Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Around Chicago

April 21, 2011

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, and Chicagoland Real Estate Forum will be providing great ideas for honoring the occasion at home. This article, however, is about celebrations outside your home and around the Chicago area.

More than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

The Chicago area will be host to celebrations galore, including every Lowe’s store to be found.

On Saturday, April 23, Lowe’s will be giving away one million trees at all its Chicago-area locations.

When planted, those one million trees will eventually produce more than 260,000,000 pounds of oxygen each year. That’s enough air for more than 670,000 people!

Through the program, co-sponsored by American Forests, customers can register their trees online at Lowes.com/EarthDay and see where other trees are being planted.

And, make sure you scan the 2D barcode on the tree bag from your mobile phone for information on how to plant and care for your tree.

That’s pretty cool.

“Putting trees into the hands of our customers is a simple way to make a big difference on Earth Day,” said Kevin Measel, Lowe’s vice president of nursery merchandising. “We hope that these trees will be a catalyst for our customers to seek out other simple ways to give back to the earth at home and in day-to-day life.”

Take your kids with you on Saturday and they can participate in a special Earth Day Build and Grow Clinic at 10 a.m. where they will build a wooden birdhouse to take home. This unique birdhouse sticks to your window so you can actually see the nest.

Look at that: Two Earth Day events outside your home that will allow you to bring the results back to your home to enjoy.

Now, here are some more free Earth Day events around Chicago and the days on which they are scheduled:


*Go downtown: To Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for an Earth Day celebration with the Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP) team, which includes such partners as the CTA, 350Green, CUB Energy Saver, EPA Partners for Clean Air and United Airlines. Find out how they are all working to improve the city and its communities and what you can do to help. You can also get a free eco-friendly gift while supplies last.

*Clean a beach: Volunteer to help the Shedd Aquarium groom the 12st Street Beach, 1200 S. Lynn White Drive during its Adopt-A-Beach event starting at noon. You will receive gloves, bags and tally sheets to pick up items that can’t be collected by the Chicago Park District’s tractors. Experts will be on hand to explain the importance of keeping the areas around Lake Michigan clean. A free lunch will be provided by Aurelio’s Pizza.

*Clean a park: The Chicago Park District is hosting two Earth Day events at Chicago parks. Come show your neighborhood pride by helping clean up Simons Park, 1640 N. Drake Ave., from 9 to 11 a.m. The other celebration will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Austin Town Hall, 5610 W. Lake St., where teens ages 13 to 18 years old will spruce up the park.

*Eco Fair: Columbia College Chicago is hosting its 3rd annual Eco Fair from 11 a.m.to 3 p.m. in the Conaway Center at 1104 S. Wabash. The event, which connect residents with local businesses and organizations that make positive environmental impacts, will include crafts, free food, local advocacy, giveaways, entertainment, a chance to get a photo with Polar Pete, the recycling program’s mascot, and more.

*Drink up: Participating Caribou Coffee, Whole Foods and Starbucks are each giving away free coffee on Earth Day to customers who bring in their own reusable mug.

Friday and Saturday

*Recycle: Brookfield Zoo is hosting an Electronic Recycling Event in its main parking lot (off 31st Street and First Avenue in Brookfield) on Friday and Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m. Anyone who recycles their old, unwanted electronics will receive a $2-off coupon toward future admission to the zoo. To see all the items being accepted, visit czs.org.


*Clean a park: Get your hands dirty at the North Pond Sanctuary in Lincoln Park from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., where volunteers will perform such duties as mulching trees, restoring a nature trail, repairing fences around new planting areas, cleaning signs and more. Meet on the plaza in front of the North Pond Restaurant, 2610 North Cannon Drive. Registration is required. E-mail Volunteer@LPConservancy.org or call (773) 913-5703.

*Clean a beach: The Chicago Group of the Sierra Club’s Adopt-A-Beach program will take place at Montrose Beach. There will be free nature tours from 7 to 8:45 a.m., with the all-hands Beach Sweep from 9 to 11 a.m. If you have them, bring binoculars for the tour and work gloves for the clean. You can also bring a treat to share, though free snacks will be provided. For more information, e-mail Christine Williamson at birdchris@aol.com or call (773) 935-8439.

*Recycle: The Village of Schaumburg is hosting a Recycling Event at the Schaumburg School District 54 Building, 524 E. Schaumburg Road, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be an opportunity to shred important documents, bring your old electronics and see the Mayor of Schaumburg, who will be attending. For a list of what will be accepted, visit ci.schaumburg.il.us.

Monday and Tuesday

*Recycle: Advocate Lutheran General Hospital is sponsoring a recycling program from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 25-26 in its associate parking lot on the northeast corner of Dempster Street and Luther Lane in Park Ridge. Most electronic equipment and appliances will be accepted at no cost. You can contact Donna Stellmach at (847) 723-5946 to plan for larger items.

Back to Saturday

Finally, there is something completely unrelated to Earth Day that is interesting enough to tell you about but not important enough to be its own story, so I’m sticking it here.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has declared Saturday “Talk Like Shakespeare Day” in honor of William Shakespeare’s 447th birthday.

Learn how to talk like Shakespeare, and you can win a new iPad!

Go to TalkLikeShakespeare.org, download the Shakespeare mask, take a picture of yourself in the mask in front of a notable landmark, e-mail it to talklikeshakespeare@gmail.com, find your photo on talklikeshakespeare.org and you will be automatically entered to win an iPad.

Hope thee hath a harking good Earth Day weekend!

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