Kitchener-Waterloo

3 ways you can mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day at home in Waterloo region

Big gatherings to celebrate Earth Day aren’t an option this year during the pandemic, but several groups around the region are marking the 50th anniversary in physically distanced ways.

From virtual yoga to a bird count and mask-making workshop, local groups have shifted gears for Earth Day

A glimpse at a woodpecker in Waterloo region. Waterloo Region District School Board is inviting people to take part in a backyard bird count for Earth Day. (Submitted by Mike Burrell)

Big gatherings to celebrate Earth Day aren't an option this year during the pandemic, but several groups around the region are marking the 50th anniversary in physically distanced ways.

Virtual Earth Day yoga 

7 p.m., Wednesday April 22

Hosted by: rare Charitable Research Reserve

The urban land trust and environmental institute is hosting a series of events throughout the week, including nature trivia, an Earth Day assembly for students and virtual yoga — which will happen on Earth Day through the group's Instagram page (their handle is rare_site). The virtual yoga class is meant for people of all ages.

"This is just something everyone can do. It'll obviously give them time to reflect on Earth Day, what they're thankful for," said Laura Klein, who is a gosling engagement coordinator at rare.

You can get details on other events through the group's Facebook page.

The group had initially planned a gathering in Centre in the Square for Earth Day, and says hopes to reschedule the event down the line.

Face mask making workshop

7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday April 22

Hosted by: TheMuseum

TheMuseum's workshop is all about making a reusable mask "to help reduce waste while flattering the COVID-19 curve."

If you have a sewing machine and thread, this is your moment to shine. You also need two rectangles of 100 per cent cotton material, two elastic straps, a coffee filter and fork. The full list of instructions can be found on its website. People can watch the video on TheMuseum's Facebook page.

"This is a very simple way of doing these," says Riley Shortt, who's running the workshop.

"A lot of time people are saying those [single use] masks and gloves are ending up in parking lots, in the grass...Having these reusable ones is good because you're not going to throw out something that you spent the time to make and be proud of and wear and take care of."

Shortt is also posting a pre-recorded video on TheMuseum's website of her talking about how to create textiles with plastic bags.

Bird count in the backyard

Hosted by: Waterloo Region District School Board

From 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 21 to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 24

This three-day event is meant to engage not only students, but people of all ages.

The school board says people can count for as little as 15 minutes a day. People just have to indicate their best guess on how many birds they see and where in the region they saw them.

Participants submit their observations online using a Google form and everybody who takes part will get a certificate of appreciation from the Outdoor Education Department.

"It's difficult to know how to mark Earth Day during the COVID-19 crisis. Being able to sit at your window, or on a front porch or in a backyard and look at birds is a really fantastic way to connect with nature," said Nathan Mantey, an outdoor education specialist with the school board.

The idea is inspired by the Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual event that's run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon and Birds Canada.

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