Virtual Ways to Explore Earth Sciences with Parks

Hands holding text "2020" up to a ranger hat rim. Zeros in "2020" are globes
A global 50th birthday celebration was held for Earth Day in 2020.

Earth Day turned 50 years old in 2020 with a virtual global celebration. Inspired by connecting the planet's stewards through continuously emerging modern digital opportunities, find a checklist of virtual ways to celebrate Earth Days each year with the National Park Service (NPS) and our partners. Stay connected with earth sciences and stewardship with parks and your own community for Earth Day and throughout the year.

__1 Be a Citizen Scientist

Enjoy science, but not a professional scientist? Become a citizen scientist collecting data and finding answers to real-world science questions. Find citizen science projects that you can do at home or in your community, such as uploading photos of species to iNaturalist or tracking plant phenology in Nature’s Notebook.

__2 Get Social

National parks and NPS programs and partners are posting about earth sciences on social media. Be on the lookout science fun facts, games, trivia, and more. Share your favorite things found in nature in parks on social media using #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.

__3 Join a Live Park Program

Parks, NPS programs, and partners are hosting virtual live tours and talks about earth sciences. Check the calendar or official NPS social media channels to find these events.

__4 Stream Indoors

Search the NPS multimedia gallery for nature videos and audio files. Watch the Outside Science (Inside Parks) video series and listen to the Voices of Science podcast series to learn more about current science happenings in parks.

__5 Become a Junior Ranger Explorer

Earn your virtual Junior Ranger Explorer badge while learning about nature! Go on a virtual adventure exploring caves, fishing, paleontology, the night sky, sounds, and underwater features. Check out the new Junior Ranger SpaceTech Explorer book by our partners at NASA.

__6 Game On

Find online games learning about earth sciences. Check for science games and challenges or search for parks with online Junior Ranger activities. Create your own science game for parks and share it on social media for others to play using #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.

__7 Volunteer

Earth Day is meant to inspire us all to be stewards of the planet. Individual volunteerism in your community is a way to care for the planet, such as picking up trash in your community or building bird and bat boxes.

__8 Watch Webcams

See if you can spot wildlife, catch dramatic geological processes in action, or soak in stunning views from the comfort of anywhere watching webcams in national parks. Did you know the National Park Service has webcams checking air quality that also allow you to enjoy the view?

__9 Just Listen

NPS scientists record and analyze sounds to inform and improve management of national parks across the country. Explore a sound gallery to virtually experience soundscapes and natural sounds in parks. Try enhancing the soundscape at home or anywhere you visit. What can you hear?

__10 Go on a Geologic Journey

Take a virtual trip to explore geologic landscapes and features in national parks across the country highlighting the truly unique geologic diversity of our country. Share the most spectacular geological formation that you’ve seen or experienced in a park on social media using #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.

__11 Educate the Planet’s Future

Educators for all levels can find lesson plans and other educational opportunities by searching the Educators Portal. Also check for distance learning opportunities for your class with rangers and volunteers out in parks.

__12 Explore the Galaxy

Switch off the lights, let your eyes adjust to the darkness, and look up at the night sky. You may be able to see constellations, shooting stars, planets, and galaxies. Try to spot the International Space Station as it makes its journey around Earth. Or view PARKS...IN...SPAAAACE!!!

__13 Backyard Camp

Pitch tents in your own yard and have a camping trip with family and friends. Adapt camping tips and safety considerations for your yard. Use a grill to gather ‘round a campfire to tell stories, hold a sing-along, and heat s’mores.

__14 Wildlife Watching

Relax on the porch or perch at your window to watch wildlife in your neighborhood. Make a bird feeder or bat box to draw more animals to your yard. Hone your birding skills around your house with birding for beginners.

__15 Go on a Nature Hike or Bike

Go an adventure around your community on foot or wheels to explore local geology, wildlife, and vegetation while enjoying the great outdoors. Find other ways to enjoy wellness in nature in your community.

__16 Find Your Natural Muse

Nature has inspired many works of art, including painting , photography , poetry, and literature. Get inspired by nature to create your art. People of all ages can submit to the National Fossil Day Art Contest. Share your masterpieces on social media using #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.

__17 Meet NPS Scientists

Are you interested in a career in science or just interested in what scientists do? Meet NPS scientists to learn about their role in research and resource preservation and protection in a variety of fields and discover what inspired them to stay curious in science.

__18 #sciencedeskdigs

Explore things sitting on scientists’ desks, from tools to do their job to interesting objects with a story. Start your #sciencedeskdigs exploration.

__19 Plant a Pollinator Garden

More than 75 percent of Earth’s flowering plants depend on bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other pollinators. Find ways to help pollinators in their essential job with tips and tricks for all levels of “green thumbs.” Share a photo of your pollinator garden on social media using #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.

__20 Find Your Nearest Landmark

National Natural Landmarks (NNL) are places recognized for their outstanding biological and geological resources. Using a directory, can you find your nearest NNL? Why is it special?

Last updated: March 20, 2021