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Earth Day 2019: Things to do in Austin

How to volunteer, celebrate, and get free bus rides

Carlos Chavarría

This article was published April 19, 2019, and was updated April 22, 2019.

Monday marks the 49th annual celebration of Earth Day, a now-global tradition begun after U.S. protests in 1970 spurred the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among other robust legislation meant to protect the natural environment from pollution.

Now celebrated by more than 1 billion people in 192 countries, according to the Earth Day nonprofit organization, Earth Day is meant to be a day of political action and civic participation.

While many Austinites do their part to help as well as enjoy the planet on a daily basis—by recycling, reducing waste, buying locally produced goods, spending time in our parks, perhaps even taking public transportation—Earth Day is a good time to up your eco-friendliness—and in that spirit, we’ve compiled a few easy (and fun!) ways to celebrate this year.

Volunteer with the Austin Parks Foundation ...

Austin parks have a big, effective friend in the nonprofit foundation, which has organized several opportunities to show local parks some extra love this weekend and beyond.

APF will provide drinking water for volunteers—please bring a reusable bottle if you wish to partake.

Open Work Day at Wooldridge Square Park

Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m.-noon

Help care for the beloved heritage trees at one of Austin’s three historic downtown squares—dress for the weather and the tasks (weeding and mulching).

Earth Day at Davis White

Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m.-noon

This special Earth Day project at Davis White Northeast Park near Walnut Creek will also involve tree care and will feature kids’ activities with the Little Hummingbird Society. Volunteers of all ages are welcome.

Paint Bartholomew’s Learning Trail

Saturday, April 27, 8 a.m.-noon

Help refresh the learning trail of Austin’s most-beloved parks—note that this event is next Saturday, April 27.

... or Enjoy yourself at one of APF’s give-back events

Black Swan Yoga Donations

Monday, April 22, all day

Black Swan Yoga locations will be accepting $5 donations to APF all day—just ask for its DipJar.

Giveback Happy Hour at Friends and Allies Brewing

Monday, April 22, 6-9 p.m.

The Friends and Allies will donate $1 to APF for every pint sold at its taproom.

Earth Day Charity Ride with SoulCycle

Monday, April 22, 6:30 p.m.

APF is partnering with SoulCycle’s Charity Ride Program, which is selling individual bike posts for a 45-minute signature class for $30 each in a fundraiser for the parks organization.

Ditch your car

Monday, April 22

Ride-hailing company Lyft returns with its Ditch Day Monday, offering a free or discounted glimpse at how to reduce your carbon footprint and possibly ease road congestion. This year, Lyft is partnering with the City of Austin Transportation Department and its Office of Sustainability and returning organizations Capital Metro, Movability, and the Downtown Austin Alliance in this public-private endeavor.

Austinites can sign up for get a free Capital Metro day pass and can apply the code DITCHDAY2 for 25% off two Shared Lyft rides on Ditch Day.

Mother Earth Day Climate Strike

Monday, April 22, all day (come and go, starts at 10 a.m.)

Celebrate and rally for fellow lovers of Mother Earth on the Capitol lawn, if you’d like. Organizers would like you to wear green, “bring giant cards for Mother Earth, bring your non-electric instruments, bring your kids and friends and blankets and a picnic.”

Take a walk

Monday, April 22, 1:25 p.m.

Violet Crown Trail (Hwy. 290 and Brodie Lane)

Take the opportunity to learn more about our natural environs and their conservation with Hill Country Conservancy’s CEO, George Cofer. Join Cofer for a walk on the new section of the Violet Crown Trail at Slaughter Lane, opened this year; he’ll be available to chat about all of the above and more during the hike. BYOW(ater).

Clean up some stuff

‘Plogging’ with Ready to Run

Monday, April 22, 6:30 p.m.

“Plogging” is like “blogging,” except that it means “pickup trash while jogging,” apparently. BYOW(ater)/bottle. The top three people who pick up the most trash win prizes.

Square Lady Bird Lake Cleanup

Monday, April 22, 5 p.m.

RSVP/registe and then meet your fellow Earth-lovers at Lamar Beach Metro Park to help clean up our beloved city river/lake. Square will provide biodegradable bags, gloves, snacks, and swag (which you can get by registering, as long as supplies last).

Earth Day Ceremony at Austin Zen Center

Monday, April 22, 6:15 p.m.

Austin Zen Center, 3014 Washington Square

The center’s ceremony has several parts that take place around the great oak in its front yard, which was symbolically ordained in 2014.

Earth Day at Community Gardens

Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Community Gardens, 1067 W. Highway 71, Bastrop, Texas

A full weekend of activities at permaculture-based Batrop business Sustainable Humane Earth’s Community Gardens property will feature an Aztec Dance Ceremony by Danza Azteca Taxacaylotl; live music; yoga and health and wellness classes; gardening classes; a permaculture farm tour; children’s activities; and food and earth-friendly vendors.

Have an Earthy Day event or activity to add? Let us know in the comments.