By Audrey Bogina | April 15, 2023
April 22, 1970 marked the first official commemoration of Earth Day, when millions in the U.S. protested and demonstrated to draw attention to environmental concerns. Today, Earth Day events and celebrations are a regular part of local government, schools and community life.
In South Jersey, there are dozens of gatherings, activities and volunteer opportunities scheduled for the weekend of April 22 & 23, as well as the week leading up to it, which is now known as Earth Week.
Here is a sampling of some local events:
Haddonfield will host Earth Day at Crows Woods events all weekend-long and promote organizations focused on conservation and sustainability. Activities include a session on tree care, a tree planting beside the Pavillion, and a guided trail walk to view the future trail planned by the Haddonfield Water Trail Association. Volunteers from Haddonfield Backyard Chickens Board will be present, along with hens, to talk about maintaining a coop in your backyard. Also at the Haddonfield Library, Ruth Brooks from the Freedom Center for Wildlife will discuss owl rescue efforts with presentations and live owls.
Rowan University is hosting multiple events, including water quality testing and other activities at Chestnut Branch Creek in Pitman, where attendees will learn about the health of the waterway that flows from Alcyon Lake.
On the main Rowan campus in Glassboro, visitors can listen to musicians performing outdoor “Earth Busking” and a “Nature Walk” concert featuring the Rowan University String Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. There will also be a performance of The Puppet Cycle: Small World Stories, original short plays starring contemporary artist-made marionettes on Phantom Limb Company‘s solar-powered mobile stage.
In Mount Laurel, the Rancocas Woods Events and Shops is hosting a Local Plant Swap and Shop. Guests can exchange cuttings, seeds, plantings, fruit trees, gardening tools, soil, fertilizer, pest control, and more. Artisan vendors will be present outside the swap, along with live music and food trucks. Instructors from the Rutgers Master Gardener Program of Burlington County will provide information and tips for your own garden.
In historic Smithville, the Green Market is hosting a Swap Stop, where residents can donate/trade items they no longer need. The market also features vendors, food trucks, crafts, and native plants and flowers.
Egg Harbor Township is hosting the 31st annual Earth Day Festival at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority Environmental Park. Activities will include a tour of New Jersey’s first commercial wind farm, eco hayrides, recycling center tours, a rain barrel demonstration, yoga sessions, a composting demonstration, and a native plant talk and walk.
The Cumberland County Library in Bridgeton will feature a talk by Michelle Rebilas of the American Littoral Society, who will share tips and tricks to lessen our daily impact on the planet.
The Cape May County Earth Day festivities will include eco-friendly businesses and vendors and a Run For the Wild 5K at the Cape May Zoo. And in North Cape May, organizers will host a participatory drum circle in Ferry Park so BYOD.
There are numerous local park clean-up events in the South Jersey area, including in Camden, at Cooper River Park and in Deptford Township.