Earth Day events in area coming up

Apr. 18—The celebration of Earth Day started with a celebration Thursday at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin and continues over the next few days in communities across the region.

The official Earth Day, a day to celebrate support for environmental protection and restoration, is Monday, April 22, and communities across Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas are marking the day with events this weekend and the following weekend.

Missouri Southern kicked off events with its Earth Day Sustainability Conference on Thursday.

Other events:

—The Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce will host the second Community Earth Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Carthage's Central Park at Chestnut Street and Garrison Avenue.

The event is sponsored by the Carthage Tree Board, Carthage Water & Electric Plant, the chamber and the city of Carthage.

Julie Reams, president of the chamber, said people can can get free trees and shrubs to plant in their yards from the Carthage Tree Board.

Information from the Carthage Recycling Center will be available about what kinds of things it takes for recycling and the services it has available.

Other groups will have information booths at the event, including the Jasper County Extension Office, Fair Acres YMCA, the Carthage Parks and Recreation Department and other groups.

A Ghetto Tacos food truck will be on hand for lunch, and other activities will be available.

"We're proud to present the second year of this event and try to help kids and families learn about the environment," Reams said. "If you had a tree blown away in the recent storms, this is a good time to get a tree or shrub to replace it."

—In Neosho, the company Missouri Walnut is hosting its first Earth and Arbor Day event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, in Morse Park.

The celebration will feature a tree giveaway, live entertainment, food trucks, games, face painting, raffles, vendors and bounce houses.

A number of vendors will share information encouraging the care of the planet.

The event is free, and the public is invited.

—In Galena, Kansas, the Southeast Kansas Nature Center will host a casual birding and plant hike along the trails in Schermerhorn Park from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m Saturday, April 20.

People are invited to meet at the center on the hill in Schermerhorn Park between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. Attendees can park on the north side of the park closer to the center.

Jennifer Rader, director of the center, recommends dressing for the weather, which is supposed to be cooler this weekend.

Rader said the Southeast Kansas Nature Center has a limited number of binoculars available to borrow, so she recommends people bring their own if they have them.

"We're planning for about an hour and a half to two hours max," Rader said. "But feel free to come and go as you please. Bird migration is ramping up, and there should be some fun birds in the park this weekend."

—Roaring River State Park near Cassville is hosting an Earth Day event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources invites people to stop by the Ozark Chinquapin Nature Center between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to celebrate the Earth. The park will have games, crafts and snow cones. It will also be offering tree saplings, and Smokey Bear will make an appearance.

This is a come-and-go event, and it is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

The center is located at 12716 Farm Road 2239 in Roaring River State Park. For details, call 417-847-2539.

—The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Shoal Creek Nature Center will host Joplin's annual May the Forest Be With You event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Wildcat Park.

The Wildcat Glades Nature Group, the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department, Liberty, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Chert Glades Missouri Master Naturalists are teaming up to battle invasive species and protect Wildcat Glades, a geologic feature in Southwest Missouri featuring rock outcroppings made of chert.

The theme for the 2024 event is "Rise of the Natives/Attack of the Invasives," and it focuses on the ongoing battle between native and invasive plant and animal species and how people can help the natives win.

"If the ultimate battle between good and evil isn't exactly your forte, we'll also feature a Native Tree Giveaway sponsored by Liberty Utilities, live music, food trucks, a recycled art contest, and numerous booths hosted by organizations from our community," the Wildcat Glades Nature Group said on Facebook.

People can register to win a free 3-gallon potted tree for their yard to be picked up at the event.

Visit to register.