You already recycle and tote groceries home in a reusable bag. Maybe you even glide around in a hybrid vehicle. So, what else can you do for Earth Day? Plenty it turns out, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Earth Day festivals are happening all around the region, but why not take a walk on the wild side with these creative ways to explore, beautify and commemorate the wonder of the natural world:
1. Get dirty. Join a citizen science project and pick up some biochar — the latest in earth-loving soil amendments from the Sonoma Biochar Initiative. On April 20, they’ll be passing out bags of the special charcoal and compost; gardeners will plant a plot with biochar and one without, taking photos to see which better develops. The bags are limited, so visit their site to sign up. Biochar is said to capture and store CO2 from the atmosphere, which could have an impact on climate change.
2. Celebrate native plants. The vast Botanic Garden tucked away in Berkeley’s Tilden Park is a sanctuary for plants such as wallflowers, azaleas and wild lilacs. Join them on April 20 for a nature walk and pick up some new foliage for your home garden during the plant sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. And if you really want to get hands-on with local flora, help beautify a park, creek or open space with hundreds of volunteers from Oakland Earth Day.
3. Drink some wine. Iron Horse Vineyards’ Eat, Drink & Be Green (April 21, 12 to 4 p.m.,$50 per ticket)) is the thinking person’s wine event; this year’s speaker is scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond. You’ll find local cuisine such as whole roasted pig, seasonal salads with oranges, spring onions, asparagus, local artisan cheeses, Green Valley pinot noir and chardonnay and more. But the favorite tipple is the Ocean Reserve blanc de blancs brut sparkler. Proceeds from every bottle goes to National Geographic’s ocean conservation efforts.
4. Pet a goat. Goat farmers such as Jennifer Bice of Redwood Hill Farm have been at the forefront of sustainable agriculture for decades; hear her story and meet some pygmy goats at CUESA’s Goat Festival at the San Francisco Ferry Building (April 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., free). Taste goat cheeses, milks and caramels, try out a goat milk skincare line and learn other reasons why the goat just may be man’s best friend.
5. Explore the Exploratorium. Considered one of the world’s best interactive science museums, the Exploratorium just reopened on San Francisco’s Pier 15 in a $300 million new home. You’ll find a thrilling glass observatory over the bay, and monitors that track the water currents and salinity. Discover the tiny mysteries of the ocean such as plankton in the East Gallery or count the rings on a 330-year-old fir tree. Tickets are $25 for adults, $19 for students and seniors, and free for children under 5. Bay-Area residents receive discounts.
Photos Courtesy of Redwood Hill Farm, Iron Horse Winery and Exploratorium