We’re celebrating Earth Day all weekend long! If you’re searching for a way to give back to Mother Nature and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Northern Michigan, here are 18 volunteer opportunities, activities and events you’ll want to check out this weekend, April 21-23.

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April 21-22 | Earth Day Volunteer Planting Workbees | Traverse City

Get your gardening gloves ready! This restoration effort invites volunteers to plant native trees and shrubs at the bottomlands of the former Boardman Pond impoundment on the Natural Education Reserve. All ages are welcome. Plan to meet at Jack’s Landing at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Reserve your spot to join!

April 21 | The Biggest Little Farm | Leland

Kick off your Earth Day weekend with a film highlighting the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester, who traded out city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. The film runs from 5-7 p.m. at the Old Art Building in Leland. 

April 21-23 | Great Lakes Environmental Festival | Manistee

If you’re searching for resources to help protect the environment in your community, stop by the Great Lakes Environmental Festival in Manistee. This three-day festival will share films, presentations, demonstrations, exhibits and more, highlighting impactful ways to protect and improve our Great Lakes Region. Be sure to check the full schedule of events!

April 21-22 | Upper Peninsula Dark Sky Festival | Copper Harbor

Celebrate the dark, starry skies of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at the first annual Dark Sky Festival, held at the new International Dark Sky Park at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. Stargazers, photographers and astronomy enthusiasts alike will enjoy a full slate of workshops and hikes over the course of two days—a unique way to celebrate Earth Day 2023. 

April 22 | Earth Day Celebration | Traverse City

Head to the Grand Traverse Civic Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to celebrate Earth Day with a deep dive into topics such as recycling, composting, water protection, eco-friendly gardening, energy conservation and more. Plus, there will be live music by Seth Bernard and Chris Good, free papering shredding and a butterfly exhibit. 

honey bee on a flower

Photo by Ashlyn Korienek

April 22 | Gardening Through the Seasons and Permaculture Workshop | LeRoy

Learn about the importance of food security and sustainability with LeAnn Draper, a local skilled gardening professional and business owner. This workshop will be held at Dewings Center in LeRoy at 3 p.m., giving attendees the necessary skills to garden in any season and a chance to connect with other gardeners.

April 22 | Cloche Terrarium Workshop | Traverse City 

Get in touch with nature at this Farm Club workshop, where you will create your own terrarium with Derek Woodruff of Underground Floral. Customize your design with decorative materials and earn the proper terrarium-building skills you need for long-term plant success.

April 22 | Earth Day Concert | Traverse City

This Earth Day celebration is not like the others! Kick back and relax after a long day in nature with a concert at The Alluvion, with musicians including Audra Kubat, Dede Alder, Jordan Hamilton, Samantha Cooper, Ben Traverse, Sarah Cohen, Seth Bernard and many others. The concert starts at 7 p.m.

April 22 | Vernal Pools Event | Vanderbilt

Learn something new! Headwaters Land Conservancy is hosting an educational session at Pigeon River State Forest on vernal pools and the role they play in Northern Michigan’s ecosystems. Plus, get insider tips for decontaminating your boots and waders between waterways. The event starts at 10 a.m.

April 22 | Earth Day Bird Walk | Bellaire

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than a guided spring bird walk along Grass River Natural Area? Learn how to identify birds and log your observations. Bring your binoculars and arrive by 9 a.m. to enjoy this 2-hour hike. Participants must pre-register.

April 22 | Volunteer Beach Clean Up | Traverse City

If you love your area beaches, get out and clean them! Get started with this volunteer beach cleanup at 1 p.m. at West End Beach in Traverse City. The event is co-hosted by Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay and Boyne Country Sports. 

People walking on TART Trail

Photo by Dave Weidner

April 22 | Spring Workbee on the TART Trails | Traverse City 

Check out this Spring Workbee on the TART Trails from 10 a.m. to noon. This is the perfect chance to get out and enjoy springtime while making sure our local trails are ready for the busy tourist season ahead. Join solo or with friends for a feel-good morning in nature. Sign-up is required; there will be various locations available.

April 22 | Earth Day at Ethanology | Elk Rapids

Grass River Natural Area and Ethanology Distillation are teaming up for an Earth Day preservation event. Grass River Natural Area will be on-site offering conifer, hardwood or shrub saplings with each donation to the nonprofit. Swing by anytime from 3-6 p.m.

April 22 | Earth Day Activities | Cheboygan

The Cheboygan Area Public Library is hosting Earth Day drop-in “mini adventures” for all ages from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including educational opportunities, bird house crafting, nature weaving, mason jar bee houses and a tree-themed storytime.

April 22 | Houghton Earth Day | Houghton

Spend your Earth Day at Houghton Waterfront Pier with a morning of clean-up and beautification. All supplies will be provided! If you can’t join, don’t worry, head to a park in your local community and help pick up trash. The clean-up effort will begin at 10 a.m.

April 23 | Sunday Morning Bird Walks | Traverse City

Spend Earth Day by birding at the Grand Traverse Commons! Kirk Waterstripe from the Grand Traverse Audubon Club will take you on a peaceful hike, focusing on identification skills. This birding experience is designed for those just getting started, or wanting to polish their skills. Be sure to dress for the weather; the walk starts at 7:30 a.m. and will begin at the parking area just east of Silver Drive at the Commons. 

April 23 | Earth Week Celebration Concert with Jack Pine | Suttons Bay

Wrap up your Earth Day week-long celebrations with live music from Jack Pine and local beverages from Tandem Ciders, hosted by Leelanau Conservancy. All ages are welcome, but sign-up is required. There will also be a guided Earth Day hike on Saturday at DeYoung Natural Area, for those who are searching for a slow-paced nature walk. 

April 25 | Regenerative Agriculture with Dr. Holcombe & Koffi Kpachavi | Charlevoix 

Missed out on events over the weekend? No problem! Join Charlevoix Public Library at 6 p.m. for a conversation about today’s farming practices. Sue Holcombe, a retired large animal veterinarian and professor from Michigan State University, and Koffi Kpachavi, executive director of the Grand Traverse Conservation District, will share how regenerative agriculture creates resilient farms, reduces the production of greenhouse gases and more. 

Photo(s) by Ashlyn Korienek