Earth lovers of all ages can take part in a celebration of Earth Day this weekend right in the heart of Boston.

The Nature Conservancy is hosting its second annual Picnic for the Planet at the Boston Common on Sunday - Earth Day. The event aims to celebrate the role that nature plays in daily life and attempts to remind people to stop and enjoy being outside by sharing a meal with family and friends.

This year, the event is part of a global effort to break a Guinness World Record for the largest global picnic. It will be held rain or shine.

"From the fish in our rivers and seas, to the forests that keep our air and our drinking water clean, to the vegetables we buy at the local farmers' market; nature touches our lives every day," said Alison Bowden of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts.


The family-friendly event also features a treasure hunt and a contest to win tickets to Earthfest in May.

Also going on at the Frog Pond from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. is the "Down:2:Earth" event. Local vendors will offer information on green living in the city and an arts and crafts workshop that uses recycled materials will be set up.

If you go

Picnic for the Planet

Sunday, April 22, rain or shine

Noon to 3 p.m.

Boston Common Frog Pond

Kids events

Charles River Cleanup

Saturday, 9 a.m.

Locations around the Charles River

Boston to Bellingham, MA

Free, 781-788-0007

For a hands-on approach to Earth Day, look no further than your beloved river which

doesn't fit the "love that dirty water" slogan as much any more because of recent cleanup efforts. Groups of all ages will pick up trash from one of 100 sites along the 80 miles of the Charles in greater Boston.

Party for the Planet

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Franklin Park Zoo

1 Franklin Park Road, Boston

Free with regular zoo admission, 617-989-2000

Join the animals in this celebration of the earth at the Franklin Park Zoo with a full schedule of animal shows. Watch a tiger and lion receive treats, learn about animals on our planet and watch entertainment by environmental groups including the Green Rockers and POP Alert.

Sakura & World Museum Project

Friday, 6 p.m.

Children's Museum

308 Congress St., Boston

Free with museum admission, 617-426-6500

The "World Friends Project," started by professor Miyata in Japan is a collaborative online project by children in many places around the world. Come and draw a portrait of yourself, scan it and e-mail to the project headquarters. The portraits will be compiled together with other kids' portraits from different parts of the world.

The Race Against Extinction 5K

Sunday, 11 a.m.

Artesani Park

1234 Soldiers Field Road, Brighton


Chase away extinction at this 5K on Earth Day with the help of runners of all abilities -- from Cheetahs (inexperienced runners) to Kangaroos (parents with strollers). This fun run creates awareness and raises funds for the need to protect our planet's endangered plants and animals.

Blue Discoveries Family Days: Earth Day Celebration

Sunday, 11 a.m.

New England Aquarium

Central Wharf, Boston

Free with museum admission, 617-973-5206

An interactive morning celebrating the "blue planet" through art, science and storytelling. The program offers an up-close, hands-on view of the sea animals which line the walls of the aquarium.

Natick Earth Day Festival

Sunday, 11 a.m.

Natick Common (corner of Routes 27 and 135)

Free, 508-740-9949

Take a short trip into the 'burbs on Earth Day for this festival, which includes highlights such as the Birds of Prey Show, a tree identification walk, plant demonstrations and environmentally conscious local bands. Come to celebrate earth and stay for the live music and good food.

Calling All Birders!

Saturday, 8 a.m.

Arnold Arboretum

Arborway Gate, Jamaica Plain

Free, 617-384-5209

With spring in full bloom comes birds of all species and sizes. Join staff from the Arnold Arboretum on a bird walk in the gorgeous arboretum just south of Boston to catch a glimpse of migrating birds. No experience necessary, just some enthusiasm!

SMART Gals: Rachel Carson Nature Walk

April 27, 10 a.m.

The Discovery Museums

177 Main St., Acton

Free with museum admission, 978-264-4200

Teach your child some environmental history on this nature walk for children in honor of Rachel Carson, the famed marine biologist and conservationist. Sponsored by the SMART (Science-Math-Art) Gals series, the walk will recall Carson's accomplishments, including the esteemed Silent Spring, while honoring her enthusiasm for teaching children.

Work for Wildlife: Mass Audubon 6th Annual Statewide Volunteer Day

April 28, 9 a.m.

Multiple locations

Free, 781-259-9500

Volunteer your Saturday morning to become one with nature while helping spruce up trails, gardens and other spring cleaning projects. Activities range from light work like planting native wildflowers to more strenuous activities such as clearing brush.

-Chris Leo Palermino

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