Restore Our Earth: Celebrate the 51st Anniversary of Earth Day

By Jessica Light

The 51st Anniversary of Earth Day is Thursday, April 22, 2021. This year’s official theme is Restore Our Earth!

Earth Day began in 1970 when San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson led Americans in a demonstration to protect the environment. On that day, 20 million Americans ventured outdoors to protest toxic drinking water, air pollution, and pesticides.

Following this historical event, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA introduced the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

Today, Earth Day serves to increase environmental awareness and conservation efforts. Communities around the globe come together to clean up litter, plant trees, and learn how to lessen their ecological footprint.

To celebrate Earth Day and the loveliest village on the plains, here are some individual practices, community activities, and upcoming events in the Auburn-Opelika area.

Spend Time Outside! The Davis Arboretum at Auburn University is a convenient location to get outside, relax and reflect. The arboretum is open sunrise to sunset with no cost for admission. Enjoy the botanical garden which includes native plants and habitats of Alabama, miles of trails, and shaded areas. The Davis Arboretum is an impressive part of the community. It has an award-winning Oak collection and serves Auburn University’s efforts of conservation, research, education, and sustainability. Consider this location for a quiet nature walk or shaded picnic!

Consider Replacing Kitchen and Household Products! Sustainable living is easier than ever. Single-use paper towels can be replaced with reusable cotton napkins and cloths. Plastic wrap can be swapped for flexible or elastic dish covers and reusable food wraps. Glass jars and reusable storage bags can replace plastic gallon, quart, sandwich, and snack baggies. These are just a few changes you can make to live more sustainably. Not only do these changes help the Earth, they also save you money!

Clean Up Litter! Picking up trash, plastic, and litter is the simplest way to help the environment. This is a free activity that can be done anywhere by anyone at any time. Make it fun by creating a competition with friends! By picking up just 10 pieces of litter, you can do an extraordinary benefit for the planet. Donna Lawrence’s article explains this initiative well!

Get Kids Involved! Passing down the love of nature and conservation is one of the best ways to preserve Earth. Kreher Preserve & Nature Center hosts many kid-friendly events.

KPNC’s Nature Art Series will feature local artist Heather Jackson on Saturday, April 17. This series is inspired by Earth Day! Participants will learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle by creating planters from recycled 2-liter soda bottles. Your creation could be designed to look like a pig, bear, fox, cat, dog, frog, cow or any creature your creativity desires! This nature-themed art class is appropriate for all ages, but children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. All materials are provided! Tickets can be purchased online or at the door if spaces are still available.

Tree Tots is a nature-based-play class at Kreher Preserve & Nature Center. It is a recurring class that encourages children to explore their natural environment with their senses and learn together through play. Teachers function as guides by asking questions and encouraging curiosity. An upcoming session of Tree Tots is on Earth Day! For more information and to enroll, visit

The Kreher Preserve & Nature Center will also be featured at the 20th annual Auburn CityFest! Auburn CityFest will be held at Kiesel Park on Saturday, April 24 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. CityFest is an outdoor event with entertainers, vendors, food, music, and a juried art show. This event is rain or shine. For more information, click here.

Give Generosity! Storybook Farm’s Derby Day is another upcoming event that supports the community and encourages getting outside. Storybook Farm’s mission is to empower children and young adults through exploring nature and bonding with animals. Equine therapy, companion animals, gardening, and learning opportunities are all parts of the organization’s efforts. Children with mental health issues, children coping with loss or abuse, and children living in poverty are able to enjoy these opportunities for free.

Storybook Farm is a beautiful organization within the Auburn-Opelika area that contributes visible change through love and consistency. In order to maintain its generous work, Storybook Farm needs funding from the community. Derby Day is an annual event and is Storybook Farm’s largest fundraiser and continues to be a fun way to support the organization while enjoying an outdoor party!

Ladies can enter the Spectacular Hat competition, and the winner will leave with a dazzling new piece of jewelry from Diamond’s Direct. Gentlemen will also have the opportunity to compete! The Dapper Dan contest presented by The Locker Room will focus on the best men’s ensemble and hat. Lucy’s is participating in Derby Day by providing “Good Vibes Only” flavors, and items will be auctioned throughout the day!

Derby Day will be held on Saturday, May 1. Gates open at 2:00pm. This event will be a wonderful day to spend in the sunshine, celebrate the 147th Kentucky Derby and support Storybook Farm. Tickets are available on Storybook Farm’s website.

For more information regarding Earth Day and ways to donate visit the official Earth Day website!