Fun Ways to Spend Earth Day

Spring marks the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, a holiday adopted globally on April 22, 1970 to foster greater levels of environmental awareness and protection.  With Chicago‚Äôs commitment to being one of the greenest cities in the U.S., there‚Äôs no shortage of fun  events this season to help you and yours celebrate Mother Earth and learn how to live more sustainably. 

1.    ‚ÄúDesign for a Living World‚Äù Exhibit.  Witness the best of sustainable design from around the world at The Nature Conservancy‚Äôs exhibit featuring commissioned eco-works from ten acclaimed designers, including Isaac Mizrahi, who transform organic materials into one-of-a-kind works of art. Catch the live exhibit beginning May 15th at the Field Museum, or stop by Millennium Park beginning April 13th for a photo exhibit showcasing the design ethic behind each masterpiece. After, grab a bag lunch and hit the lawn for The Nature Conservancy‚Äôs ‚ÄúPicnic for the Planet‚Äù.

2.      Hug a Tree or Run a 10K.  If you love trees, celebrate Arbor Day, the oldest environmental holiday in the U.S. on April 29th with a visit to the Morton Arboretum just outside Chicago. While you‚Äôre there, take an tram tour of the 1,700-acre grounds home to over 4,000 tree species, then bring the kids to a tree-planting led by character Curious George in the award-winning Children‚Äôs Garden. For a more vigorous workout, sign up for the Bloom & Zoom race on April 16th. During this challenging USATF-certified 10K course, you‚Äôll experience the sights, sounds and smells of springtime amidst the beauty of crabapple, magnolia and daffodil.

3.    Green Metropolis Fair.  Whether you‚Äôre a certified treehugger or curious about going green, this event offers something for everyone: four family-friendly floors of green vendors, a food market with local chefs and farm animals, and hands-on presentations covering everything from composting to car-sharing.  Top off the day and learn how to become an eco-hero by attending screenings of popular films Dirt! The Movie and Vanishing of the Bees. Saturday April 16th, 10-4pm, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox.

4.    Earth Day 5K Run/Walk and Green Living Expo.  Get fit for the planet at Chicago‚Äôs second annual 5K for Earth Day run/walk in historic Humboldt Park.  The race kicks off at 8am in one of the oldest Hispanic communities in Chicago, and ends at a picturesque lakeside boat house replete with ducks and natural wildlife. After the race, cool down at the Green Living Expo featuring live entertainment, food, and vendors. Saturday, April 23rd. Humboldt Park

5.      Brookfield Zoo‚Äôs Party for the Planet.  Learn about what you can do to stop climate change‚Äîand save the Polar Bears‚Äîat this all-day event. Stroll through the Eco Expo to learn more about the environment, or to recycle old electronics like cell phones and MP3s. Enjoy live entertainment, chat with animal keepers about the lives of animals, or get your hands dirty by planting seeds and saplings.  April 23rd, 10-4pm.

6.    Garfield Park Conservatory‚Äôs Spring Flower Show.  Now through May 8th, stop and smell the flowers with a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory‚Äôs annual Spring Flower Show. There, you can bask in the glow of dozens of varieties of flowers and plants. Or, get your green thumb up and running with a garden of your own at the 19th annual ‚ÄúGreen and Growing Fair‚Äù on Saturday, April 30th. 300 North Central Park Ave., Oak Park.

7.    Chicago Green Festival.  Don‚Äôt miss the 10th Anniversary of the country‚Äôs largest green event and expo to over 20,000 attendees. This event features exciting presentations from over 125 green leaders (including yours truly), 350 eco-friendly vendors and businesses, a kids pavilion, yoga and organic food, beer and wine court, and plenty of live music and entertainment for the entire family. McCormick Place (Lakeside). Saturday and Sunday May 14-15th.

8.    Bike for the Planet: Ride to Recharge.  Hop on a bike and join hundreds of environmentally concerned citizens on Climate Cycle‚Äôs annual bike ride that raises funds for solar panels and environmental projects in Chicagoland schools. After registering to secure charitable pledges from friends and family, choose from a 4, 10, 20, 62 or even 125-mile course along picturesque Lake Michigan.  You‚Äôll get a great workout, while inspiring our youth to live a greener lifestyle. Grant Park (North), Sunday May 22nd

For more tips on the eco-friendly living or green events around town, watch

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