This year, April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Because our Earth deserves more than just a day, we’re sharing this Earth Week challenge posted by Downtown Elk Rapids and Green Elk Rapids. Whether you live in Northern Michigan or not, get out there and (safely!) celebrate our incredible planet.

This Earth Day, we challenge you to take the time to learn and act to make a difference. Use the ideas below and/or share your own ideas on Facebook. Together, although apart, we can make a difference.

Earth Week: Monday, April 20–Friday, April 24 (But you can celebrate whenever you want!)

Day 1: Get the Earth Day Challenge 2020 app, free. Join the world’s largest citizen science initiative.

Day 2: Get the SkyView Lite app and go outside (or stay inside) to use it, even in daylight. (Links to the app on Google Play // Apple)

Day 3: Earth Day! Tune in to Earth Day Online for live events and information.

Day 4: Clean up some litter (in your yard, house, room). Be aware and limit plastic, water and electricity use.

Day 5: Spend time in nature. Enjoy some fresh air in your yard or walk around the block. Start a bird journal and get to know the birds in your yard, and learn about your plants and trees.

Get a Free Tree! Norte Donates 300 Trees to Community Members

In honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day, Norte will donate 300 trees to community members across the Grand Traverse region. Norte is offering the 12–18′′ tree seedlings to any families in the Grand Traverse region free of charge. Norte hopes to help the forested riparian corridors and enhance the region’s health and climate resiliency. “Norte understands that we have an important community leadership role to play in our climate crisis. Trees are a critical part of the climate solution. When community members walk, bike and roll more, they not only enjoy the shade and protection of trees, they’re​ helping​ them as ​a climate solution​,” shares Norte Executive Director Ty Schmidt.

Request a contact-free, safe and healthy tree pick-up at the Norte Clubhouse at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center on Sunday, May 3 by visiting Norte’s website and completing a simple request form.

Michigan tree species available through the free initiative include:

Upland Package I

  • Balsam Fir
  • Sugar Maple
  • Shagbark Hickory
  • White Oak

Upland Package II

  • American Hazelnut
  • Black Cherry
  • Jack Pine
  • Black Elderberry

Wildlife Package II

  • American Hazelnut
  • Balsam Fir
  • Black Elderberry
  • Nannyberry
Michigan DNR Shares Ways to Celebrate Earth Day 

In-person Earth Day events may be canceled, but we still can get into the spirit of the annual environmental observance by taking action and celebrating at home. Consider the following suggestions for how you and your family can contribute to a healthier and cleaner planet:

See 11 actions for the planet during a pandemic for more ideas, or find a digital Earth Day event.

And check out Five Days of Earth Day, a series of short videos from the DNR’s education team that highlight many aspects of what it means to enjoy, share and take care of the world around us. A new video drops every morning this week at 9 a.m. on Facebook at @MiNatureDNR.

Photo(s) by Taylor Brown