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Taking the Kids: Celebrating Earth Day safely all spring

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

How much do you care? As we begin to travel again (safely), many of us are paying more attention to the environment. Can you afford to go to Antarctica before more ice melts? The Galapagos Islands?

Should you seek out less-visited national and state parks with fewer people? Do you want to visit places that have made protecting the environment a focus?

“Overtourism can harm the natural and cultural heritage of very popular destinations. It can also have a negative impact on the quality of life of local residents, says Tours by Locals founder and CEO Paul Melhus whose company offers many guided experiences by locals designed to support the local economy.

“Consider lesser-known places, where you will find fewer travelers around, and you can have a significant impact on the local economy. If you want to visit popular cities, consider doing so off-season; it’s a better experience for you and the people who live there.”

Earth Day is April 22, making this month the ideal time to talk to your kids about how you can do your part for the environment at home and when you travel again. This year’s theme is Restore Our Earth.

There likely won’t be the kind of organized activities as in a typical year, but EarthDay.org, which works with 75,000 partners in over 195 countries, suggests 51 ways you can help — from unsubscribing to catalogs to save trees to picking up trash that you see at the beach or on a hiking trail to trying meatless Mondays to fight climate change.

 

“If you want a simple and fun outdoor activity that the whole family can do together, there’s nothing better than a family beach cleanup,” suggests Julien Heron, co-founder of OutdoorsGenerations.com. “Taking a trip to the local beach, whether that’s at a lake or the ocean, and strolling around looking for trash is a great way to give back to the environment and bond at the same time.”

On Earth Day this year, artist Mark Lewis Wagner, will be attempting his second Guinness World Record for the Largest Chalk Street Art by One Artist –18,000 square feet on a decommissioned naval air base in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The nonprofit, Drawing on Earth, invites you to set your own record with a creative act of your choosing — draw, paint, dance, play music, recite poetry, imagining a world we want to live in (email info@drawingonearth.org for more info).

Take the kids birding, suggests Mark Aspelin a conservation biologist and founder of Profitable-conservation.com. “It can be done anywhere,” he says, adding that Audubon offers some tips to help kids get interested in birding: Easy Ways to Get Kids Birding | Audubon.

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