How You Can Engage With Earth Day 2020

April 22, 2020 Jennifer Ackerfield , Head Curator of Natural History Collections & Associate Director of Biodiversity Research

Earth Day is a day to celebrate the environment. This year is particularly special as it marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. Today, just as in 1970, Earth Day participants promote awareness of environmental issues such as climate change, air and water pollution, and the preservation of biodiversity. However, Earth Day 2020 is unique because of the global pandemic that we are currently living through. The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has rapidly spread and we are called to distance from our friend, families and places of work. So, how do you celebrate Earth Day and the environment while also staying home?

Luckily, there are several ways to engage with Earth Day from the safety of your own home!

Tune in to Earth Day Network activities. Earth Day Network is organizing 24 hours of global digital mobilization called EARTHRISE. To participate, share environmental issues that are important to you on social media using the hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE. Earth Day Network will also be providing a new, powerful way for you to drive change in your own community at the top of each hour for the entire 24 hours of Earth Day. Lastly, Earth Day Network is also organizing 22 daily challenges for the month of April that you can take on to fight climate change from your home. Each challenge is engaging, fun and worthwhile to implement in your home even after the month of April is over!

Discover citizen science. Through citizen science, anyone can participate in research by collecting and sharing environmental data. Research initiatives across the globe aim to answer several environmental questions and citizen scientists are needed to accelerate data collection for these studies. Use the apps Earth Challenge 2020 and iNaturalist to participate in citizen science initiatives.

  • Earth Challenge 2020 empowers people around the world to monitor and mitigate threats to environmental and human health in their communities. The challenge’s mission is to collect billions of observations on air quality, plastic pollution and insect populations. These observations will provide invaluable insight into the environmental conditions in your own community!
  • iNaturalist is used by billions of citizen scientists around the globe to document biodiversity observations. In addition, iNaturalist helps you identify your observation so that you can learn about local biodiversity while you are observing it. Your iNaturalist observations can be of any organism – plant, animal, bird, mushroom, insect, fish and more! Each observation is an invaluable point of data that can be used to empower research and inform policies to drive meaningful change.

Participate in the City Nature Challenge. Denver Botanic Gardens is co-organizing the City Nature Challenge, a three-day-long bioblitz focused on the healing power of nature. Become a citizen scientist and document local biodiversity through the iNaturalist app between April 24-27. Observations will be identified and verified between April 28 – May 3.

  • You don’t have to travel to participate; you can document the biodiversity you see on your neighborhood walk, in your local park or in your own backyard.
  • Adding observations is easy. As long as your observations are taken within the Denver-Boulder metro boundary between April 24-27 and uploaded to iNaturalist by May 3, they will automatically be added to the City Nature Challenge. You can check research-grade identifications given to your observations later by visiting the City Nature Challenge page on iNaturalist.
  • If you participate, please do only what feels safe for you and your family. Make sure you are in accordance with local regulations. Your observations will contribute to science all while you are embracing the healing power of nature in these unprecedented times.
  • To continue serving as a citizen scientists after the City Nature Challenge ends, consider joining the Denver EcoFlora Project. As an EcoFlora participant, you can sign up to receive monthly EcoQuests, which challenge you to observe and document biodiversity in new and different ways. 

This Earth Day, remember that the world outside is still there and still in need of our attention. Engage with Earth Day 2020 by documenting local biodiversity and promoting environmental awareness to ultimately provide a platform for policy change. Here’s to celebrating Earth Day 2020, social-distancing style!


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