Volunteers plant trees with Trees Atlanta (Photo by Gregg Murphey)

By Collin Kelley
INtown Editor

Promoting the importance of the environment has been Earth Day’s goal since its inception in 1970, and that recognition continues as the 44th  annual event is marked in Atlanta and around the world this month. While Earth Day is officially observed on April 22, events and happenings are taking place all month long around the city.

EarthShare of Georgia
The nonprofit that raises funds for state environmental organizations is hosting three big events for Earth Day 2014. For more about these events, visit

  • Corporate Green Day Challenge: The event will be held April 5 from 9 a.m. to noon at various project sites. Nearly 500 employees from 16 company sponsors participated in the 2013 challenge, dedicating a Saturday morning to cleaning up parks and stream banks, planting gardens and mulching trees throughout Atlanta at 13 area locations. The winning team of the Corporate Green Day Challenge will be announced at the Leadership Breakfast.
  • Earth Day Leadership Breakfast: Set for April 16 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Georgia Aquarium, the 12th annual breakfast will see business and non-profit leaders of Georgia and beyond gather to celebrate sustainable business practices. The breakfast will feature environmental updates from several environmental leaders, displays from area environmental groups and a keynote address by Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, President of American Meteorological Society. Marshall’s address, “Prehistoric, Contemporary, Futuristic: For Water, It’s All The Same, Or Is It?,will focus on water issues and the correlations to climate change, while offering ideas on sustainable ways individuals and businesses can help conserve Georgia’s environment.
  • Earth Day Party: This year’s party is April 24 at 7 p.m. at the Defoor Centre and will feature locally sourced food, music, eco-silent auction stocked with deals on eco-friendly products, unique getaways, outdoor gear and jewelry. Beverages provided by VeeV Fruite Cocktail and UVA Imports. Presented by Kaiser Permanente. Tickets are $60 per person and available at

Native Wildflower and Vine Sale: Trees Atlanta will host the second annual event on April 5 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its headquarters, 225 Chester Ave. The sale will feature native, pollinator-friendly plants, and will also specialize in perennials that will be planted along the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine. All proceeds from this plant sale will benefit the nonprofit’s youth education programs.

Earth Day Kids Fest: This fun event is Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children (under 2 get in free). You can also ride your bike from home and get in for free. There will be live music, an eco-village with hands on activities, games with the Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Falcons, canoe rides, healthy food and much more. Hosted by The Captain Planet Foundation and the Chattahoochee Nature Center. For more information:

Sweep the Hooch: Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, in partnership with Trout Unlimited and the National Parks Service, will conduct its 4th annual Sweep the Hooch on April 12, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cleanup will include 27 sites with more than 600 volunteers expected. Last year, more than 550 dedicated volunteers collected 3.7 tons of river refuse, with more than half a ton of trash recycled. To register, visit

Earth Day at Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech’s Earth Day Celebration: The 18th annual event is set for April 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tech Walk The event is free, open to the public, features over 70 exhibitors and includes eco-friendly giveaways, recycling opportunities, a clothing swap, an office supply exchange, live music, and organic popcorn. This is one of the largest Earth Day celebrations in the southeast. For more information visit

Earth Day on the Atlanta BeltLine
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, Park Pride, Trees Atlanta, the Atlanta Community Tool Bank, Keep Atlanta Beautiful, and neighborhood partners are working together to clear invasive bamboo and debris along the Northeast Hiking Trail to celebrate this year’s Earth Day on the Atlanta BeltLineThe volunteer event will be held April 19 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Park Tavern (corner of 10th and Monroe). Volunteers should wear sturdy, close-toed shoes, long sleeves and pants, work gloves (extra gloves will be available), and should bring a water bottle, bug spray, and sunscreen. Be prepared for moderate to heavy work. All ages are welcome, while children must be accompanied by an adult. To register, visit

Decatur Earth Day Festival: The event will be April 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Wylde Center at the corner of Oakview and South McDonough. The festival is pirate themed again this year (costumes encouraged) and will feature free arts and crafts for kids, 40 vendors, live music, cake contest and more. For details visit

The Hoochie: The Nature Conservancy’s 20th annual gathering will be held April 25 at The Goat Farm in West Midtown. The event will honor President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, who served on the host committee of the inaugural Hoochie. There will a curated art experience, live performances, gourmet food and a silent auction. For more information, visit

Sweep the Hooch

Volunteer Opportunities

Piedmont Park: The Piedmont Park Conservancy has numerous volunteer opportunities, including working to cleanup the park, becoming a park docent, volunteering at the seasonal Green Market and with the Dog Park Patrol.

Park Pride: The nonprofit is looking for seasonal volunteers to help with park cleanups and greenspace maintenance. Visit for details.

Trees Atlanta: All events are Saturday mornings, 9 a.m. until noon year-round. Please bring gloves and a bottle of water. Trees Atlanta provides all tools and instruction. Volunteers can also up at

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper: From working all day at a festival, to assisting with river clean-ups, to helping out for a few hours in the office, there’s something available for everyone. Find out more at

Wylde Center: The Wylde Center has weekly volunteer opportunities at the gardens it manages around the city including Oakhurst Garden in Decatur, Sugar Creek Garden in East Lake, Hawk Hollow and Edgewood Community Learning Garden.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.