Your Weekend Planner - Earth Day Edition (April 22-24)

by - Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earth Day is a time to think about how we can reduce our impact on the Earth and take care of wild spaces. Following leave no trace guidelines when hiking is awesome, but what can we do in our daily lives to make a difference? Can we drive less, buy less, or recycle more? Probably... (I know I can!) While we work on that, one of  the simplest thing parents can do is offer children opportunities to connect with nature so they will (hopefully) want to protect it. Here are 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd and every day!

"In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum

1. Take a Hike. Getting out into nature is the best way to appreciate it! I recommend the following family-friendly hikes:
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
Middle Lake, Bow Valley Provincial Park
Prairie Mountain
2. Have a litter-less picnic (pack only reuseable food and beverage containers!).
  • There are great picnic areas in town at Bowness Park, Edworthy Park, North Glenmore Park, South Glenmore Park, Prairie Winds Park, Pearce Estate Park, Sandy Beach Park, Shouldice Park, Stanley Park, and Fish Creek Park (Bebo Grove). 
  • Out of town picnic areas to try include Middle Lake, Bow Valley Provincial Park; Mount Lorette Ponds, Kananaskis; Wedge Pond, Kananaskis; Alan Bill, Bragg Creek; and Cascade Pond, Banff. If you're up for an 18 km bike ride, enjoy a picnic at Forget-Me-Not Pond near Bragg Creek! It's usually extremely busy, but with the winter gate on Hwy 66 closed (until May 15), it's quiet and peaceful.
  • If you have a picnic blanket, any park will do!
  • Erin Kirkland's article provides tips on having a spontaneous pop-up picnic.
  • For a DIY Cutlery Roll Tutorial, please see this post.
    Wedge Pond, Kananaskis
    Forget-Me-Not Pond
    (9 km from Hwy 66 winter gate near Elbow Falls, no car access until May 15)
    Mount Lorette Ponds, Kananaskis
3. Read The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss (or watch the movie). This powerful story show what happens when things are made at a factory: displacement of wildlife, deforestation, pollution, etc., but ends on a hopeful note. Appropriate for kids of all ages.

4. Go birding. Migratory birds have returned, so ponds and wetlands are full of song and color! Some of the best places for birdwatching in Calgary are: Carburn Park, Ralph Klein Park, Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Pearce Estate Park, and Weaselhead. 
  • Not familiar with birds? There's an app for that! Try the free Merlin Bird ID app from Cornell University. For a tutorial on how to use it, please see my writeup here.
Carburn Park
Pearce Estate Park
Merlin Bird ID App Screenshot
5. Plant a tree! Beautify your yard, make shade and a home for birds, and reduce CO2 all at the same time. A succulent or drought-resistant shrub is a good option if you don't have room for another tree.

6. Go on a Scavenger Hunt. Around Calgary, look for the following: prairie crocus, Canada goose, robin, dandelion, butterfly, pussy willows / catkins, cherry/apple blossoms, nest, and new leaves. Wild Tales Of has a printable Spring Scavenger hunt PDF here.

Prairie Crocuses
7. Combine geocaching with park cleanup. Geocachers call it cache in, trash out. Trash is often blown into bushes where geocaches are hidden, so see who can collect the most litter! To learn how to geocache with your smart phone, see this post.

A large geocache
8. Go on a car-free adventure! Choose a destination and then see how you can get there without the car. Will you walk, ride your bike, roller blade, scoot, or take the bus? Whether you're going to school or visiting a park across town, kids will enjoy being part of the decision-making process.

Confluence Park
9. Take an evening walk. Shut out the lights and go outside! Combine this with #6 (scavenger hunt) for a fun activity.

Enjoy the golden hour!
10. Gather and Donate Unused Household Items. Your cupboards will be less cluttered and someone somewhere will benefit from new-to-them stuff.

Now back to our usual programming... check out these events around Calgary and spring crafts!

Events This Weekend

Saturday, April 23 & Sunday, April 24, 11 am - 7 pm: YYC Food Trucks Spring Frenzy
East Village C-Square, 429 8 Ave SE
15+ food trucks, live music, entertainment & giveaways!

Saturday, April 23, 4-6 pm: Free Concert at the Cave Featuring Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy
Cave & Basin, Banff.
This looks like an amazing concert! Fingers crossed the weather holds!
~Thanks Jill M. for the heads up! 

Sunday, April 24, 11 am - 4 pm: Okotoks Kite Day Festival
Riverside Park, Okotoks
Kite flying demos, bouncy house, face painting, trampoline & fundraiser BBQ

April 1- May 31: Spring Alive Festival in Banff / Lake Louise 
Spring Alive celebrates "the ARTS, CULTURE + WELLNESS diversity that Banff and Lake Louise have to offer." Various activities and venues. See the calendar for event listings.


GoAdventureMom has the motherlode of spring home decor crafts in her recent post here.

For more ideas on what to do in Calgary this weekend, please see last week's Weekend Planner!

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