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By published March 22, 2024

Enjoy a breath of fresh air this year with these fun Earth Day activities, happening throughout the Chicago Southland!

This year, Earth Day kicks off the annual National Park Week celebration! National Park Week will be celebrated April 20-28 this year. This event is intended to celebrate and to encourage everyone to enjoy the national parks in person.

Celebrate Earth Day and National Park Week at Pullman State Historic Park in Chicago, one of only two national historic parks in the entire state of Illinois. Originally named Pullman National Monument, this historic site was designated by President Barack Obama on February 19, 2015, making Pullman the first National Park Service unit in Chicago.

Each day, guided ranger tours of the historic neighborhood and buildings are available to visitors. See the stunning Greenstone United Methodist Church, the iconic 1880s rowhouses, the grand Hotel Florence and the imposing Clock Tower and Administration Building, now home to exhibits, the park store and the National Park Service Visitor Center.

If you can’t make it in-person, fear not! Check out the Find Your “Virtual” Park webpage, which offer visitors the opportunity to connect with national parks from a distance. Visit the National Park Service website for more information on National Park Week, and other park happenings.

Continue the Earth Day festivities in the burbs! Throughout the month of April, you can Recycle Your Bicycle at Monee Reservoir. Clean out the garage and make a difference by recycling your bike to benefit Working Bikes, an organization that refurbishes and distributes bikes both locally and globally as tools of empowerment. No bike is too old or rusty! This program runs April 13-28 and daily hours at 7AM to 6PM.

In South Holland, Sand Ridge Nature Center will be hosting an Earth Day event on April 20 featuring themed games, a self-guided litter clean-up and more. Stop by from 10AM to 2PM to help keep the Chicago Southland clean! Plus, after pitching in for Earth Day, be sure to stick around and check out the live native animals and natural history exhibits that Sand Ridge Nature Center offers to its visitors.

Head over to the Village of Lansing to participate in the village’s annual clean-up day on April 20. Did you know that in 2023, volunteers picked up 1.52 tons of trash? Help break that record this year! All volunteers must register by April 17, and can do so on Lansing’s website. The clean-up will take place from 10AM to 12PM, followed by a free BBQ lunch at Fox Pointe for volunteers. Please email [email protected] with any questions.

The Village of Frankfort is hosting an Earth Day Celebration on April 20, intended to encourage residents to clean-up the community from 9-11:30AM. Gloves, garbage bags and a free t-shirt will be provided to all participants. A free lunch of pizza and cookies will be provided to volunteers as a token of thanks! Visit Frankfort’s website for more information.

Grab the entire family and head to the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in Willow Springs for an Earth Day Celebration featuring art activities, scavenger hunts, food chain demonstrations and free plant giveaways! Registration is required, so be sure to call 708-839-6897 ahead of time to do so. This free event will take place on April 20 from 11AM-1PM.

Every day is Earth Day at Brookfield Zoo Chicago! On April 20, head over to Brookfield for the zoo’s annual Party for the Planet. The zoo will be accepting certain items, such as electronics, textiles, used books and more, providing an Earth-friendly way to dispose of them. Recyclables will be accepted between 9AM and 2PM. Be sure to visit the Brookfield Zoo Chicago website for a list of items that can be recycled, and don’t forget to grab your zoo tickets ahead of time to make sure you have the lion’s share of fun!

Keep the fun going at Brookfield Zoo Chicago with the annual Earth Day Run on April 21! This 2.2-mile “fun run” through the zoo is a unique opportunity to say hello to the animals during pre-park hours. This is a non-competitive run, and participants of all ages are encouraged to join. Registration is $35 per runner and can be completed on the Brookfield Zoo Chicago website.

Earth Day isn’t the only day we’re celebrating Mother Earth! On April 27, the City of Blue Island will host a Community Clean-Up Day from 9-11AM. Participants can help with the clean-up individually or as a team with friends and neighbors. Plus, if you register in advance, you will receive a free t-shirt to commemorate this special day! A cookout at Memorial Park will follow. For more information or to register for the clean-up, please visit Blue Island’s website.

Don’t forget, you don’t need to wait until Earth Day to celebrate the great outdoors! The Chicago Southland has many wonderful outdoor activities to choose from, offering fun for all ages. Plus, be sure to check out our Travel Inspirations for even more ways to get out. Here are just a few to get you started:

  1. A Day on the Farm
  2. Ecotourism: Get Back to Nature
  3. Gone Fishing
  4. In-Tents Escape: Camping in the Chicago Southland
  5. Top 5 Trails

Thank you for keeping the Chicago Southland beautiful!

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