There’s a lot more to Earth Day than just picking up garbage.

Sure, cleanup days in parks, beaches and green spaces are still a big part of the 54-year-old event. But over the years, Earth Day has evolved into a celebration of all the ways people can enjoy nature, and the many ways they can help to preserve it.

So, in southern Maine this weekend, you’ll find Earth Day family celebrations with food, music and demonstrations of eco-friendly gadgets like electric bikes or electric lawnmowers. You’ll also find hikes and nature walks and, yes, lots of cleanups to join.

Earth Day is officially Monday, April 22, but many of the events are being held Saturday. Here are some ideas of things to do for Earth Day around southern Maine.


The city of Portland’s annual Earth Day Celebration in Payson Park, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, is one place to find family fun while learning a few things. There will be face painting, balloon-animal making, music, outdoor activities and food trucks. People can explore a Greater Portland Metro bus, test ride e-bikes, and try out electric lawn mowers. Portland Park Ranger Liz Collado will read stories for kids. There will also be lots of information about health and the environment from more than 30 groups and organizations. The event is free. For more information, go to


Tate Turner, 2, of Falmouth and Foster Sandzen, 3, of Portland push an electric lawnmower around during the Earth Day event at Payson Park last year. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth is hosting a couple events geared to families and children. On Saturday at 10:30 a.m., the center will host “Play Me a Story,” featuring artists from Portland Stage doing staged readings of nature-related stories. Weather permitting, there will be an interactive nature and acting workshop outdoors. The event is best suited for ages 4-10, and the cost is $15 per child with an accompanying adult.

The other event is a Wabanaki-centered celebration of Ewikuwosset (Mother Earth) for families, at 10 a.m. Sunday. Wabanaki educators and Audubon staff will lead activities and walks to help connect families with nature. There will also be storytelling. Passamaquoddy children’s author Minquansis Sapiel will have copies of her book, “Little People of the Dawn,” for sale and signing. The cost is $15 to $20 per family. For more information on both events, go to

“Play Me a Story,” a performance of Earth Day-themed children’s stories, will take place at the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth. Photo by Madeline Rheaume for Maine Audubon

The Green ME Up Earth Day Celebration in Freeport on Saturday is another event that will feel a lot more like a party than an environmental lesson. The free event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at L.L. Bean’s Discovery Park in Freeport, is hosted by the Girl Scouts of Maine. There will be a rock climbing wall, recycling games, papermaking, science projects and seed planting, and also food trucks, and music by Junk2Funk, Gorham Steel and Barracuda Steel. For more information, go to

A climbing wall will be one of the attractions at the Green ME Up Earth Day Celebration in Freeport on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts of Maine


April is a good time for Mainers to explore parts of their own state before the tourists get here. So if you want to take a Midcoast day trip and celebrate Earth Day, head up to the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library on Saturday. The library is hosting Earthy Day Fest on its lawn from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free event will feature a community art project with artist Charlene Lutz, e-bike demos and bike safety checks. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Boothbay Sea & Science Center, among other groups, will have activities and information. You can also make a bird feeder and learn about spring birding. For more information, go to


Maine’s beaches are a natural treasure. But somebody has to keep them clean. That somebody can be you, at the Earth Day Beach Clean Up on Old Orchard Beach, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. People can park for free at the Milliken Street parking lot and are asked to meet in front of Palace Playland between 9:45 and 10 a.m. There will also be a raffle and a talk about plovers from a Maine Audubon naturalist. People are asked to bring gloves and a water bottle. Snacks and drinks will be provided. The event is organized by Maine Conservation Voters and the Blue Ocean Society for Maine Conservation. For more information, go to

What better place to celebrate Earth Day than by the ocean in Maine? Derek Davis/Staff Photographer


It’ll be hard not to run into an Earth Day cleanup project in South Portland on Sunday. The South Portland Land Trust has something happening all day long. At 9:30 a.m., people check in at Mill Creek Park and get sent off to a job or task, cleaning up some green space in the city. At 11 a.m., there’s a work day at the city’s South Branch Trail, where volunteers will cut back invasive species, pick up trash, and relocate and rebuild part of the trail. There’s a similar work day at the Trout Brook Nature Preserve from 1-3 p.m. For more information or to register to take part, go to

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