Earth Day is a global celebration on April 22 encouraging education and stewardship of the planet’s natural resources. Whether in a backyard, neighborhood green space, or a National Park Service, this day provides everyone a time to learn about how each one of us can make a difference for our planet.
National Park Week is April 22 to April 30, 2023. Entrance fees will be waived on April 22, to kick off the celebration and encourage everyone to enjoy their national parks in person. National Park Service parks, programs, and partners will host events and activities all week! Follow National Park Week on social media and join the fun.
Rocky Mountain National Park is located between Estes Park and Grand Lake. With high-mountain lakes and streams, towering peaks of more than 14,000 feet, thick evergreen forests and thousands of acres home to wildlife, this national park is a nature lover’s paradise within its 415-square-mile boundaries.
Mesa Verde National Park is located near Cortez and is home to some unique Ancestral Puebloan dwellings. Well-preserved and well-studied, these cliff structures are inspiring interest in this ancient culture. On park tours, ladders give guided groups access to the structures, and park rangers offer glimpses into the daily lives of Ancestral Puebloans.
Great Sands Dunes National Park and Preserve includes mountains of sand with the tallest dune towering 750 feet high at an elevation of 8,700 feet above sea level. The entire dune field is 30 square miles within the 150,000-acre park. Surf the sands or hike the trails and spend the night — this International Dark Sky Park offers pristine stargazing opportunities.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park includes sheer black walls that plummet up to 2,700 feet on this 53-mile stretch of narrow gorge near Montrose. The gorge is renowned for its dramatic scenery of the steep cliffs and recreational opportunities.
Crater Lake National Park inspires awe. It was formed 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity—fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the United States and one of the most pristine on Earth with its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located at the edge of the Guadalupe Mountains in Carlsbad and has one of the oldest known and most famous cave systems in the world. The main section has several vast interlinked underground chambers up to 250 feet tall, filled with amazingly colorful and varied formations that are 900 feet below the surface.
White Sands National Park is scenic and unusual. Located near Alamogordo, White Sands contains 275 square miles of pure white gypsum dunes, deposited by the prevailing winds after being eroded from the nearby San Andres Mountains.
Death Valley National Park is below-sea-level. Its steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes with striking contrasts. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers.
Great Basin National Park includes the 13,063-foot summit of Wheeler Peak and hosts incredible diversity. Soak in the solitude of the wilderness, walk among ancient bristlecone pines, bask in the darkest of night skies, and explore mysterious subterranean passages. There’s a whole lot more than just desert here!
Big Bend National Park is in West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. Hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country.
Guadalupe National Park includes mountains and canyons, desert and dunes, night skies and spectacular vistas. The park protects the world’s most extensive Permian fossil reef, the four highest peaks in Texas. It includes an environmentally diverse collection of flora and fauna.
Bryce Canyon National Park is celebrating 100 years this year. Visit the Bryce Canyon Lodge auditorium to view a photo exhibition highlighting the last 100 years of Bryce Canyon history!
Cedar Breaks National Monument was designed an International Dark Sky Park a few years ago. This distinction recognizes Cedar Breaks as a sanctuary of natural darkness and provides visitors a chance to enjoy the night sky.
Zion National Park has two Park Ranger talks on Earth Day at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. The first is from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and the second is from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. A two-hour Pa’rus Trail Guided walk starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center.
Everyday Earth Day Tips – Food Waste
About one-third of all food (133 billion pounds) in the United States is thrown out each year, according to the Department of Agriculture. The cost of wasting food adds up quickly to the tune of about $160 billion. Here are some tips to reduce food waste in your kitchen:
- Avoid overbuying. Take an inventory of pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before going to the store.
- Create a meal plan. Buy a head of broccoli and use it as a side dish one night and in a casserole the next.
- Freeze leftovers. If you don’t think you can eat your leftovers within three days, store them in the freezer and label them.
- Buy only what you need. Buy fruits and vegetables that you can eat in one week. If you run out, have some frozen fruit and vegetables on hand that you can eat before you go back to the grocery story.
- Compost. Backyard composting is a great way to keep food waste out of the landfill and provides nutrition for your garden. Look for small composting containers that you can keep in your home.
- Before tossing food. Eat what is left in your fridge before getting takeout. Reward yourself by ordering your favorite takeout meal tomorrow night.
- Be creative, recipes are guidelines. Missing an ingredient? Before running to the store, consider a substitution already in your refrigerator. Parsley for basil, mozzarella for ricotta, and carrots for sweet potatoes.
The History Channel has a complete list of shows and the history of Earth Day. Learn more at: Earth Day 2023 – Origins, Theme, Celebration (history.com).