Although we are green on a daily basis--San Francisco has the highest recycling and composting rate of U.S. cities--Earth Day reminds us to respect nature and the environment. The annual, internationally recognized Earth Day is April 22. Since in 2013 it falls on a Monday, the weekend before is packed with eco-, green- and clean-themed activities in the Bay Area. Check below for where and when you can eat birthday cake with John Muir, see the latest eco-fashions, do gardening, and more.
Earth Day in the Golden Gate National Parks
April 20, various times
Help clean up Ocean Beach, maintain trails and restore habitats at Lands End and elsewhere or tend to plants in the Fort Funston nursery. Scientists will talk about the projects. No experience is necessary; training and tools are provided.
Pacifica Beach Coalition Earth Day
April 20, at 9 am-3 pm
From the website, pick a beach, park, garden or road in or near Pacifica to clean up or restore in the morning. Then from 11:30 am on, celebrate with entertainment, live music and kids’ activities at Linda Mar State Beach.
April 20, at 10 am-2 pm
Tours of Shoreway Environmental Center (where San Mateo County garbage, recyclables and composting materials are taken), art activities, info booths, food, prizes and a display of elementary school students' entries in a “Trash to Art” contest. Residents can take home free compost.
At Shoreway Environmental Center, 333 Shoreway Road, San Carlos. Free.
John Muir Birthday–Earth Day Celebration
April 20, at 10 am-4 pm
A joint party for John Muir’s birthday (April 21) and Earth Day. Children’s activities with National Park Service rangers, live music, tours of Muir’s 1882 historic home and its California native plant garden, a show of recycled fashions and a fundraising silent auction. Muir serves his birthday cake, too. A founder of the Sierra Club, Muir was instrumental in creating the National Park Service.
At John Muir National Historic Site, 4202 Alhambra Avenue at Highway 4, Martinez 94553. Free.
Earth Day on the Bay
April 20, at 10 am-5 pm
Explore mud, fish and plankton, touch marine animals, watch sharks eat, make ocean-themed arts and crafts, enjoy live music and performances and take a ride on the bay.
At the Marine Science Institute, 500 Discovery Parkway, Redwood City 94063. Two-hour boat ride: $40 adults, $20 for ages 5-12. Other activities free.
Earth Day SF
April 20, at 10 am-6 pm
At the Bay Area’s biggest Earth Day bash, eco, civic, education, youth and arts groups converge to promote green, sustainable living. Test drive a Chevrolet Volt or an electric scooter. Learn about mushroom harvesting, seed sharing or how to make a solar oven or an energy computer. Loads of entertainment and play for kids, fashion shows, live bands and talks on everything from green motherhood to green finance.
At Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, 94102. Free.
Create-With-Nature Earth Day Celebration
April 20, at 11 am-3 pm (drop in)
Scour the beach, dump the trash, and then use the rocks, shells, sand, driftwood, feathers and other natural bits to make whatever inspires you. Or just bring a picnic and watch as outdoor sculpture is created. This annual event is organized by Berkeley environmental artist Zach Pine.
At the south end of Stinson Beach, Marin. Free.
Ghirardelli Goes Green
April 20, at 1-5 pm
A (plastic) bag monster, live music and local vendors with info on how to live green. The first 1,000 people will receive a free tree sapling from the California Forest Foundation.
At Ghirardelli Square, 900 N. Point St., San Francisco. Free
Celebrate Earth Day
Cal Academy's many programs--family craft projects, science talks, activities for kids, NightLife--take on Earth Day themes. The Planetarium shows Fragile Planet. A weekend conservation photography workshop includes a field trip to Point Reyes. The Academy webpage also lists volunteer gardening projects in Golden Gate Park on April 20 and 27.
At California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 94118. Free with academy admission.
National Park Week
All national parks (all 401 of ‘em) are free April 22-26, such as Point Reyes National Seashore, Alcatraz Island and Kings Canyon National Park. On April 21 at Yosemite and Muir Woods National Monument, kids can become Junior Rangers by learning about and doing activities in the parks.