Celebrating Earth Day

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This Thursday, April 22, Earth Day will celebrate its 40th anniversary. A day designated to reflect on what we can do to improve and protect the environment, in small towns and big cities alike; Earth Day - or Earth Week - has become a festive community call-to-action around the globe.

In classrooms across the country, American children will join volunteers and activists in projects aimed at giving back to Mother Earth.

Earth Day can also be an opportunity for busy parents to plan some easy, fun family activities that educates and reinforces the message that we all have a responsibility to protect our planet.

Here are a few suggestions to help you teach your children to be good stewards of their environment and encourage them to make everyday Earth Day.

• Set aside time - even if it is just one hour - to help cleanup a local park, beach, stream or your own neighborhood. Many schools, church groups and municipalities have organized community "clean up" projects and are always looking for volunteers.

• Donate and plant a tree or flowers at a school, church, park or in your own yard.

• Take your children to a local farmer's market and plan a special meal using fresh, organic whole foods.

• Plant a small vegetable garden in your yard or in container pots.

• Teach your children about recycling old clothing and toys by visiting and donating to a local thrift shop. Collect unwanted books in your home and from your neighbors to donate to a senior citizen's center or hospital library.

• Water conservation - Encourage your kids to turn off the water when they brush their teeth and take shorter showers.

• Energy conservation - Remind each other to turn off lights, computers and entertainment components.

• Enjoy Mother Nature - Take your children on nature walks, talk to them about the beauty around them.

• Watch an Earth Day movie and talk to your children about the message - Disney's Planet Earth, Wall-E, The Lorax, Brother Bear, Totoro, FernGully_ The Last Rainforest.

Don't worry that you won't have enough time to make your contribution meaningful. There are many small things you and your children can do to make a difference. Spending quality time with and educating your children to respect Mother Nature may prove to be the most important thing you could ever do to celebrate Earth Day.

Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology (r) at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of four books, including three national bestsellers. She is a frequent speaker on green living and children's health issues, and is a contributor to FoxNewsHealth.com. For more information go to www.dienviro.com