10 groups helping Pittsburgh kids celebrate Earth Day throughout April
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.
Since Earth Day’s birth on April 22, 1970, the environmental movement has grown to include weeklong and monthlong events. Kids can learn about their connection to the planet with fun, educational activities planned throughout the region. Best of all, most events are free, so you can conserve your money while learning how to conserve Earth’s resources.
The City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation, better known as Citiparks, hosts Ranger Explorer Days in honor of Earth Week. Your little explorers will enjoy investigating their community parks and learning about nature. Ranger Explorer Days take place at Ormsby Park on April 16 and 23 for the pre-K set. Elementary kids are the focus of the program at Magee Park on April 21. Phillips Recreation Center is the site for the April 28 session. All ages can join the City of Pittsburgh Park Rangers to make pinecone bird feeders in Highland Park on April 20. Registration is free for all activities.
2. Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy operates under the premise that every day is Earth Day. They’ve organized a month’s worth of activities, from park cleanups and yoga to hikes and forest bathing. Included are many free events aimed at kids. Take the family on a Hike-U: Haiku Hike through the woodlands at Schenley Park on April 17. Engage your senses and finish the outing by writing a 17-syllable haiku. Birds and kites take flight at Schenley Plaza on April 22 (no registration required), when kids will make kites and participate in a bird scavenger hunt. Learn local history and songs at the Pittsburgh Hike in Duquesne Heights at Emerald Park on April 24. The 3-mile Hill Hike at August Wilson Park on April 25 will share insight into the eminent Pittsburgh playwright and highlight sites in the neighborhood that inspired his stories. Families can relax at the wrap-up Earth Month Concert in the Park on April 25 at Frick Park, where local artists will celebrate our parks with live music. Follow the links to register for all the free events. Find the complete lineup of Earth Week activities here.
3. Carnegie Science Center
Carnegie Science Center offers environmental education, ecology exploration and citizen science experiments to celebrate Earth Week with on-site and virtual programming from April 21-25. In-person experiences, included with general admission, include the Taste the Rainbow Live Show exploring healthy food options and the Mission to Planet Earth Planetarium Show that soars over oceans and forests to provide an orbital view of our planet. Special Sensory Sensitive Science Hours will be offered from 3–5 p.m. on April 23. Pop-up activities are in the works, too, with planting demonstrations, river bingo and cloud investigations. Timed tickets are required.
Follow the Science Center’s Facebook page for free, virtual events like Lettuce Grow Together: Harvesting Lettuce and Making a Salad at 11 a.m. on April 21 and Bite-Sized Buhl at 10:30 a.m. on April 22. Both sessions will be streamed on Facebook Live, where you will find lots more Earth-related activities.
4. Allegheny County Parks
The Allegheny County Parks system honors Earth Week with focused programs in addition to its usual nature outings. Your family can volunteer as a team to help park rangers clean up litter and beautify the parks on April 24 at North Park and on April 25 at Settlers Cabin Park. Gloves and supplies will be provided. Take a guided hike and learn the history of Earth Day on April 24 at Settlers Cabin Park. L.L. Bean offers an Earth Day Hike at North Park on April 22. Many of these events fill up quickly, but you can visit the Allegheny County activities website to find many more outdoor adventures.
5. Venture Outdoors
Families can ride bikes and plant trees during Stewardship Saturdays hosted by Venture Outdoors and Tree Pittsburgh. The project begins April 24 and continues every fourth Saturday of the month through September 24. Your team will bike about three miles on the Eliza Furnace Trail to help plant trees that will grow into a resilient urban forest between the trail and highway. As the trees grow, the trail will be more pleasant with less traffic noise and cleaner air. A win-win! Registration is free.
6. Pennsylvania State Parks
Park Rangers at area state parks have organized a wealth of free nature programming that will help kids connect with the planet. Some highlights: Learn about the unusual American Woodcock at the Timberdoodle Flutter event on April 15 at Moraine State Park. Bring a flashlight to search vernal ponds for Amphibians After Dark on April 16 at Raccoon State Park. Learn about the upcoming Lyrid Meteor Shower at the April Meteor Shower event on April 17 at Point State Park. Jennings Environmental Education Center hosts Family Science Outside: Invasive Plants on April 18 and 20-22. Kids will learn about the impact that invasive species have on native plants and work as a team to remove them. Check out even more PA state park programming here.
7. North Hills Community Outreach Garden
North Hills Community Outreach opens its food pantry garden to visitors on April 22. Kid-friendly programming includes activities like a scavenger hunt and making pollinator seed balls and paper pots, plus a garden tour and storytime. This free event requires timed tickets. A nonperishable food item would be appreciated but is not necessary. Masks are required.
8. Repair the World
Families are invited to join Repair Families and Serve the Moment Pittsburgh on April 25 to patrol Frick Park for litter and help clean up our community. PPE and supplies will be provided. Register here for this event, as well as upcoming programs like the virtual Mama’s Day of Service on May 9 and Ozone Gardening with GASP on June 6.
ALCOSAN presents a virtual Pre-K Explore Day for kids ages 3-6. The educational workshop features ALCOSAN’s Frankie the Fish mascot and interactive STEM experiments on April 17 via Zoom. Register here for the free activity.
10. National Aviary
Plan to spend the day at the National Aviary on April 24, when the schedule is jam-packed with Earth Day fun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kids can compete in the Be Green Scavenger Hunt and be awarded a sunflower starter kit. Enter to win an Earth Day Basket filled with sustainable products from the Aviary gift shop. Kids always love the penguin meet-and-greet sessions and will learn fascinating details about avian science during the Condor Talk. The programming is free with general admission timed tickets.