Backyard Projects for Earth Day

This year many Earth Day events have been cancelled due to COVID-19. But even though we’re encouraged to stay close to home, we can still find ways to protect the environment and engage in activities that promote sustainability. It’s more important than ever to find ways to live green. On Thursday, April 22, celebrate Earth Day by starting one of these eco-friendly backyard projects.

Start a Garden

A popular COVID-19 pastime is growing your own food. This spring, start a garden that will keep you supplied in fresh vegetables for delicious salads and side dishes throughout spring, summer, and autumn.

There is something about digging in the earth that increases our sense of well-being. Don’t have the room? Container gardening is ideal for vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and herbs.

If you have children, take them with you. Gardening with kids is a great way to teach them about where food comes from and encourage them to connect with nature.

Add a Beehive

Bees play an important part in our ecosystem. Honey bees can help the environment, not to mention the honey that provides a sweet treat at breakfast or snack time. Your Earth Day project would entail some internet research: raising bees does have its pros and cons. Explore the two main options for adding a beehive – build your own or buy a kit. Check out Vancouver’s guidelines for keeping bees in the backyard.

Backyard Waste Audit

Conduct a backyard waste audit – it can really be an eye-opener. Take stock of the kinds of items that need to be thrown away. These might include bottles, cans, cardboard boxes, plastic sheeting/drop cloths, paint cans, grass cuttings, plants, pruned branches, and pet waste. Are you disposing everything according to proper waste management protocols?

Did you know, for example, that you can put branches and prunings in the green recycling bin only if they are under 10 cm thick and 50 cm long?  Pet waste should go in the garbage (can’t be recycled). If you’re not sure whether or not something is recyclable or where it should be dropped off, visit the City of Vancouver yard waste page and use the handy “Waste Wizard” tool (it’s really fun).

Collect Rain Water

Reduce the amount of water you use in the backyard. Install rain barrels under the downspouts of your gutter system. You can use the water for non-drinking purposes such as watering plants, lawns, and shrubs, washing the dog, and scrubbing the deck or the driveway.

Make Your Yard Bird-Friendly

The first step to making your yard inviting to birds is to get rid of toxins and chemicals such as pesticides and other lawn care products.

Before filling a bird feeder, investigate which kinds of birds are local to your area.

Give them someplace to have a bath. If you just want them to visit and not stay, keep the gutters free of all interesting nesting materials.