Celebrating the Earth With a Bit of History and a Scavenger Hunt!
The era was the late 1960s; the flower child had cultivated a flourishing counter-culture with the Vietnam War at the apex of opposition. Students around the country united in protests to produce one large voice against the conflict.
Fast forward to 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson took inspiration from the rallying with a plan to expand the public discourse. It was risky, but he partnered with politicians across the party spectrum to bring the environment to the foreground of American’s concerns by celebrating Earth Day.
Today, it is nearly impossible to imagine an environment where our children would have to breathe air polluted by carcinogenic fumes billowing from chemical plants or drink water contaminated by toxic dumping. But without the very first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, it’s quite possible that this insanity would be our reality.
Nelson proposed this event as a “national teach-in on the environment.” The cool thing about Earth Day was that it wasn’t some big congressional policy; it was a grass roots movement that brought the issue into America’s homes and schools. The movement thrived and spread in school settings. Awareness and education on the state of our communal and global environments was the lesson plan. And wonderfully enough, 20 million Americans – students, teachers, politicians, moms, dads, and kids alike – took their voices to the streets with roaring success. That day in 1970 was the watershed moment for the modern environmental movement.
I celebrate Earth Day not only to show my appreciation for our planet, but to also memorialize those millions of Americans in their bell bottoms and braids standing up for something big and being heard! It’s also the easiest holiday to celebrate – just go outside! Talk to your kiddos about the history of Earth Day. Look at photos together of what other children did to mark the occasion. I love this one of kids sweeping.
Then go on this scavenger hunt! (Click the link for a printable pdf to take on your adventure!)
You can modify the hunt to be age specific. Let your munchkin take photos of each step, or if that’s a bit advanced, just mark off the circles. Along with the drawings, they can make an Earth Day collage – a little reminder of how wonderful the great outdoors is!