The advent of the first Earth Day in 1970 is generally considered the birth of the modern environmental movement.
Celebrated every year on April 22, Earth Day is a time to rally around the globe, raising awareness, cleansing the world and generally trying to treat the land with more respect.
“It continues to serve as a clarion call to policy makers who need to see it as important movement in bringing improvement of environmental policy,” said Andrew Black, Public Lands Field Director for the National Wildlife Federation and founder of EarthKeepers 360. “The thing for me that I love the most is, it promotes unity and diversity. People from different backgrounds, cultures, spiritual and religious traditions can come together to care for Mother Earth. Come together to care for the earth, our common home. It’s united and mobilizes people in a transformative way.”
One of the major efforts that the National Wildlife Federation is sponsoring locally is a cleanup of the Caja del Rio on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe that includes the mesa top of La Bajada and goes all the way to the Rio Grande.
The day begins at 9 a.m. when Black leads a short, two-hour hike from the La Cieneguilla Petroglyph parking lot off NM 56. Following a free lunch, the effort moves to the vast interior of the Caja for a much-needed sprucing-up as mounds of trash, appliances, furniture and other items that have been dumped over the years. Visit cajadelrio.org for more information or to RSVP for the free event.
Also in Santa Fe, St. John’s College, 1160 Camino de Cruz Blanca, will host a range of events to celebrate Earth Day.
At 10:30 a.m., Nanette Phillips, Santa Fe Student Support Coordinator, will lead a morning hike on the Atalaya Trail, with a meditation.
At 1:30 p.m., St. John’s student clubs are hosting Earth Day-themed activities and displays oriented around sustainability, environmentalism and an appreciation of nature.
And at 4:30 p.m., tour the college with the school’s landscape supervisor, Jeff Clark, to see the campus’s native and ornamental trees and shrubs that provide many eco-system services for people and animals. Beyond being beautiful, the landscape delivers shade while sustaining pollinators. Meet at the Visitors’ Circle
Visit sjc.edu/johnnieweek/earth-day for the full schedule of free events and to register.
In Albuquerque, the Vegan Village at the ABQ Collective, 1321 Eubank Blvd. NE, will be the center of a daylong celebration, beginning at 11 a.m., with food vendors, and live music beginning at 4 p.m.
For those who want to get their hands dirty, consider Gardening with Rio Grande Food Pantry, which runs from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at 600 Coors NW. The Pantry’s standout urban garden on-site helps clients learn how to grow their own fresh produce. Once harvested, the crops are weighed and distributed immediately through weekly food boxes. This all takes prep work, however, and Earth Day is the time to dig in and help out as the effort is expanding. Registration for the free event is required at abqinvolved.org/events.
The Pecos River is also getting a little TLC this Earth Day. From Pecos, N.M. to Pecos, Texas, volunteers are wanted for the annual Dia del Rio y Camino Litter Clean-up. Participants can meet at one of the seven meeting locations, with six of them falling in New Mexico, including Pecos, Pecos Canyon State Park, Villanueva State Park, Roswell, Sumner Lake State Park and Carlsbad. Visit pecoswatershed.org/events/river-cleanup for locations, times and contact information.