With spring in full bloom, many of us are looking for outdoor experiences to share with our families. Earth Day is a chance to combine service and nature.

Started in 1970, and celebrated each year on April 22, Earth Day is a global celebration or our world as well as a reminder of the importance of protecting it. In Western Washington, we understand the issues that plague our planet, perhaps more than many in other places as we are so closely surrounded by nature’s beauty. We don’t have to go far to enjoy evergreen trees, spring flowers, beaches, and waterfalls. In the spring especially, Mother Nature seems to be smiling around every corner.

In the days leading up to the official holiday, events will be occurring throughout our community.

Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater are partnering with the PARC Foundation of Thurston County and the Lions Club to rid local parks of invasive species. As in previous years, The Lions Club will donate $500 to the school in each district with the most student volunteers. Jennifer, a staff member with the Olympia Parks and Recreation Department describes these events as, “a nice multi-generational push for stewardship.”

While registration is preferred, no one who wants to help will be turned away. All volunteers will be welcome. Below is a list of event locations, as well as links to the appropriate registration page.

WET Center earth day
Join WET Center for the celebration. Photo courtesy: WET Center

City of Olympia – Priest Point Park
2600 East Bay Drive NE
Volunteers will meet at Kitchen Shelter #4
Saturday, April 20, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

City of Tumwater – Tumwater Historical Park
802 Deschutes Way SW
Saturday, April 20, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

City of Lacey – Wonderwood Park
5304 32nd Avenue SE
Saturday, April 20, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

City of Tenino – Tenino City Park
Park Avenue E.
Saturday, April 20, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Frye Cove Country Park
4000 61st Avenue NW, Olympia
Saturday, April 20, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

If pulling ivy doesn’t suit you, other local groups are hosting community events that encourage citizens to get outside and enjoy each other and the beautiful outdoors. Here is a list of some of the opportunities available:

Earth Day Market Ride

Hosted by The Olympia Farmer’s Market and Thurston County Bicycle Commuter Challenge. Local cyclists will gather in several neighborhoods and ride to the Heritage Park fountain for pictures and snacks. They will then continue on to the Market for music, shopping, and more.

WET Center
500 Adams Street NE, Olympia
Saturday, April 20, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The WET Center will be celebrating Earth Day with art, making piggy banks, jewelry, and other items from recycled materials. All ages are welcome to participate, but may be most enjoyed by elementary and middle school students.

Of course, you could also celebrate Earth Day by enjoying the bountiful natural experiences within easy reach. Take a walk around your neighborhood or in one of the city parks nearby. A family hike at Staircase or Mount Rainier is only a short drive away. Taking time to notice and appreciate the world we live is always worthwhile and special.

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