To celebrate Earth Day and its 50th birthday, the Department of Environmental Protection is introducing new online resources, including stay-at-home activities, virtual tours of state parks and distance-learning opportunities. The online resources were developed and curated to enable New Jerseyans to celebrate Earth Day while still staying at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The DEP was established on April 22, 1970 — America’s first official Earth Day, through a state law consolidating New Jersey’s environmental, resource protection and conservation agencies under the umbrella of one state agency.
“Earth Day 2020 is a milestone for New Jersey and the entire nation,” said Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “Fifty years ago, New Jersey committed itself to a new legacy of environmental protection, cleaning our air, water and land; today, we celebrate that vision and re-commit ourselves to the new challenges of protecting against climate change. This new website provides fun activities for learning, guides to environmentally themed crafts, and virtual visits to some of New Jersey’s most popular parks – all designed with an eye toward reminding us of just how important it is to take care of our fragile planet and each other. Today is also a day to publicly recognize the dedication of the DEP’s many employees – current and past – and the collaboration of the state’s environmental advocates.”
The DEP50 website provides a special section providing online resources to help residents celebrate Earth Day in the safety of their homes.
It provides step-by-step instructions on creative crafts that help remind us of the importance of conserving resources, reusing materials and recycling. Crafts include a bird feeder made from an orange peel and peanut butter, bracelets fashioned from soda can pull-tabs, and a decorative flower made from a plastic bottle. These activities use items found readily around the home.
Families can also download and print coloring and activity books and enjoy photos and fun facts about New Jersey’s wildlife. Links are also provided to distance-learning opportunities such as webinars and online classes from Rutgers University, New Jersey Audubon, the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education and others.
“Although interactions with the natural world are limited for most environmental educators at this time, we are still able to honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by offering ANJEE’s Remote EE Hub to all New Jerseyans,” said Michael Chodroff, President of the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education.
Visitors can also check in on active peregrine falcon and bald eagle nests through the live webcams maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of New Jersey, as well as the group’s many other interesting wildlife video and educational offerings.
New Jersey’s Division of Parks and Forestry is also bringing New Jersey’s parks to visitors virtually.
Its popular #IHeartNJParks campaign now connects with the public through virtual access through its Facebook and Instagram pages:
The campaign posts new content each day, including a special collection of park tours and projects, interviews with experts and never published historical photos.
In addition, through a series of stunning, even inspiring, videos, families can make virtual visits to popular parks and historic sites from High Point to Cape May Point.
- Soar above the unique maritime forest that surrounds Barnegat Light, or Old Barney as the venerable lighthouse in Ocean County is affectionately known; enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Batsto Village, the historic heart of the Pine Barrens in Wharton State Forest.
- Explore the eerie, concrete gun emplacements of historic Fort Mott along the Delaware River in Salem County; enjoy stunning views of the pristine beaches and dunes of Island Beach State Park in Ocean County.
- Tour the wetlands and beaches of the ecological gem that is Cape May Point State Park; and soak in inspirational mountain views of High Point State Park in the extreme northwestern corner of the state in Sussex County.
For New Jersey DEP’s Earth Day resources, visit: