Earth Day events

| 27 Apr 2024 | 05:28

April 22 marks the 54th anniversary of the very first Earth Day. What follows is a list of programs and activities that carry on the movement’s traditions:

Friday, April 19

Sussex Branch Trail cleanup: The Sussex County Trails Partnership invites individuals and company teams to participate in a cleanup of the Sussex Branch trail. Bring tools and supplies, including gloves, sunscreen, bug spray, clippers/loppers, water, snacks, long pants and a long-sleeve shirt for protection against poison ivy, etc. Chainsaws are strictly prohibited. Visit the trail near Smith Street in Andover heading northeast to Route 206 by the forest fire location or near Whitehall Hill Road in both directions. Volunteers are required to complete an application and bring it to the cleanup. For information, go online to

Earth Day Celebration: Nature hikes, plant your own flower to take home, games and snacks from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. at Byram Lakes Elementary School Courtyard, 11 Mansfield Drive, Stanhope. Presented by the Byram Lakes Environmental Club. Rain or shine.

Saturday, April 20

Papakating Park cleanup: 9 to 11 a.m. at Papakating Park disc golf course along Berry Road in Wantage. Open to all ages. Supplies will be provided.

High Point State Park cleanup: Meet by the beach parking lot at Lake Marcia from 10 a.m. to noon. Safety vests, gloves and garbage bags will be provided. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes as you may get dirty.

Earth Day Meditation and Yoga: Celebrate Earth Day with guided meditation from 10 to 10:30 a.m. and yoga on the mountain from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at High Point State Park, 1480 Route 23, Sussex. Suggested donation is $5.

Earth Day celebration: Celebrating its third year of business in Sparta and Earth Day, Simple Bare Necessities, 17 Main St., is hosting its third annual celebration featuring children’s activities, local makers selling products and a raffle with items provided by local businesses. The proceeds will go to the local organization Ridge & Valley Conservancy. Chefs Catering Food Truck will be there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with vegan and gluten free options.

Skylands Drive Electric Earth Month event: Electric vehicle dealers, drivers and enthusiasts will display their vehicles to highlight the clean-air benefits and cost savings of electric cars. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sussex County Mall, 9-15 Hampton House Road/Route 206, Newton. For information, call 973-886-7950. Rain date is April 27.

Earth Day Celebration: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New WEIS Center for Education, Arts & Recreation. 150 Snake Den Road, Ringwood. Guided nature walks, community partner tables, volunteer opportunities, environmental groups, educational displays, native plant giveaways, nature crafts and activities, games, scavenger hunts, and other programs every half hour. For information, go online to Rain date is Sunday, April 21

Spring Wildflower Walk: Join Darlene Nowak in checking out the flowers and ferns in the shady, wooded Wildflower Garden at the New Jersey Botanical Garden, 2 Morris Road, Ringwood, from 1 to 2 p.m. Wear sturdy shoes and meet at the Carriage House. Cost is $5; free admission children younger than 12.

Saturday, April 27

Earth Day Expo: The Passaic County Parks & Recreation Department and the Friends of Garret Mountain Reservation are hosting an Earth Day Expo, which will exhibit Earth-friendly vendors, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Garret Mountain Reservation-Pat DiIanni Boathouse, 8 Mountain Ave., Woodland Park.

Earth Day Litter Cleanup: The Greater Culver Lake Watershed Conservation Foundation along with Frankford Township Clean Communities is sponsoring the second annual Earth Day Litter Cleanup at both Lake Owassa and Culver Lake from 8:30 a.m. to noon. All pick-up materials will be supplied. Meet at Normanoch Clubhouse, East Shore Culver Road, Branchville.

West Milford Beautification Day: Volunteers are needed to help clean up roadside litter. Supplies are provided at the West Milford DPW Recycling Office, 30 Lycosky Drive, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Cleanup is from 8:30 a.m. to noon, followed by a picnic at Bubbling Springs Park for volunteers. There will be prizes for the most unusual, oldest and most valuable litter found beginning at 1 p.m. For information, call recycling coordinator David Stires at 973-728-2724.

The History of Earth Day
The web site,, provides the history of how the environmental movement was created 54 years ago:
“Sen. Gaylord Nelson, the junior senator from Wisconsin, had long been concerned about the deteriorating environment in the United States. Then in January 1969, he and many others witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Nelson wanted to infuse the energy of student anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution. The senator announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to the national media, and persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair.
“Nelson recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organize the campus teach-ins and to scale the idea to a broader public, and they choose April 22, a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize the greatest student participation.
“Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land and the effort soon broadened to include a wide range of organizations, faith groups and others. They changed the name to Earth Day, which immediately sparked national media attention and caught on across the country. Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans — at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States — to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts.
“Groups that had been fighting individually against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife united on Earth Day around these shared common values. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders.
“By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first-of-their-kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act. Two years later congress passed the Clean Water Act.”
Read more about the movement at