Things to Do

15 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Around DC

Remove invasive plants, attend an environmental trivia night, or enjoy free entry to a National Park.

Photograph by Alfo Medeiros/Pexels.


Created in the US in 1970, Earth Day—which falls on April 22 each year—has evolved into a worldwide event, with communities around the globe now dedicating the day to support the environmental movement, to take part in hands-on change, and to celebrate the pale blue dot we call home. And given we’ve just emerged from some of the hottest months on human record, the day feels ever more necessary.

Here are 15 ways you can celebrate and give back to the environment around the DC area this Earth Day:

Get involved

Community Tree Planting: Emery Heights Community Center

Help new saplings take root with Casey Trees, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and enhancing DC’s tree canopy. Volunteers who sign up will receive supplies and hands-on training at the site before planting trees through the park.

Cost: Free, but reserve a spot here.
Where: Emery Heights Community Center (5701 Georgia Avenue, NW)
When: Saturday, April 20, from 8:30 AM to 12 PM


Marsh Madness Cleanup at Jones Point Lighthouse

Help take care of the river that sustains us at this litter cleanup event at Jones Point Lighthouse in Alexandria, hosted by the Potomac Riverkeeper Network with Alexandria Community Rowing and the National Park Service. They’ll provide the trash bags, grabbers, and hand sanitizer—you’ll just need to bring a water bottle and wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty or wet in.

Cost: Free, but reserve a spot here.
Where: Jones Point Drive, Alexandria
When: Sunday, April 21, at 10 AM


Invasive Removal and Island Clean Up at Kingman Island

Gather at this island on the Anacostia River and help Casey Trees remove invasive vines, such as English ivy, and pick up trash from the park’s trails. Tools will be provided.

Cost: Free, but reserve a spot here.
Where: Kingman Island (575 Oklahoma Avenue, NE)
: Friday, April 19, from 11 AM to 12:30 PM


Oxon Cove Earth Day River Cleanup

Help the Potomac Riverkeeper Network remove single-use plastics and other litter from this Prince George’s County park located on the shoreline of the Potomac and Oxon Creek. You’re encouraged to wear waders or knee-high rubber boots if you have them.

Cost: Free, but reserve a spot here.
Where: Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm (6411 Axon Hill Road, Oxon Hill)
When: Saturday, April 27, from 9 AM to 3 PM


Invasive Kudzu Removal on the Mount Vernon Trail

Help the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail remove invasive kudzu near the old power plant in Alexandria, just north of Old Town. Native to Japan and southeast China, the fast-growing vine overtakes areas throughout the Southeast US, outcompeting native plants and trees. Using pruners and loppers, you’ll help remove the vine and haul it away.

Cost: Free, but reserve a spot here.
Where: 1198 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria (Meet on the Mount Vernon Trail nearby.)
When: Sunday, April 21, from 10 AM to 12 PM


Celebrate with your community

Earth Day Celebration with the Anacostia Community Museum

An assortment of local groups and business will come together for a daylong Earth Day celebration at the Anacostia Community Museum. Take a historical walking tour of Fort Stanton with the National Park Service, attend a composting demonstration and plant your own seedling with FreshFarm Markets, or bring clothes and textiles from home and trade them with SWAP DC. You can find other activities listed here.

Cost: Free
Where: Anacostia Community Museum (1901 Fort Place, SE)
When: Saturday, April 20, from 10 AM to 5 PM


Montgomery County Greenfest

Dubbed the largest environmental festival in Montgomery County, Greenfest 2024 returns with a slew of family-friendly activities, including nature walks, environmental vendor exhibitions, performances by a folkloric dance group, and to-be-announced guest speakers.

Cost: Free
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts (12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown)
When: Saturday, April 27, from 11 AM to 4 PM


Fairfax Earth Day Festival

Explore the outdoors with naturalists, hear from a National Wildlife Federation ranger, or meet WUSA-9 meteorologist Topper Shutt at Fairfax’s Earth Day celebration. Kids will also have the chance to look at insects under a microscope, paint birdhouses, press flowers, or make sustainable play dough with grain from Fairfax’s Colvin Run Mill.

Cost: Free, but parking is $10.
Where: Sully Historic Site (3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly)
When: Saturday, April 20, from 10 AM to 4 PM


City of Takoma Park Earth Day Celebration

Head to Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park for Takoma Park’s Earth Day celebration, featuring more than 20 exhibitors, a guided tree walk, an electric vehicle showcase, and free snow cones.

Cost: Free, but reserve a spot here.
Where: Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park (8101 Sligo Creek Pkwy, Takoma Park)
When: Saturday, April 20


Get inspired

Sustainable Fashion Show @Artomatic

After returning to DC last month for the first time in 15 years, the interactive art festival Artomatic will be the site of a sustainable fashion show. Hosted by Rendered Inc, a used clothing vendor, and the House of Rendered Reflections, a local art and wellness group, the fashion show will feature models in up-cycled clothing and eco-friendly fabrics. There will also be a small art market and workshops before the show, which starts at 6 PM.

Cost: Free
Where: Artomatic DC (2100 M St NW)
When: Friday, April 19, from 1 PM to 8 PM (fashion show at 6 PM)


The Great Outdoors Trivia Night with the National Portrait Gallery

After visiting the gallery’s “Forces of Nature” exhibition, which celebrates the portraits of Americans who influenced the environmental movement from the mid-19th century to today, grab a seat in the courtyard for a themed trivia happy hour hosted by New Columbia Pub Quiz. Inspired by the Forces of Nature collection, the game will quiz people with questions about famous climate activists and nature.

Cost: Free
Where: National Portrait Gallery (800 G Street, NW)
When: Tuesday, April 23, from 5 PM to 6:45 PM


Youth in Action: Indigenous Ecosystems

Head to the Rasmuson Theater at the National Museum of the American Indian for an hourlong conversation with three Native youth activists. They’ll discuss how Native communities are uniquely affected by climate change as well as their visions for a more sustainable future.

Cost: Free
Where: National Museum of the American Indian (4th Street, SW)
When: Saturday, April 20, from 2 PM to 3 PM


Get Outdoors

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

On Saturday, all National Park sites that usually charge an entrance fee will be free for the day to help kick off the agency’s National Park Week. For an Earth Day hike at a park within driving distance of DC, consider heading to Great Falls Park, Shenandoah National Park, Catoctin Mountain Park, Assateague Island, or the Monocacy National Battlefield.

Cost: Free
Where: Multiple locations
When: Saturday, April 20


The Yards Earth Day Yoga

Get grounded while overlooking the water at an early morning or late afternoon outdoor yoga class with instructor Carlyn Nordeman of Calm with Carlyn. Bring your own yoga mat and water, and she will lead you through the day’s sun (or should we say Earth?) salutations on Yards Park sundeck.

Cost: Free or $5 donation to the Anacostia Watershed Society
Where: Yards Park (355 Water Street, SE)
When: Monday, April 22, at 7 AM and 5:30 PM


Trek Bicycle Earth Day Ride

Wheel on down to Vienna’s Trek Bicycle store for an hourlong and family-friendly Earth Day ride. The bike retailer will lead each group on a seven-mile trip around quiet neighborhoods that will conclude with pastries and coffee.

Cost: Free, but donations encouraged to support the National Forest Foundation
Where: Trek Bicycle Vienna (224 Maple Avenue East, Vienna)
When: Sunday, April 21, at 11 AM

Jessica Ruf
Assistant Editor