Earth Day 2023: How to celebrate and protect the planet

Twelve events across the region raising awareness of our environment.

Plant a tree, reduce plastic consumption, purchase secondhand clothing, clean up a local park – little things can make a big difference.

Earth Day is celebrated April 22 and this year’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” The theme focuses on engaging people, governments, institutions, and businesses worldwide to protect the planet and “pave a path towards a prosperous future.”

Established in 1970, Earth Day events have mobilized more than 1 billion people to act on the earth’s behalf over the past half century. The call to “Invest in Our Planet” highlights the importance of dedicating time, resources, and energy to solve a variety of environmental issues. Investing in the planet and the community is something organizations like Five Rivers MetroParks and Aullwood Audubon focus on year-round.

“Five Rivers MetroParks invests in the planet by implementing the agency’s mission to ‘protect the region’s natural heritage and provide outdoor experiences that inspire a connection to nature,’ and following a vision ‘to be the environmental leader of an active, vital, nature-based community,’” said Tim Pritchard, MetroParks sustainability manager.

From a conversion to LED lighting to increased efforts in waste management by recycling and composting to divert materials from landfills, the MetroParks lead by example. The agency’s waste-free initiative at the Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience earned them the First Place Award of Excellence from Ohio Parks and Recreation Association and was recently recognized by the National Recreation and Parks Association.

“These efforts are a journey, but MetroParks makes progress each year with the understanding that these investments pay off in not just environmental benefit, but also lowering operational overhead through energy savings and efficiencies to responsibly manage the public funding that supports the agency,” Pritchard said.

Aullwood Audubon is committed to protecting the earth by taking conservation action and helping children and adults learn to do the same. Aullwood’s annual native plant sale enables local residents to enhance the community with native plants, trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers.

“These native plants provide food and shelter for wildlife, increase biodiversity and attract natural predators that help control pest species,” said Laurie Cothran, Aullwood development and marketing manager. “Through hands-on experiences in nature and environmental education programs, Aullwood Audubon is helping to build future conservationists who love the earth and want to protect it.”

Earth Day is all about being hands-on with projects and events throughout the Miami Valley. The Living City Project Citywide Cleanup is being held in 20 sites throughout Dayton on April 22. Mobilizing community members, church groups and neighborhood associations, the initiative – spearheaded by Declare in partnership with the city of Dayton and Kettering Health – will likely bring together more than 500 volunteers.

“It’s definitely a community collaboration,” said Harold Nuss, event organizer and Declare ministry coordinator. “It’s all about people and increasing community pride.”

Previous citywide cleanups have resulted in the removal of more than 200 tons of trash from historic Dayton communities.

“We are excited to have The Living City Project come back to Old North Dayton this year, bringing neighbors out, getting to know each other and have some fun,” said Jennifer Evans of the Old North Dayton Neighborhood Association.

Ready to roll up your sleeves and help do your part for the planet? Earth Day weekend is packed with opportunities to make a difference.


1. Living City Project Citywide Cleanup

What: A citywide community effort designed to clean up 20 different Dayton neighborhoods. The hard work will be rewarded with a pair of after-parties.

When: April 22, 8:30 a.m. - registration at cleanup locations; 9-11:45 a.m. - cleanup; noon – after-parties

Where: Twenty neighborhood sites throughout the city including Dayton View Triangle, Five Oaks, Huffman, Linden Heights, Old North Dayton and South Park. After-parties at the Dream Center and Revival Center.


2. Art & Earth Day 2023

What: In partnership with local universities, Pyramid Hill will celebrate Arbor Day, Earth Day and International Sculpture Day with a full slate of activities. Take a photography walk, tour temporary sculptures, try a family-friendly yoga class or participate in planting activities. This full day of events is included in the cost of admission to the park.

When: April 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton


3. Earth Day Styrofoam Recycling – Huber Heights

What: Your Styrofoam can get new life as it will be collected and processed by Eco Development to create new materials. Only white Styrofoam will be collected and used food containers will not be accepted.

When: April 22, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Where: Parking lot of the Rose Music Center at The Heights, 6800 Executive Blvd.


4. Earth Day Exploration

What: Join an Aullwood naturalist and spend part of Earth Day exploring a variety of habitats. Enjoy the spring wildflowers and spring migrants – don’t forget your binoculars. Pre-registration is required. The event is free for members of Friends of Aullwood and the National Audubon Society while non-members pay regular Aullwood admission.

When: April 22, 10-11 a.m.

Where: Aullwood Nature Center, 1000 Aullwood Road, Dayton


5. Earth Day Festival

What: Enjoy demonstrations, speakers, information on sustainable living, children’s activities, and local vendors at this free event sponsored by the B-W Greenway Community Land Trust. A 5K train run/walk will take place April 23.

When: Festival - April 22, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; 5K train run/walk – April 23, 9 a.m.

Where: Festival – Spark Fairborn, 305 W. Main Street, Fairborn; 5K – Oakes Quarry Park, 1267 E. Xenia Dr., Fairborn


6. Earth Day Celebration

What: Join Barefoot Hippie Homesteading and the city of Lebanon to celebrate Earth Day with hands-on activities at this family-friendly event. Pot marigolds, learn about composting or explore the trails. The Ohio Valley Forestry Fellowship will give away 100 potted native trees.

When: April 22, 10 a.m.-noon

Where: Miller Ecological Park, 755 Miller Road, Lebanon


7. Earth Day Celebration

What: Join the Huber Heights Parks and Recreation Board to celebrate Earth Day with a community clean-up event followed by fun activities for the whole family.

When: April 22, 11 a.m.-noon community clean-up, followed by Earth Day activities until 3 p.m.

Where: Huber Heights Community Center, 4301 Powell Road


8. Earth Day Recycled Art Show

What: In conjunction with Miamisburg Parks and Recreation, enjoy a juried art show that encourages the community to gather recycled items together to create a work of art. There will also be games, activities and food.

When: April 22, 1-5 p.m.

Where: Star City Brewery, 319 S. 2nd St., Miamisburg


9. Earth Day Storytime

What: Celebrate Earth Day with a story about nature, “Acorn Was a Little Wild” by Jen Arena

When: April 22, 11 a.m.

Where: Barnes & Noble, 2720 Towne Drive #200, Beavercreek


10. Earth Day with Pink Moon Goods and Friends

What: Participate in a seed planting demo, purchase hand-dyed repurposed clothing and enjoy organic healing foods at this event created to showcase local individuals and organizations that work to honor the earth. Waste Free Dayton will also be on hand to answer questions about what people can do to make the planet more livable.

When: April 22, noon-6 p.m.

Where: Pink Moon Goods, 2027 East Fifth St., Dayton


11. Hug the Earth Festival

What: Enjoy live music, challenge yourself on the high adventure rock climbing wall and zip lines or socialize with superheroes. Guests can explore the Whimsical Woodland, enjoy horse drawn wagon rides, dig for fossils, meet farm animals and butterflies and more.

When: April 22, noon-5 p.m.

Where: Lost Creek Reserve, 2385 E. State Route 41, Troy


12. YS Habitat Community & Earth Day Celebration

What: An afternoon of environmental entertainment, food, music, education and outreach hosted by the Yellow Springs Habitat Team and the Village Environmental Commission.

When: April 23, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Where: John Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St., Yellow Springs



While Earth Day is once a year, here are ways to participate in the conservation mission year-round according to the aforementioned Pritchard.

  • Become educated about climate and ecological science through resources like Project Drawdown.
  • Remove invasive species like honeysuckle and Callery Pear from your property and replace them with native trees, shrubs and grasses.
  • Reduce and eventually eliminate herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers from yards and gardens and embrace a biodiverse approach to property management.
  • Convert lawns into deeper rooted vegetation and incorporate native prairie, forest and wetland plants into landscaping.
  • Waste less, especially food. Food systems represent the most opportune area to reduce emissions. Wasting less is one of the most impactful actions anyone can take.
  • Insulate and seal homes to use less energy, produce less emissions, save money, improve indoor air quality and protect structures from deterioration.
  • Keep HVAC and refrigeration appliances well-maintained and routinely tuned up.

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