, and tune in to virtual meetings about the environment on Earth Day as well as a video playlist.
Listen to podcasts, watch a live eagle cam, take virtual tours of animal habitats, and check out the activities of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum via Facebook. The. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also offers 20 ecotips of easy activities to do on Earth Day, as well as every other day of the year.
Log on to the National Park Service’s website for a virtual event on Earth Day, “The Future of Conservation: Engaging the Next Generation of Land Leaders”. Following a theme of connected conservation, during this event, young conservation leaders will talk about their passion for conservation, and how service corps provide benefits to national parks, participants, and their communities. National parks located in Pennsylvania can be located on this website as well as national parks in other states.
Speaking of Pennsylvania, one great website to explore trails and state parks is: Explore PA Trails - Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. You can find parks, places to bike, hike and fish, plus safe ways to explore and preserve the environment.
Another worthwhile website to check out on Earth Day is:
The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The mission of the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program is to provide the scientific expertise to support biological diversity and conservation in Pennsylvania. If you’re curious to find out what plant species or animals are living around you in your neighborhood, this is where you’ll discover them!
Finally, within the boundaries of Montgomery County, PA, you’ll find plenty of parks and trails to explore on Montgomery County’s Parks, Trails and Historic Sites. Celebrate Earth Day using these government resources, and remember to take a step outside to enjoy nature and the environment outside your front door!