Earth Day 2022: E-CARE, Parks Programs and More

Published on April 05, 2022

cherry blossom tree at sunrise

Climate issues are unsettling. Hotter summers. Shorter winters. Harder rains here, no rains there. Daily reminders of an unhappy planet.

Experts will tell you that among the best ways to manage the headlines is by finding local, tangible ways to make some difference. And by spending more time outdoors at one of Arlington County’s parks.

Earth Day, April 22, is the natural starting point for the tangible. Especially in Arlington, which remains a nationally recognized, year-round force for environmental good, committed to fighting climate change, mitigating its impact, and stewarding our forestry and natural resources.

With a pandemic apparently ebbing after two very long years, April 2022 and beyond are the right time to do what we can, together.

Looking to get started? Area native plant sales and Arlington Parks & Recreation programs already in peak bloom by Earth Day. Family events like “Birds in Spring” and a “Night at the Nature Center,” both on Earth Day, represent what can be found at Parks & Recreation centers year-round.

E-CARE Means Cleanup Time

ecare paint cans Earth Day weekend truly kicks in when E-CARE returns to Yorktown High School for the ultimate spring cleanup on Saturday, April 23.

The extensive community collection event provides stress-free drop-off of Household Hazardous Materials like paints, pesticides and solvents, plus old electronics, metal, batteriesand more. E-CARE makes Arlington’s homes and environment visibly safer and healthier.

Also accepted: items containing mercury, printer cartridges, and lighting fixtures. Unused bicycles are collected by Bikes for the World for use as cheap, dependable transportation overseas.

The County collected almost 95,000 pounds of household hazardous materials at Spring E-CARE 2021 and another 77,000 pounds at last year’s fall version.

Pro-tip: Folks arriving by foot or bike with E-CARE drop-offs get through the fastest. Residents arriving by car or truck should talk to neighbors in advance to combine loads and save trips.

Make it an Earth Day Weekend

After that stop at E-CARE, April 23, 2022, also offers EcoAction Arlington’s cleanup of Bon Air Park and Four Mile Run, an annual tradition. It’s also National Picnic Day complete with a naturalist hike opportunity and use of parks’ picnic shelters, which can even be reserved in advance.

Sunday, April 24, brings the “Earth Day, Every Day Festival on Langston Boulevard,” featuring an abundance of environmentally themed family activities, art and music.

The list of Arlington Earth Day-worthy events and opportunities continues beyond just one weekend or month, so take a look at the County’s Earth Day Events 2022 calendarstretching from early April with a Windy Run wildflower hike, into late May when annual Bike to Work Day rolls up, and then onto June for the annual Green Community Tour of homes, gardens, and more.

Make it Earth Day Every Day

Also on the special Earth Day calendar: Suggested links to some of Arlington’s year-round sustainability programs, from the Car-Free Diet and curbside collection of food scraps and yard waste (which become soil-enhancing compost), to drop-off glass recycling (now generating income for the County thanks to the pre-sorted bins).

There’s also information about getting involved in the Department of Parks & Recreation’s volunteer-based invasive plant removal efforts to restore Arlington’s native plant species at locations such as East Falls Church Park, James W. Haley Park, Tuckahoe Park and Upton Hill Regional Park. And the Arlington Virginia Cooperative Extension has ongoing training, educational programs, and plant clinics.

And if all that activity makes your thirsty, learn why tap water is the best drinking water

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