The State of Michigan Celebrates Earth Day 2013

Earth Day is coming up on Monday, April 22, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Equality (DEQ) is doing their part to celebrate and make a difference!

This Thursday, April 18, the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Natural Resources are coming together for the 2013 State of Michigan Earth Day Event at Constitution Hall in Lansing, Michigan. This event is both celebratory and educational, and feedback from teachers and schools has indicated that it’s been a highly valued learning experience for those who have participated in the past. In 2012, nearly 3,200 adults and students attended.

Thomas Occhipinti, Environmental Education Coordinator for the DEQ fills us in on what to expect at this year’s event:

The Program.  The Earth Day itinerary runs from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., featuring several performances from school groups to bands.  Following a performance, Director Wyant and Deputies from each department open the celebration, interacting with students and recognizing the poster contest winners. The Detroit Audubon Society Safe Passages program will present the State with an award for saving birds by turning off lights in tall buildings.

The Exhibits.  This event includes more than 50 interactive displays, developed and presented by the three departments and by organizations joining the celebration.  Displays will be staged both throughout the Atrium level and under tents outside the building.

The Participants.  More than 1,800 students, accompanied by 350 teachers and chaperones, from approximately 25 schools across Michigan will converge on Constitution Hall, to spend a portion of their day, learning how to protect the environment.  Several hundred staff children from DEQ, MDARD, and DNR are expected to join the event.

The Kindergarten 1st Place Poster by Matthew Devine of Elmwood Elementary School in St. Clair Shores

The Posters.  The 2013 Earth Day Poster Contest received more than 2,500 posters from 150 participating Michigan schools.  The 12 Earth Day Poster Contest winners, their families, and their teachers will be recognized and awarded prizes.  Prize donations have been collected from a number of organizations.

A replicated set of the 12 winning posters is being matted and framed.  This set of posters will be mounted and displayed somewhere in Constitution Hall.  A second set will be provided to the winners’ schools.  Original posters are returned to the families.

Trees.  More than 2,000 tree seedlings to be given to Earth Day participants.  An acre of trees can eliminate six tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year and produce four tons of oxygen.

Earth Day Michigan Activities.   A portion of our Earth Day website includes a listing of many Earth Day celebrations throughout Michigan.  You can go to a Michigan map, click on your region, and be linked to a list of Earth Day celebrations throughout the region.

Teacher Bags.  Some 200 special bags have been prepared for teachers; they contain materials appropriate for use in the classroom.

Will you or your child be participating in the State of Michigan Earth Day Event on Thursday?

To find other Earth Day celebrations happening across the state, visit michigan.org or michigan.gov.