You may know that Saturday, April 22, is Earth Day. You may know that it’s a day to help celebrate the Earth’s environment and raise awareness about pollution. But do you know when the first Earth Day was? Why the day was created? We thought we’d share a few fun facts with you about this important day.

  • The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.
  • It was started by Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin who had the idea for a national day to focus on the environment.
  • More than 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day, which led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Earth Day also helped to influence the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts.
  • Earth Day went global in 1990 and gave a huge boost to recycling efforts.
  • The day is now celebrated worldwide with rallies, conferences, service projects and outdoor activities.
  • Each Earth Day Five Rivers MetroParks organizes an Adopt-A-Park event with volunteers pitching in to clean local parks. Last year, volunteers planted 3,500 trees, cleared 47,000 pounds of litter, cleaned eight miles of roadways, 16 miles of trails and 31 miles of waterways.
  • Earth Day Network has launched the Trees for the Earth campaign with a goal to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020 – that’s one tree for each person projected to live on the planet by then!

Hopefully Earth Day encourages you to think about threats our planet faces and ways we can help protect the environment. Your family can do their part to help too. Simple things like recycling, conserving energy and water, and cleaning up your local parks and neighborhood are all ways to keep our planet healthy every day, not just on Earth Day.

No matter what you do to give back this Earth Day, you can celebrate Mother Nature with a fun treat – Oreo Dirt Cake! This simple recipe is sure to please your entire family. So when you’re done digging in the real dirt, roll up your sleeves to play in the dirt in the kitchen, too.

Happy Earth Day!

Oreo Dirt Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 ounce) bag Oreo cookies
  • 2 (3 1/2 ounce) packages French vanilla instant pudding
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1⁄4 cup butter or 1⁄4 cup margarine (1/4 cup)
  • 1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip
  • Gummy worms
  • Small clay pots (makes it really fun for serving the dirt cake!)

Directions:

  1. Break up and smash cookies, scooping 1/2 into the bottom of each small clay pots (or other preferred serving dishes) and saving the other 1/2 for topping.
  2. Mix pudding and milk together, set aside.
  3. Mix sugar, cream cheese, and butter.
  4. Add sugar mixture to pudding; fold in cool whip.
  5. Pour onto crumbled cookies, then top with remaining cookies and gummy worms.
  6. Let it cool at least a half-hour before serving. Enjoy!