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It has been nearly a half century since a growing concern over environmental pollution and deterioration inspired Earth Day.
Tree plantings, recycling events and educational programs that bring awareness about what humans can do to help the planet are among ways to celebrate Earth Day, recognized every April 22 since 1970.
The inspiration for Earth Day came originally from a bipartisan effort by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin, and U.S. Rep. Paul N. McCloskey Jr., R-California. It was endorsed by President Richard Nixon and supported by federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.
Here’s a list of a few ways Middle Georgia residents can celebrate Earth this week:
Macon-Bibb Earth Day celebration
When: April 24, 4-7 p.m.
Where: Tattnall Square Park
What: Come by the Mulberry Market at Tattnall Square Park to pick up a native hardwood tree to plant at home. The tree saplings are provided to attendees at no cost thanks to the Ocmulgee Mounds Historical National Park. Live music, demonstrations, live animals and other vendors are among features of the celebration. This year’s Earth Day theme is “Protect Our Species.”
The city of Perry is set to celebrate Arbor Day on Friday at city hall from 9 a.m.-noon. The city will be giving away Tulip, Scarlet Oak and Sugar Maple tree seedlings for residents to plant and beautify the community.
Take a Hike
Spend some time outside appreciating the beauty of nature by taking a hike at one of these popular spots:
Get a view of Macon like no other from atop the 189-acre limestone-capped mount just south of town. Brown’s Mount forms the northeast boundary of Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Walk on the trails or visit with river otters, beavers, black bears and other animals at this private, not-for-profit oasis. Admission is free. The center is located at 360 Mt Vernon Church Road, Jackson, Georgia, 30233.
The Brender Demonstration Forest, also known as the Hitchiti Experimental Forest, is an active research area of the U.S. Forest Service. A 4-mile loop offers a look at native flora and fauna on the 4,735 acres of land in Jones County. The forest lies on the east bank of the Ocmulgee River in the lower Piedmont. Look for parking at the trail entrance off Jarrell Plantation Road.
Take a stroll through the college’s 104-acre hardwood and pine forest in north Macon. The arboretum contains more than 100 species of trees, shrubs and woody vines that provide excellent habitats for salamanders, lizards, mammals and more than 100 species of resident and migratory birds.
Note: Portions of Amerson River Park and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail are flooded due to recent rain and will be closed until the river water recedes.
Keep it Clean
With a group or alone, for an hour or for a minute, picking up litter in your neighborhood, at school or work will help to keep Middle Georgia beautiful.
Take it a step further by participating in the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission’s ”Adopt a Spot” program, which helps friends and families organize and plan monthly cleanups in their neighborhoods.
The commission also offers “block parties,” which are coordinated cleanups for larger public areas and neighborhoods. The commission provides safety vests, trash grabbers, garbage bags and temporary signs.
The events end with a celebration dance to a song or playlist of the group’s choosing. To learn more about adopt-a-spot and other cleanup initiatives, visit https://kmbbc.org/adopt-a-spot/.