The health of our planet is important to all of us and each individual must act as a steward for the environment. We must take care of our home.–Dan Augustino, Museum Aquarist, and Coordinator of the Earth Day Festival
Virtual Earth Day Festival 2020
Celebrate online with the Springfield Museums on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020.
While Earth Day itself is celebrating its 50th birthday, this year marks the 30th annual Earth Day Festival celebrated at the the Springfield Museums. Although we cannot gather together in person, we can still do the important work to help take care of planet Earth—and everyone who lives here.
At the Virtual Earth Day Festival visitors can learn about local and global environments and fun recreational activities that demonstrate ways to enjoy the outdoors while appreciating and learning about the beautiful natural world which surrounds us. Additionally, online visitors can learn how to promote conservation through everyday actions and become better environmental stewards.
Earth Day History at the Springfield Museums
Earth Day is a celebration of clean air, land, and water and a reminder that our natural resources are finite and need to be well managed to ensure a healthy Earth for today and for future generations. Founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day increases awareness and helps ensure clean air, land, and water for everyone. Early and ongoing positive response to Earth Day demonstrates the large public support for environmental quality controls and conservation efforts led by government legislation.
The Environmental Protection Agency, formed in 1970, set out to provide the governmental regulations needed to maintain clean air, land, and water and improve the quality of our environment. Earth Day reminds us that we cannot take our natural resources and environment for granted. The health of our planet is important to all of us and each individual must act as a steward for the environment. We must take care of our home.
Having an understanding of how human activities affect the environment is integral to our ability to take care of the Earth. People are members of a larger community of all life on the Earth and need to act as environmental stewards to maintain clean air, land, and water. The more we know about nature and ecosystems the better our ability to care for our planet. As people gain a better understanding that we are members of the ecosystem our actions will be reflected in better environmental actions and decision making.
In 1990, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, the Springfield Science Museum began a rehabilitation of the Mill River in Springfield. The Springfield Museums held their first Earth Day Festival in 1991 with a corresponding Earth Day Cleanup of the City of Springfield. Ever since 1991 there has been an annual Earth Day Festival and Cleanup in early spring. Throughout the past 29 years the cleanup has removed 917.56 tons of waste and recyclables from the environment of Springfield.
In 1997 the Springfield Science Museum developed the River Education and Awareness Program (REAP) from a growing realization by the museum and its community partners that the long-term protection of the watershed would be assured only by a concerned and enlightened community. The program ran for 8 years providing eighth-grade students with instruction by museum staff and professional mentors from within the community in the ecological importance of their watershed.
The students were taught water monitoring techniques, which included water testing and the collection and identification of macro-invertebrate life on the Mill River. The program was tied into the school curriculum and teachers were offered workshops in conjunction with the program. The REAP program was also part of our Earth Day events, which included a cleanup and restoration of the Mill River.
The Earth Day Cleanup is now in its 30th year and is currently partnering with Keep Springfield Beautiful as a lead organizer on the citywide Great American Cleanup.
Make a Difference on Earth Day and Every Day
Please join the Museums and our Partners for the 30th Earth Day Festival.
A celebration of clean air, land, and water, the Earth Day Festival offers an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the natural world as we usher in the springtime. All of our Earth Day Exhibitors (represented this year virtually) are here to celebrate the Earth as they demonstrate ways to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. Each of our exhibitors offers a way to make a difference in the quality of our environment.
Here are just a few examples of what people can do to help the Earth:
- Plant a tree,
- Add native pollinator plants to your garden
The Springfield Museums campus serves as a model and example of landscaping possibilities with native plants. The Springfield Museums pollinator gardens provide examples in how to create pollinator gardens with an understanding of their ecological importance. The Springfield Museums campus also has a rain garden. The campus was selected as part of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and Connecticut River Stormwater Committee (under contract with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1) to create a rain garden on campus and serve as a model and educational resource for our visitors regarding “green infrastructure stormwater management practices around the region.”
Thanks to a dedicated core of Master Gardeners of Western Massachusetts, our gardens look amazing.
This year’s Earth Day Festival Environmental Exhibitors include:
- Concerned Citizens for Springfield
- Connecticut River Conservancy
- ECOS (Environmental Center for Our Schools)
- Gardening the Community
- Greening the Gateway Cities Springfield
- Hampden County Bee Keepers Association
- Hampden Hampshire Conservation District
- Interfaith Council of Greater Springfield
- International Dark Sky Association
- Keep Springfield Beautiful (Great American Cleanup)
- Live Well Springfield Climate Justice Initiative
- Mass Wildlife Angler Education Program
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
- Regreen Springfield
- Springfield Department of Public Works
- Springfield Forestry Division
- Springfield Water and Sewer Commission
- Suez Water
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service
- Western MA Master Gardeners Association
- Western Massachusetts Council Boy Scouts of America
Dan Augustino is the Springfield Museums Aquarist. He is responsible for the safety, health, and comfort of our live animals here at the Museums.