2013 Earth Day Events – USDA Forest Service

U.S. Forest Service
April 19th, 2013 at 3:30PM

Forest Service units from Alaska to Puerto Rico celebrate Earth Day in a variety of ways, from pulling weeds and planting trees to educating young people about the world around them.

Forest Service employees will plant American elm trees on April 20 at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Penn.

These Dutch elm disease-tolerant trees were developed using pollen collected from “survivor” elms in controlled pollinations with known DED-tolerant selections at the Delaware, Ohio, laboratory. The goal is to generate DED-tolerant, cold-hardy, and site-adapted progeny trees.

The trees were created by Forest Service scientist Jim Slavicek in Ohio and grown to seedling stage in the West Virginia State Nursery through collaboration with Forest Service researcher Mary Beth Adams in Parsons, W.Va. The collaboration is part of an Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative project that will include Forest Service elms at about 20 planting sites including the Flight 93 Memorial.

“Like the people they will honor, these trees are individuals with a vibrant legacy,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station. “The Flight 93 National Memorial is a living memorial to the souls aboard Flight 93. The Forest Service is deeply honored to contribute trees that are truly rooted in resilience.”

Other Earth Day-related events include:

Television stations across the country will air Green Firea film that provocatively examines Aldo Leopold’s land ethic for a population facing 21st century ecological challenges. The film was produced by a partnership among the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature and the U.S. Forest Service. It is the first full-length documentary film ever made about this legendary environmentalist. The film highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career – including his time with the Forest Service – and traces how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold’s legacy continues to inspire projects all over the country that connect people and land. 


The Tongass National Forest is coordinating annual Earth Day activities with their Adopt-A-School, the Petersburg School District and the surrounding community. Activities include muskeg and stream walks, recycling and tree planting demonstrations, creating milk jug bird houses, tours of waste water and water treatment plants and baler facilities, worm composting demonstrations, electric car rides, organic food tasting, and making mini-greenhouse terrariums.


The Mi Wok Ranger District on the Stanislaus National Forest will host an Earth Day event with 150 to 200 students from local schools.  The students will visit five interactive stations where natural resource professionals will offer grade-level information about the wildfire cycles, water cycles, energy cycles, the human connection and storytelling.

On April 20, Pacific Southwest Region employees will participate in the Vallejo Earth Day Festival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Georgia and Main Streets, and the Vallejo Charter School Earth Day Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friends of the Inyo National Forest and forest employees will present a wilderness skills crosscut saw demonstration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 20 at Bishop (Calif.) City Park.

Fire prevention staff from the Hat Creek Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest will team with several partners for the 2nd Annual Earth Day Celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27 at the Intermountain Fairgrounds in McArthur, Calif. Hosted by the Fall River Resource Conservation District, the celebration offers a wide array of items for sale, activities, and workshops. Hat Creek Ranger District and Cal Fire will staff a booth focusing on fire prevention where members of the public can obtain burn permits, campfire permits and homeowner information on how to prepare for wildfire. There will also be fire engines on display and children’s games.

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit staff will participate in the South Tahoe Earth Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27 at the Bijou Community Park, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

The Sierra National Forest will join other organizations for a day of education, collaboration and celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20 at Courthouse Park in Fresno, Calif. In addition to educational information, employees will ask community members to comment on a new forest plan. Sierra employees also were challenged by forest leadership to personally “get involved” by committing themselves to walk, hike, ride a bike, plant a tree, compost or participate in other environmental activities in support of Earth Day.


In connection with Earth Day, Get Outdoors Colorado will do a soft launch of the first of its kind website with more than 80 partners who foster a love of the outdoors. The soft launch will list activities in 25 categories. The site will offer a one-stop shop to all things outdoors in Colorado. Get Outdoors Colorado includes various local, state and federal agencies, including the Forest Service, and nonprofit and for-profit organizations dedicated to connecting children and families to nature and healthy, active outdoor lifestyles.

The Paonia Ranger District of the Gunnison National Forest and the Paonia, Colo., Public Library will show the “The Lorax” at 3:30 p.m. Workbooks and youth activities associated with the movie and conservation education will be available.


Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie employees will participate in several Earth Day-related events including the Kankakee Community College Sustainability Expo (April 24), the Hammond, Ind., Nature and Environment Show (May 4) and the Homer Glen Earth Day Celebration (May 18).  At each of these events, Midewin’s interpreters and educators – both staff and volunteers – will talk with participants about natural resources and have hands-on activities, including a “touch table” with bio facts about wings, antlers and snake sheds.

The Shawnee National Forest will join other natural resource agencies and organizations for “Stewardship Week,” an annual event hosted by the University of Illinois at the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center. The event is organized as a series of learning activities set up at different stations.  The students move among different stations where they learn about a variety of subjects, including table top hydrology, leaf identification, reptiles,  power and utility safety, geology and fossils. 


Hiawatha National Forest will host a “Youth Greenhouse Event” on April 23 for students from the Star Academy for a day of service learning in Marquette, Mich. Participants will plant soil trays with milkweed seeds and the resulting seedlings will be planted on the forest to enhance habitat for monarch butterflies. Additionally, members of the Northern Michigan University Honor Society will be doing clean up around the Hiawatha Greenhouse grounds for their Earth Day event that same day.


The Forest Service’s Eastern Region and Urban Connections will take part in the 2013 Mother Earth Fest in St. Paul, Minn. The festival will include a Sustainability Science Fair for grades 7-12 and an exhibit table focusing on mission, jobs and landscape scale restoration.

The Superior National Forest hosts Earth Day-related events throughout April, ending with a May 15 Arbor Day event in Duluth, Minn. Forest staff also will participate in the following events:

  • April 21-22: Earth Fest at Minnesota Maritime Museum in Duluth, Minn. 
  • April 22 and throughout the week: Public showings of Green Fire documentary at unit offices on the forest.
  • April 25: Environmental Fest at Stowe School, Duluth, Minn. 
  • April 27: Outdoor Fest in Duluth, Minn.

The Chippewa National Forest will participate in a variety of events, including:

  • April 22: The forest will partner with the Walker Area Community Center and Leech Lake Boys and Girls Club for the Earth Day Aquatic Critters Program at the community center in Walker, Minn.
  • April 25: “I Choose” Healthy Outdoor Lifestyles! at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School, Walker, Minn.


The Mark Twain National Forest will host an 11-mile hike April 22 on the north half of the Karkaghne Section on the Ozark Trail. The hike will be led by members of the Ozark Trail Association.

North Dakota

The Dakota Prairie Grasslands Supervisor’s Office and other federal agencies in the Bismarck, N.D., area will participate in a community-wide Earth Day Celebration from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 25 at the Bismarck Career & Technical Education Center. The event at the National Guard Armory includes booths, activities, speakers and a recycling contest.


The Umpqua National Forest will operate the interactive stream simulator at the free county-wide Earth Day & Energy Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg, Ore. The event is free. On April 22, the forest will host an employee-only Earth Day event during which they will spray paint small garbage cans to use as sorting stations for compost, paper, plastic and other recyclable items.

Employees from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area will host Earth Day from 9 a.m. to noon April 20 at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, the official interpretive center for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Volunteers are asked to help clean up the five acres of native plants that surround the Discovery Center in Dalles, Ore. The native plants survive well in this semi-arid environment of only about 13 inches of annual rainfall, most of which comes in the fall, winter and early spring. Keeping the grounds clean is essential to providing fire protection to the center.


The Allegheny National Forest will celebrate Earth Day by pulling weeds and overseeing reservoir cleanup. In April, employees plan to pull invasive weeds at Buckaloons Campground in Warren, Penn., and on May 11, they will oversee cleanup at the Allegheny Reservoir.


The National Forests & Grasslands in Texas Green Team will host a booth at the Earth Day Celebration April 20 at the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas.


The Forest Service’s Intermountain Regional Office in Ogden, Utah, will kick off a recycling program for old compact disks, disk cases and Tyvek envelopes on Earth Day.


Employees on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest’s Chelan Ranger District will participate in an Earth Day event from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 20 at Riverfront Park in Chelan, Wash. They also will participate in Earth Day activities from noon to 4 p.m. April 21 at Lyons Park in Leavenworth.

West Virginia

The Monongahela National Forest will collaborate with the adjacent Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an annual tree planting event April 21-22. High elevation red spruce will be planted to recreate a corridor on both properties.


Wanda Hodge, director of the Forest Service’s Eastern Region Information Management office, will take Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl to the Thorson Elementary School in Cedarburg, Wis., on April 26.

Forest Service staff in Milwaukee, Wis., partners Urban Tree House and others will participate in the Earth Day Cleanup on April 20. The event is part of The Great American Cleanup, the Nation’s largest organized annual cleanup, beautification, and community improvement program.

Forest Service employees from the regional office will participate in a neighborhood cleanup at North 24 Place and McKinley and at North 22 Street and McKinley from 9 a.m. to noon April 20 in Milwaukee. The event will be at the Milwaukee Urban Tree House with Urban Connections and Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful.


Smokey Bear and Shoshone National Forest staff will join a host of partners from 9 a.m. to noon April 27 at the Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration in Cody, Wyo.