Frost Science@Home: Earth Day 2020

Find out how you and your family can celebrate Earth Day from home!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Traditionally celebrated on April 22, Earth Day began in the spring of 1970 after former Senator of Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson witnessed the devastating effects of an oil spill off the coast of California in 1969. With the help of other senators and university professors, he began promoting for a national “teach-in on the environment” day where millions across the country held demonstrations and rallies for a healthy, sustainable environment. This Earth Day event had support from both sides of the political spectrum producing a unique political alignment that piloted the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and led way for the development of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

At Frost Science, Earth Day is celebrated 365 days a year (or 366 on a leap year!) As a  Gold Certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment) building, caring about the environment is quite literally, built into our infrastructure and values. Frost Science’s conservation programs educate and inspire action on marine and coastal preservation by creating a space for the community to get involved and learn about the importance of the unique ecosystems found in South Florida. Both on site at the museum through our educational exhibits and in the field through our Museum Volunteers for the Environment (MUVE) program, visitors and volunteers can develop a passion for the environment and discover ways that they can help protect and preserve our planet.

Challenges can sprout resiliency and new ideas. Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic we are coming together to find new ways to celebrate and honor Earth Day while staying true to our mission. We invite you to explore your surroundings safely around your home and backyard through our Nature Bingo Toolkit including a special plant identification guide highlighting native Florida plants found on our Frost Science rooftop.

If you are interested in connecting virtually to both nature and cities around the world, consider participating in the City Nature Challenge (CNC) taking place April 24 to May 3, 2020. CNC is an international citizen science event where more than 100 cities around the world participate in documenting nature through the involvement of their community. Normally it is a BioBlitz-style competition where the cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people providing an opportunity for outdoor exploration all throughout the world. However, this year the narrative has evolved from a competition to a celebration of nature. We want to embrace the collaborative aspect of this project (virtually) and continue to embrace nature while allowing individuals to document urban biodiversity in any way they feel comfortable.

Using the citizen science application or website, iNaturalist, participants can upload photos of nature they find within their homes or backyards, plants, bugs and animals are all welcomed! Every observation you take can contribute to environmental science advancements, where real scientists can access and use the data for important research.

Participating is easy. Follow the steps below:

  1. Observe your environment and see if you can find an animal, plant, fungus or even just evidence of wildlife, like a shell or footprint.
  2. Snap a photo!
  3. Upload photos you have taken between April 24 to April 27 to iNaturalist.
  4. If your finding isn’t growing or found naturally, like a garden plant or pet, that is ok! You can still upload, just make sure to mark it as “captive or cultivated”

This is a great opportunity to learn about how to properly identify flora and fauna, learn about biodiversity around you and contribute to real science. Want some ideas on how to participate in your backyard? Here is City Nature Challenge’s document on how to explore nature in and around your home!

With the museum closed due to COVID-19, we are losing admission and event revenue that we so heavily rely on. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help offset the cost of animal care and virtual programming during this difficult time. All donations, however small, will have an immediate impact.

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