In honor of Earth Day on April 22, N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources sites have some great events planned throughout April.
First held on April 22, 1970, Earth Day was established to demonstrate support for environmental protection and to encourage people to learn more about pollution, climate change, endangered species, and other environmental issues. Earth Day now includes a wide range of globally coordinated events, including many in North Carolina.
If you’re looking to celebrate Earth Day outdoors, 2023 has been designated the North Carolina Year of the Trail, and there are many trails across the state to explore.
Earth Day observances
April 15, Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site, Four Oaks. “Bentonville in Bloom” will showcase the natural resources and wildlife that call Bentonville home. The free event will run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 15. Bring the family and enjoy outdoor educational presentations, guided trail walks, and informative displays focusing on the diverse ecology of the battlefield.
April 15, Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, Sedalia. NC Science Festival: Let the Sunshine In Nature Walk, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nature walks and science were a large part of student life at the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia. Take a guided nature walk around the grounds of the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum and children can make a free spectroscope as we talk about nature, science, and the history of Palmer Memorial Institute. Meet at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Visitor Center by 11 a.m., for the nature walk; the craft will follow in Kimball Dining Hall.
April 15, 16, Lake James State Park. Trail Days at Lake James State Park, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrate North Carolina’s Year of the Trail and Pick Your Own PATH at Lake James State Park! Experience both the cultural and natural histories of the park through the Overmountain Victory Trail and Fonta Flora Trail. Step back in time and see a living history encampment of how patriot militia lived during the Kings Mountain campaign of 1780. Enjoy guided hikes with a park ranger, a story walk, and discover the mountain biking trails in the park. Various trail and NCDNCR partners (including the DNCR PATH Airstream) will be showcasing their resources throughout the weekend. Free.
April 19, Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. History for Lunch: Air Quality to Water Quality Through Purple Air Sensors, noon-1 p.m. Colleen Karl with the Edenton-Chowan Environmental Group will discuss the purple air sensors that capture any increase in air particles that may be released from Cyanobacteria blooms. The sensors are installed across Northeast North Carolina, with one being at the Museum of the Albemarle.
April 21-23, Mayo River State Park. Trail Days in Eden: Earth Day weekend is the perfect time to discover the outdoors, and what better place to do so than in the beginner-friendly confines of Rockingham County. Hike at Mayo River State Park and the Knight Brown Nature Preserve, kayak the Dan River State Trail, mountain bike at Madison’s Farris Park and even take a night hike.
April 22, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Trail Days in Raleigh, NC Indigenous Arts Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Celebrate N.C. Indigenous artists working statewide during this event featuring the artistry of dance with Lumbee youth from the Pembroke Boys & Girls Club; a panel discussion on themes in contemporary Native art moderated by Nancy Strickland Fields, director of the Museum of the Southeast American Indian; a chance to learn traditional arts; and opportunities to buy directly from the makers themselves. Free.
April 22, North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro. Party for the Planet: Gorillas are on the line - will you answer the call? Help save gorillas in the wild with this global recycling project. Many cell phones and entertainment devices contain recyclable materials, which are sourced by strip mining in the African forests that gorillas call home, reducing their natural habitats. Celebrate the program's five years with a $5 donation or bring in old cell phones, tablets, iPods or MP3 players for recycling.
April 22, North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro. The zoo's Kidzone Playground will be a ‘hive’ of activity hosting Pollinator Friendly activities and encouraging nature learning for kids of all ages. Plan to stop at one of the Zoo Trekker booths to pick up your activity book, which will guide you toward earning the Zoo Trekker Badge! Keep your eyes open for pop-up programs and keeper talks happening at various locations throughout the day.
April 22, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh. Triangle SciTech Expo, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Leaders in SciTech fields will showcase innovations and research while engaging visitors in interactive programs that actively spark their interest in STEM fields. Triangle SciTech Expo is sponsored by Biogen Foundation in partnership with the NC Science Festival.
April 22, NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Earth Day at Pine Knoll Shores, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Join us for themed activities, crafts, and animal programs throughout the day. Free with admission or membership.
April 23, NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach. Race for the Planet, 8 a.m. The 2023 5K race and 1-mile fun run winds through the maritime forest that surrounds the Aquarium. There is also a virtual race from April 24-30, a great opportunity for racers to support the Aquarium green initiatives from anywhere on Earth.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.