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Your 2015 Earth Day Chicago Guide

By Danette Chavez in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 21, 2015 8:20PM

(Photo courtesy of Earth Day Network Facebook Page)

Avast ye greenies, for it's almost Earth Day! Tomorrow, April 22, will see the 45th anniversary of that most eco-conscious of holidays, but we've found that related festivities will span the full week. Lots of momentum was gathered over the weekend during heartening Earth Day events in the surrounding counties, like Spring into Volunteering in Bloomingdale, Illinois and the Illinois River blessing that was a part of the Clean Water Celebration.

Now the spotlight's back on Chicago. Here's our rundown of enviro-friendly activities to help get the celebrating (and educating) underway.

We recently shared our recommendations for seeing the April flowers in bloom, which includes a trip to the Chicago Botanic Gardens, as well as the grand re-opening of the Garfield Park Conservatory, (which will highlight the renovated Fern Room and Desert Room) on Earth Day that will be followed by a Family Day on April 26.

Party for the Planet on Earth Day Weekend with the Lincoln Park Zoo. Zoo educators and visitors will play recycling games, go on a conservation scavenger hunt, and learn about animal enrichment. This all-ages event is free and open to the public.

Visit Chicago's other "lost lake," Lake Calumet. It's hard to get there, even on purpose, which is why the Southeast Environmental Task Force is leading a free hike on Earth Day so that you can explore responsibly.

On Wednesday, you can take part in one of the "official City of Chicago Earth Day Events" by watching the award-winning documentary Just Eat It. This event is organized by the One Earth One Film Festival in partnership with the City of Chicago. You can register for the free screening and panel here.

There are lots of LEED certified hotels in the city limits, and some are even offering special Earth Day rates. But the Hotel Felix Chicago went a few steps further this year: they're organizing an Earth Day-inspired tweet contest and offering group discounts for Earth Day bookings. They've also partnered with Divvy to offer free 24-hour passes to guests on April 22, and they're hosting a Greenheart Shop trunk show that will feature a new line of green products.

Also on Earth Day, DePaul University hosts the Coleman Connections: Earth Day with Food Entrepreneurs event that features members of several entrepreneurial startups and small businesses that are leading the "green" initiatives in the food industry. Registration is free and open to the public.

On April 26, Working Bikes will be collecting used bicycles at the Deerfield Whole Foods from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone who donates will get a free $5 Whole Foods gift card.

The Oriental Institute hosts the kid-friendly Ancient Earth Day on Saturday, April 26 at 1 p.m. Learn how the Mesopotamians looked after the planet, then build your own model ancient Mesopotamian temple with recyclable materials. Register for the free event here.

Friends of the Parks is organizing a Parks and Preserves Clean-Up at Euclid Park (9800 S. Parnell) on Saturday April 25 from 10 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will plant, clean and weed in this beautification effort.

And finally, a less time-sensitive option: go see the Museum of Science and Industry's permanent exhibit, Earth Revealed, which includes a solid carbon fiber globe with streaming "play lists" of NOAA and NASA data.