It seems hard to celebrate the natural world when you’re sheltering in place. But even though many Earth Day events have been canceled, several New York institutions are honoring the holiday’s 50th anniversary online. Here you can learn how to raise butterflies indoors, compete in an Earth trivia contest, join citizen science projects and tour sites as close as the city forests and as distant as other planets. These virtual festivities are free, and some last more than a day. Below are select highlights; more possibilities nationwide are at earthday.org.
The American Museum of Natural History
EarthFest at Home
Fasten your seatbelts: During this festival, you’ll travel from your kitchen to Mars. The fun starts in the morning with family workshops in botany and glacial physics. They’ll teach how to create an indoor mini-garden and mix “glacier goo” for experiments. At noon, join museum experts for Field Trip Earth, a live round-the-world journey that uses interactive data-visualization software to provide views of sites like the Himalayas and the Great Barrier Reef from space. Another live watch party and chat will follow, offering videos about Earth Day and environmental developments since 1970. At 6 p.m., a virtual flight to Venus and Mars will explore the solar system’s “Goldilocks zone” and what those planets teach us about climate change. Top off the night with a game of Earth Trivia! A Toast to the Planet! The prizes: places at a virtual happy hour with museum scientists on Friday.
Wednesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; amnh.org.
The Staten Island Museum
Earth Day How-To Festival
The museum promises an interactive science fair, and it’s not kidding: More than 20 instructional videos will go online and remain there indefinitely. Some teach practical environmental skills, like maintaining a worm compost bin or building rain barrels, while others offer more esoteric fare, like making ink with black walnuts. Wildlife enthusiasts can master the secrets of raising butterflies, keeping bees, deciphering bird calls, identifying gull species and mixing hummingbird nectar. Or have fun creating whimsical flowerpots or a tiny indoor greenhouse.
Saturday, noon; statenislandmuseum.org.
Museum of the City of New York
This celebration for young environmentalists — ages 6 to 12 — is online now. A video explains Earth Day and features readings of two ecologically themed picture books. Children will also find directions for making animal puppets from recyclable materials and a game matching items of trash with their appropriate destination: composting bin, recycling container or garbage can. Another activity uses an image of the Rockaways from the Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen’s “Rising Tide” project to examine climate change. The webpage also offers educational resources and capsule biographies of very young activists.
Through April 30; mcny.org.
N.Y.C. Department of Parks and Recreation
[email protected]: Earth Week
No need for a face mask and sneakers. Although you can still explore city parks if you follow safety guidelines, the [email protected] webpage offers virtual content that remains accessible. It will present live broadcasts (weather permitting) of an eco-heroes hike in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx on Tuesday and a tour of a future woodland in Forest Park in Queens on Wednesday. (The Forest Park Trust has been planting pine and other trees there over the last 10 years.) On Thursday, a video will show children how to make floral art from upcycled egg cartons. Friday, Arbor Day, brings a live visit to what is reputed to be the city’s oldest living organism: the Alley Pond Giant, a massive tulip tree in Alley Pond Park in Queens that dates back about 350 years. A tree-themed meditation moment will go online, too.
Tuesday through Friday, with live broadcasts at noon; nycgovparks.org.
Prospect Park Alliance
Earth Day Celebration Online
Even when social distancing, New Yorkers want to help their parks. Earth Day time slots to pick up a Green-and-Go kit to help clean up Prospect Park in Brooklyn have already sold out. But R.S.V.P. for Earth Day, and the alliance will provide instructions for at-home family activities like making paper, growing a grocery garden from food scraps and playing Backyard Bird Bingo. (These will remain online.) Or register for The Trees of Prospect Park, a virtual journey. At 11 a.m., the forest ecologist Howard Goldstein will introduce sites including the Lullwater Cove and the Butterfly Meadow, and species like the Northern red oak, red maple and sweet birch. Hear about woodland restoration and last year’s nesting pair of Cooper’s hawks.
Wednesday, 11 a.m.-noon; prospectpark.org.
New York Botanical Garden
Earth Day 50 With NYBG at Home
Did you know that trees can communicate with one another chemically? That’s just one of the intriguing facts in “The Overstory,” Richard Powers’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the relationship between people and trees. The garden’s online Earth Day celebration will begin with a live watch of video highlights from a conversation with Mr. Powers last year. (The excerpts will remain on YouTube.) You can also register for webinars: On Friday, Earth Day @ 50: Tools for 21st-Century Ecology features Kerissa Battle, founder of the New York Phenology Project (phenology is the study of plant and animal life cycles), and Daniel Atha, a manager of New York City EcoFlora, a kind of plant census. Their discussion may whet your appetite for Take Action With Citizen Science, a Saturday session on how you can get involved in these and other community research efforts.
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, various times; nybg.org.