All the ways to volunteer this Earth Day in Austin

Earth Day volunteers

Did you know that on the first Earth Day in 1970, about 20 million people across the country marched on the streets to stand up for the environment? In New York City along, midtown along 5th Avenue was closed to cars and 14th Street was turned into an “ecological carnival”, says the New York Times.

These days, it’s less about marching and more about doing, and the 47th Earth Day, on April 22, provides as good an opportunity as any to stand up against pollution. But it is by no means the only day when organizations and nonprofits need your help. Find a way to celebrate springtime in Austin give back to the trails, parks, and waterways that we use and enjoy year around. Get those nails grubby. Get your family outside of the house. Get going!

Here’s a list of opportunities that will keep you outside for an entire month.

APRIL 22: Beautify Austin @ Sims Elementary
Keep Austin Beautiful will kick off Earth Day with a morning rain garden installation at Sims Elementary School. This is one of those get-your-hands-dirty kind of job that requires closed-toed shoes, long pants, and lots of water. Volunteers will work on filing the garden’s foundation and directing water flow. Keep Austin Beautiful has all the tools and supplies ready.

APRIL 22: Earth Day ATX
Families are welcomed to the Earth Day ATX event at Huston-Tillotson University. The sustainability fest offers exhibits and activities to learn about the environment and sustainability, including demos on e-bikes and self-driving vehicles. There will also be a movement and wellness area, a kids’ zone, and a place to recycle (or fix) materials like clothing, jewelry, electronics, and shoes.

APRIL 23: East Bouldin Creek Restoration
Keep the entire family active with a morning fixing up East Bouldin Creek. The Colorado River Alliance welcomes teens (16 years old and up), adults, and seniors to be part of the 25-volunteer squad removing invasive plant species from the creek at Gillis Park. The alliance will tutor the crew on the “notable biological and ecological features” of the creek. This is another opportunity that will require, let’s just say becoming one with nature.

APRIL 29: Resource Giveaway Day
Supplies for neighborhood beautification projects don’t just spring up out of nowhere, do they? Actually, Keep Austin Beautiful has bulk compost, soil, and mulch, as well as plants, seeds, and garden tools. Then you’re ready to get to work. Supplies are limited, so be there early.

MAY 5: Spring Day of Caring 2017
The fun continues on May 5 with United Way for Greater Austin’s Day of Caring. Every year, the United Way steers 500 volunteers to help out at local nonprofits and schools. Projects range from landscaping and playground safety support at Children’s Network, an all-day cap prep for the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, a Child Inc. Dove Springs Child Development Center gardening project, and so many more.

MAY 6: Workday at Blunn Creek Nature Preserve
Bring the entire family reunion to the Blunn Creek Nature Preserve to take part in the ecological restoration of the nearly 40 acres near St. Edward’s University in South Austin. This is hard work cutting up shrubs and stacking them up for disposal. Wear your gloves and other work gear, and be prepared for the short hike from the parking on St. Edwards Drive to the site.

Urban Roots Farm, ongoing
Help Urban Roots achieve its mission to reach young people and the rest of the community through farming and sustainability. Help out during the weekly Volunteer Mornings (on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m., no RSVP required) and check out the calendar for more opportunities.

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