10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Of course, every day is a great day to support invertebrates and their habitat – but Earth Day is a great time to do something extra special. Here are some ways you can work to promote a healthy planet for invertebrates and the people they let share their planet.

Plant something for pollinators:

Here’s a round-up of some places to start when looking for ideas about what to plants for pollinators. Be sure to visit our blog for more articles and plant profiles.

Regional plant lists for pollinators

Monarch nectar plant guides

Regional milkweed guides

100 Plants to Feed the Bees

Plants You Can Eat Are a Pollinator Treat

Picking Plants for Pollinators

Planting for Pollinators – In Your Backyard and Beyond


Blanketflower (Gaillardia) is a drought-tolerant perennial native to the United States and Canada. Its eye-catching, showy flowers are a magnet for bees, such as this leafcutter (Megachile). Photograph by Mace Vaughan.


Plant a tree to bring home the butterflies:

Native trees support hundreds of butterfly and moth species and provide habitat for other wildlife too. Tree planting is a popular way to celebrate Earth Day – so make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to plant a species that will do the most good. This list from Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, identifies the trees and shrubs that support the most butterfly and moth species. For more ideas check out book Gardening for Butterflies.


Make a splash with a rain garden:

Rain gardens help to keep our watershed clean to the benefit of freshwater mussels and other aquatic invertebrates, and when they’re planted with pollinator supporting native plants – Rain Gardens are a Win/Win


Create a nest for native bees, plant a beetle bank or insectary strip:

Pollinators need adequate nesting and overwintering sites to support healthy and sustainable population levels. Learn how you can provide more nesting habitat in your landscape:

Bring Back the Pollinators: 5 Ways to Increase Nesting Habitat for Native Bees

Beetle banks, insectary strips, and other features help to promote a diverse mix of natural predators. These insect allies can help keep common crop pests in check, and add diversity to your landscape:

Habitat Planning for Beneficial Insects (see page 22)


Insectary strips attract beneficial insects at Wingate
Farm, Hinsdale. Photo: USDA


Write a letter and spread the word:

Raise awareness and make your voice heard to change minds and influence policy!

Every Species Needs A Voice: Speak Up!

Write Your Rep! Less Mowing, More Monarchs

Xerces Model Policy to Protect Pollinators from Harmful Pesticide Exposures


Participate in Citizen Science:

Citizen science efforts allow anyone to contribute to meaningful conservation and scientific research. Learn more about citizen science efforts we lead and support, or find other citizen science projects on just about any subject imaginable.


Take a picture and share it:

Not only can a good photo help to make often unnoticed insects easier to enjoy – they can be used to document species and add to observation data that is used in real-world conservation efforts. Use the links below to learn how to better photograph insects with advice from nature photographer Clay Bolt, and discover photo-driven citizen science projects you can join.

5 Tips for Better Insect Photography

Bumble Bee Watch

PNW Bumble Bee Atlas

Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper


Moth Photographers Group


This white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) is day-flying and feeds on many of the same wildflowers as butterflies, including native thistles. Photo: Stephanie McKnight / Xerces


Dump your pesticides (safely and legally of course!):

Many municipalities hold hazardous household waste disposal days in celebration of Earth Day, check with your waste authority for details, or follow this advice to safely dispose of unwanted pesticides.


Use Your Muscles to Save Some Mussels:

Freshwater mussels are amongst the most imperiled animals in the U.S. Participate in a river or watershed cleanup effort to help keep water clean for freshwater mussels and other aquatic wildlife. Look for local watershed cleanup efforts or use this map to find a cleanup effort near you.


Make a donation:

Help support the work we do – on Earth Day and every day before and after. Consider making a donation or becoming a member today.



By Justin Wheeler, Web Manager and Communications Administrator