Tree-plantings and trash walks: Earth Day 2022 in Philly

Here’s how the Philadelphia area will be celebrating Earth Day this year, and how you can participate — from tackling litter to expanding the city’s tree canopy.

Two adults sit with two children on a Schuylkill River dock

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education will host Naturepalooza in celebration of Earth Day. (Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education)

More than 50 years after Earth Day was born, environmental advocates are marking the annual occasion in ways big and small.

Philadelphia community leaders and residents will be among those observing Earth Day 2022, building off a movement that in 1970 was marked by mass demonstrations against environmental destruction.

Here’s how the Philadelphia area will be celebrating Earth Day this year, and how you can get involved.

Celebrate Naturepalooza along the Schuylkill

8480 Hagys Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23

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The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education’s signature Earth Day event will center around the nonprofit’s “Year of Restoration.” Guests are invited to hike along the Schuylkill trails, join storytime with the Andorra Library, pop by activity tables, and go on a gaming hike.

The center’s 11th iteration of Naturepalozza will also feature a performance by the Billy Jonas band, some pond exploration, a restoration of Jubilee Grove, and the unveiling of the new Restoration Station Loop, a self-guided educational hike along the Schuylkill.

Registration is required. Should the event get rained out, the fest will be held on Sunday, April 24.

Hikers along the Schuylkill River trail hold up the Aquamarooned! card game.
Hikers along the Schuylkill River trail hold up the Aquamarooned! card game. (Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education)

Improve Philly’s tree canopy

Various locations
Tuesday, April 19 through Sunday, April 24

Starting Tuesday, April 19, and running through Sunday, April 24, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is on a mission to plant more than 1,500 trees across the Philly region.

During the summer, heat disproportionately impacts low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. City officials acknowledge that these disparate effects largely stem from discriminatory practices like redlining, which led to decades of disinvestment in low-income communities nationwide. Tree-planting efforts aim to reverse the city’s unequal tree canopy.

Volunteers will be led by designated Tree Tenders groups. No experience is necessary.

Those interested can sign up to access PHS’ volunteer map and learn more about how to plant trees in their neighborhood.

Tackle litter with Ya Fav Trashman

Lehigh and Kensington avenues
Saturday, April 23

Terrill Haigler — affectionately known as Ya Fav Trashman — is hosting a 5K trash walk to commemorate Earth Day 2022. The former Philly sanitation worker-turned-advocate will lead volunteers through the route in a litter-heavy area, picking up trash along the way.

The goal of the walk is not only to eliminate litter, Haigler wrote, but to raise awareness around environmental justice in Philadelphia, particularly in Black and brown communities.

For every bag of trash the group collects, Haigler said, PHS will plant a tree in a Black and brown community over the next five years.

The event will kick off at Lehigh and Kensington avenues in Kensington. Volunteers will be provided with tools, as well a t-shirt and refreshments.

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Those interested can register for the trash walk online. The cost to register is $25 each.

Terrill Haigler wears a face mask on North 17th Street
Terrill Haigler, aka “Ya Fav Trashman” is seen at a cleanup in North Philadelphia in 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Spruce up the Schuylkill River banks

4900 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19127
9 a.m. on Saturday, April 23

The Philly Canoe Club, Penn Sustainability, SEAS Green Team, and the Philadelphia Water Department are teaming up to host an Earth Day cleanup. Guests are invited to tidy up the banks of the Schuylkill River, focusing on the Flatrock portion of the Schuylkill. Cleaning supplies will be provided.

Organizers say the pandemic, along with historic flooding, has left the area in need of serious TLC. Those interested in helping can register for the event online.

People are seen riding canoes on the Schuylkill River.
People are seen riding canoes on the Schuylkill River. (Philadelphia Canoe Club)

Get your hands dirty with The Village

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday, April 22

The Village of Arts and Humanities is hosting a community cleanup in North Philadelphia. Spots are limited, so those interested are encouraged to register online. Supplies will be provided.

Birdwatch at the Discovery Center

3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 23

Audubon Mid-Atlantic will be hosting an Earth Day-themed birdwalk. Guests will hike around The Discovery Center and search for signs of spring migration. Binoculars will be available to borrow. Registration for the event is not required.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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