Earth Day events are designed to help us learn to restore our planet by promoting clean air, land, and water, supporting native species, and more. In past years, Staunton has held a large educational fair for Earth Day, but this year things will look a little different in order to keep people safe from Covid. A number of activities will occur virtually or will be extended for a longer period of time. Click here for the full schedule.
- Earth Day Staunton Stage: Come to the Sunspots Pavilion on April 24 from 10 – noon for music and demonstrations including tips for native gardening, climate restoration, honeybee behavior, and more.
- Shenandoah Mountain Warblers & Wildflowers: Join Friends of Shenandoah Mountain and Headwaters Master Naturalists at one of three Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail sites to explore the trails, and identify birds and plants. Each site will have a master naturalist, a birder, and a biologist standing by to help you and answer your questions. May 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Litter Cleanup & Classification (Ages 11-Adult): Most litter can end up in our waterways. In this activity you’ll select an area to collect litter (it doesn’t need to be near a body of water). Download the pdf and track the amount and type of litter you found. This will be used in a national database.
- Earth Day Paddle Trip with Friends of the Middle River: This self-guided, 3-hour float on the Middle River is available to those who have their own boats and transportation. May 1st, put-in 8 – 9:30 a.m.
- Meet a Bat! Afterschool Animal Encounter & Flappy Hour for Adults: Leslie Sturges (Save Lucy the Bat) will teach the community about how bats are beneficial to the community. She’ll have separate programs for kids (they’ll get to ask questions and see a real bat) and adults (more answers to your bat-related questions, plus “batty” drink recipes). April 21, 4:30 pm
- Climate Reality and What We Can Do About It: Shenandoah Green will discuss the climate and teach us how to “restore balance.” April 22, 5:30 p.m.
- Watch & Talk — Kiss the Ground: Register to watch the movie and then join the virtual discussion with soil experts on how to “stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems and create abundant food supplies.”
Activities with Apps and Online Components
- Families can download the ActionBound app and participate in a series of miniature quests called “Earth Day Staunton Bound.” The free activity will be available until April 30.
- Identify that new-to-you plant or critter with the help of iNaturalist’s Seek app. Take photos and earn points as you learn about the subject’s life.
- Kids’ “Restore the River” Art & Photography Activity: Kids learn about keeping the river healthy on the Friends of the Middle River educational webpages. Next, they design a piece of artwork to upload and share. Through April 30.
Natural Areas in Staunton’s Parks
If you’re looking to “get in touch with nature” while in the city of Staunton, you should really check out the natural areas in our parks. Hikers and mountain bikers will love wandering the trails in Betsy Bell Wilderness and Montgomery Hall Park. Both offer miles of trails and the particular sense of peace you get when you’re surrounded by the natural world. Birders, too, will revel in the high number of species that can be identified in these hotspots. Montgomery Hall also offers Nature Ridge natural playground. Tucked away behind the softball field, this playground features no swings or slides, only natural elements that will absorb kids for hours of imaginative and exploratory play.
Staunton Businesses that Promote Good Stewardship of the Earth
How can you enjoy your favorite cleaning and personal products and do something good for the environment at the same time? Shop at Refill Renew, a low-waste refill shop where you bring your own refillable containers, and pay for the bulk product you add. Choose from hair and body products, sunscreen, various cleaners and detergents, as well as local apple cider vinegar. You’ll also find reusable lifestyle goods like stainless steel utensils and straws, mesh product bags, beeswax wrap, biodegradable trash bags and more.
Bryan Black, designer and owner of Concepts Created, has been constructing custom furniture out of reclaimed wood and other materials since 2000. Each piece is created after a detailed consultation with the customer. Skilled handcrafting and attention to detail produce unique pieces that have both beauty and history.
Staunton Farmers’ Market
Farmers’ markets are wonderful ways to score the freshest possible produce and connect with your community. They also support local agriculture and sustainable farming practices. Visit the Staunton Farmers’ Market April – November.
Staunton Plant Co.
Native plants are important because they have adapted to their native conditions and generally don’t require as much fertilizer or pesticides as other species. They also support the shelter and food needs of local species of birds, mammals, and insects like butterflies. Staunton Plant Co. specializes in locally grown and native plants. This full-service garden center also provides annuals, perennials, mulch, trees and hanging baskets to beautify your property.
JMD Farm Market & Garden Center
Not only does JMD Farm Market & Garden Center offer locally grown annual, perennial, and vegetable plants, they also carry garden gifts and fresh, local meats, fruits, and vegetables. Shop, enjoy a glass of wine, and let the kids explore on the natural playground.
Several downtown Staunton shops offer garden and garden-themed decor. You might know Blair Made for beautiful handmade wooden signs, but check the website for a glimpse of her vintage botanical prints that are printed on wood and will allow you to look at fresh flowers all year long. Harmony Moon has a nice selection of planters and flower pots, whimsical bird houses, windchimes, birdbaths and other garden décor.