Charm City isn't the most environmentally conscious of towns. Sure, people care, but Baltimore, with its hibernating shipyards, warehouses and other ghosts of industry past, just finds it hard to connect to nature sometimes.
After all, hon, this isn't the crunchy-granola parts of the West Coast, and April 22 can sometimes pass by like any other day here.
But Earth Day events do exist in the area; check out the following guide for ways to celebrate Tuesday's 40th anniversary of the Clean Air Act of 1963 and the 20th anniversary of the 1983 Chesapeake Bay Agreement without a hassle.
Earth Day on the Bay: The debris left on Chesapeake shorelines after a harsh winter isn't just unattractive, but can be harmful to local wildlife. This Saturday, put on your boots and gloves and come to the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, just south of Rock Hall on the Eastern Shore, to help clean up the refuge's marshes and beaches. While there, check out NWR's wind and solar energy projects and BayScape conservation garden, or join members of the Maryland Ornithological Society on a walk to check out the early birds of spring. Get a free T-shirt for participating. For more information, call 410-639-7056.
Earth Day Grocery Bag Project: Stop by the Baltimore Public Works Museum, 751 Eastern Ave., any day before Tuesday to make your own piece of art on a recycled grocery bag. On Earth Day, shoppers at the Canton Safeway will take their food home in your creations. Bags and art supplies, as well as free recycled pencils, are available at the museum. For more information, call 410-396-5565.
Patterson Park Storm Drain Stenciling/Neighborhood Cleanup: On Saturday, April 26, area residents are encouraged to join the Patterson Park Neighborhood Association for storm drain painting. The message "Chesapeake Bay Drainage - Don't Dump," along with images of fish, will be emblazoned on street drains so often taken for granted. The campaign continues through Oct. 18. For more information, call 410-276-0041.
Washington College Earth Day Celebration: The annual event features student, local and national civic and environmental organizations, as well as music, vendors, activities and food. Kick off your shoes and spend Saturday, April 26 in Chestertown's Wilmer Park, basking in the crisp bay breeze and munching on some granola between hacky-sack games. The celebrations take place between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, call 410-778-8645.