How to Celebrate Earth Day in Des Moines

Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Iowa's great outdoors just as spring is really starting to bloom. This year's Des Moines-area events include family friendly activities and a unique recycling program to help others enjoy nature.

Downtown Earth Day Tour
Take advantage of Des Moines' rec trails and walking paths on April 23 to move among events at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, the Science Center of Iowa and the World Food Prize headquarters. Several activities are planned throughout the day, including a collective art project, a display of earth-friendly vehicles and more. Click here for details.

Earth Day Trash Bash
This popular annual event brings together more than 1,000 volunteers to fan out around the metro area at dozens of parks, public spaces and waterways. The fun will be April 22 and kicks off with a celebration and lunch downtown, then teams will head out to their assigned locations. Prizes (and bragging rights) are awarded at the end of the day. Learn more and register here.

Trees Des Moines fundraiser
This local group will host a dinner and silent auction April 22 at the Wakonda Club to raise money to purchase trees to plant around the city. Recent surveys of Des Moines' neighborhoods have shown significant damage from the Emerald Ash Borer and other pests. Visit this site for ticket info

Des Moines Bicycle Collective event
Earth Day brings a special chance to recycle. Bring any unwanted bicycles to the Urbandale Public Library parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon April 23 and give others a chance to see nature's beauty from their own two-wheeled seat. All donated rides are refurbished by volunteers and offered to children and others in the community.

Earth Day Family Fun Fair
All ages can find ways to celebrate nature at this annual event, set for 9 a.m. to noon April 23 at the West Des Moines City/School campus. Along with themed games and crafts, there will be fishing, canoeing and more on the pond. Admission is free. In case of rain, activities will move indoors.

Melanie Lageschulte is a freelance writer and editor. She is an Iowa native and has lived in Des Moines for 15 years.