10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Month 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!

Share your Earth Month experiences with us in the Urban Ambassadors Facebook group!

Here's our Top 10 List:

  1. Get Dirty! Are you a geocache lover or wannabe geocacher who wants to save the Earth? Cache in Trash Out Creek Clean-Up is the event for you. Climb in and out of creeks and tromp through the woods cleaning up trash on the morning of April 15. Learn more and register here.

    Support community gardening by attending the South Suburban YMCA’s Community Garden Prep Party! On April 22 from 8-10am, volunteers will help lay wood chips, build garden paths, and prep the space for spring planting.

    Commit a Random Act of Volunteering for the Earth (RAVE) by removing brush from a remnant prairie that sits hidden along the Great Western Trail. One volunteer has taken the initiative to care for it the past few years and has asked for some help. Learn more here.

  2. Beautify your community through trash pick-up. You’ve probably heard of Trash Bash, Des Moines’ largest Earth Day event with over 15,000 participants. Join them this year on April 21, 12-5pm. Learn more about Trash Bash and register your team here.

    The 6th Avenue Corridor Cleanup on April 21 brings community members together to clean public spaces and provides light yard work assistance to private property owners. Learn more and register here.

  3. Show up for a cause. On April 11, Iowans will gather at the Capitol to show their support for funding Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. Learn more and RSVP here.

    On April 22, join the nonpartisan group, marching to show public support of science and express the desire that politics not make science a partisan issue at the March for Science Des Moines. This is a sister event of the March for Science in DC, and will start at 12pm at the State Capitol. Follow this link to learn more about March for Science Iowa, register, volunteer, and spread the word!  

    Iowans will rally for climate action on April 29 at the People's Climate March Iowa: Justice, Jobs, Clean Energy! Register here to attend the rally at the Capitol in Des Moines from 1-3pm. There will be speakers, exhibitors and children’s activities. Bring the whole family!

  4. Eat good food--or learn what makes food truly good. Support local restaurants that serve local and sustainable food, a good place to start is the Happy Cow database, which highlights vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants. Or grab some local ingredients from the Iowa Food Cooperative or Campbell’s Nutrition and make your own delicious, healthy and sustainable meal!

    On April 6, check out the Food Still Matters April screening of “Fed Up”, a documentary that reveals a 30-year campaign by the food industry aided by the U.S. government to mislead and confuse the American public. Join at 6pm for a vegan potluck with free film screening at 7pm at the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines.

    Urban Ambassadors is teaming up with the Iowa Food Coop and Food Still Matters to host Good Food, a  feel good movie promoting local farmers and sustainable farming. On April 21, come learn about local foods, farmers and how you can support the local food system in Iowa. Check out a trailer here. More details on the Facebook event page.

  5. Grow your own friends--plant friends that is! 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! You can also make people friends who share your love of plants at the Central Iowa Permaculture Guild meeting on April 12. Learn more here.

  6. Make Art. Appreciate the Earth or communicate your view as an environmentalist through writing, photography, drawing, or recycled art! Learn some nature photography tips from a master Iowa photographer, Ty Smedes, on April 4 at the Johnston Lions Club. Learn more here.

    Kids (and adults too!) will have an opportunity to explore the wonders of the word at the Downtown Earth Day Tour on April 22 from 11-3pm hosted by the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Science Center and Iowa Rivers Revival. See what the day has in store here. Stop by our exhibit at the Bot Garden and say hi!

  7. Learn something new. Read a book about an environmental issue you want to learn more about, seek out a mentor for an eco project on the Urban Ambassadors Facebook Group or subscribe to our email list for interesting updates & other events around town! Do you know about mushroom hunting? You can now, check it out.

    The Blank Park Zoo’s Conservation Speaker Series is excited to bring David Mizejewski to Des Moines for a discussion about his award-winning book, “Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife.” The presentation is on April 6 starting at 7pm. Buy your tickets here!

    Connie Mutel is a senior science writer at the University of Iowa who has written A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland.  On April 13 at 7pm at the First Unitarian Church of DM Central, Iowa Sierra Club will host the author to discuss the book. It may be one of the most persuasive arguments for taking action ever presented to the general public - don’t miss it. More details here.
  8. Enjoy the outdoors. It’s easy to get burnt out on trying to save the Earth. Revitalize your mind and body by biking, hiking, and stargazing with friends. The Science Center of Iowa will be hosting a Star Party at Ewing Park on April 1 at from 8-10pm. Bring your friends and family to see the Jupiter, Mars, and the Moon all in one night!  

    Women Rolling Collectively invites you to join their third Cycle Series: Biking with Kids and Family on April 5, for a discussion about the safety, tools, and best practices for family biking. The event starts at 5:30pm at the Des Moines Bicycle Collective.

  9. Choose a sustainable transportation option. Bike, bus, and walk to work or other places you frequent. Don’t forget to check out this transportation symposium on April 26.

    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.

    The Polk County Housing Trust Fund and Capital Crossroads are hosting a Downtown Affordable Housing Walking Tour on Friday, April 7 from 9-11:30am. Join for a downtown tour of affordable housing options and discuss housing's role in building a stronger economy in Central Iowa. Bring your walking shoes to tour by foot, and look forward to riding the free D-Line shuttle through DART. The event is free but space is limited. Follow this link to RSVP and read about travel logistics.

  10. Consider giving your funds to a local nonprofit… Urban Ambassadors! We are here to help connect, educate, and empower our community to be more sustainable. We do that through posts like this, hosting monthly meet-ups (like our April 11 one on composting), and connecting you with like-minded people and groups.

We hope this list gives you a jump start to an awesome Earth Month! Please share with us what you are doing to honor and protect our Earth this month!