PROVIDENCE -The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is hosting several events in celebration of Earth Day to encourage families to get outdoors and explore Rhode Island. Opportunities include birdwatching, a visit to a trout hatchery, and cleanups at state beaches in South County – among others.
"Earth Day is a time to reflect on how precious our environment is and the little things we can do in our daily lives to protect and enjoy our natural resources," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "From carving out time for a restorative hike to introducing children to the wonders of the outdoors to joining neighbors for a community cleanup, there are plentiful ways to connect with nature and help limit our impact on the environment."
Since 1970, Earth Day has served as an annual catalyst for ongoing environmental education, action and change. Activities surrounding the day are focused on broadening public involvement in protecting natural resources and promoting a healthier environment for future generations. DEM, along with many partners, will offer organized activities, beginning this week. Among the scheduled events are:
Thursday, April 20:
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.: Lafayette Fish Hatchery, 424 Hatchery Road, North Kingstown DEM's Division of Fish & Wildlife will host an open house with continuous tours of the trout hatchery – one of three facilities where DEM raises fish until they are stocked in state waters. There will be arts & crafts, an archery station and demonstrations, a nature walk, and participants will learn about the life stages of trout and fish-feeding. For more information, contact Kimberly Sullivan at 401.539.0019 or via email at Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, April 22:
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Succotash Marsh Management Area, South Kingstown DEM's Division of Fish & Wildlife will host a birding workshop on saltmarsh bird identification. Participants will learn about the importance of these birds to Rhode Island's ecosystem and to identify them by sight and sound. Online registration is encouraged. For more information, contact Mary Grande at 401.539.0019 or via email at email@example.com.
Saturday, May 6:
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: State Beaches in South County DEM's Division of Parks and Recreation is partnering with Washington Trust to host cleanups at state beaches, including Charlestown Breachway, East Beach, East Matunuck, Misquamicut, Roger Wheeler, Salty Brine, and Scarborough. Volunteers will perform litter picking and light brush trimming. DEM is providing equipment, trash bags and gloves. For more information on volunteering, contact Tom Rosa at 401.667.6207 or via email at Tom.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to these planned events, there are a number of other ways people can get involved in Earth Day:
Join a community cleanup: Help beautify local neighborhoods and recreation areas by getting involved in a community cleanup project. Earth Day events are occurring all across Rhode Island. Find one close to you at http://www.whatgrowsonri.com/earth_day_arbor_day.html.
Track and report marine debris: Use the Marine Debris Tracker app to document marine debris and log collections from clean ups. The open source app receives input from users around the globe and is a great tool for local clean-up groups to log and track shoreline litter control efforts.
Make small, impactful changes: Pledge to make five small changes that contribute to a healthier planet: conserve water and energy, reduce waste, support local farms and join conservation efforts. More ideas at http://www.dem.ri.gov/earthdayx3.pdf. Join the conversation on social media, using Pledge5.
Visit a park: Rhode Island is home to 13 historic parks and two national parks. With over 650 miles of shoreline, Rhode Island is also home to a vast network of beaches and waterfront recreational opportunities, including seven state beaches. And there are more than 40,000 acres of rural forestland available for the public's enjoyment. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for more information.
Go freshwater fishing: DEM recently released over 80,000 trout into waterways across the state, including Lake Tiogue in Coventry last week. For a complete list of stocked waters, visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/fish-wildlife/freshwater-fisheries/troutwaters.php.
Go for a bike ride: The Blackstone River Bikeway and East Bay Bike Path, among others, offer premiere biking experiences in Rhode Island. Learn more at http://www.dot.ri.gov/community/bikeri/index.php.
Explore Rhode Island's blueways and greenways: Rhode Island is home to more than 400 miles of hiking trails and abundant fresh- and saltwater paddling opportunities. Visit www.exploreri.org to learn more.
For more information on Earth Day, visit www.epa.gov. Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM for timely updates.