Earth Day Climate Action: Celebrating our Earth in 2021 | Cal Parks

Earth Day Climate Action: Celebrating our Earth in 2021

After a tumultuous year, we were excited to celebrate our state parks and Earth this April. This year, we were able to host small in-person volunteer events as well as virtual Earth Day Climate Action events to make sure everyone could participate in this impactful month for parks and the environment. We were overwhelmed with the participation and support. Throughout April, participants showed us they are ready to have a positive impact on their parks. Below is an overview of the incredible reach of your efforts throughout April!  

In- Person Earth Day Climate Action Volunteer Events 

Due to COVID-19, our in-person Earth Day Climate Action volunteer workdays looked a little different this year. We hosted five in-person workdays across California with a total of 123 volunteers. Each workday followed careful COVID-19 guidelines to keep volunteers and park staff as safe as possible. This small but mighty group of volunteers was able to make a massive impact on their parks by working to make parks more climate resilient now and for generations to come.  

Angel Island State Park 

25 volunteers met at Tiburon to take a ferry to Angel Island State Park on Saturday, April 3. Once at the island, volunteers helped create fire buffer zones around the picnic area BBQs and cleared invasive species of forget-me-nots and bamboo to provide space for native plants to grow. Volunteers were thrilled to be able to be back in the park and happy to give back to an outdoor space where they enjoy spending time. They also enjoyed lunch courtesy of our friends at REI Co-op.  

You can see photos from the Angel Island State Park Earth Day Climate Action workday here. 

China Camp State Park 

On Saturday, April 10, volunteers from all over the Bay Area gathered at China Camp State Park to clear litter. Over 50 gallons of litter were collected from the beaches, roads, and trails throughout the park. For a few volunteers, this was their first-time visiting China Camp State Park.  

You can see photos from the China Camp State Park Earth Day Climate Action workday here.

Chino Hills State Park  

Volunteers gathered at Chino Hills State Park on Saturday, April 24 to help with maintenance on the nature trail. According to the Chino Hills State Park groundskeeper who assisted with the workday, the work these volunteers did in three hours would have taken him six months to complete on his own. This work is invaluable to parks and was a huge step in maintaining the trail for visitors.  

You can see photos from the Chino Hills State Park Earth Day Climate Action workday here.

Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park 

25 volunteers made a huge impact on Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park on Saturday, April 17. Together, they were able to clear a huge amount of debris – removing a total of more than 73 bags! Volunteers used battery powered tools leaving a zero-carbon footprint. The work will help protect this special park from possible fire damage in the upcoming months. Special thanks to REI Co-op for providing lunches for our hard working volunteers. 

You can see photos from the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park Earth Day Climate Action workday here. 

Half Moon Bay State Beach 

Volunteers (including a group from United Airlines, an Earth Day Climate Action sponsor, and California State Parks Foundation Board Members) came out to Half Moon Bay State Beach on Saturday, April 17. These volunteers worked diligently throughout the morning to clear invasive plants such as ice plant and mustard from the park. A few volunteers even brought along their Virtual Earth Day Climate Action kits to help out. We also had a special gathering of our four youth volunteer core leaders and their parents attend the workday.   

You can see photos from the Half Moon Bay State Beach Earth Day Climate Action workday here.

Virtual Earth Day Climate Action Cleanup  

Throughout the month of April, we partnered with our friends at REI Co-op to bring our Earth Day Climate Action clean ups to you! Californians across the state were encouraged to register online to receive a free Virtual Earth Day Climate Action kit to help clean up their own neighborhoods and local parks. Across California, over 5,300 volunteers participated and collected over 1,300 bags of trash! In addition, REI also encouraged their  customers and members to round up at the register to continue to fight climate resiliency, and we were able to raise over $30,000!

Volunteers helped pick up a little bit of everything, from a surfboard possibly bitten by a shark, to a toilet seat. Participants had a huge impact on their communities and California state parks. Trash travels through storm drains to natural bodies of water, leading to watersheds, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans – ultimately becoming pollution that harms both parks and wildlife. Every little bit helps when working to protect our parks from the threats of climate change.  

Virtual Earth Day Climate Action Webinar  

On April 22, we kicked off Earth Day with a special Earth Day Climate Action webinar. Together with a special panel we discussed what we need to do to make our California state parks more climate resilient on Earth Day and every day. Because together, we can protect our state parks now, and for generations to come. Panelists included California State Parks Environmental Scientist Cara Stafford, California State Parks Foundation Youth Volunteer Core Leader Tanisha Gupta, and REI SoCal Regional Experiences Manager Scott Ammons. 

Randy Widera, California State Parks Foundation’s Director of Philanthropy, welcomed everyone and set the stage for an engaging discussion. We heard unique perspectives from our panelists on how individuals and corporations can help combat the impacts of climate change and how the next generation of park stewards can make our state parks more climate resilient. As California State Parks Environmental Scientist Cara Stafford said, "Our lifestyle really does impact the Earth. And there is only one Earth.".

Thank you to everyone who came together across the state to make this Earth Day special and our state parks more climate resilient. When we come together, there is nothing we can not accomplish.