12 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day in Milwaukee

A pedal-powered concert, a film festival, a traveling exhibit, a play, biking events, river cleanups, trail cleanups, and much more.

Since we’re already a few plates and brews deep into celebrations this week – see Milwaukee Black Restaurant Week and Beer Week — it’s time to take a moment to show our appreciation for Team Blue & Green, that terrestrial body that provides us land and water to grow our food, brew our beer, build our shelters, and you know, generally facilitates life as we know it.

Here are some ways Milwaukee is thinking global and acting local:

5th Annual Earth Day Celebration: Join Rock the Green for an event that features top notch eco-education from a variety of local organizations, businesses, and experts, as well as a live concert on a stage fueled by pedal-power. Local food trucks, vendors, and other sustainable eats will also be available and served with Patra Eco-Dinnerware. Waste reclamation stations will be provided by Waste Management to help operations keep everything to near-zero waste. April 22. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. The City Center, 735 N Water St.

Great Lakes Environmental Film Festival: Marquette’s Diederich College of Communication is presenting a series of environmentally-themed films and discussion panels from April 21-23. All screenings are free and open to the public at Marquette Hall 300, 1217 W Wisconsin Ave. Screenings start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 1:00 p.m. Friday, and Saturday starts with a director’s panel at 11:00 a.m.

Explore Milwaukee’s Water Heritage: Learn a bit more about Wisconsin’s big city on the water at the Mequon Nature Preserve. From 5:30 – 7 p.m. they’ll be showing “Great Lakes Small Streams: How Water Shapes Wisconsin,” the Wisconsin Historical Society’s new traveling exhibit, as well as hosting a keynote presentation from writer and historian John Gurda titled “Milwaukee: A City Built on Water.” April 22. 8200 West County Line Rd, Mequon.

A Play for All Ages: Older adult residents of the Milwaukee Catholic Home and upper elementary students from the Maryland Avenue Montessori School are teaming up to put together an Earth Day themed play titled “Be Kind to Your Mother Earth.” The story takes the audience on an adventure through time with a group of students who are trying to prevent historical events that had negative environmental impacts in the future.  Performances April 22, 25. 1:30 p.m. at Milwaukee Catholic Home, 2462 N Prospect Ave.

21st Annual Spring River Cleanup: Anyone can lend a hand next to 3,500+ other volunteers from all walks of life for Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s 21st Annual Spring River Cleanup. As one of the largest cleanups in the state, participants will clear debris and trash from 50 different locations along the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers to help keep the Milwaukee River Basin clean and healthy. The cleanup is free and all ages are welcome. Milwaukee Riverkeeper provides bags, gloves, and free t-shirts to volunteers. April 23. 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Urban Ecology Center’s Earth Month: Instead of a day, or even a week, the Urban Ecology Centers are celebrating Mother Earth all month long. They’re not only offering endless amounts of eco-friendly tips on their website, but are also hosting Earth Day of Service on April 23 at each of the UEC’s three locations. Mini service projects, hikes, presentations and even lunches are free from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Washington Park location).

Hank Aaron State Trail Cleanup: Run in collaboration with Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful and Menomonee Valley Partners, this opportunity allows volunteers to help keep the famous Hank Aaron State Trail clean for all to enjoy. Sign-in locations are located at Miller Park just South of Klement’s Sausage Haus as well as Stormwater Park.

These Round Wheels for That Round-Trip: The Milwaukee Bike Collective and the Lake Express Ferry have partnered up again this year to encourage green travel by both road and water.  Donors can exchange their gently-used bicycle at the LEF terminal (2330 S Lincoln Memorial Dr) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to receive a complimentary round-trip ticket on a Travel Green-certified ferry.

RideMCTS: Instead of one day, The Milwaukee County Transit System is celebrating Earth Week by sharing a photo on their Facebook page every day at noon, each of which will help illustrate ways that people can use MCTS to help create a cleaner, greener environment.

Upcycle: Turn those glossy center pages into unique centerpieces at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. On Earth Day, included with the regular price of admission, patrons can learn how to upcycle their old magazines into one-of-a-kind decorative pieces of art.

Earthday Workday: If you didn’t get a chance to lend a hand on Earth Day itself, or just didn’t get enough, you can still pitch in alongside the Naturalists of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center by helping them to collect litter from the shoreline and recording the information for the Alliance for the Great Lakes. The Workday runs from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is free to all with required pre-registration.

Electronics Recycling Drive: IndependenceFirst is hosting an “eCycle” event at the Pettit National Ice Center (500 S 84th St) April 23 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. where participants can donate their old electronics for reuse and recycling. Most items with a plug or batteries can be donated for free, but there are a few small fees for TVs, CRT monitors, and items with Freon. Either way, it’s an easy way to rid yourself of old unused electronics and a great way to help the environment.