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Every day is Earth Day in Grant Park.

Celebrate Earth Day in Chicago all week!

by Luke Rague
Apr 17, 2014


Luke Rague/MEDILL

The statue of William Shakespeare on North Stockton Drive sports a flower head piece in honor of Earth Day.

Chicago area groups are revving up for Earth Day on Tuesday with a whole week of clean-up efforts, environmental talks and eco-friendly festivals.

From colleges, to museums and zoos, the calendar is full of Earth Day events that start this Saturday.

Earth Day's to spread awareness and active participation in environmental conservation, a mission that kicked off with the first Earth Day 1970.

The event has a growing fan base of people wanting to do their part beautifying neighborhoods and making sure they will stay beautiful for future generation. In the 1990s, Earth Day become so popular as to become a yearly event, while spreading an organized love for the planet to nations around the world.

In recent years, Earth Day has experienced an explosion of participation. People around the world are becoming more concerned with the state of the environment, causing Earth Day to go through a mid-life crisis and explode into an entire week of preservation minded events by many different groups.

Area organizations are offering a range of events this year, sure to pique the interest of people of all activity levels. Whether you want to pick up trash in your favorite park, get you hands dirty gardening and planting trees, engage your mind with discussions with environmental experts, or just relax and learn about the environment, there is something for you.

Saturday, April 19

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is hosting Urban Habitat Chicago, to teach families how to start small gardens and windowsill planters, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Musician Joe Reilly, a children's musician focused on environmental education, will perform from 11:00 a.m.-noon. More information and tickets.

Sunday, April 20

Northwestern University kicks off a week of Earth Day activities with a banquet to start the No Impact Challenge at 7:00 p.m. in the Norris Big Ten Room on the Evanston Campus. More information.

Monday, April 21

Northwestern University hosts a movie screening of The Island President and a discussion on Climate Change and Globalization led by Professors Seth Stein, Sarah Lovinger and Gordon Davis in the Forum Room of the McCormick Tribune Center, 1870 Campus Drive, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. More information.

The University of Illinois at Chicago starts their Earth Day celebration with a Bike 2 Campus week long cause. Participants are encouraged to record their rides at More information.

Tuesday, April 22

The Adler Planetarium is holding “special family programs, tips on ways you can protect the environment, and more” throughout the facility from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Lincoln Park Zoo hosts a wine tasting to benefit the Save Nature's Adopt an Acre program, which uses donations to buy land in endangered ecosystems and turn it into nature preserves. More information and tickets.

The University of Chicago is presenting a movie screening and Q&A with the filmmaker for Food Patriots from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Breasted Hall at 1155 E 58th Street. More information.

DePaul University is hosting a discussion with Stacy Alaimo titled “Science, Aesthetics, and the Creatures of the Abyss,” covering the threats faced by ocean ecosystems. The talk will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in McGowan South 105 at 1110 W. Belden Ave. More information.

Northwestern University is holding the annual Mount Trashmore event, exhibiting the amount of waste produced daily by NU campus, starting at 11:00 a.m. outside Lunt Hall at 2033 Sheridan Road. More information. Find the Green Man, Bag Monster and Human Tree to get rewarded for being “caught green handed” in environmentally friendly activity. More information. Later, join the Civically Engaged Alumni Roundtables, connecting students and alumni to guide each other into environmental and sustainable fields, starting at 6:00 p.m. in Harris Hall Room 108, 1881 Sheridan Road. More information.

The University of Illinois at Chicago celebrates Earth Day with Ecojamapalooza!, a celebration of biking with demonstrations, donations and activities throughout campus. The event kicks off at 10:00 a.m. at UIC Lecture Center Plaza. More information.

Wednesday, April 23

Northwestern University continues their Earth Week with an Alternative Transit Fair, starting at 11:00 a.m. in the Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, and a discussion with Howard Learner on "Climate Change Solutions that Work for our Economy & Environment," starting at 5:15 p.m. in Technological Institute Room M345, 2145 Sheridan Road. More information. 

Thursday, April 24

The Lincoln Park Zoo hosts a “Wine and Wildlife” event, focused on helping the recovery of local turtle, mouse, and snake species. More information and tickets.

The University of Chicago is holding a workshop on “Human-Environment Interactions” with Sarah Vaughn, discussing her research in Guyana, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. in Pick Hall, Room 105, 5828 S University Ave. More information.

Northwestern University
hosts several events and discussions throughout the day. A Tap Water Challenge, pitting tap water and bottle water against each other and exploring issues of water access and pollution, will be held from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the Front Plaza of the Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road. More information. Later, the Wildroots Garden Workday is looking for volunteers to help outside of Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. More information. To endthe day, NU Sustainable Food Talks is hosting its monthly potluck, focusing on “What is 'Sustainable' Meat?” from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Technological Institute LR4 2145 Sheridan Road.

Friday, April 25

Northwestern University
celebrates Arbor Day by mulching and tree planting in Deering Meadow, 1937 Sheridan Road, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up by April 22. In the evening, a memorial will be held to celebrate the life of Paul Friesema, a former director of the Environmental Policy and Culture Program. It will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road. More information.

Saturday, April 26

The City of Chicago and dozens of local organizations are hosting the 25th Annual Earth Day Parks and Preserves Clean-Up from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up to help clean one of the 626 parks throughout Chicago. More information.

The City of Evanston is hosting a day of activities to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day. From 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., volunteers are encouraged to sign-up to clean one of ten local parks. At 11:30 a.m. a tree planting will be held outside the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., a festival with art, displays, games and awards will be held, also outside the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. More information. 

The Chicago Botanical Garden is holding a special Earth Day guided tour at 1:00 p.m., highlighting the spring wildflowers and restoration work. More information.

Loyola University Chicago hosts a neighborhood clean up and gardening event from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Volunteers can meet at the Damen Student Center, 6511 N Sheridan Road, and are encouraged to help clean up, paint fences and garden in eleven parks and public areas throughout the 48th and 49th Wards. More information.

Northwestern University raps up their week of activities on Saturday with a bike ride and a tree clean up. From 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, volunteers are encouraged to gather at the Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd, to help clean up tree plantings and clear out invasive species. More information. The bike ride will take participants along the North Shore Channel Trail, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., starting outside the front entrance of the Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive. Participants are encouraged to register.

Sunday, April 27

The Brookfield Zoo will wrap up the Chicago area's Earth Day events with an all day Party For the Planet. Activities will include an exposition for environmentally minded companies, a free recycling event, music, kite flying demonstrations, and a special exhibit focused on African Painted Dogs. More information.