Celebrate Earth Day: 5 ways to get out and active as a family

Earth Day is April 22. There’s no better way to celebrate than spending time outdoors with your family.

Earth Day was founded in 1970 to draw awareness to environmental issues. Embrace the cause by helping your children explore the wonders of the Great Outdoors — and throw in lessons about why taking care of our surroundings is so important.

Here are five ways you can mark the holiday.

1. Explore a local farm. Touring a farm is a great way to show kids where food comes from. If the farm offers fruits and veggies for sale — even better! Research has shown that kids are more likely to try a variety of produce when they help choose it. When visiting the farm, encourage your kids to pick out a fruit or vegetable that they’ve not had before, then cook it up as a family.

Looking for a farm in the Chattanooga area? Crabtree Farms is one option. This community-based farm will allow you and your family to explore the surroundings, schedule a tour or even volunteer!

2. Take a hike. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the outdoors! According to Outdoor Chattanooga, there are more than 150 miles of hiking trails within a 15-minute drive from downtown Chattanooga.

With so many options, there are trails that suit people of all ages, fitness levels and interests. You can wander through the Enterprise South Nature Park, jog alongside water at the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway, or interact with history at the Chickamauga Battlefield.

3. Start a compost bin. Want to teach your kids about recycling, nature’s way? Set up a composting bin in your backyard.

If you’re not sure where to start, read this handy guide as a family. It offers suggestions on getting started, including the type of container to use, where to place the container, what items to compost and what to do with the fruits of your labor.

4. Plant a garden. Whether you choose to plant flowers or produce, gardening as a family offers many benefits. Your kids will learn first-hand about seasons and the cycle of life, along with the weather and insects.

If you choose to plant fruits and veggies, consider this fun option: a pizza garden! Obviously, you won’t be growing pizza crust, but you can grow several ingredients. Depending on your family’s tastes, plant oregano, parsley, basil, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. To make it even more fun, grow the ingredients in sections of a circle — like pizza slices.

5. Volunteer. Whether you want to lend a hand on Earth Day or some other time, there are many opportunities to volunteer as a family and benefit the Great Outdoors.

In the Chattanooga area, you can give back by volunteering at sites that offer outdoor educational or recreational opportunities to families just like yours. Not sure where to start looking? Check out the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, or Tennessee State Parks.

Looking for more ways to help? Honor the Earth and a loved one by purchasing a Living Legacy Tree at our Erlanger East Hospital. Your choice of ornamental or shade tree will be a part of the Lifestyle Trail — a prominent feature in the region’s first lifestyle hospital.