April Is Earth Month

"Gulf of Alaska" by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


By Dale Mayo, April 24, 2024

In 1970, the first Earth Day brought together a diverse group of people interested in protecting the environment: Republicans and Democrats and people from all demographics – rich and poor, union members and business leaders, farmers and urban dwellers, scientists, and politicians. Groups that had been fighting individually against pollution, and destruction of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife united on Earth Day around these shared common values. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2024, we celebrated Earth Day on Monday, April 22. Now, April is Earth Month, during which many events are held to focus on ways we can help stem the speed of climate change across the globe, the country, our cities, neighborhoods and even in our own yards.

  • Earth Day - April 22
  • National Garden Month – April
  • National Gardening Day – April 14
  • National Park Service Week - April 20 to April 28 Entrance fees will be waived on April 20, 2024
  • National Arbor Day – April 24

Planting natives

One thing we can do in our own yards, no matter how small, is to use some native plants – grasses, perennials, shrubs and trees can be planted in pots, garden plots, meadows, and wooded areas. The benefit of planting natives is huge. Even a window box of native plants for pollinators makes a difference.

  • Help the environment. Native trees require almost no work and host a wide variety of insects that songbirds need to feed their young. Shrubs, vines, and perennials are good pollinators and other wildlife.
  • Low maintenance. Native plants are hardy. Once they are established, there is no need for pesticides, extra watering, or fertilizer.
  • Save money. Using native plants can save you money. The American Society of Landscape Architects provides examples of how you can save money and add colors and interest to your landscape.
  • Attract and nurture native animal species. Research in Phoenix, AZ has shown, for example, that after a drop in overall bird abundance, in 2006-2007, the numbers held steady and backyards landscaped with native plants drew native birds, and non-native landscaping attracted non-native birds.

<p>"Monarch caterpillar eating common milkweed in a garden" by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest/19829109974/">U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region</a> is marked with <a href="https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/">Public Domain Mark 1.0</a>.</p>


  • Less time mowing the lawn and blowing leaves. Use wildflowers and groundcovers appropriate for your region and their location (e.g., shade or sun) and you can reduce your lawn. Especially in the spring, mowers and leaf blowers can disturb nesting birds and other newborn wildlife.

Resources for gardening with native plants

Planting anything – including natives – only works if you know what to plant where. The links below can help you identify what is native to your region (even to your zip code). Once you identify what you want to plant, you need to be able to find reputable sources of those plants. The first bullet below is a list of State Native Plant Societies, which often have links to regional chapters, which in turn have links to trusted local nurseries or native plant sales.

  • State Native Plant Societies (the Read More included below the state’s address is a link to that state’s Native Plant Society)
  • YouTube video: Little Garden, Big Impact: Native Plants for Small Spaces. Laura Cruz, Garden Designer and Horticulturist, discusses how small spaces can have a big impact - planting natives in containers, pocket meadows, and mini woodlands can provide ecological benefits.
  • US Forestry Service (USDA). Provides links to information about native plant restoration, including alternatives for non-natives, and which plants to avoid; how to create butterfly gardens; and how to landscape with native plants.
  • USDA 2023 Plant Hardiness Zone Map
  • Audubon’s Native Plant Database. Provides information about bird-friendly native plants by zip code.
  • National Wildlife Federation. Describes the changes in the updated 2023 Hardiness Zones and Ecoregions and their impact on climate-smart gardening.
  • American Horticultural Society
  • Bureau of Land Management’s Seeds of Success.

"Keeping Seeds Native" by mypubliclands is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Other ways to participate year-round

Environmental organizations disseminate information, request donations, and advertise events. They give voice to your concerns and work with expert groups, agencies, and foundations. There are many different organizations and it’s sometimes difficult to choose which to join or support. You may want to work with a local group (e.g., the Chesapeake Bay Foundation), a group focused on one kind of animal (e.g., Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, International Primate Protection League), a specific geographical feature (e.g., American Rivers, ocean conservation organizations), or a more general environmental group (e.g., Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club).

A good example how environmental concern can be successful is the recent protection of 13 million acres of wildlands in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and possible safeguarding of even more. The new Special Areas Rule (SAR) is intended to serve as a pathway for the indigenous communities to protect their subsistence rights and cultural traditions. The SAR allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to respond to changing conditions in the Reserve. The NPR-A, along with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (19 million acres) to its east, make up “America’s Arctic,” the largest intact ecosystem in the United States. The biodiversity includes one of the world’s largest migrating caribou herds, polar bears, millions of migratory birds, moose, bearded seals, walruses, belugas, and bowhead whales.

You’re never too young or old to make a difference. In addition to providing native plants, anyone can support efforts to reduce pollution or actively engage with lawmakers to protect wetlands and wildlands. Because of her climate activism, by age 15 Greta Thunberg’s name was known worldwide. Now 21, Ms. Thunberg has helped raise awareness of climate change, especially among young people.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the KlimaSeniorinnen, a group of 2,400 older Swiss women successfully argued under the European Convention on Human Rights that Swiss authorities are not doing enough to lessen the effect of climate change. The heat waves resulting from global warming, they said, put them at risk of death. In a 16 to 1 vote, the European Court of Human Rights voted in their favor.

Another example is the Grandmothers Growing Goodness, an Inupiat group dedicated to elevating the understanding and protection of Inupiat culture. This group submitted comments to the BLM regarding the NPR-A in which they “described steps the agency could take to minimize the damage of the Willow project on local caribou herds, subsistence hunting, and the landscape itself.”

Sustainable seafood

In keeping with Earth Day and Earth month, Sizzlefish wants to remind you about the importance of sustainable seafood. According to Seafoodwatch, sustainable seafood is good for us all: protecting wild species and habitats, ensuring safe working conditions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the US has a well-earned reputation as a global leader in sustainability and that US fishermen abide by some of the most rigorous environmental measures in the world for both wild-caught and farmed species.

Sizzlefish.com has many years of experience sourcing, preparing, and packaging the best seafood. Supplying high-quality seafood is not only good our customers, but also for earth, with natural, sustainably sourced seafood.

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