4 Inspiring Earth Day Volunteer Activities with Children

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The thoughts presented in this Earth Day volunteer article are the writer’s and do not represent views of the organizations they are employed in. Please note that with COVID-19, not all of these suggestions can be done right now, but you can bookmark this article for when circumstances change!

Earth Day is a good nudge for Moms to remember how Mother Earth needs care too!

As we enjoy the Spring season, Earth Day provides a wonderful opportunity for moms to motivate our children to consider active stewardship of our planet Earth. Encouraging volunteer activities at a young age helps our children to inculcate the importance of giving back in small ways, which can have a compounding impact. 

Fortunately, we’re blessed to live in an area with abundant and a variety of ways to volunteer. While the list below is not comprehensive, it offers some fun and unique ways to inspire environmental stewardship among our future generation. Their role in protecting our planet and conserving water will be even more important in the decades to come. These are some fantastic ways to volunteer with children in honor of Earth Day.

1. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

These Gardens home to the lovely lotus blooms over the summer offer fun, messy, “get your feet” wet type of volunteer service. The Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens have a range of activities for individuals, families, and groups. My daughter and I had fun picking up trash by hopping in their ponds with boots and a jumpsuit (kindly provided by the volunteer coordinators). We also learned about the invasive species to guard against and had a blast getting in the muck! 

2. Kingman+Heritage Islands

Take a free canoe with Green Boats of Anacostia Watershed Society. In complimentary canoes, you with your child can volunteer and paddle around looking for waste. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of waste – we’ve found sneakers and too many water bottles in the process. Sign up for their newsletter to get notices about their next green boat event.

3. Rock Creek Park

Jeanne Braha, Executive Director (a mom too!) of Rock Creek Conservancy said it best to my UDC undergraduate students – the National Mall is like our front lawn, but Rock Creek park is like our backyard. While we’ve got the manicured front lawn, we can’t let our kids forget about the backyard! To help take care of it, the Rock Creek Park Conservancy offers great volunteer opportunities for kids to get a little closer to our “backyard” while picking up waste. Rock Creek Conservancy offers many ways to volunteer, from weed warriors to extreme cleanups for older kids.

4. Capital Area Food Bank

Another fun volunteer activity on our bucket list is the Capital Area Food Bank’s urban demonstration garden. It seems like an awesome way to encourage urban ag + gardening skills. During the pandemic, many households began growing their own items, especially as supply chains were disrupted and less predictable (it wasn’t always so clear if you’d get ginger or other staples at the grocery store). In fact, during WW2, Americans planted 20 million household vegetable plots, producing nine million lbs of produce each year and amounting to 44% of the US harvest. We used to farm and were quite good at it. Bear in mind the US wasn’t nearly as urbanized as it is today, but there are so many options now from vertical farming to green roofs.

..and don’t forget the NPS Junior Ranger program offers great programming for kids 5 to 13. Nearly every park has a Junior Ranger program. If you’re lucky, your little one will earn a badge too!

how to volunteer for Earth Day with children

About the Guest Author

Seema Thomas is a mom of a busy preschooler. She was born in the District and raised in four counties in the DMV. She spends her free time planning interesting (and hopefully, fun!) activities for her little urban explorer. Follow her on twitter at @SeemaPThomas or check out her previous guest article.

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