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April 14, 2023

Your guide to Earth Day in Philly — from neighborhood clean-ups to sustainable shopping

Local institutions will host educational programs, tree planting events and trash-picking parties on April 22

Earth Day Volunteering
Earth Day philly Provided Image/Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Celebrate Earth Day in Philadelphia and the suburbs with volunteer events, tree plantings, community clean-ups and sustainable shopping.

Earth Day, the annual celebration of the environmental movement, takes place on Saturday, April 22. Considered the largest secular holiday in the world, Earth Day was born out of the 1970s peace movement, when anti-war protests and advocacy efforts for clean air and water became more common. 

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, when an estimated 20 million Americans demonstrated against the pollution caused by industrial development. Now, 53 years later, one billion people across more than 190 countries celebrate their love of the planet through volunteer work, demonstrations, art exhibitions and educational programs. 

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During Philadelphia's first Earth Day celebration, somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 people gathered in Fairmount Park. Though the activities were led primarily by student activists at local colleges, the city's first Earth Day celebration marked the birth of an environmentalist fervor that has not subsided. 

This year, organizations in Philly and its suburbs are celebrating Earth Day by hosting community clean-ups, charity walks, tree planting events, garden tours and sustainable shopping experiences. Here's a run-down of just some of the Earth Day events happening over the next few weeks. 

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

From April 20-24, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will plant more than 1,400 trees in Philadelphia with assistance from more than 80 of its tree tenders groups. No experience is necessary for volunteers, who can sign up online to participate in the tree planting process, which typically takes about three hours. 

A PHS leader will be present at each of the sites to guide volunteers. Everyone is asked to bring hand sanitizer, gloves, closed-toed shoes, a water bottle and a shovel if they have one. Other planting supplies will be provided. Specific details for each site can be found on the website

The semi-annual event is intended to enhance Philly's tree canopy, which has seen decreases over the last two decades. Improving the city's canopy can help reduce violence and mitigate negative health outcomes, particularly those related to extreme heat. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that achieving 30% tree canopy could prevent up to 400 premature deaths each year in Philadelphia. 

Academy of Natural Sciences

From April 21-23, the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University will host Earth Weekend, a family-friendly program that's free with museum admission. Guests can see live animals, watch a bee presentation from Don Shump at the Philadelphia Bee Company and enjoy a science-themed storytime while wandering through the museum. 

Kids and families can take part in a bird beak challenge to learn about the similarities between humans and birds or create bird-puppets and parade them around the museum to celebrate Earth Day. Other programs include "digging" up dinosaur bones, examining insects and workshops on how to reduce water usage. 

Drexel is also hosting a climate song contest, Anthems for the Anthropocene, on Friday, April 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Students will perform original songs about the climate crisis and awards will be given out for the top three songwriters. 

Sor Ynéz

Sor Ynéz, the Mexican restaurant in North Philadelphia helmed by Chef Alex Tellez, is celebrating Earth Day with its Spring Fling Market on Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Taking place on the restaurant's patio on 1800 N. American St., the Earth Day celebration will showcase local artists and small businesses selling sustainable products. 

The marketplace, organized by the Keepin' It Small Collective, will sell gifts and housewares like pots from Contemporary Works, plants from Greenly Plant Co., lotions from Nooked, accessories from Feast Jewelry and homegoods from Ray's Reusables. Otto Distilling will be on-site with spirits to make a special Earth Day cocktail. 

Guests can also enjoy a seasonal brunch menu and happy hour with oysters and specialty drinks in addition to Sor Ynéz's signature Mexican fare. A list of Spring Fling Market vendors can be found here

Ya Fav Trashman

Terrill Haigler, the former sanitation worker whose community clean-ups garnered attention on social media during COVID-19 lockdowns, is hosting a handful of events to celebrate Earth Day. Haigler, who recently ended a bid for City Council amid a campaign finance scandalwill lead volunteers in cleaning up about two tons of illegally dumped construction and household trash in a vacant lot in North Philadelphia on April 22. A DJ will be on-site to play music and a food truck will give out free food for all participants. 

Yards will supply free beer and Daisy Disposal has donated a 30-yard dumpster to house all the trash. The lot, located at 1710 Monument St., is one of several hot spots for illegal dumping in the neighborhood, according to Haigler. The clean-up will begin at 11 a.m. and run for about three hours. 

On Sunday, April 23, Ya Fav Trashman is hosting his second annual 5K Earth Day Trash Walk. Participants will join Haigler and walk a 5K route while picking up neighborhood trash in Kensington. Haigler will also give away 300 hot meals to homeless residents of Kensington. Registration, which costs $10, begins at 10 a.m. and the walk will start at 11 a.m. 

Stenton Colonial Revival Garden

Celebrate Earth Day at Stenton in Logan with a tour of the Stenton Colonial Revival Garden from 1 to 3 p.m. on April 22. The gardens house a wide variety of native plants and trees. Susan Yeager, Stenton's garden tender, will be on site throughout the afternoon to discuss how she and other garden workers treat the trees as they age. 

While the tour is free, online registration on Eventbrite is required. 

Please Touch Museum

The Please Touch Museum in the Centennial District is hosting an Earth Day celebration for kids and families on Saturday, April 29. Tickets for "We Love The Earth" are included with museum admission, and participants will have the opportunity to create a treescape with recycled materials, design and plant a garden, listen to a special story about the planet and watch a performance of "The Fairy and the Snapdragon" by students at the University of the Arts. 


Christa Barfield, the owner and operator of FarmerJawn Agriculture, is getting ready to open a 123-acre farm in West Chester with an Earth Day launch party from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Westtown Farm, located at 1225 East Street Road. Barfield, who leased the property in December, has been working on the land for most of this year. 

The Earth Day celebration includes an opening address from Barfield followed by a blessing by a Lenape elder. The FarmerJawn storefront will have a live DJ, a live podcast from Stephen Satterfield, honey and microgreen tastings and life chef demos. 

The party is family-friendly and kids can enjoy games, coloring activities, a bounce house and a three-legged race. Food will be provided by Philly Hots, a West Chester-based sandwich truck. There will also be s'mores and a station to create a commemorative T-shirt. Registration is $7 for adults and $5 for kids.