April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The 1970 event started an important conversation in America. It gave voice to people’s concerns about air and water pollution all around them. It helped spawn support for environmental protections. It also marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. 50 years later, the event continues to raise awareness and mobilize people to care for our planet.

Parks & Rec is proud to take part in this anniversary celebration. We recognize and appreciate that Earth Day motivates people to care for our environment and public spaces. Did you know Belmont Plateau in West Fairmount Park was the site of a big rally on the first Earth Day? It was recognized as the largest gathering of the many that took place across the country in 1970.

One unique aspect of the 1970 Philadelphia event was its length. It wasn’t a single day—organizers here hosted Earth Week. This seven-day series of public events and activities continues to this day. Due to COVID-19, this year’s Earth Week is taking a different form than in the past—it’s gone virtual. There are still plenty of ways to get involved from the safety of your home. Here are our virtual Earth Week top picks:

  1. Experience Parks & Rec @ Home.

    Our staff is working hard to bring the best of Parks & Rec programming home to you! This week, several of our staff-led videos will have Earth Day themes. Follow us on Facebook to tune in!    

  2. Join the City Nature Challenge.

    During this four-day event, people record the plants and wildlife in their cities. Submit photos of the species you see in your home, backyard, or neighborhood through the iNaturalist application. Learn more about the event and download the app to begin.

  3. Explore Parks & Rec sites virtually.

    In 2016, Philadelphia became the first major city to partner with Google to catalog many of the city’s trails and cultural attractions. As a result, you can explore our sites from A to Z—Aviator Park to the Philadelphia Zoo, to be precise! Read more about the project and explore our sites.

  4. Help us grow our urban forest.

    Parks & Rec is leading the creation of an urban forest strategic plan for Philadelphia. Read the information that will help inform the plan. Once you’ve done that, sign up to receive information on future meetings.

  5. Read the Office of Sustainability’s annual Greenworks Review.

    This report features the diverse people and groups working to keep our communities safe, healthy, and inspired. The 2020 edition, to be released on April 22, features Parks & Rec’s urban agriculture plan on page 20. The 2019 report featured our TreePhilly program on page 8. Read the latest edition of Greenworks Review.

Check out the diverse host of offerings including online storytime and lectures, virtual walk/runs, and even an old-school radio show.