Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. Since its inaugural celebration in 1970, the movement has grown to more than one billion people in 192 countries around the world — and in Brooklyn.
The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. In an effort to fuel an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution and to force environmental protection onto the national political agenda, he organized the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. The campaign activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and launched the modern environmental movement, paving the way for the passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws.
Today, Earth Day has become the largest secular observance in the world, a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes. BK Reader compiled a list of activities and events to celebrate Earth Day in Central Brooklyn.
Stop ‘N’ Swap
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is partnering with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and GrowNYC to encourage recycling and reuse at a free Stop ‘N’ Swap in the plaza outside Brooklyn Borough Hall. Anyone can bring clean, reusable, and portable items such as books, clothing, electronics, housewares and toys and swap it for something new. And: There’s no requirement to bring something in order to take something!
When: Thursday, April 19, 11:00am – 2:00pm |Free.
Where: Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Earth Day Block Party in Downtown Brooklyn
Presented by Downtown Brooklyn in partnership with Car Free NYC at Albee Square and Albee Square West, the Earth Day Block Party boasts a full program with family-friendly, green events. The environmentally-friendly troupe Bash the Trash will kick off the party with a live music performance, followed by a workshop for kids to construct instruments from recycled products and ending with a parade! Other indoor/ outdoor activities include a giant 100 percent recyclable maze, a scavenger hunt, bicycle lessons, face painting, sunflower seed planting and a mobile Earth Day Reading Room. Stay for an all-ages dance class led by the Dodge Y with beats by DJ Mike. Albee Square West will be closed to traffic all day, so bring your bike, your roller skates, and your deck chairs and enjoy Car Free NYC!
When: Saturday, April 21, 1:00pm – 5:00pm | Free.
Where: Albee Square W, Brooklyn, NY 11201
National Grid Earth Day Celebration at Weeksville Heritage Center
Come and give Mother Earth a hug at the National Grid Earth Day celebration on April 21, at Weeksville Heritage Center. Now in its 11th year, the celebration is designed to educate families on how they can play a role in caring for the Earth and creating a more sustainable future.
The event includes interactive activities, experiential learning games, culinary demonstrations, live performances, healthy eating and lifestyle cooking demonstrations, fire prevention demonstrations by the New York City Fire Department, puppeteer Ronny Wasserstrom’s Playdate Puppets, martial arts demonstration by TMC Martial Arts, a mobile library unit from the Brooklyn Public Library, interactive storytellers and much more.
When: Saturday, April 21, 2:00pm – 5:00pm | Free.
Where: Weeksville Heritage Center, 158 Buffalo Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213
The Urbanite’s Earth Day Retreat at Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Celebrate Earth’s special day with a guided walk through lush gardenscapes, taking time to indulge your senses, tune your ears to birdsong, reflect and reconnect with the pace of the natural world. Hear stories about nature’s amazing evolutionary strategies as you explore, spend some time quietly nature-crafting and feel yourself a little closer to nature.
When: Sunday, April 22, 10:00am – 12:00pm | Tickets are $30-$32 and available here.
Where: Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Earth Day Celebration in Prospect Park
Join Prospect Park Alliance at the Audubon Center for the annual Earth Day celebration and learn more about fishing in Prospect Park Lake or get up-close and see real birds of prey such as owls, hawks and other raptors. Wildlife specialists will showcase a variety of live bird specimen and will be able to answer all your questions about these amazing creatures.
When: Sunday, April 22 | Fishing Lessons: 1:00pm–4:00pm pm | Raptors at the Boathouse: 1:30-3:30pm. Get tickets here.
Where: Prospect Park Audubon Center, 101 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Bike To Work
Borough President Adams kicks off Earth Week with the annual Bike to Work ride which promotes greener ways to get around Brooklyn and beyond. Meet the borough president at the Willink Entrance of Prospect Park on Flatbush Avenue and then ride along Flatbush to Grand Army Plaza. Riders will then head down Prospect Park West to Ninth Street, continue west on Ninth Street to Clinton Street and proceed to Remsen Street. The ride will end at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Brooklynites interested in participating should email [email protected].
When: Monday, April 23, 8:30am
Where: Meet at the Willink Entrance of Prospect Park, 441 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Magnolia Earth Tree Center Block Party at P.S.21
The Magnolia Tree Earth Center of Bedford Stuyvesant joins P.S. 21 at its annual block party for a celebration of school, family and neighborhood, and to share information about Magnolia Tree’s history and its resources for the community. Magnolia tables will provide board games, arts and crafts, miniature village-building from everyday materials and a community mural painting.
The debut of Brooklyn’s first ecology songs – “Like an Oak Tree” and “Planting My Future” — composed by former NYC Parks and Recreation arts and recreation instructor Larry Banks — will be performed at a tree dedication in honor of education pioneer Adelaide Sanford. In addition to the festive street carnival and tabled activities, P.S. 21’s Science Learning Lab students will conduct a guided tour of its state-of-the-art hydroponics lab.
When: Saturday, April 28, 12:00pm – 4:00pm | Free.
Where: P.S. 21, 180 Chauncey St, Brooklyn, NY 11233
And as Brooklyn Borough President Adams put so well: “In Brooklyn, when we ‘green’ it, we mean it!” So get to it, Brooklynites. Make this world a better, greener place and have fun while doing it.