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Across the Country
Kid reporters on their local Earth Day events

pine tree

(Photo: Photodisc)
April 22 is Earth Day, and communities across the country are organizing events events to help the environment. Reporters from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps have been checking in to share what their states are doing to celebrate Earth Day. Remember—we want your stories, too! So tell us what you're doing for the environment this month.

Spring Cleaning
By Jacob Wieseneck
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

"Spring cleaning" doesn't just have to mean picking up your house—it can include cleaning up the environment! You can start by planting trees, recycling, or picking up trash in your area. Just be sure to get out of the house and do something to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. In my home state, New Jersey, many activities are planned to help the environment.

In Montclair, Whole Foods supermarket is sponsoring a recycling project. In Elizabeth, public schools will be offering courses about water purification. My school—Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union Counties—is getting involved, too.

We will be planting a white pine tree in honor of Earth Day. My class learned that Native Americans believe that this type of tree is a symbol of peace. Each class will be decorating the tree with ribbons that will have "Shalom," the Hebrew word for "peace," written on it.

Find out what Earth Day activities are taking place in your community. Don't miss out—join in the Earth's Spring Cleaning!

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Illinois Celebrates Earth Day
By Joe Wlos
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

How will the Thorn Creek Nature Center in Park Forest, Illinois, be celebrating Earth Day this year? The fun activities have one thing in common—the weather.

"Weather connects to nature," said Lily Bormet, a naturalist at Thorn Creek Nature Center. "It is such an important part of our lives and we need to be more aware of its causes and effects."

According to Bormet and her co-worker, Kathy Dehn, most people know the temperature outside on a given day, but they don't know what caused it. Bormet and Dehn believe that if people can understand the environment, they will be more inclined to preserve it.

Many different things that happen in nature depend on the weather. The growth of almost all plants depends on rainfall and sunlight. Changes in weather lead to changes in the surrounding environment, like when wind carries seeds to new areas where they grow.

This Earth Day, the Nature Center will host a hike, a cloud slide show, a kite-making project, experiments with lightning, and many other fun activities. The goal is to make Earth Day fun, so people will get involved and become more interested in nature. The more interested people become, the more they will care about our planet.

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Earth Day in Tennessee
By Aaron Broder
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Every year, Nashville, Tennessee has a festival to celebrate Earth Day. The festival is full of games, activities, food, and performances to encourage people to care for the Earth.

"It is always inspirational to see parents, children, and singles alike be entertained while celebrating our environment and learning about ways to protect it," says Sherry Sloan, Earth Day Committee cochair. "I am always so encouraged by the level of participation, and am thrilled each year to take part."

The Earth Day Festival kicks off at 2:00 p.m. on April 22nd, with a live performance by singer Marion James, a Nashville native. The festival also features music and dancing from different cultures. If you are in the Nashville area this Earth Day, make your way to Centennial Park for one exciting festival!

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California Gets Involved
By Gabriella Castaneda
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

In Sacramento, events are being held throughout the month of April to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Earth Day. Many organizations, like the American River Parkway Foundation, are sponsoring cleanups. The Sacramento Zoo has always been a place that supports Earth Day, and this year is no different. This month they had a huge party for Earth and wildlife conservation, complete with games about conservation and recycling, arts and crafts, and raffles. Sacramento is a city that knows how to both celebrate and care for the environment.

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Earth Day in Pennsylvania
By Rebecca DeSantis
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania has some of the richest soil on the East Coast. It is a region known for its great farms and agriculture, so its residents work to care for the environment year-round. How will they celebrate Earth Day?

This year, people across the state of Pennsylvania are taking part in an event called "Let's pick it up PA." The project is bringing people together to clean up roadsides, streams, parks, forests, and neighborhoods, to improve life for Pennsylvania's people and wildlife. The Internet is an important tool that has helped make this project possible, coordinating groups across the state. Groups register online, and the events are listed on the Web site and reported in the local newspapers.

After the cleanups are completed, teams share their results on the Web site and with the local media. This Earth Day, it's inspiring to see how modern technology is being used to help clean up the Earth.

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Maine Celebrates
By Kira Pilger
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Maine offers plenty of ways to celebrate Earth Day this year.

One event is John Muir's birthday party at the Sierra Club offices in Portland. Muir, a naturalist and a conservationist, was called "The Father of our National Parks," a "Citizen of the Universe," and the "Wilderness Prophet."

Another Portland event is the Earth Day celebration in Monument Square. Local businesses help sponsor the event, which includes food and live music. Portland's Wild Oats Marketplace is having a celebration of its own this month, offering free food and music, as well as tips on how you can help the environment.

In Orono, the University of Maine is hosting the Hope Festival, which will feature environmental craft projects, storytelling, live performances, and even a 5K run.

These are just a few of the ways that the citizens of Maine will be celebrating Earth Day this year.

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Earth Day in Wisconsin
By Carlie Cerfus
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

April 22 is Earth Day, a day when everyone should take part in helping our Earth become a better place.

In Wisconsin, students continue a project that has been going on for more than ten years. It has to do with grocery bags, which are donated to schools by stores throughout the state. Students decorate the bags with helpful words and facts to encourage people in the community to take part in Earth Day, and to take care of our Earth. It helps remind people that it takes teamwork to make the Earth a better place.

Whether it's decorating grocery bags or planting trees, there are all kinds of things that people can do to help. So get out there and do something!

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