By Jessica McFadden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 16, 2010; WE21
I asked my son Charlie what he knew about Earth Day and he replied: "It's the day when the Earth gets cleaned up -- kind of like the day when the recycling truck comes to your house, except for the whole planet. All the people help, even those that normally don't think about that kind of stuff."
Pretty astute for 6 years old (of course, as his mother, I'm biased).
And according to Kathleen Rogers, president of the Earth Day Network, which works to promote Earth Day worldwide, he's not too far off the mark. "I can't imagine what the world would be like without Earth Day -- around this one day we get so much done!"
This year Earth Day turns 40. It has grown from the first national event in 1970, when about 20 million Americans participated in environmental rallies, mainly on college campuses, and sparked the modern green movement. Today, Earth Day is featured in standard calendar printings (official date: April 22), and more than 1 billion people in 190 countries will attend the Earth Day 2010 events unfolding over the next week.
A week-long celebration of Earth Day starts Saturday on the Mall and continues through the April 25 Climate Rally. Whether you would like to celebrate the planet by planting flowers on the Mall with your children, taking in a free concert or listening to speeches on climate policy from elected leaders, Washington area residents have a wealth of opportunities.Earth Day events on the Mall April 17-25
Clean Up of the Mall Saturday 10:30 a.m. National Park Service and the Trust for the Mall staff will lead adult and child volunteers in a massive cleanup of the Mall and the Potomac riverbank. All materials will be provided, and there will be T-shirts and hacky sacks for kids. Free.
FDR Memorial, 1850 W. Basin Dr. SW.
Earth Day Tour at the Smithsonian American Art Museum Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Family friendly activities include making woven placemats, interactive storytelling and even making a community fence in conjunction with the Running Fence exhibition. Free.
Kogod Courtyard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets NW. 202-633-5435, http://www.americanart.si.edu/reynolds_center.
Arts performances Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 40th Anniversary Stage on the Mall at 12th Street. Live music, performance arts and speakers from community leaders and environmental stewards. Saturday performances include a multimedia presentation by NASA and renowned author of science books for children Seymour Simon. On Sunday there will be performances by Ray Apollo, Magpie and the Joy of Motion Dance Center youth company, among others. Free.
40th Anniversary Stage, on the Mall at 12th Street.
EPA@40 Celebration April 24 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., April 25 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Environmental Protection Agency offers activities for families, including an interactive kids booth about environmental hazards, backyard composting demonstrations, a Chesapeake Bay water model and mascots teaching kids about recycling and protecting nature. Free.
Between Fourth and Seventh streets on the Mall.
The Climate Rally April 25 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The 40th anniversary celebration concludes with a star-studded concert with scheduled performers including Sting, John Legend, the Roots, Bob Weir and Patrick Stump. There will also be speeches by author Margaret Atwood and director James Cameron.
On the Mall.Other Earth Day activities this week and next
Brookside Gardens Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include a morning bird walk, tree plantings and story times. Free.
1800 Glenallan Ave.,
Wheaton. 301-962-1400, http://www.montgomeryparks.org/brookside.
Anacostia Watershed Society Earth Day Clean Up and Celebration April 24 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clean up the shores of the Anacostia River. Picnic lunch, music and rally after at Anacostia Park, 1900 Anacostia Dr. SE. Free.
To see the locations and register, go to http://www.anacostiaws.org. 301-699-6204.
Earth Day Cleanup at the National Zoo April 24 8 to 10 a.m., National Zoo staff and volunteers will be picking up aluminum cans, food wrappers and other litter in a wooded area of the Zoo near the Connecticut Avenue entrance. Free.
Parking Lot A, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-633-4800, http://nationalzoo.si.edu/ActivitiesAndEvents/Celebrations/EarthDay.
Alexandria Earth Day April 24 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Live music, green workshop and puppet shows. Free.
4800 Brenman Park Dr., Alexandria. 703-746-5420, http://www.alexearthday.org.
Fairfax County Earth Day Arbor Day Celebration April 24 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Petting zoo, balloon artist, games and more activities for children, environmental education exhibitors for adults. Free.
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale Campus, C1 Parking Lot and the Upper CG Plaza, 8333 Little River Tpk., Annandale. 703-324-5471, http://www.nvcc.edu.
Earth Day at the Maryland Science Center April 24 noon to 4 p.m. Crafts, science experiments, music and storytelling. Free, with museum admission.
601 Light St., Baltimore. 410-685-5225, http://www.marylandsciencecenter.org.
EarthDay@Loudoun Family Festival April 25 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Exhibits, education, entertainment. Free.
Clyde's Willow Creek Farm, 42920 Broadlands Blvd., Broadlands. http://www.earthdayatloudoun.org.