April is like the holiday season for folks interested in green living. With the official Earth Day being on April 22, the month is jam-packed with local festivals, volunteer opportunities and kid-friendly events to help you mark the 41st anniversary of the annual appreciation day for the planet.
If you want to kick off the month at what is billed as “the nation’s premier sustainability event,” make your way to San Francisco on April 9-10 for the 10th Annual Green Festival, held at the Concourse Exhibition Center .
The Green Festival—which is also held in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago—is a veritable green lollapalooza, featuring the hottest green businesses, instructional workshops on green living, organic wine and beer tastings, crafts and games for kids, and inspirational speakers such as the Fabulous Beekman Boys.
If you’re looking to “pitch in” and get your hands dirty locally this Earth Day, grab your gloves and check out these opportunities to help your local environment:
- Keep San Bruno Mountain beautiful by removing invasive plants, picking up litter or doing trail maintenance on April 16. More information will be posted soon at the San Mateo County’s Parks website, and you can register at www.calparks.org.
- Join the Pacifica Beach Coalition on April 16 with an Earth Day celebration dedicated to the California gray whale. Help the clean-up efforts at one of the numerous beach sites in the morning, and then celebrate with food, music and fun at the after-party at the south parking lot of Linda Mar State Beach. Get more information and register atwww.pacificabeachcoalition.org.
- Check out beautiful beach views while picking up litter at Mirada Surf West in El Granada. Contact Park Ranger Sarah Lenz at email@example.com to sign up or for more information.
- Help Save Our Shores clean up Francis Beach and Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay, and join their celebration afterwards. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up.
- Enjoy a day on the bay on April 16 at Coyote Point Park in San Mateo. You’ll plant trees and clean up the beach and marina areas. More information will be posted soon at the county’s parks website.
- Take in the view at Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve in Redwood City on April 16 while helping the California Native Plant Society remove invasive plants to help wildflowers bloom. Visit edgewood.thinkersrus.net for more information.
- Restore bay habitat on April 23 in Menlo Park with Save The Bay. You’ll remove invasive species and help clean up the shoreline to protect habitat for shorebirds. Get more information and register at www.savesfbay.org/peninsula-south-bay.
Fun for the Whole Family
Pulling weeds and picking up litter not your thing? This Earth Day, teach your kids about the environment and the importance of conserving it at the Marine Science Institute’s Earth Day on the Bay celebration on April 16 in Redwood City.
Learn about the Bay’s ecosystems and how you can protect them with the Institute’s Discovery Ecotours aboard their 90-foot ship, touch tanks with live marine animals, outrigger and canoe rides on Redwood Creek and the Earthcapades Environmental Vaudeville show. Discovery Ecotours are $20 per person; all other activities besides concessions are free.
Prizes for Driving Less
If you work in San Mateo County and have been considering switching to public transit for your commute, sign up for the “Give the Earth a Rest and Drive Less” Earth Day campaign. Pledge online to commute to work via public transit the week of April 18-22, and you’ll receive a free Clipper card with a $10 value.
If you take a follow-up online survey, you’ll be entered into a raffle with such prizes as an iPod Shuffle, gift cards or a Clipper card with a $230 value.
Residents of Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City and San Carlos can also sign up for the Drive Less Challenge, starting April 22. You’ll track your travel for two weeks, and try to walk, bike, carpool and use transit instead of driving. Prizes will be awarded for winners in categories such as “most green travel” and “least driving.”
Alexis Petru lives in San Bruno and is a staff writer for the national environmental website www.earth911.com. Her column appears biweekly on Saturdays.