For many, the month of April has become synonymous with increased environmental awareness and activism. This of course began with Earth Day and Arbor Day both being celebrated during the month, and eventually some overly enthusiastic folks decided to stretch the festivities out a bit. We often think of Earth Day and Arbor Day as occasions to plant a tree. While that is certainly appropriate, there are many other ways to get involved!
• Clean up – Many community organizations coordinate clean up projects during the month or on Earth Day itself. Particular targets are often waterways, parks, or other green spaces. Find a clean up crew to join and help remove some of the waste from these areas!
• Reduce Waste – Take the month to be mindful of your own use of disposable paper and plastics, and try to reduce the amount you use and throw away.
• Reduce Water Use – Try to be mindful throughout the month of how much water you use, and think of ways to use less.
• Think Sustainably – Think about how these Earth Month activities can become habits that persist long-term in your daily life.
For those of us who work in the conservation field, the Earth Day mindset is business as usual. We work every day to foster sustainability within ecosystems. Whether we are installing wood duck boxes for nesting habitat, planting wildflowers for pollinators, or educating a homeowner on a backyard garden, everything we do is about sustainable conservation. If you feel compelled to get involved on this level, here are a few ways to invest in celebrating Earth Day long-term.
• Plant a butterfly garden – This Earth Day, commit to starting a butterfly garden. Texas is one of the best places to do this, as it’s on the Monarch butterfly migration route. A butterfly or pollinator garden is one of the best things you can do for nature! Pollinators are critical players in the web of life, and the importance of providing habitat for them cannot be understated. Plant your garden this Earth Day, and you will have the results to look forward to next year!
• Install bluebird boxes – Providing nesting habitat for these beloved songbirds is a long-honored tradition of conservationists and animal lovers. The goal of course is helping to ensure the sustainability of their populations, but a great added bonus is increased viewing opportunities!
• Plant a fruit tree orchard – This can be as few as 3-5 trees, or as many as your space and resources allow. Of course planting any tree is a wonderful investment in the earth, and many take the opportunity on Earth Day, but a fruit tree orchard will yield it’s own special return! Planting something that produces food for you and your family is its own kind of sustainability, and will leave a legacy for generations to come.