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Earth Day 2015: You can observe it in many ways

Earth Day events at Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserve: 1:30 p.m., ribbon-cutting ceremony and guided hike; 4:30 p.m., Earth Day creations program; 6 p.m., evening hike and bonfire. Address: 2900 Rocky River Rd.
Earth Day events at Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserve: 1:30 p.m., ribbon-cutting ceremony and guided hike; 4:30 p.m., Earth Day creations program; 6 p.m., evening hike and bonfire. Address: 2900 Rocky River Rd. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Plant a tree or seed on Wednesday and become a part of what organizers hope will be the biggest grassroots effort the world has ever seen. Or spend the day at UNC Charlotte learning how to be more earth-friendly.

If so inclined, you can celebrate the 45th anniversary of Earth Day by taking your children to ribbon-cutting ceremonies at three new Kids in Parks trails at Mecklenburg County’s Reedy Creek, McDowell and Latta Plantation nature preserves. On the way, drop off unwanted paper, computers and other electronics at the SouthPark headquarters of Piedmont Natural Gas during a four-hour recycling event.

Sustain Charlotte will also honor 100 people, businesses, nonprofits, neighborhood organizations and government agencies.

With those events and more, it’s easy to pay homage on Wednesday to the planet. Here are details of a few ways you can spend Earth Day making a difference for the environment:

▪ Sustain Charlotte’s 2015 Awards + Earth Day Celebration: The group is hosting its fourth celebration of sustainability leadership recognizing people and groups that have contributed significantly to the Earth’s preservation. Awards will be presented to three organizations in eight categories: land use, sustainable economy, energy, food, waste reduction, social equity, transportation and water. Three people will also be recognized.

The event is 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at historic Palmer Building, 2601 E. 7th St. in Charlotte. Tickets are still available. For details, click onto http://www.sustaincharlotte.org/awards.

▪ Recycle at Piedmont Natural Gas headquarters: The utility hopes to keep tons of paper, used computers and other electronic devices out of landfills by hosting a drive-through recycling and shredding event at its SouthPark offices at 4720 Piedmont Row Drive in Piedmont Town Centers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bring your unwanted items and you won’t even have to get out of your car – volunteers will unload. This will be Piedmont Natural Gas’ fourth recycling/shredding event. The first three collected 7,000 pounds of unwanted electronic equipment and 14 tons of old documents and other paper waste.

▪ Kids in Parks trail openings: The parks, a signature program of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, are self-led brochure hikes, canoe/kayak paddle trips and disc golf courses designed to encourage children to explore the outdoors and be physically active.

The three new trails in Mecklenburg are the county’s first, join a growing network of TRACK trails throughout the state and country – encouraging children to get unplugged, get active and explore the outdoors. They will be among 58 trails in 35 N.C. counties, with 20 more scheduled for completion this year.

Wednesday’s schedule for the three openings:

Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserve: 1:30 p.m., ribbon-cutting ceremony and guided hike; 4:30 p.m., Earth Day creations program; 6 p.m., evening hike and bonfire. Address: 2900 Rocky River Rd.

McDowell Nature Center & Preserve: 3:30 p.m., ribbon-cutting ceremony and guided hike. Address: 15222 York Rd.

Latta Plantation Nature Center & Preserve: 10 a.m., ribbon-cutting ceremony and guided hike at Beechwood Trail; noon, guided hike at Audobon Trail; 2 p.m., guided hike at Cattail Trail. Address: 6211 Sample Rd. in Huntersville.

▪ Niner Green at UNC Charlotte, 23rd annual Earth Day festival, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.: The festival will offer games, music and vendors from on and off campus who will share information on how you can be more friendly to the planet. The event will be on plaza outside the College of Health and Human Services building.

▪ Don’t have time to attend an event? Then pledge to plant and give back to the Earth: Earth Day 2015 will be a global “give back to Earth” event hosted by the Earth Day Network, Forest Nation, The Master Shift and The White Feather Foundation. The goal is to plant 1 billion trees or seeds throughout the world. Organizers ask that you plant something that is organic, perennial and suitable to our environment. Details, go to http://forestnation.com/about-us/.

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