earth in the grass

Living a healthy and sustainable life means a lot to many and we often unknowingly lead by example — especially when it comes to our eco-friendly habits. Since April is the month many renew their environmental efforts or focus, why not organize an earth-friendly, family-friendly neighborhood event or outreach project?

You can make your efforts as involved or as simple as you are inclined. There are many environmental organizations with resources and ideas available to help you.

Food, Foliage, and Friends!
Having a block party is, first off, a great way to make new friends and help build up your local community. Getting neighbors involved in organizing and later participating is key and can be the boon for many positive things above and beyond the day’s events. Strong neighbor relations build stronger and safer communities.
Here are a few ideas to a get going on a great celebration in your neighborhood …

  • Get a Grasp on Your Greenery

Decide if you want to plant tree saplings, foliage, or a whole community garden during your event. If you live in an area in which you can actually create a community garden somewhere, that’s fantastic and you may find many of your neighbors interested in contributing to such an endeavor. If there is no “public” area to make one, maybe one of the neighbors has space on their property that would like to donate.
If a community garden isn’t in the cards, planting trees and flowers throughout your neighborhood can be fun and it is great for beautification and the environment. Be sure to plant native species and check into any permits that may be needed. Talk to local nurseries (especially the “mom & pop” type) to see if they would be willing to discount or donate living plants and seeds.

  • Set-up Education Stations

Have families volunteer to host an “education station” at their curb or in their yard during the event. Have several of these spread throughout the party/event area. You can even turn this into a scavenger hunt game where people need to get signed off at or get something from each station to qualify for a great prize.
Each station should have its own environmental focus. People can choose their own topics or you can do a random drawing and divvy them out. Invite local environmental organizations. Many have speakers or educators that would be happy to join you. Also invite participation and tabling from local eco-friendly businesses.

  • Promote, Promote, Promote

If you do not get people involved and promote (and remind) people, you will have a dead event and that would be discouraging. The only way to ensure participation is to consistently promote. You can do this with flyers (made from recycled paper and eco-friendly inks, of course) and by canvasing door to door.

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You can even have some custom signs made or yard flags and banners from places like FlagsOnAStick.com; leave one with each home that agrees to participate in the event and/or help promote it by displaying the flag.

Don’t forget to take the time to create a press release to distribute to your local media. You never know when they are looking for a feel-good community story like yours.

These are just a few examples, there is much more you can do. Talk to people, do some research, look into what’s available and what’s already going on around you. Maybe, instead of hosting your own event, there is one already scheduled that you can join. The goal is to support in eco-friendly community-building.