Ways to celebrate Mother Nature in an urban environment


Credit: Creative Common Licenses

Savannah Ford, Staff Writer

Feeling connected to nature and all of its wonders can be difficult while living amidst the hustle and bustle of the largest city in the United States. Even so, it is crucial to give back to the planet that sustains our livelihoods and hosts the organic beauties of nature, which should be aimed to preserve for generations to come. Earth Day (April 22), serves as a way to heighten awareness surrounding the protection of Earth’s natural resources, as well as being a celebratory day that can be pivotal for environmental advocates. Listed below are just a few of the ways you can contribute to the cause, even in the cosmopolitan setting of NYC.

DOT Car-Free Earth Day 

New York City’s Department of Transportation will be holding its seventh annual Car-Free Earth Day on April 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in seven locations throughout the five boroughs. In doing this, 24 streets will be completely opened up without cars as a way of promoting activism and education in regard to climate change and sustainable living. Programming will be presented on the open streets by City and community organizations. Local artists will also perform on the fuel-free avenues for all to enjoy.

Queens Farm: Earth Day Service Day

 From noon to 4:30 p.m. on Earth Day, volunteers are able to participate in the Queens Farm “Bee-A-Pollinator” event, working to reconfigure perceptions of how society interacts with the environment and impacts crucial environmental protection legislation. Volunteers will take part in the spring cleaning of the Children’s Garden, garden bed prep, sifting compost and removing rocks to support agricultural expansion. Additionally, sustainability-themed activities will be offered including a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle book swap, Eco Scavenger hunt and Apiary talks. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park Earth Month Events 

Brooklyn Bridge Park has an environmental education center that works with the community to provide knowledge regarding the ecology, history and infrastructure of the Brooklyn waterfront. As part of their celebrations this year, the park Conservancy is hosting “Earth Month” with several interactive events planned throughout April to get the public involved. On April 21 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., the Horticulture team is hosting a Horticulture Walk beginning at Pier 1 and ending at Pier 4, aiming to bring awareness to the park’s green initiatives and planting strategies. On Earth Day from 10:00 a.m. to noon, you can join the Green Team, a dedicated collection of volunteers, to plant, mulch and remove invasive plants. If you want to check out some other events, a more comprehensive list can be found on their website

Compost Bike Tour (+ Other Biking Activities)

This Earth Day, join the Lower East Side (LES) Ecology Center through DonateNYC on an eight-mile community bike ride from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On this environmentally enhanced display of athleticism, learn how the city’s food scraps are collected and processed at local community compost sites in Upper Manhattan. This event is an incredible way to get outside of the apartment and indulge in ongoing green initiatives hosted by the city itself! If you aren’t feeling up to an organized bike tour, Citi Bike will offer free, unlimited 30-minute rides the entire day with the promo code CARFREE23–so grab a Citi Bike, head toward the West Side Highway and ride along the river for a more scenic view of NYC.