Thursday is Earth Day: Islanders share their plans

·3 min read
Cleaning up trash is a great way to mark Earth Day, coming up Thursday. (Submitted by P.E.I. Women's Institute - image credit)
Cleaning up trash is a great way to mark Earth Day, coming up Thursday. (Submitted by P.E.I. Women's Institute - image credit)

Earth Day is coming up Thursday, a global event recognized every April 22 to raise environmental awareness in hopes of curbing human impact on the planet.

We asked you, our readers, what you plan to do to celebrate or mark Earth Day this year.

Here's what you said on Facebook on the CBC P.E.I. page, and here.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

Kathy Mould of Charlottetown says "My husband and I are going around our neighborhood picking up garbage."

Boyd and Arlene Rose say they plan to clean up the ditches. "The litter is beyond ... I can't believe all the beer cans and vodka/whiskey bottles and we live in a very rural area."

"Be a good day to get a nice walk in and pick some of that litter at the same time," agreed Linda A. of O'Leary. "If you love P.E.I. you don't trash it. C'mon now."

Chad Dingwell says he plans to add more solar panels to the roof of his business, Paddles on Fortune River, "to collect some of that free power while reducing carbon emissions."

Paddles on Fortune River owner Chad Dingwell says he plans to mark Earth Day by adding more solar panels to his building.
Paddles on Fortune River owner Chad Dingwell says he plans to mark Earth Day by adding more solar panels to his building. (Submitted by Chad Dingwell)

Morgan MacQuarrie of Charlottetown also said he plans to install solar panels.

"There are great incentives right now to go solar, plus after it's paid for you have essentially free power," MacQuarrie said. "The system we are putting on is equivalent to planting 85 trees a year, so we are reducing our carbon footprint, a win-win all around."

Toni Lannigan of Montague and her daughter have an annual Earth Day tradition.

"It's my daughter's birthday. Every year we plant a tree. Onto our 12th this year," Lannigan shared.

Non-profit watershed groups across P.E.I. are dedicated to the care and protection of the environment.

Sherry Pelkey, the community engagement and outreach co-ordinator with the Belfast Area Watershed Group or BAWG, says there are many ways, both big and small, that Islanders can celebrate Earth Day Thursday and every day.

She says she is seeing more Islanders interested in the environment because COVID-19 has meant many more people walking outside.

"It's caused us to recreate a connection with our natural surroundings," Pelkey said.

Her Earth Day suggestions:

1. Roadside cleanup.

Why wait for the official annual roadside cleanup sponsored by the Women's Institute?

"It would be a great family activity," Pelkey said.

2. Carbon capture.

Plant a tree or shrub and "make sure they are a native species," Pelkey said.

She suggests tying in a tree planting to a memorial for a person or pet.

3. Volunteer

Pledge to volunteer with a local watershed group for an event like a beach cleanup, tree planting day or help plan a fundraiser.

4. Delay the yard cleanup

Don't clean up your yard too early.

Insects integral to our ecosystem need a bit more time before their habitat is disturbed, for their food — think dandelions — to grow.

5. Buy or make a tree swallow box

Tree swallows sometimes need help finding a nest to lay their eggs, so the Belfast Area Watershed Group and others create these nesting boxes.
Tree swallows sometimes need help finding a nest to lay their eggs, so the Belfast Area Watershed Group and others create these nesting boxes. (Jeanne Maki)

Tree swallow nesting boxes can be purchased from BAWG and some other watershed groups, or make one yourself using this design from Nature Canada.

Tree swallows aren't a species of concern like barn or bank swallows, but they are magnificent songbirds and can use help with nesting, since they usually nest in tree cavities but can't dig their own holes.

Results can be almost immediate, with swallows sometimes taking up residence within hours of putting up a box.

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