Earth Day is one of those celebrations people can really dig into.

In fact, it’s required. That’s because Earth Day is about preserving our natural environs, and often that means community groups and land trusts host cleanups, where people dig out gum wrappers and bottle tops from parks, forests or beaches.

This year, with pandemic restrictions eased, there’ll be a lot more going on for Earth Day beyond trail maintenance and garbage collection, though those are really important. There will be celebrations of nature and the environment at local libraries, a children’s museum and an outdoor film festival.

Here is a look at some of the things going on for Earth Day around Maine this year. The official date is Friday, but events continue through the weekend.

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is one of the places on Thompson’s Point in Portland where you’ll find Earth Day happenings this year. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

GET TO THE POINT

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine at Thompson’s Point is hosting Earth Day-themed events all day Friday. Children can meet Istar, a 45-foot-long inflatable humpback whale and learn about how climate change affects whales. In the museum’s Makerspace, children can create things out of recycled and reused materials and, there’ll also be chances to meet – and touch! – earthworms during a vermiculture program. Museum admission is $15. For more information, go to thompsonspoint.com and kitetails.org.

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The museum is just one of the sites participating in the Earth Day celebration Friday at Thompson’s Point, a retail and arts complex on the Fore River. There’s a tasting of natural wines at the Rosemont Market & Wine Bar from 3-5 p.m. There’ll be information on solar energy and giveaways from Maine Community Solar at the Brick South Beer Garden. And people who help clean up garbage in their own neighborhoods can drop it off at the Brick South Beer Garden and get a $10 L.L. Bean gift card for every full bag, while supplies last. People can also bring their litter to L.L. Bean in Freeport and get a card that way too. For more information, go to thompsonspoint.com.

Scarborough Marsh will be the site of a spring cleanup Saturday. Photo by Jennifer Schmitt/Maine Audubon

HELPING HANDS

Helping out during a volunteer cleanup event is a good way to feel useful and explore some beautiful, natural spot you’ve never been to before. One place to do that is at the Earth Day cleanup day Saturday at Viles Arboretum in Augusta. It’s a 224-acre botanical garden with 6 miles of trails, dozens of plant collections and a visitor’s center. Volunteers will be helping to clean up litter and get rid of brush and invasive species. For more information and to sign up, go to vilesarboretum.org.

Also on Saturday, the group that runs Maine’s Common Ground Country Fair – the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association – is holding a work-day session at its education center in Unity beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers will prep for the growing season by working in the orchards and learn about mulching as a well. There’ll also be lunch and T-shirts for volunteers. All ages and experience levels are welcome. For more information and to sign up, go to mofga.org.

Did you know there’s a hiking trail a short walk from the Home Depot parking lot in South Portland? The Clark’s Pond Trail is part of the South Portland Land Trust’s trail network and winds for more than mile through woods and along the shores of the pond. You can see it for yourself and help clean it up beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for a trail maintenance day, which includes spreading fresh wood chips. Also on Saturday, the land trust will be organizing cleanups of green spaces all over the city beginning at 9 a.m., including Mill Creek Park and the Greenbelt Walkway. For more information and to register, go to southportlandlandtrust.org.

Another beautiful place to discover for Earth Day is Scarborough Marsh, which will be the site of a spring cleanup Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Maine Audubon, Friends of Scarborough Marsh, The Eastern Trail Alliance and others will be leading the work effort around the buildings and grounds of the Nature Center there. For more information, go to maineaudubon.org.

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ON SCREEN

The annual Maine Outdoor Film Festival will be held on Earth Day, Friday, hosted by Maine Audubon at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth. The event features seven short independent films focusing on the outdoors, with topics ranging from the climate crisis and surfboards made from sustainably harvested wood to mountain biking and an artist’s journey on the Maine Island Trail. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. event, and tickets are $25 for non-members, $20 for members. It’s a 21-plus show and features complimentary beer, wine and snacks. It’s also an outdoor show, so dress warm and bring blankets. For more information, go to maineoutdoorfilmfestival.com.

The Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library will be hosting events involving several different organizations on its lawn beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. Photo courtesy of Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library

BOOK IT

Local libraries are celebrating Earth Day in a variety of ways. The Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library will be hosting events involving several different organizations on its lawn beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. These include an Earth Day story time and the interactive Mammals of Maine program put on by the environmental education organization Chewonki. There will also be Earth Day-themed craft projects, a used book sale and raffles. For information, go to boothbayharbor.com. 

The York Public Library is also hosting an outdoor Earth Day story time at 10:30 a.m. Friday Besides the story, there will be crafts and a walk on the library nature trail. The event is suggested for ages 3 to 5, and registration is required. For more information, go to yorkpl.librarycalendar.com. 


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