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Best Ways To Celebrate Earth Day 2013 In Chicago

By Megan Horst-Hatch

With Earth Day right around the corner on April 22 and warm weather in the air, it's time to start thinking about how you can help keep the Chicagoland area green. Earth Day is a global-wide celebration that focuses on the environment and helps people find ways to improve their communities. In Chicago, everything from concerts with an environmental edge to seminars on how to incorporate organic practices in your garden is planned for Earth Day. To get started in planning your Earth Day, check out the following events.

Related: America's Best Gardens And Parks

Skokie Park District

Earth Day Celebration
Emily Oaks Nature Center
4650 Brummel St.
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 674-1500, ext. 2500

Date: April 20, 2013

Learn about the environment at this family-friendly event, held at the Emily Oaks Nature Center. The annual event features games and activities, and music and other entertainment are also planned. Bring a touch of green home with you by purchasing a native plant, which will be available for sale during the event. You can make a day out of visiting the center, situated on 13 acres, as it also features a playground, walking path and a pond where you might see wildlife. The center also has indoor hands-on and interactive activities that are on permanent display.

Earth Fest
201 South Blvd.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 660-1443

Date: April 20, 2013

Get ready to learn about green living at Oak Park's fourth annual Earth Fest, which fittingly takes place at the suburb's Public Works Center, a gold LEED-certified building. The festival's goal is to educate the public on how to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into everyday living. Last year's events included tips on how to compost and recycle. Organic farmers and local restaurants will be on hand during the event to inform the public of their environmental practices. This is a family-friendly event, with children's activities planned.

Nature Museum

Kids' Concert With Joe Reilly
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Dr.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 755-5100

Date: April 20, 2013

Get ready to wiggle and groove to the beat with this family-friendly concert with Joe Reilly at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Reilly is a musician and songwriter whose songs focus on the environment, including songs about composting, endangered species and the importance of stopping pollution. He's also a coordinator of National Get Outdoors Day, whose goal is to encourage families to get outside for a day of activities. After the concert, make sure to check out Urban Habitat Chicago's booth at the museum for tips on how to plant seeds in your own home.

Related: Earth Day With The Kids

Party For The Planet
Brookfield Zoo
8400 31st St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

Date: April 21, 2013

Brookfield Zoo's Party for the Planet is an all-day, family-friendly celebration that covers everything from endangered species to compost. The event includes the Eco Expo, where you can check out eco-friendly companies, and rides on the Poop Tram, where visitors can learn about composting. Do you have any old cell phones or tablets you no longer want? The zoo will offer a drop-off site, where your old electronics will be recycled. For a list of accepted materials that can be recycled, check out Brookfield Zoo's website. You can get hands on with planting activities planned throughout the zoo as well. Entertainers with an environmentally friendly message will also perform throughout the day.

Botanic Garden

Lecture: From The Ground Up
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 835-5440

Date: April 21, 2013

If you are interested in incorporating organic practices into your own garden, then you might want to check out Jeanne Pinsof Nolan's lecture "From the Ground Up" at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Nolan is the founder of The Organic Gardener, a Glencoe-based organization that creates organic edible gardens for families, schools and other organizations. Nolan has designed gardens in both the suburbs and the city, and has helped families incorporate green practices with rooftop gardens. You might be familiar with her work as she designed, installed and maintains the Edible Gardens at Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm in the Zoo. After the lecture, explore the garden's sprawling landscapes and gardens and see what's in bloom.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er." She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I'm a Trader Joe's Fan. Her work can be found at

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