Did you know that recycling didn’t used to be common? Until people learned why and how they should recycle regular household items like newspaper, cans, and plastics, those items were tossed out with the trash. But “reduce, reuse, recycle” campaigns and public service announcements helped spread the word. Now, the U.S. recycles 30% of its garbage. Getting the word out that recycling is important made an impact on the earth by keeping those recyclable items out of landfills!
What eco-campaign interests your troop?
- Borrow a storm drain stencil kit from the Friends of the Mississippi River to spray paint a message near the drain to alert people that what goes down the drain goes straight to the river.
- Start a petition to ban plastic shopping bags in your community to keep them from littering the landscape or clogging up landfills.
- Visit the Rochester EarthFest to learn about more eco-solutions.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
There’s that message again! But what does it really mean? “Reduce” is to make us think about how much stuff we already have before buying more new items. “Reuse” is about choosing secondhand items, and transforming used materials into “new” items whenever possible. “Recycle” is all about putting materials back into the production cycle, so they stay out of the trash heaps.
Looking for ways your troop can reduce, reuse, and recycle this Earth Day?
This perennial Earth Day activity is great for all ages, and it really does make a difference (especially in our northern climate where snowmelt can reveal a season’s worth of trash that was hiding underneath). Grab some gloves, bags, and pick up trash and litter to make the Earth more beautiful!
There are many organized park cleanups to choose from:
- Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Earth Day Cleanup
- Saint Paul Citywide Spring Cleanup
- Check your local nature center for more park cleanup events
If your troop is ready for more in-depth Earth Day service projects, investigate the volunteer opportunities at local state parks and natural areas. Removing invasive plant species, doing wildlife surveys, and monitoring trails are all helpful tasks that are important on Earth Day, and every day.
Check out these listings for habitat restoration volunteer ideas:
Catherine Mandle – Catherine is a Volunteer Resource Specialist at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She was a Girl Scout as a child, has been a Girl Scout troop leader, and now mentors her daughter on her Girl Scout Juliette path. She has dual bachelor’s degrees from the University of Minnesota in anthropology and American Indian studies. Catherine has two children with special needs, including autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and food allergies. She loves to knit, and camps and hikes with her family as often as possible.