White hands holding dirt with purple & yellow petunias and green leaves emerging

6 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at Home

You don't have to go far to enjoy nature and appreciate the planet. Here's how you can celebrate Earth Day in your own backyard, no matter where you live.

In today's fast-paced world, where we're spending more time indoors than ever, the simple act of stepping outside can work wonders for our health and well-being. Science tells us that exposure to nature can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, making it essential to carve out time in our day for outdoor activities. This is especially true for students, who should reap the health and de-stressing benefits of spending time in a green space—and what better day to do that than Earth Day? “You don’t need to leave home to celebrate Earth Day. Remember, nature starts at your back door,” says Kris Kiser, President of the TurfMutt Foundation. “Get outside, mow your lawn, trim bushes, plant a butterfly bush. By becoming a steward of your yard, you’re helping preserve your own corner of the overall ecosystem.” Here are six ways you can celebrate Earth Day without leaving home as well as resources that families and educators can use to learn more about Earth Day.

1. Step outside your back door

Science has proven that simply spending time outdoors is good for our health and well-being. Researchers found that people living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs, and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and stress. And multiple studies have shown that plants in hospital recovery rooms and views of gardens help patients heal up to one day faster than those who are in more sterile environments. So get outside and enjoy the scenery if you can!

Related: Working Out Your Mental Health: 3 Benefits of Regular Exercise for Students

2. Make the outdoors your latest assignment

Your backyard has a purpose: It’s a canvas for creativity and physical activity. It acts as an outdoor living room, and it’s a safe place for pets and kids in your household to play. Go outside to assess your space if you have one. What’s working well with how it’s currently set up? What could be improved? What can you plan to do in your yard with your family? Is there anything that needs to be cleaned up so your backyard dreams can take shape? There’s no time like the present to plan and prepare, and many plants and bushes can be ordered online for delivery.

3. Learn about plant life

It’s a great time to get educated about climate zone–appropriate plants, the importance of pollinators, and how backyards can support local wildlife. Once your preliminary online research is done, conduct a plant inventory to determine what’s currently thriving in your yard and what you may want to add. Match that up against the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to determine the best types of turf, trees, shrubs, and plants for your climate zone. 

Related: The Best Plants to Perk Up Your College Dorm Room

4. Plant something!

Tired of being cooped up inside? Get your feet in the grass and your hands in the soil right in your own backyard. You could also pot some plants and flowers for inside your home if your lawn space is limited. Visit a garden center for supplies or have them delivered from your local nursery and start gardening!

5. Keep pollinators in mind

Birds, bees, butterflies, and other creatures are critical to our food supply and a healthy environment. Your yard is an important part of that connected ecosystem because it provides much-needed food and shelter for pollinators, so select a variety of plants that will bloom all year long. The Audubon Society’s database can help determine which birds will be attracted to which plants for unique regions so you can make good choices about what to plant and draw feathered friends to your at-home sanctuary.

6. Connect others to nature

Looking to incorporate Earth Day into a school project or classroom activity? Teachers can find free online tools and lesson plans from the TurfMutt Foundation. These environmental education resources—based on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) principles—can help young students learn about the benefits of taking care of and spending time in nature. The lessons include outdoor-themed activity sheets and prompts for children in grades K–8 that guide them in learning about, exploring, and having fun with nature and science in their own backyards. High school students can also take a look and enjoy or share with their family members!

Related: 5 Easy Ways Anyone Can Fight for the Environment

As we celebrate Earth Day, don't forget that our connection to nature begins right outside our back doors. You can become a steward of your own slice of the ecosystem by stepping outside to soak in the benefits of nature, transforming your space into a haven of creativity and activity, and educating yourself and others about the importance of plants and pollinators. Let's embrace these opportunities to foster a deeper appreciation for our natural world and inspire future generations to do the same.

Looking for a college that appreciates the Earth as much as you do? Check out this list of The Best Colleges and Universities for an Eco-Friendly Campus Lifestyle.

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About TurfMutt

TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) TurfMutt Foundation and has reached more than 70 million children, educators, and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” Learn more at TurfMutt.com.

 

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