Spotlight On: A Wild Earth Day!

Earth Day: A time when people across the nation celebrate America's great outdoors and are reminded of the importance of wild places for our children, our communities, and our own health and well-being.

On April 22, 2014, people from coast to coast will take action, both large and small, as caretakers of the Earth. Here are a few events around the country in which wilderness advocacy groups are taking the occasion of Earth Day to engage with their communities and spread the message of stewardship.

In the Grand Canyon State, the Arizona Wilderness Coalition will be celebrating Earth Day at Fossil Springs Wilderness. Designated in 1984, Fossil Springs Wilderness is 10,434 acres of a mix of lush riparian areas and rugged country located in central Arizona.

Fossil Springs Wilderness is not actually abundant with fossils, but the name comes from the mistaken idea that the travertine formations (calcium-carbonate) were fossils. Fossil Springs Wilderness is best known for its namesake waterway, Fossil Creek, which is now Arizona's second Wild and Scenic River designated in 2009. Home to over 100 species of birds and more than 30 species of trees and shrubs, visitors come to hike, bird watch, sunbathe, and wade in the streams.

The Arizona Wilderness Coalition will go on a two-day hiking trip during which participants will venture into the heart of the wilderness to haul out refuse and then spend the second day exploring the high rim country surrounding the deep and wild canyons.

In Idaho, the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness will be at the Bonners Ferry's Earth Day Fair 2014Spokane Earth Day, and help out with Sandpoint Earth Day activities “to educate, to inspire and to encourage our community toward greener, sustainable living practices.” In its fourth year, Bonner's Ferry Earth Day Fair focuses on spreading green practices such as reducing, reusing, recycling, and sustainability. Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness encourages participants to come and enjoy crafts and food and to take the opportunity to learn more about conserving Idaho's environment. Scotchman Peak itself, standing 7,009 feet, is the highest point in Bonner County. Located on the Idaho-Montana border, the wilderness is home to grizzly bears, Canada lynx, mountain goats, wolves, bald eagles, and bull trout.

Friends of Nevada Wilderness will be at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Las Vegas on April 22 to plant native plants—specifically Creosote bushes—around Corn Creek. All ages are welcome to participate in the Earth Day service day to help with the planting and learn about the refuge. At 1.6 million acres, the wildlife preserve is the largest outside of Alaska. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge encompasses six major mountain ranges and is home to 320 species of birds, 53 types of mammals, 35 species of reptiles, and more than 500 kinds of plants.

Other events are taking place across the country. In Wilmot, OH, The Wilderness Center is hosting a celebration that includes a morning walk, an Earth Day clean-up, and a backpacking-hiking demonstration.

Des Moines, IA, is holding its sixth annual Earth Day Trash Bash for volunteers to clean out the city's litter, beautify the public lands, and clear out invasive species. And in Bridgewater, NJ, the Somerset County Parks Commission is hosting Project E.A.R.T.H.—Swamp Search, a trail scavenger hunt, “Mammal Mania,” and other activities.  

Have a wild time!

Learn about more events across the globe at Earthday.org.

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