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Give the planet a break to mark Earth Day's golden anniversary

'It's an appreciation for nature in terms of what it offers us as stress relief and the air we breathe,' says Wye Marsh official

Can't go out in nature? The Wye Marsh will bring it to you this Earth Day.

The non-profit was planning to hold a celebration this coming Saturday to mark Earth Day, which is today, but had to change its plans because of the pandemic, Wye Marsh event and volunteer coordinator Amanda Swick said.

Instead, Swick said staff came up with ideas on how kids could still celebrate the event that has featured expanded programming at the marsh over the past three years.

To mark the 50th Earth Day, Swick said there are several activities that families can participate in together.

"Wye Marsh will post at-home activities like a BioBlitz, how to build a biosphere and a virtual tour for folks to take part in stewardship activities from home," she said. "The Earth is a big biosphere so we thought it would be neat for kids to be able to grow their own biosphere in a mason jar and watch it grow."

The BioBlitz, meanwhile, gives a list of outdoor activities that kids can take up near their homes and learn about the importance of species around us.

The Wye Marsh has been closed to the public since mid-March and while we social distance, Swick said the Earth can catch a break.

"With everything happening right now, everything slowing down, we're seeing the Earth breathe," Swick said. "We're seeing cleaner skies and animals returning to areas (where) they weren't seen before."

Swick said staff and volunteers have been sharing photos of animals they have spotted on their properties around the area.

"Trumpeter swans are hanging out closer to the boardwalk at the marsh because there are no more people around," Swick said, noting she's even seen more mammals these days on her walks in the downtown area.

"I'll see a rabbit running around the dock when I take my dog out for walk," Swick said.

Celebrating Earth Day in these circumstances just adds to the significance of the event, according to Swick.

"It's an appreciation for nature in terms of what it offers us as stress relief and the air we breathe," she said.

Families can access Earth Day activities online at the Wye Marsh website with the organization planning an in-person celebration for June 20.

"But we're taking it as it all comes," Swick said. "We will firm up things in May and if it looks like things might not be open on June, we might push it further."


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Mehreen Shahid

About the Author: Mehreen Shahid

Mehreen Shahid covers municipal issues in Cambridge
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