Earth Day is an annual event held worldwide on April 22 to support environmental protection initiatives and it has become a huge part of our culture in Northwest Arkansas.

Cover photo by @beccab_20 on Instagram

If there is a cause we can all get behind, it is to protect and heal our home planet. You don't need to become a full-blown activist to make an impact. It doesn't take all that much to make a difference: with small, everyday acts that foster ecological awareness, we can preserve not just our region but the world as a whole. All of us want to have something to pass down to future generations—this beautiful place we call home. We want our kids to experience the same amazing Northwest Arkansas that we know and love today a hundred years in the future.

On Earth Day, people all over the world get involved to create awareness about the environmental challenges we face together. There are a ton of events happening in Northwest Arkansas leading up to Earth Day that will help you start thinking of ways we can make our home as a region and a planet a better place!

Buffalo National River Cleanup and Paddle

On Earth Day, April 22, you'll be able to join the Buffalo National River Partners for either a river or trail clean up. The event will start at 10 am, when participants will get to decide whether to go hiking 2.6 miles from Ponca to Steel Creek—for which they'll meet at 10 am at the Ponca low-water bridge—or to paddle 2.5 miles along the Buffalo River, as 20 canoes will be provided to do the cleanup. If you'd like to use a canoe, you can indicate so on the registration for this event by sending an email to Ms. Lauren Ray at lauren_ray@nps.gov. If you'd like to register more than one person, you can also point it out in your email registration.

"Trash bags and gloves will be provided. Bring a sack lunch, water, and any other items you will need for your comfort [...] Be sure to dress appropriately," reads the National Parks Service's homesite.

Northwest Arkansas Land Trust's Litter Cleanup

If you reside in Fayetteville, on April 22, you can also contribute to the environment by participating in the activities organized by the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. Their Earth Day event will take place in the Wilson Springs Preserve at 2783 North Shiloh Drive, Fayetteville, from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm. "Join our Land Stewardship Specialist Alan Edmondson out at our Wilson Springs Preserve in Fayetteville for a family-friendly litter pick-up," reads the Facebook site created for this event.

Northwest Arkansas Land Trust welcomes supervised kids to come along and help make our environment cleaner. Sturdy boots are recommended. You can register for this event HERE.

Beaver Watershed Alliance

There are three events that the Beaver Watershed Alliance is organizing to celebrate Earth Day across Northwest Arkansas, which have been scheduled for April 20. This is a practical way to give back to the region, since you can take part in the event that's closest to you. If you live in Elkins or its surrounding area, there will be a cleanup of the East Fork White River at Bunch Park from 9 am to 1 pm . If you live in Fayetteville, there will be an Earth Day Trail Cleanup from 9 am to 12 pm. And if you're in Rogers, there will be a Lake Atlanta Cleanup at Clark Pavilion from 8:30 am to 11 am.

Keep Arkansas Beautiful: Earth Day Fayetteville

On April 20 from 9:00 am from 12:00 pm, you can make Fayetteville into a cleaner place by participating in the City's Earth Day event. It will begin "with a proclamation from the Mayor of Fayetteville," after which groups will be formed to "go to various sections along the Razorback Greenway to clean trails and creek areas," reads the homesite for the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission. You can learn more about this initiative by contacting Event Coordinator Brian Pugh at 479-718-7685 or bpugh@fayetteville-ar.gov.

U of A's 'Trash Art' Exhibit

The University of Arkansas will also be contributing to Earth Day by bringing a creative twist to recycling. On April 11, participants of a 'Trash Art' event will create artwork using recycled materials, the university will then hold an exhibit in the Anne Kittrell Art Gallery on the fourth floor of the Arkansas Student Union from April 15 to April 19. For more information, you can contact the Office of Student Activities at osa@uark.edu or call 479-575-5255.

Each one of us is a part of this planet and we all leave our mark on it during our lifetime. We can choose to leave our footprint on the environment or start creating a change in the way we live for people in the near and distant future to have a home that's as beautiful as the one we've been lucky enough to inherit from our ancestors. The task is up to us, and all that's required is to get involved in events like the ones scheduled for this year's Earth Day in Northwest Arkansas to make this community cleaner and healthier. Environmental sustainability begins with recognizing that every person can do something—no matter how small—to help effect tangible positive change.

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