Holderness, NH – Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 to honor the Earth and spread the concept of peace. The Environmental Protection Agency was created and the Clean Water Act, Marine Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act became federal law soon after. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center was just in its infancy as a four-year-old institution educating the public about ecology and the importance of nature. Now in 2020, the Science Center joins others around the world to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day in April.

Concern for the environment and the planet continues to grow, but everyone knows there are many challenges ahead, including climate change. This year, Earth Day will educate and mobilize more than one billion people. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, along with local organizations, including Holderness Conservation Commission, Holderness Free Library, Holderness Recreation Department, Squam Lakes Association, and Squam Lakes Conservation Society, hoped to celebrate this anniversary together with a special day to gather and work locally towards a common goal of celebrating and protecting the Earth. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic forced a change of plans because groups cannot now gather together, but we can still work towards the common goal wherever we are.

There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day with online resources such as EarthDay.org. Those who enjoy exploring nature and taking pictures of plants and animals, see the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge, which will be held April 24-27. Or join the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services #OneThing4Earth social media challenge by posting a picture or video demonstrating one thing you do that is good for the environment – find them on Facebook or Instagram for details.

There are small things everyone can do for the Earth like picking up trash on the road or around a parking lot; or planting something to provide food for insects and birds; or committing to drying clothes outdoors using the power of the air and sun. Challenge other household members to produce zero waste for a week. When going out to help, please respect physical distancing and choose a local site.

There are many other citizen science initiatives planned across the country. Find resources at https://www.citizenscience.gov/catalog/ or see initiatives in New Hampshire at https://extension.unh.edu/topics/citizen-science.

Tell the Science Center what you are doing to celebrate Earth Day. Find their social media accounts at nhnature.org.

The mission of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world. Through spectacular live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, guided Squam Lake Cruises, public gardens, and a nature-based Montessori early learning center, the Science Center has educated audiences of all ages since 1966 about the importance of our natural world. The Science Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the only AZA-accredited institution in northern New England. Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is located on Route 113 in Holderness, New Hampshire. For further information, visit www.nhnature.org or call 603-968-7194.