Celebrate Earth Day cover

Earth Day 2024: Get Involved in Activities Around Rochester

Spring is in full swing in Rochester, and it’s the perfect time to observe Earth Day and embrace sustainable practices for a better future. Earth Day is officially on Monday, April 22, 2024, but many events and activities take place around that date.

Residents of Rochester have a variety of opportunities to participate in Earth Day initiatives, including community clean-up events, film screenings, and educational talks, all while enjoying the area’s stunning natural landscapes and vibrant community spirit. Join me in promoting sustainability and a healthier community for generations. Let’s make every day Earth Day in Rochester. And remember to be an H2O Hero!

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

Local Cleanup Initiatives

Riverie nearing Lock 33
Riverie nearing Lock 33

Consider taking part in community-led cleanup events to enhance the cleanliness and overall appearance of our parks, rivers, and neighborhoods.

April 13, 10 a.m.–Noon: Annual Spring Cleanup Along the Genesee Riverway Trail. Join members of the Genesee River Alliance for a clean-up event starting at the Maplewood Rose Garden. Cleanup efforts will be concentrated on the trail from Lower Falls to Middle Falls to Brewer Street. People of all ages and abilities are welcome to participate. They will provide gloves, trash nabbers, and garbage bags, but if you have your own equipment, you are welcome to bring it. Register and find more information at geneseelandtrust.org

April 19–21, Canal Clean Sweep. Sponsored by the New York State Canal Corporation, this annual statewide event takes place along major greenways, in canalside parks, and in other public areas throughout the Canal corridor. Find an event near you at ptny.org.

April 20, 8:30 a.m.–Noon: 14th Annual Pick Up the Parks. Pick Up the Parks is a volunteer event that will be held at various parks in Monroe County. The event starts at 8:30 a.m., when volunteers are required to arrive and sign in. They will also need to complete safety waivers. At 9 a.m., the park supervisor will distribute jobs and locations within the park. Volunteers can expect to perform tasks such as picking up trash and litter, raking leaves or sticks, picking up large rocks, sweeping out shelters or lodges, and, in some locations, weeding and mulching. Please note that the event is rain or shine, and unless the weather is extremely severe, we will not postpone the event. Learn more by visiting monroecounty.gov.

April 20, 8:30 a.m.–Noon: Pick Up the Parks in Highland Park. Meet Highland Park Conservancy (HPC) at Olmsted Lodge—registration opens at 8:30 a.m. The county-wide event is an opportunity for you to help prepare our beautiful parks for spring by picking up sticks and debris, raking and weeding, etc. Come dressed for the weather with sturdy shoes, rakes, and hand tools. For more information, visit https://www.monroecounty.gov. Pre-registration is not required.

April 20, 9 a.m.–Noon: Community Cleanup at Durand Eastman Beach. Sponsored by the Seneca Park Zoo, join like-minded neighbors to help clean up our local green spaces. Tools, bags, and gloves will be provided, and all ages are welcome to attend. To register and learn more, please visit senecaparkzoo.org.

April 20, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.: Clean-Up of the Rochester Riverway. As part of Canal Clean Sweep, Corn Hill Navigation invites everyone to a cleanup event along the Rochester Riverway. The event will start from the Waterfront Center at 280 Exchange Boulevard, where light refreshments and two restrooms are available. To volunteer for this event, please register here.

April 21, 1–3 p.m.: ROC Keep Nature Wild Earth Day Canal Clean Sweep. Join Niki and her band of merry environmentalists at Lock 33 Canal Park. They will provide bags to collect trash, brush, and whatever else doesn’t belong. Snacks and water will be provided, and T-shirts will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Find more information at eventbrite.com. To volunteer for this event, please register here.

Outdoor Educational Activities

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

Participating in outdoor activities such as nature hikes, birdwatching tours, or guided eco-tours taking place in local parks or nature reserves will help you connect with nature.

April 20, 8 a.m.–Noon: High Acres Nature Area with the Rochester Birding Association. Over 130 species of birds have been spotted at HANA, and more than 70 of them nest in the diverse habitats found there. On this field trip, you can expect to see at least 40 species returning to nest or on their way to northern nesting grounds. The walk will cover approximately two miles over mostly flat trails and explore about 250 acres at HANA, including some wet spots that require waterproof shoes or boots at least ankle-high. Please note that there are no restrooms available at this site. Please meet at the parking lot on Perinton Parkway, which is about a quarter-mile east of the Waste Management offices. To learn more, please visit rochesterbirding.org.

April 20, 9 a.m.–Noon: Eagle Watch at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Join our Eagle Watch program and learn about and observe the majestic eagles that reside in the wildlife refuge. Led by our knowledgeable guides, you will witness eagles in action through provided scopes and binoculars while learning about their biology, conservation, and history. We will meet at the Cayuga Overlook off Route 77, and no registration is required. Find more information at facebook.com.

April 20, 10–11:30 a.m: Wonders of Wetlands – Earth Day Nature Event. Join local biologist Martha Zettel to explore the unique plants, animals, and natural systems of swamps, marshes, bogs, and vernal pools at Brookdale Preserve. Dress for the weather and wear boots for potential muddy conditions. This event is not wheel-friendly due to rough trail conditions. No bathrooms on site. Register and find more information at geneseelandtrust.org.

Flower and Tree Planting Events

Mount Hope Cemetery daffodils
Mount Hope Cemetery daffodils

Participating in flower- and tree-planting initiatives can be a great way to improve the quality of the air we breathe and promote biodiversity.

April 20, 9–11 a.m.: Earth Day Tree Planting. Join the Friends of Webster Trails and ReTree to celebrate Earth Day by potting bare-root native trees and shrub seedlings. The seedlings will remain in their plant nursery until they are big enough to be planted in our open spaces. These trees and shrubs will provide habitat, clean the air, and help cool the planet. This is a family-friendly event that everyone can enjoy. Register and find more information at webstertrails.org.

April 20, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.: Earth Day Garden Beds. The Trenton & Pamela Jackson R Center has built two garden beds, which have been a huge success among the locals. These beds provide fresh and nutritious vegetables to the kids and neighbors and also serve as a platform to educate newcomers about growing. In view of their success, the center has decided to build two more garden beds. Please bring a power drill and screws. To register and learn more, please visit missioncontinues.org.

April 27, 10 a.m.: Daffodil Celebration at Mount Hope Cemetery. While there may be activities taking place on April 20, 21, 27, and 28, April 27 is the formal celebration. Plan to arrive by 9:30 a.m. to allow sufficient time to park and walk to the kettle. Volunteers have planted over 30,000 daffodil bulbs around the kettle since 2022. To learn more about The Daffodil Project, please visit daffodilprojectroc.org.

Indoor Educational Opportunities

It is important to invest time in educating ourselves about the different features of our planet Earth and the crucial role that we play in safeguarding them.

April 21, 2–3 p.m.: RPO OrKIDStra: Our Planet, Our Home. Join the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at Hochstein to celebrate Earth Day. Experience the musical wonder of our planet and its beauty while acknowledging our responsibility to protect our home. Remember the three Rs – reduce, reuse, and recycle. Pre-concert activities will begin one hour before the show. Tickets: $20 adults, $10 kids. For tickets and more information, visit rpo.org

April 22, 6–8 p.m. Stories Behind The Stones: The Geologic History of New York State. Appreciate New York State’s beautifully diverse landscape on a deeper level during your next road trip or visit to a local park! This class will dust off your grade school rock cycle knowledge, guide you through examining fossils, and fathom moving continents and mile-thick ice sheets. Learn to understand the unifying, billion-year geologic story behind the state’s natural features, including rugged Adirondack and Catskill peaks, long Finger Lakes, deep Genesee gorges, sandy Long Island beaches, sculpted Bristol and Allegheny hills, imposing Central Park boulders, voluminous waterfalls, and more. To register and find more information, visit rochesterbrainery.com.

April 22, 7–9 p.m.: Common Ground – Encore Earth Day Screening at Avon Park Theater. Big Picture Ranch and Area 23a present “Common Ground” – an inspiring and uplifting story about the innovative pioneers of the “Regenerative Movement.” These pioneers are producing large quantities of nutritious food while simultaneously working towards restoring balance to our climate and revitalizing our entire ecosystem. The film highlights how Americans from diverse backgrounds, political beliefs, and regions all share one common element – the soil beneath their feet. The documentary explores the power of regenerative farming systems, from small-scale to large-scale farmers who champion soil health as the key to unlocking more and healthier food to feed not just America but the entire world. The cast includes Laura Dern, Rosario Dawson, Jason Mamoa, Woody Harrelson, Ian Somerhalder, and Donald Glover. To purchase tickets and learn more, visit avonparktheater.com.

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The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand…To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
Celebrate Earth Day
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How do you make Earth Day every day?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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