Earth Day Activities

With gas prices pushing $5 a gallon in the Chicago area, Earth Day is a great time to start teaching your children the importance of conservation and care for the planet.


Celebrated on April 22 this year, Earth Day began in the 1970s in Wisconsin as a simple “teach-in” day. By 1990, it was observed in over 140 countries around the world.

Earth Day has gained considerable momentum since then, and rather than being limited to one day, activities are spread throughout the week or even month. Our community is no exception; with eco-minded events planned up and down the north and northwest suburbs for the next few weekends, you’re sure to find something in your backyard!

“The Play Out”
Mellody Farm Nature Preserve
350 N. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest
Friday, April 22, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Children ages 3 to 13 will enjoy Lake Forest Open Lands’ “Play Out” —a complimentary day of outdoor activities, including a natural obstacle course, shelter building, pond netting, tree climbing and much more. Whole Foods-Deerfield will provide snacks, and Lake Forest Bookstore will host a nature book sale.

Guided Earth Day Walk
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Saturday, April 23, 1 p.m.
Join veteran Botanic Garden volunteer Joanne Schmitz on the first of a four-part series of Spring Walks. This guided walk through the woods is free and lasts 20-45 minutes (participants may participate as long as they wish). Discussion will focus on blooms in the woods, as well as a history of the woods and current restoration projects.

Celebrate Earth Day at the Air Station Prairie
Air Station Prairie/Tyner Center
2400 Compass Road, Glenview
Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Admission is free for this busy day of family activities including a scavenger hunt, “build a litterbug” activity and talks on the history of Illinois’ prairies. Explore Air Station Prairie’s 32-acre remnant tall grass prairie and discover why the Tyner Center is a LEED Platinum certified building, and how you can make your home greener.

Celebrate Earth Day on May Day
Emily Oaks Nature Center
4650 Brummel Street, Skokie
Sunday, May 1, noon to 4 p.m.

The entire family can enjoy and learn more about nature during Skokie’s Earth Day on May Day event. The celebration includes games, activities, music, food and a native plant sale.

Arbor Day, Earth Day Celebration
Evanston Ecology Center
2024 McCormick Blvd., Evanston
Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
A free day of events is planned at the Ecology Center on this Arbor Day weekend!  From 10 a.m. to noon, pitch in at Ladd Arboretum to remove all things invasive. From 1 to 4 p.m., local musicians will play while adults check out rain barrels and composting bins. Kids can learn about local animals and plant seedlings. The Garden Council of Evanston will present “Tea for Trees” from 4 to 5 p.m., sharing information on parkway trees and invasive species that threaten Evanston’s trees.

Throughout the day, the Active Transportation Alliance will be on hand to give bike check-ups and helmet adjustments, while the Citizens Utility Board will be there to explain Evanston’s Big 7 Employers Challenge to Save Energy, a program challenging ComEd customers to form energy-saving teams (the winners receive a year of free electricity!)

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