Celebrating Earth Day with NOAA on the West Coast
Our West Coast offices share activities you can do all month long to help celebrate Earth Day.
April 1 Take Our Earth Month Challenge
We like to say that every day is Earth Day at NOAA...and this month we’re asking you to help us celebrate with individual and community actions inspired by NOAA’s mission of science, service and stewardship. Are you up for the challenge? Join us for a daily activity all month long and tag us @NOAAFisheries to let us know you're participating in #EarthDayNOAA.
April 2 Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Did you know streaming music and videos over the internet has an environmental impact? Give the earth a break from greenhouse gases today and read a book instead. For example, learn about the importance of Pacific salmon in our illustrated book, An Incredible Journey (Spanish), and prepare to be inspired by kids around the world who are making a difference in saving salmon.
April 3 Track Marine Pollution
Beach, road, and river cleanups are great ways to help the environment, and it’s even better if we collect information about where, when, and what kind of marine debris shows up. With NOAA’s Marine Debris Tracker App, you can collect data to help scientists better understand marine debris and inform policy.
April 4 Create Ocean Art
Express your creative side by picking an art activity from our collection of NOAA Art Resources, from individual coloring sheets to a full-scale salmon mural for your community! Feel free to post a photo of your NOAA-inspired art project with the hashtag #NOAA’sArt.
April 5 Play the Salmon Survival Board Game
Learn about the salmon life cycle with The Salmon Survival Board Game. The game walks participants through the salmon life cycle. During each life stage, participants attempt to survive the natural and human-made challenges salmon face, such as drought, passage barriers, and predators. But don’t despair, the game also features ways that people are helping salmon, such as building rain gardens, conserving water, and constructing fish ladders!
April 6 Join the NOAA's Planet Stewards Book Club
Need a book suggestion on an earth- or ocean-related science topic? Join the NOAA Planet Stewards book club for titles, discussion questions, and book club meeting dates. Anyone can participate virtually!
April 7 Take a #SafePlaceSelfie
Where is your safe place from Earth’s extreme weather? NOAA’s Weather Service and partners are challenging you to photograph yourself at a safe location when hazardous weather like lightning, tornadoes, flash floods, or extreme heat threatens your area. Post your photo with the hashtag #SafePlaceSelfie at 11:11 a.m. your local time. Be sure to follow the latest social-distancing and other health safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local health authorities.
April 8 Share the Shore
As many venture outdoors, coastal wildlife, such as seals, are being impacted by the number of people visiting local beaches. In some cases, interactions between these animals and beachgoers is having devastating results. In the age of selfies and social media, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being close to wildlife and sharing photos. Learn more about our viewing guidelines or help pass out NOAA’s Share the Shore posters in your community.
April 9 Green Your Cleaning Routine
To keep toxins out of your home and out of our waterways, make your own household cleaners, purchase ones that are labeled nontoxic, or look for the Safer Choice label. The Environmental Protection Agency’s, Safer Choice program certifies products that contain safe ingredients for human health and the environment so you can make green choices easily when shopping at your local store.
April 10 Help Reduce Stormwater Pollution
Oil, heavy metals, toxic tire dust, and antifreeze runoff from roads. When they reach rivers and streams, these pollutants kill fish, stunt their growth, and impair their reproduction. You can help by volunteering with a local group or municipality to Adopt A Storm Drain and help maintain this important infrastructure.
April 11 Conserve Electricity
Barriers, such as dams, may block fish passage and create slow-moving pools that are ideal for predators. We can reduce our dependence on dam - generated electricity by simply turning off lights and electronics when not in use and unplugging unused electronics, switching to LED light bulbs, and when shopping for new electronics, look for the Energy Star label.
April 12 Build a Rain Garden
Building a rain garden can be an easy and fun project for your family or your community. Rain gardens are a smart and proven way of using beautiful landscaping to: beautify and improve homes and neighborhoods, reduce flooding, clean our waterways, and protect our precious natural habitats. Often, local governments help homeowners with the costs of new landscaping by offering rebate programs to install rain gardens or cisterns. Check on your municipal or county websites for more information, rain garden incentive programs for Seattle/Puget Sound homeowners can be found here.
April 13 Become a Community Scientist
By conducting community science, you can help scientists gather valuable data. NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region accepts volunteers aged 18+ on a case-by-case basis.
Learn more about NOAA’s community science opportunities on the West Coast or check out government-wide opportunities at CitizenScience.gov.
April 14 Volunteer with NOAA
Volunteering is not only beneficial for communities and the environment, but it can be a great way for volunteers to develop new skills, explore career options, make friends, create professional contacts, get exercise, and spend time outdoors. Check out our list of volunteering opportunities in California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
April 15 Become a Sea Steward
Learn about the 9 problems facing the ocean today, what it means to be an ethical angler, and how you can become a Sea Steward by checking out the Sea Stewards Handbook (Spanish).
April 16 Eat Sustainable Seafood
Want to make sure the fish on your plate is sustainable? Interested in learning about how and who harvested it? FishWatch is the premier resource to learn about sustainable seafood and make seafood choices you can feel good about. The United States is recognized as a global leader in sustainable seafood, because we rely on strong science, responsive management, and enforced compliance. Learn more about how we are working to support healthy fisheries and provide safe sources of seafood.
April 17 Be Whale Wise
Planning to get out on the water this summer on Washington’s waterways? Be Whale Wise educates boaters about how to keep our marine mammals safe, providing guidelines that will make you a safer boater and a steward of our natural resources. For example, boats need to stay 300 yards from Southern Resident killer whales on either side and 400 yards out of their path (both behind and in front), to go slow (<7 knots) within ½ mile of Southern Resident killer whales, and disengage engines if whales appear within 300 yards.
April 18 Eat Salmon-Safe Foods
You can find the Salmon-Safe ecolabel on goods at your local grocery store. The label means the product came from a farm dedicated to agricultural practices that protect water quality and help restore fish and wildlife habitat - so both farms and Pacific salmon can thrive on the West Coast.
April 19 Keep Wipes Out of Pipes!
Across the country, utility, sewer, and water managers say #PipesHateWipes. City sewer overflows caused by ‘flushable’ wipes can pollute our streets, neighborhoods, water and ocean environments. Commit to throwing away paper towels, “flushable” wipes, napkins, tampons, cotton balls, dental floss or other substances in the trash and not the toilet. These items do not readily break down upon flushing like toilet paper does, resulting in sewer backups and toxic overflows affecting public health and the environment.
April 20 Catch & Release
Catch and release fishing allows more fish to remain and reproduce in the ecosystem. We’re highlighting catch & release tips every recreational angler should know on our Facebook page, things like how to identify and avoid redds, minimizing your fight time, using barbless tackle, and wetting your hands before handling a fish, and there’s still more to come! Find more in our Scaling Back Your Impact: Best Practices for Inland Fishing brochure.
April 21 Save the Date to Survive the Sound
Can you help salmon survive the obstacles in Puget Sound? Join us next month for an online salmon game, Survive the Sound, developed in collaboration with Long Live the Kings and other partners. The game uses real fish tracking data collected by NOAA scientists who study the migration patterns and survival of threatened steelhead in Puget Sound. The data is transformed to a friendly competition where gamers can pick a fish and compete for survival as the fish migrate through obstacles including pollution, predators, and physical structures such as bridges. After the 5-day migration (May 3-7), the individual, classroom, or team with the most surviving fish wins bragging rights!
April 22 Give Thanks
It takes a village to meet our agency’s mission, including our partners in tribes, the commercial and recreational fishing industry, state and local government, academic institutions, NGOs, and more. Give a shout out and tag your #EarthHeroes on social media today.
April 23 Don't Drip & Drive
Small car leaks are a big source of pollution to our shared waters and can mean a shorter lifespan for your car. Check out Don’t Drip & Drive’s handy resources which can help you determine if your car might be leaking, and if so, what you can do about it. Participating repair shops offer free visual leak checks and discounts on leak repairs.
April 24 Keep Salmon Off Drugs
Flushing old medicines down the toilet is bad for our waterways and bad for our fish. Bring leftover or expired medicines to a drug take-back program or contact your local household hazardous waste facility for guidance.
April 25 Wash Your Car Right
Car washing in driveways sends dirty wash water, containing soap, grease, brake dust, oil, and dirt into the nearest storm drain. From there, it’s a short trip to the nearest creek or lake. What can you do? Wash your car at a commercial car wash. Commercial car washes recycle water and connect to the sewer system to clean dirty water. Or wash your car on a lawn or gravel area, where the dirty wash water will soak into the soil. You can also use rolled up towels or sandbags to divert your wash water to your lawn or landscaping if washing in your driveway. Learn more about washing your car right, here.
April 26 PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Their Tracks
Invasive species can outcompete native species for food and habitat and sometimes even cause their extinction. You can help stop invasive species while you adventure outdoors by cleaning, draining, and drying your aquatic gear, acquiring firewood locally when camping, and using a boot brush to clean off your shoes, or bikes before leaving an area. Find more great tips on preventing the spread of invasive species at PlayCleanGo.
April 27 Scoop Pet Waste
Pet waste contains harmful organisms like E.coli, Giardia, and roundworms which can be transmitted to people and pets if not cleaned up. When it rains, pet waste gets washed down the storm drain and into the nearest stream or lake. The organisms in dog waste can pollute our streams, creeks, and lakes, making our favorite places to swim and play unsafe. Scoop pet waste and dispose of in a trash can to protect pets, people, and the environment.
April 28 Recycle Styrofoam Right
Frequently found in nature and beach cleanups worldwide, it is uncommon for waste haulers to accept foamed polystyrene from your weekly trash, recycle, or compost pick-up. Making the extra effort to dispose of styrofoam properly is a great way to protect our environment. Sometimes you just need to coordinate with your municipality waste manager, Seattle Public Utilities, for example, offers free pick up for styrofoam blocks if you schedule a Special Item Collection. Other areas may offer drop off recycling centers that accept styrofoam or special one-day events. Look up options for styrofoam recycling in your area this Earth Month!
April 29 Learn Something New and Attend Ongoing NOAA Webinars
NOAA has an incredible library of live and archived webinars, especially great for educators and students! With themes like satellite monitoring, hurricane hunters, and deep-sea dives, our webinars have you covered from the surface of the sun to the bottom of the ocean floor. Bookmark your favorite series because new videos will be added as soon as they are available.
April 30 Plant a Tree
Trees are well-known for their ability to store carbon, produce oxygen, stabilize soil, provide shade, and supply habitat for many species. Trees also reduce stormwater runoff. For these reasons and more, planting a tree or many trees on your property is a great benefit to our environment. Due to their value to healthy communities, more and more municipality governments are offering tree rebates to help homeowners with the cost of purchasing trees. Such as these programs in Vancouver, Tacoma, and Kirkland, WA, Woodland and San Marino, CA and Portland, OR. Search online or talk to your city staff to see if tree planting rebates are available in your community.