Skip to main content

Earth Day

EGLE staff talks to kids and adults at display table for Earth Day
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Earth Day

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) celebrates Earth Day every year in April. Government, non-government organizations, and businesses around the world are examining natural processes, plus new and existing green technologies to help restore the world's resources, improve farming practices, rebuild soils, restore native flora and wildlife, and improve water quality around the world.

History of Earth Day

Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis - oil spills, smog, and rivers so polluted they caught fire.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans, 10% of the U.S. population at the time, took to the streets, college campuses, and hundreds of cities to protest environmental issues and demand change for our planet going forward. The goal of Earth Day is to raise awareness for climate change, protect the world's resources, and environment. Earth Day is one of the largest civic events that takes place throughout the world.

Learn how YOU can make a difference EVERY day in protecting Michigan's environment.

Consider the following, to create a more sustainable Michigan, and contribute to a healthier and cleaner planet:

  • Return single-use bags to grocery stores for them to recycle
  • Recycle the plastics you no longer need or find additional uses for containers
  • Donate unwanted items of clothing instead of throwing them away
  • Plant trees and native wildflower seeds and put in a rain or butterfly garden
  • Eat more vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
  • Ride a bike, take a hike, go canoeing, or kayaking
For more ideas, check out our 52 ways to celebrate Earth Day
Earth Day 2022 Webinar on Working Together to Address Climate Change

Earth Day 2022 Student Webinar: Working Together to Address the Challenge of Climate Change

Government, non-government organizations, and businesses around the world are examining natural processes, plus new and existing green technologies to help restore the world's resources, improve farming practices, rebuild soils, restore native flora and wildlife, and improve water quality around the world. 

Our student-focused Earth Day webinar focused on how EGLE is addressing the challenges of climate change in Michigan. Watch the recording to learn directly from EGLE staff about what is happening at the state, community, and individual levels to address this challenge.

EGLE's Earth Day webinar content can support the achievement of learning targets in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) when used in conjunction with the recommended pre- and post-webinar activities we've developed for classroom teachers.

2023 Poster Contest

EGLE invites Kindergarten – 5th Grade students to participate in the 2023 Earth Day Poster Contest. Posters must be Michigan-themed and include wildlife, plants, land, or freshwater ecosystems native to Michigan. Each school will hold their own contest and submit only the top three (3) posters per grade (K-5) for each school. 

Download the contest flyer for full contest guidelines.

Download the poster contest submission template.


Poster submissions are due by March 3rd, 2023 and can be emailed to


2023 Environmental Service Awards

The Environmental Service Award recognizes outstanding work by a student or group of students in grades 6-12 on a school sanctioned, environmentally-based project that benefits plants, wildlife, or ecosystems native to Michigan. Download the award guidelines for more information.

Nominations are due by March 3rd, 2023. Two projects will receive an award – one in grades 6-8 and one in grades 9-12.


2022 Winners

Careerline Tech Center School, Ottawa Area Intermediate School District

Juniors and Seniors in Careerline Tech Center’s Environmental Field Studies program created a project after doing a study about plastic pollution on Ottawa County beaches. The students went to lakes and collected samples of plastic pollution on six beaches. After analyzing their data, they concluded that the main contaminants were microplastics and single-use plastics. The students’ research project was showcased in a local newspaper, the Holland Sentinel. Members from the Outdoor Discovery Center, the Allegan Conservation District, and Ottawa County Parks and Recreation came together to mentor students in brainstorming solutions to problematic plastic. Inspired by the experience of cleaning up beaches, students designed and installed recycling units, called Beach Buddy stations, for plastics at four different shore locations. Students received grants from the EPA Trash Free Waters program and the Inland Seas Education Association’s Great Lakes Watershed Field Course program. The grants provide funds for students to build and install Beach Buddy Stations.

 The project helps to:

  • Educate the public about plastic pollution
  • Empower citizens to clean up the lakeshore
  • Recycle plastic materials Prevent plastic from getting into the lakes

West Side Christian School, Grand Rapids

West Side Christian Middle School Creation Care (Green Team), grades 6-8, is a volunteer student group dedicated to improving sustainable practices through advocacy, awareness, and action. The group started five years ago. Each year, new students take the lead to set school-wide goals to improve the school community’s recycling efforts, which features a school-wide uniform recycling sort system, with colored-coded containers in each classroom. Students noticed that organic material (banana peels, apple cores, etc.) from lunches eaten in students’ classrooms ended up in the trash bin.  Students wanted to put food waste to good use by creating compost to add to the school garden. In Spring 2021, students researched and initiated a school-wide composting initiative.  Students worked with school administration and the facility manager to research project methods, setup a collection system, and composting area on school grounds. 

The project helps to:

  • Reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills
  • Produce compost that is used in school gardens
  • Teach excellent social, life, and work skills
  • Enhance inclusivity, all students work together on the project, including those with special needs


EGLE's Earth Day Video Playlist

At the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development we continue to identify ways to celebrate Earth Day, we invite you to join in with your own sustainable activities.