There are so many environmental holidays and seasonal initiatives that happen each year it can be difficult to keep track of them all, especially when there are other days of significance to observe.
I was recently inspired to create an Eco-Programming calendar after learning about National Fix-A-Leak Week, which is sponsored by the EPA each year between March 20-27th. This week is exactly what it sounds like, a week-long public service announcement encouraging people and organizations to fix leaks and cut water waste. Libraries are uniquely positioned to offer water-conservation programming as well as educational events about home-repairs.
Being aware of national and international environmental observances can be a great way to plug into larger ecological movements as well as acquire free resources to share with library patrons. Organizations dedicated to promoting certain environmental initiatives such as Plastic Free July Foundation and the National Wildlife Federation for National Pollinator Month in June are also looking to increase awareness and engagement, so spotlighting their efforts with specially curated information can be mutually beneficial. For libraries that participate in Climate Preparedness Week (September 24-30th), September is also National Preparedness Month. During this month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has different resources and initiatives specially planned across the country.
On a more local level, community conservation trusts and other organizations are often looking for outreach and educational opportunities. The Brewster Conservation Trust, in the town where I work, recently exhibited in our display case. They had trail guides and informational packets for people to take about local conservation areas, their work, and how people could get involved. The Trust also reached out to me about doing a library book display for World Turtle Day, which is May 23rd. I thought this was a wonderful idea, and while I didn’t have enough time to put the display together this year, I talked with their outreach coordinator about future collaborations and displays. I had just put together the Eco-Programming calendar and was in the process of creating an Animal Holiday Calendar, so that I could better plan for more environmentally dynamic displays and initiatives.
Sometimes having a holiday is a great way to advertise certain library resources, such as museum passes to the zoo, aquarium, local parks, or botanical gardens. For instance, December 27th is National Visit the Zoo Day and the month of March is Gardening, Nature, and Ecology Book Month. One of my favorite weeks is National Park Week, which is also a great way to feature local passes, show movies, do educational displays with books such as National Parks A to Z, and even print out coloring pages for kids.
Many (if not most) libraries already do gardening book displays in the spring, and highlighting local museum passes with ecological significance or items in a library of things, for libraries that have them, can be an extra way to enrich patron offerings.
With so much going on, planning ahead can be difficult when it comes to special observances. I hope that printing and hanging these calendars is a helpful and inspiring reminder of different ways to integrate sustainability and ecological diversity into your library displays, initiatives, and events.