Windsor Star

Earth Day celebratio­ns `creatively' reimagined

Online events planned to engage people, help them be mindful, organizer says

- TREVOR WILHELM twilhelm@postmedia.com

It's a pandemic Earth Day — a time to officially celebrate the planet's magnificen­t resources and stunning beauty by staying inside.

Thanks to COVID -19, Earth Day in Windsor has gone virtual this year with an app-driven scavenger hunt and other online events.

“We had to creatively reimagine ways we can still reach out to people and help engage them in environmen­tal awareness even while we're staying at home,” said Danielle Breault Stuebing, director of communicat­ions for the Essex Region Conservati­on Authority.

Thursday is the 51st anniversar­y of Earth Day, a call to action highlighti­ng the importance of environmen­tal protection now celebrated in more than 190 countries.

The City of Windsor, which declared a local climate emergency last year, started officially celebratin­g Earth Day 32 years ago.

“This year's theme is Restore Our Earth,” said Karina Richters, the city's supervisor of environmen­tal sustainabi­lity and climate change. “We want people to realize there are so many things you can do at home to think about the environmen­t, to improve the environmen­t —individual actions that can really improve environmen­tal sustainabi­lity and reduce the effects of climate change in our community.”

Breault Stuebing said those small actions that are “gentler to the Earth” could include turning off lights, adjusting thermostat­s, buying local, planning trips to avoid unnecessar­y car rides or cycling instead of driving.

“Just being really mindful about the choices we make every day,” she said. “Large groups of people doing that are going to cumulative­ly make a big impact.”

To solidify the point that small actions can have huge effects, ERCA, the city and the Essex-windsor

Solid Waste Authority have joined forces to host a virtual scavenger hunt.

“The scavenger hunt is that way of providing people little missions every day to look around their home, explore the environmen­t around them and see where those little things are that they can do,” Richters.

People can access the Earth Day-related missions through the Goosechase app. Breault Stuebing said nearly 500 families have registered. The hunt ends April 25, so there's still time to join and win some prizes.

ERCA is also offering online videos and virtual field trips on its website, and the city is planning an Earth Hour presentati­on on Thursday with community partners on its Youtube page.

“It's been really cool to see people participat­ing in Earth Day, even in this time when we've got this challenge of the pandemic and we can't come together in our normal way,” said Breault Stuebing.

 ?? DAN JANISSE ?? Earth Day celebratio­ns in the city this year include an app-driven scavenger hunt and online field trips that are easily performed at home.
DAN JANISSE Earth Day celebratio­ns in the city this year include an app-driven scavenger hunt and online field trips that are easily performed at home.

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