Earth Day 2022: Celebrate with cleanups, tree planting, hikes, crafts and more

It's time to show a little love to Mother Nature.

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, and Arbor Day follows on April 29. Here are some local events to mark the occasion - and to give back.

One Earth - Earth Day Mini Film Fest: Through April 24 online. View specially selected films and shorts highlighting Earth Day and sustainable practices. Virtual and/or in-person watch parties: "The Ground Between Us" at 6 p.m. April 21 at Dominican University in River Forest; "Ascension" at 6:30 p.m. April 22; "Eating Up Easter" April 23 at 2:30 p.m. at The Plant Chicago and 3 p.m. online; and "Mottainai Kitchen" April 24 at 2:30 p.m. at The Plant and 3 p.m. online. Earth Day Neighborhood Cleanup and Celebration is April 23.

Earth Day - Third Thursday Thinkers: 1 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. Join Naper Settlement for a special activity while learning about Earth Day, practicing recycling, and creating art out of recycled materials. Included in general admission.

Aurora Noon Lions' Earth Day: 5 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at Luigi's Pizza, 732 Prairie St., Aurora. Before the meeting, Lions will plant a swamp white oak tree from the Fox Valley Park District's nursery at 4 p.m. at Blackberry Farm, 100 Barnes Road, Aurora. It's part of the district's memorial tree program. Afterward, join Lions at the dinner meeting. Call (630) 921-1307 or visit

Kids can create a nature craft at some Earth Day events in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Courtesy of Forest Preserves of Cook County

12 Things That Make Life on Earth Possible: 7-8 p.m. Thursday, April 21, online or Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St. Join Michelle Nichols, director of public observing at Adler Planetarium, as she highlights an (incomplete) list of 12 things that make this planet special. These features influence what astronomers look for as they investigate other planets. Registration required at

Earth Day at Schaumburg Township: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 22, at One Illinois Blvd., Hoffman Estates. Join Schaumburg Township to celebrate Earth Day and demonstrate support for environmental protection. Representatives from Citizens Utility Board, Metropolitan Water Reclamation, Village of Schaumburg Sustainability Commission, Elevate Energy, Wings and more will have booths and answer questions. There will be speakers, giveaways and a raffle prize. Free.

Earth Week at College of Lake County: The College of Lake County will offer events throughout the week, including "Fun Run, Bike, Walk and Yoga!" at 1 p.m. Friday on the Grayslake campus, an eco-restoration workday from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and Climate Solutions Summit from 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday on the Grayslake campus. Free. For a complete schedule, visit

Park cleanup in Waukegan: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Washington Park, 15 S. Park Ave., Waukegan. The Waukegan Park District will be celebrating Earth Day with a cleanup at Washington Park. Volunteers must check in at the parking lot on the northwest corner of West and Water streets in downtown Waukegan. The park cleanup will target the ravines that are part of the Waukegan River Watershed. Many parks in Waukegan are connected through ravines with streams that flow into Lake Michigan. Pizza and water will be provided.

Earth Day Appreciation Walk: 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 Willow Springs Road, Willow Springs. Honor the importance of environmental protection and reconnect with nature on a 1-mile guided walk on the White Oak Trail. Registration required; call (708) 839-6897.

Earth Week Forest Preserve Pick-Me-Up: 4-6 p.m. Friday, April 22, at West Branch Forest Preserve, main parking lot on the south side of Army Trail Road, West Chicago. Help pick up litter around the DuPage forest preserves. Bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray. Free. Register at or (630) 206-9630.

  Volunteers plant native plants for Earth Day at Pederson Preserve in Barrington. John Starks/, 2021

Earth Day in Barrington: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 22, at Pederson Preserve, West County Line and Hart roads, Barrington. Join Barrington Area Conservation Trust to plant native warrior sedges, install a bald cypress tree, learn about stream ecology and more. Parking is available at Barrington High School, 616 W. Main St. Free. Register at

Earth Day tree planting: 9 a.m. Saturday, April 23, at Elburn Forest Preserve, 1N750 Read St., Elburn. After a two-year hiatus, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County's Earth Day tree-planting event is back. Volunteers will plant hundreds of trees in a few hours in pre-dug holes. Planting will continue until noon, or until all trees are in the ground, whichever comes first. Individuals, families and groups are welcome. Groups of 10 or more are asked to register at (630) 762-2741 or; groups of less than 10 do not need to RSVP.

  At an Earth Day cleanup held in SEBA Park in South Elgin last year, Tony Steffes of Pingree Grove and his stepson, Dylan Petschow, 13, pick up some trash. Brian Hill/, 2021

Earth Day Cleanup: 9-11 a.m. Saturday, April 23, SEBA Park, 151 S. Water St., South Elgin. Meet up at SEBA Park shelter to install native plantings along the shoreline or get a garbage bag for cleaning up trash along the riverfront and the creek in County Park. For groups of 10 or more, contact Also, a Junkluggers recycling and shredding event for residents only; bring up to four banker boxes. For a list of accepted items, go to

Earth Day - Working for Wildlife: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 23, Willowbrook Wildlife Center, 525 S. Park Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Help the center prepare for the spring season by working with a wildlife interpreter to prepare the outdoor exhibit trail. Ages 12 and up; under 18 with an adult. Free. Register at or (630) 942-6200.

Earth Day at the Farm: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 23, at Fischer Farm, 16W680 Grand Ave., Bensenville. Volunteer to tidy up the prairie, fix up the garden, tend to the animals, and other activities. Free; registration required. Bensenville Park District teams up with Grand Subaru, 125 W. Grand Ave., for a free raffle on-site for participants to win environmentally-friendly prizes. Learn about the new Grand Subaru community recycling drop-off center, which opens Friday, April 22. Free ice cream truck for volunteers, complements of Grand Subaru.

Earth Day at Peck Farm Park: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Peck Farm Park, 4038 Kaneville Road, Geneva. Features recycling opportunities, nature crafts, rain barrel sale, self-guided prairie tour and tree planting. The event is free, but registration is required.

Earth Day Preschool Storytime: 11 a.m. Saturday, April 23, at Gail Borden Rakow Branch, 2751 W. Bowes Road, Elgin. Celebrate Earth Day with stories and activities. Register at or call (847) 429-4597.

Earth Day Nature Play: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Road, Barrington Hills. Enjoy family-friendly Earth Day activities in a three-acre Nature Play area. Free.

Earth Day with McHenry County Conservation District: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake. Explore multiple exhibitors, take part in activities and crafts, bring household goods to recycle, follow along on guided hikes, and tune in for entertaining puppet shows. Live music from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Bring a picnic lunch. Free.

Earth Day show: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in Center Park at Fox Valley Mall, 195 Fox Valley Center Drive, Aurora. A reptile show with Crosstown Exotics. Interact with reptiles, invertebrates, and amphibians. Free.

Earth Day service: 9 a.m. Sunday, April 24, United Methodist Church of Geneva, 211 Hamilton St. After worship, the Creation Care team will hold a fundraiser to help build the Hesed House garden. Seeds, sunflower seedlings, reusable straws and mesh vegetable bags will be available. Sign up for volunteer work days on April 30, May 3 and 7.

  Connor Laskew, 5, of Elk Grove Village waters sunflower seeds he planted along the Earth Stewardship Trail, part of last year's Earth Day celebration at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. Joe Lewnard/, 2021

Earth Day Party: Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24, Spring Valley Nature Center, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg. Features birdhouse building, wildflower plantings, worm composting demonstrations, seed bomb making and launching, crafts and more. Be sure to also visit the Heritage Farm to learn about traditional ways of living simply and sustainably. A tractor-drawn wagon ride will be available to transport you between the Nature Center and Heritage Farm. Activities are for the whole family. No registration; pay admission fee at the door. $3 per person or $12 per family; free for children younger than 3.

Earth Day Fair: 1-4 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at Fort Hill Activity Center, 20 Fort Hill Drive, Naperville. This free, family-friendly event includes children's activities, eco-friendly vendors, free LED light bulbs and native seeds, and the opportunity to learn about the benefits of native plantings. Discover energy-saving items, view a rain barrel and composter, attend presentations by experts and more.

Arlington Heights Arbor Day Celebration: 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 29, at Pioneer Park, 500 S. Fernandez Ave., Arlington Heights. Representatives from the Arlington Heights Park District, the village of Arlington Heights and students from Westgate Elementary School celebrate Arbor Day beginning with refreshments at 9:30 a.m. The festivities, including a special performance by the second grade students of Westgate Elementary School, a tree planting ceremony, and Arbor Day speeches will begin at 10 a.m. The celebration will conclude with the announcement of the winner of the Arlington Arbor Day Artists, Tree Drawing Contest. Free.

City Nature Challenge: April 29 to May 2. Join people from over 350 cities around the world for the City Nature Challenge. Share observations of wild plants and animals in the Kane County area to help local land managers and scientific researchers better understand and protect urban nature. Take a photo of any plant or animal in your city and share your observation through iNaturalist as part of the "Kane County" project. Learn more about bioblitz data collection with a district naturalist from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday, April 29, at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. Call (630) 444-3190 or email to register for this free program.

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