12 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day in Central Iowa

For Urban Ambassadors members, April is not only a time to celebrate warmer weather and more daylight. It’s a time to celebrate the Earth, participate in projects that support and protect our planet and learn new ways to live a sustainable life. Here are ten fun ways to celebrate Earth month, make new friends and grow your community!


1. Downtown Earth Day Tour

Take a walk or ride a bike between the Science Center of Iowa, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, and the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates to learn about science and conservation in Iowa and throughout the Universe! Take a tour of a LEED-certified building, meet NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson, and participate in a collective art project using botanical and natural materials! This is a great event for kids. Learn more here.

2. Volunteer for a Trail Restoration

Organize a short weekend road trip and join volunteers from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to do important restoration work on the Wabash Trace Nature Trail. The trail is 63 miles of crushed limestone that runs from Council Bluffs down to Blanchard. There are two four hour volunteer shifts available. Learn more here.

3. Trash Bash

This year Iowa’s largest Earth Day event is focusing on what we can do to create a more sustainable community. Join more than 1,200 volunteers to remove tens of thousands of pounds of trash from the city of Des Moines. Register your volunteer team here.

4. Register for Bike to Work Month

Tune up your bike and prepare to ride for Bike to Work Month in May! Sponsored by the Des Moines Bicycle Collective, Bike Month is meant for anyone who loves to ride bikes in Central Iowa. Whether you’re a weekend trail rider or a daily bike commuter, Bike Month brings together bike enthusiasts of all experience levels to celebrate the ride! Learn more here.

5. Learn How to Support Environmental Legislation

Check out resources from the Iowa Environmental CouncilIowa Policy Project, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, or any of these other great organizations who are working to improve environmental legislation and policy in Iowa. Become an informed voter and make sure your voter registration is up to date!

6. Start a Garden

Whether it’s in the window of your apartment or a quarter of an acre in your backyard, April is a great time to start a garden and grow at least one new thing this summer. Learn more about planting flowers and grasses that benefit native butterflies and bees and register your garden with Plant.Grow.Fly

7. Learn About Water Conservation in Iowa 

Visit the Blank Park Zoo to hear about Iowa Conservationist James Pease's lifelong work for water conservation in Iowa. Pease has paddled 1,400 miles of Iowa’s rivers conducting surveys and will provide a unique perspective on Iowa’s waters. The final seminar in the Blank Park Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Series is Thursday, April 7 at 6 P.M. Buy tickets here.

8. Post in the Urban Ambassadors Facebook Group 

Whether it’s an event we missed or something you want to organize on your own, post it in the Urban Ambassadors Facebook group! This is a great way to make new friends who care about protecting Iowa’s natural resources, just like you. Not part of the group yet? Join here.

9. Start a Seed Project

Have a great idea from an environmental project that’s not in Des Moines yet? Register a Seed Project at our website and find community members to help you make your dream a reality.

10. Attend our Monthly Meetup on Solar Power

This month's meetup will be on April 12 at Smokey Row from 6:00-7:30 p.m. Tim Kruse, owner of Green Light Renewable Services, is a master electrician with 20+ years of experience. He will share his vast knowledge on the different types of solar panels available for your home or business, the installation process, and also the incentives available at the state or federal level. Check out their website for a great list of reasons to consider solar for your home.

11. Attend City Council Meeting about Making Des Moines Carbon-Neutral

A group of organizations (and passionate youth involved in iMatter) are working together to make Des Moines carbon neutral by 2040. By attending the City Council meeting on April 25, the goal is to encourage City Council to create a citizens' task force with youth representation that provides input on how to get to net zero. Join the group from 4:30-6:00 p.m. at City Hall in downtown Des Moines. 

12. Join the Green Runners Group

Green running is a way to better yourself and your community. It is the act of running with a purpose: to make the world a greener place. Runners and walkers of all shapes, sizes and abilities meet in one place to get a workout and make an impact on the earth by picking up the garbage that litters our communities. Join them on April 22 at 6:00 p.m. at Los Laureles.