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Earth Day began in 1970 to provide a voice to an emerging environmental consciousness in our country. As we salute the 50th anniversary of what is now a global movement, the Arboretum team has begun a yearlong conversation about guiding principles for our work in providing environment leadership for the community.

Our Earth Day 2020 platform consists of three main elements:

  • Modeling sustainability, in our horticulture practices and green infrastructure, and through restoration of the Arboretum watershed.
  • Building climate resilience, through biodiverse plantings and acting as a sanctuary for plants threatened in their homelands.
  • Cultivating a new generation of environmental stewards, through our vibrant and inclusive education, volunteer, and citizen science programs.

Volunteers at the 2018 Earth Day at the Arboretum.

Our story was brought to life in the Arboretum’s volunteer-built display garden at February’s Northwest Flower & Garden Festival, Gateway to a Greener Earth, which used imperiled plant species from our Conservation Collection to highlight the importance of biodiversity to a healthy planet.

Share Your Love of Arboretum

We had to postpone our annual Earth Day at the Arboretum work-service event. Help us create a digital celebration by emailing a photo and/or note that captures your favorite memory or place in the Arboretum. Over the coming week, we will post it on our social media. Or tag us on Instagram or Facebook using #MySeattleArboretum, and we will share your photo/post.

We are also partnering with other organizations across the region to celebrate Earth Day 2020 through digital and other socially distant means. Please join us to mark this special anniversary of the world’s largest civic event!

Following are some activities you can participate in online or in/around your home and neighborhood to celebrate nature—and to help build a healthier planet and a greener, more sustainable future.

Volunteers from FSi Engineers in the Arboretum during Earth Day, 2016.

Virtual Earth Day 2020—Actions, Home Projects & Activities

For full details, click the bold green text links.

  1. Earth Day History & Legacy: Not familiar with how Earth Day came about? Expedition-travel pioneer Sven Lindblad and National Geographic have created a wonderful four-minute YouTube video explaining the history of the event and its important impacts on environmental protection.
  2. Tune into Earth Day Live: Visit the official website of Earth Day for a full-day of live streaming talks, performances, and calls to action. Share your #hopeforearth.
  3. Enjoy a UWBG self-guided nature adventure: Our partners at UW Botanic Gardens Education have designed some fun self-guided adventures for families and youth, including making your own natural paints and dyes, and building a temporary fairy house. Follow the educators on Instagram for even more science-based family activities.
  4. Take a self-guided tree walk: Learn about some of the coolest trees in your neighborhood using Trees for Seattle’s printable maps and tree profiles. The site also features a “spring tree scavenger hunt.”
  5. Enjoy a virtual native plant walk: Follow the Green Seattle Partnership on Instagram and enjoy live native plant tours, as well as regular posts about Pacific Northwest flora.
  6. Plant a tree, help pollinators, grow your own veggies: Our Earth Day at the Arboretum partners at the Student Conservation Association have created some fun, short video modules that teach young and old alike some simple techniques for creating a more environmentally friendly home.
  7. Enjoy environmental quizzes, scavenger hunts, and more: King County is hosting daily quizzes about our local environment, recycling, food waste, trees, and more on its Instagram and Twitter feeds. Its “Earth Day Goes Digital” website also features tons of fun activities for kids, including nature-themed coloring pages, word games, and scavenger hunts.
  8. Help document your city’s biodiversity: Participate in the Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan Area City Nature Challenge, a citizen-science bioblitz on April 24 to 27 hosted by Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Take and upload photos of wild plants and animals in your neighborhood using the iNaturalist app. Not familiar with the app? No worries, it’s super user-friendly.
  9. Help the UW study bird behavior: Researchers at the UW Quantitative Ecology Lab have launched a community science program through the eBird web portal to monitor birds in urban and suburban neighborhoods across the Pacific Northwest while social distancing measures are in place.
  10. Share your Earth Day voice and vision: Be inspired to action and share your vision for the next 5 years or decades via Earth Day Northwest 2020, a partnership of regional organizations (including the Arboretum Foundation) and individuals dedicated to affecting positive change.
  11. Attend the Earth Talks 2020 Webinar: On Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, hear five-minute presentations by Seattle University faculty, students, and community partners about environmental justice and sustainability research, service, and activism. Sessions are from 11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3:15 p.m. Includes an interview with Earth Day co-founder Denis Hayes.
  12. Join the Virtual CleanUp Campaign: For Earth Month (April 2020), Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is encouraging folks to incorporate trash clean-up during their routine walks and post photos of their work on Instagram.

Bulletin Article: Four-Legged Fauna of the Arboretum

Read Larry Hubbell’s illuminating and beautifully illustrated article about the wild quadrupeds that call the Arboretum home—including river otters, beavers, and coyotes. It’s one of a number of ecology-themed articles that we produced for our Earth Day 50th Anniversary Special Issue of the Arboretum Bulletin.