It’s been over 30 years since the first Earth Day, celebrated in 1970. Since then, the environmental movement has grown by leaps and bounds. It’s no longer seen as weird or fringe to be green – it’s a part of everyday life, especially here in Silicon Valley. Many environmental groups got their start here in the Bay Area, and California has often been in the forefront of environmental initiatives and on-the-ground changes in how we live our lives and use resources. Don’t miss these 5 ideas for South Bay activities and groups to help you celebrate the spirit of Earth Day 2013.
Related: America’s Best Gardens And Parks
Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup
Various South Bay Parks
50 Francisco St., Suite 110
San Francisco, CA 94133
Date: April 13, 2013
The California State Parks encourage local residents to participate in their annual restoration and cleanup day on April 13, in celebration of Earth Day. Local parks participating include The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos and Half Moon Bay State Beach in Half Moon Bay. Activities will include the removal of trays, non-native plants and other weeds. To see more information about the specific locations and to pre-register online, visit calparks.org. Registration ends when each site is full or on April 8.
P. O. Box 9231
San Jose, CA 95157
Village Harvest is a Bay Area organization that collects unwanted fruit from fruit trees and shares it with local food banks, homeless shelters and other worthy groups. Entirely volunteer-run, the organization harvests in the Peninsula and South Bay throughout the year with frequent events. Get involved by helping out at a harvest, or if you have trees with unwanted fruit, contact the Village Harvest folks about donating your fruit. Families with children can participate in some of the collection events. Get out, get some fresh air and exercise and help others while utilizing a resource that might otherwise be wasted.
Earth Day and Arbor Day at History San Jose
History Park San Jose
1650 Senter Road
San Jose, CA 95112
Date: April 20, 2013
Looking for a kid-friendly Earth Day celebration? Consider the Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations planned by History Park San Jose on Saturday, April 20th. There will be activities for children and music provided by Linda Trungali. In addition, you can stroll History Park, see the historic buildings and see the various exhibits in the park, including “Shaped by Water: Past, Present, Future,” a look at how the Santa Clara Valley was shaped by the use of water. Admission on Earth Day is free and parking is $6.
The Tech Museum of Innovation
201 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Tech and green together? You may not be surprised to see the pairing of technology and environmentalism, especially here in Silicon Valley. Places like the The Tech Museum of Innovation document past efforts at green technology, as well as current work in the field. Currently at the Tech, you can see early prototype electric cars, solar panels and low-electricity lightbulbs. You and your kids will love exploring the hands-on exhibits at the Tech and perhaps dream a little about becoming a green entrepreneur yourselves.
National River Cleanup Day
Creek Connections Action Group
5750 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118
Date: May 18, 2013
Sites throughout the South Bay will be participating in National River Cleanup Day, with efforts spearheaded by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Creek Connections Action Group. You and your family, friends or local group can get out, get some exercise and help clean up our local waterways. Past years have helped remove thousands of pounds of trash from local creeks, rivers and lakes. A list of local sites and the ability to sign up to volunteer online will be available in April at www.cleanacreek.org.
California Coastal Cleanup Day
Date: September 21, 2013
Of course, the earth needs help every day, not just in April. Consider making a note for yourself and signing up for the fall Coastal Cleanup Day in September. The 2012 effort collected 320 tons of trash and recyclable items. California Coastal Cleanup is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, one of the largest volunteer efforts in the world. In 2013, the focus will be on cleaning up debris deposited by the Japanese tsunami of two years ago. Data about the debris will be collected and shared with the Ocean Conservancy. For details about the 2013 Coastal Cleanup locations, contact the local coordinators for Santa Clara County, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, at www.cleanacreek.org.
Laura Tarwater-Scharp is a freelance writer, editor and historian. Originally from the Midwest, she has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.