Earth Day: 7 ways to get involved

Earth Day has been celebrated every April 22 since 1970. Learn more about Earth Day and its history from, and below find seven ways to get involved locally!

1. Turn trash into treasure

Celebrate Earth Day with your friends at the Main Library after school! In the Earth Day Upcycle Crafts for Kids & Families program on Friday, April 22, 3:30-5 pm, we’ll turn trash into treasure and keep items, especially plastics, out of the landfills.

Make colorful jewelry from plastic bags, fun planters from plastic bottles and newspaper, cool desk organizers from cardboard tubes, and nature-inspired refrigerator magnets from bottle caps. Bring your own items or use ours! Learn more & register »

Check out more Earth Day activities for grade schoolers »

2. Watch seven films over seven days

One Earth Film Festival

The Earth Week Mini Fest, April 18-24, put on by One Earth Film Fest and the City of Chicago, brings you the best in recent environmental films, including Academy Award nominee Ascension. See the schedule and get tickets » 

3. Join a neighborhood cleanup

Wing and Ella clean up the neighborhood in the monthly Leading Edge Teen Advisory Board Environmental Club.

For teens: Pitch in at the monthly Teen Environmental Club! Join their next Adopt-a-Block cleanup on Sunday, April 24, 1-2 pm.

For all: The Earth Day Neighborhood Cleanup and Celebration, on Saturday, April 23, 10 am-12 pm, is organized by BUILD, Flybird Experience, One Earth Collective, Field Museum, Friends of the Park, and other partners.

You can volunteer to join the cleanup at two sites: Columbus Park (500 S. Central Ave) or BUILD (5100 W Harrison St.).

4. Plan your garden

People planting a garden outside the Maze Branch Library
Library staff and volunteers planted a native garden at Maze Branch in May 2021, as part of the Year of the Butterfly.

Native flowering plants and grasses provide habitat and food for wildlife, are drought-resistant, absorb storm water as well as carbon, provide shade and save AC energy, and have a great variety that any size property can accommodate, according to West Cook Wild Ones, which is now holding its annual Native Plant Sale online.

West Cook Wild Ones is a nonprofit that provides annual native plant sales and educational programs. Learn more and order plants now, for pickup June 9-11 »

And through May 1, The Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory is also holding its Annual Spring Plant Sale, including vegetables, herbs, and flowers grown at the Oak Park Conservatory! Learn more and order plants »

5. Speak up on the Oak Park Climate Plan

Through May 31, the Village of Oak Park is asking all residents to get involved and share thoughts on its equity-centered, community-driven Oak Park Climate Plan. You can access the plan and community survey at the dedicated Climate Plan station on the Main Library’s second floor (pictured below), or make an appointment to use a library computer at any library location.

You can also host your own guided conversation about climate change with your neighbors, friends, family, and organizations, using the Village’s DIY Meeting Kit (PDF, 19 pages). Here’s how your library can help:

The Village is collecting feedback through May 31 via the interactive website, or you can email

6. Find ways to help reduce your home’s energy impact

Multifamily apartment buildings

Whether you’re a renter, homeowner, or landlord, you can find programs through Oak Park’s Better Homes, Better Planet sustainability campaign to help lower your energy bills and fight climate change.

Learn about energy assessment, weatherization, and community and rooftop solar programs »

7. Browse related books & films for all ages at your library

Browse and place holds on related titles in the library catalog, in these lists curated by our librarians:

More on sustainability at the library

The library's environmental initiatives include our Main Library Green Roof and more green features integrated throughout the award-winning Main Library building.

The library also was a partner in the Year of the Butterfly in 2021, a community-wide initiative to support a healthy habitat for butterflies and other pollinators.