Celebrating Earth Day

April 22 marks Earth Day, an annual event to highlight environmentalism and sustainability, promote awareness, and have fun. While there are countless Earth Day celebrations and activities across the U.S., National Parks and concessioners are hosting park-specific events that are well worth a visit!

Aztec Ruins National Monument, NM

Aztec Ruins will be hosting its sixth annual Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 26, 2014 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Entrance to the monument, event and all activities is free of charge, and welcome to all ages. Interactive displays and activities will support visitors in learning about current sustainable development technology, land and water conservation, alternative energy and fuels, and sustainable agriculture. Activities include learning about the original "green" buildings and making adobe blocks, playing recycling games, using a solar oven, and more. Further, Pueblo dancers will share cultural perspectives on resource use and connections between humans and the environment. Thirty booths, along with the archaeological site and museum, make for an exciting sustainability within culture Earth Day experience. For more information, visit the Aztec Ruins website.

Cape Lookout National Seashore, NC

Cape Lookout is hosting an Earth Day celebration along with more than 20 other environmental educators on April 27, 2014 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Visitors can get up close and personal with marine invertebrates, such as whelks and sea stars, with a touch tank, meet rescued wildlife, make coastal crafts, and discover ways to protect the environment. The free event is being hosted at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach. Partners include the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, NC Coastal Federation, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, and others. For more information, visit the Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival's Facebook Page.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is hosting a variety of Earth Day activities, from organic and sustainable food sampling to stewardship projects throughout the park. On Saturday April 19, the park is hosting a Junior Ranger Day, Earth Day Bike Ride, and Earth Day Family Night, among other events. On Tuesday April 22, the park is hosting an Earth Day Event Celebration at Yosemite Village Mall, various Children's Stage Events, a Sustainable Salad Bar, and Earth-Friendly Product Fair, as well as countless family-friendly activities throughout. For full information, download the Yosemite Earth Day Calendar.

Park concessioners are also making a splash on Earth Day, including Xanterra, who are launching their "Choose to be Straw Free" campaign on April 22. The campaign, originally launched by Milo Cress when he was 11 years old, aims to guide hospitality groups and restaurants in phasing out disposable straw usage. Rollout of the campaign will start with lodges in national parks and resorts in historical locations. Forever Resorts is celebrating Earth Day with cleanups and events held at numerous operations throughout the U.S. For example, Callville Bay Marina in Lake Mead, NV is hosting a cleanup. Volunteers will be shuttled out to designated coves aboard luxury Forever houseboats for organized beach cleanups. Following will be a complimentary barbeque lunch hosted by Forever Resorts and local media partners. Donations collected from the event will benefit the Outside Las Vegas Foundation.

Delaware North's Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park is hosting a weekend of Earth Day activities from April 19 to 23. As part of Delaware North's GreenPath® Program, the lodge is committed to reducing waste, and protecting and preserving the surrounding natural environment. On April 19, there will be a "Clean the Beach" event, coordinated by the National Park Service as well as Coast Savers. Volunteers will be treated to a lunch barbeque following the event. On Earth Day, in support of the National Park Service's Healthy Parks Healthy People Initiative as well as the White House's Move to Schools program, the lodge will partner with the local Queets-Clearwater school to teach students about healthy eating, environmental stewardship and physical activity. There will be a cooking and food demonstration, a picnic, talks about sustainability, and a litter pick-up. Later, students will go to Kalaloch to enjoy the beach. Finally, on April 23, the lodge will clean its adopted two-mile stretch of highway along the 101. For more information, check out the Kalaloch events page.