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Earth Week Celebration

April 19–25

Hands in space holding the earth

Hands in space holding the earth

There’s only one earth, and we are on it together! Celebrate life on Earth and the systems that support it with a wild week of science programs and conservation conversations. Get inspired to take action to make the world a better place. Meet Academy scientists as well as local sustainability experts to talk about how to get involved at home and afar. Focus on the future with solutions-based tips and talking points presented by Academy educators. Explore the stories of rare Academy specimens and take part in hands-on activities at home. Join us to find out how small actions spark big changes!

Live from the Academy: Climate Change Creature Feature
Monday to Sunday, April 19–25, 1 p.m.

A guinea pig on a teal table with pumpkins

Facebook Live
All Ages

Meet live animal ambassadors from the Academy to discover how their wild relatives are making do in a world that is rapidly changing. Each day we will focus on a new topic, from invasive species to creating backyard habitats, and we will explore how animals of all stripes are affected by climate change.

On Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, at 1 p.m. we will broadcast a very special edition of this program featuring some of our friends from around Philadelphia as part of the “Partners for the Planet” series. Join the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Adventure Aquarium on a very special series of field trips to celebrate important conservation holidays. 

Join us on Facebook Live

Collecting Evidence: Specimens and Artifacts That Demonstrate Climate Change
Co-presented with the Penn Museum and the Mütter Museum
Monday, April 19, 3 p.m.

Shells separated into small boxes with labels

Zoom; free with registration
All ages

Museums in Philadelphia comprise literally millions of specimens, artifacts and documents in their diverse and important collections. How do scientists and researchers use these collections to demonstrate a changing world? From bones to diaries to snails, every museum object helps tell the story. Check out rarely displayed artifacts from three institutions that all show, in different ways, how the world has changed, how we know that it has and how we can all be better citizens.

While this program welcomes guests of all ages, we recommend adult guidance for children due to the sensitive nature of some of the specimens we may explore. For more information, please contact Mary Bailey, Youth and Family Programs Developer,

The logos for both the Penn Museum and the Mutter Museum

Warming Up to It: How to Talk to Your Students About Climate Change Teacher Resource Workshop
Tuesday, April 20, 7 p.m.

A teacher standing in front of their students

Zoom; free registration for teachers

Climate change is a complex topic, but talking about it doesn’t have to be so tough. Teachers, join Academy educators and Drexel experts for a virtual workshop on how to talk to your students about climate change. This interactive discussion will provide you with tips and tools for teaching climate change and suggest effective activities that can be done with your students, both in person and virtually.

Teachers and school staff, register directly with Leigh Lightner, School Programs Developer, Please have your school, grade and area of instruction. Space is limited to ensure a quality experience; sign up today.

Paleo Playdate: Love the Earth
Wednesday April 21, 10 a.m.

A child sitting in a chair playing with dinosaur toys.

Zoom; Pay-what-you-wish, suggested donation of $10 per child
Recommended for ages 3–5; adult assistance is requested

Have some fun with Academy experts and other young natural history fans for a very special Earth Day science story time and activity with room to move and explore. Everyone can chat, play and show off their knowledge, and you’ll meet special guests who love the earth as much as you do! Paleo Playdates were developed for preschoolers and their families to enjoy together. We kindly ask that adults assist our young guests with participating in this virtual playdate. As this workshop is delivered virtually, hands-on activities are designed to be done at home with easy-to-find supplies. Zoom link and supply list will be emailed prior to the event. Contact educator Amy Hoyt for more details: Registration ends Monday, April 19, at 5 p.m.

Can We Cool the Planet? Director’s Panel Discussion
Wednesday, April 21, 7 p.m.

A woman standing in front of a screen with an image of a satellite over Earth

Zoom; free with registration

Climate change is the biggest challenge the modern world will ever face. What can we do to mitigate and adapt to the effects of extreme weather events, global warming and rising seas? Watch Can We Cool the Planet? (54 minutes), and then join us for an exclusive panel discussion featuring the film’s producer, co-director and co-writer Ben Kalina, as well as Academy and Drexel experts. The film can be accessed for free on NOVA:

Moderator: Roland Wall, Director of the Center for Environmental Policy at the Academy’s Patrick Center for Environmental Research


Jen Schneider – Co-Director, Co-Writer & Director of Cinematography

Jen Schneider is an award-winning cinematographer based in Philadelphia. She is an ICG Emerging Cinematographers Award recipient whose cinematography has been seen at Cannes, Sundance and Cameraimage, as well as PBS and many top-tier venues and platforms. Jen is a member of Writer’s Guild of America, the International Cinematographers Guild, as well as the film collectives Cinematographers XX and International Collective of Female Cinematographers. Currently, she is developing a new series about the fracturing of our social collective in the online era while she serves as cinematographer for an original documentary series for Amazon’s new IMDb channel, called “Bug Out,” about a $50,000 bug heist that launched an FBI probe and opened the door onto an illicit market for exotic animals from inside the humble walls of a Philadelphia insect museum.

Ben Kalina – Co-Director, Co-Writer & Co-Producer

Ben Kalina is an award-winning documentary producer and director whose work explores the colliding forces of human nature and environmental change. His first feature documentary, Shored Up, explored sea level rise and the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy as it ran headlong into unchecked coastal development. Shored Up won the 2014 Sundance Institute’s Lightstay Sustainability Award and was broadcast on DirecTV. Kalina produced and directed the NOVA film Can We Cool the Planet?, which traveled around the world to discover emerging technologies and nature-based solutions to counteract climate change. His in-progress feature doc Plan C for Civilization follows the scientist at the center of the controversial field of solar geoengineering, a technology designed to cool a quickly warming world. Other projects include Home: A Rockumentary, following a year in the life of a public middle school rock band in South Philadelphia, and A River Reborn, chronicling the revival of a river in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania poisoned by chemicals from abandoned coal mines. In addition to his independent documentaries, Ben produces a range of short films and other video projects through his company Mangrove Media. Based in Philadelphia, Mangrove partners with clients including The Nature Conservancy, PennEnvironment and the National Wildlife Federation.

Frauke Levin – Co-Producer

Frauke Levin is an Emmy-nominated documentary researcher and producer. A German native and graduate of the Universität für Film und Fernsehen Konrad Wolf, she has co- and associate produced documentaries with a focus on historical and science topics for PBS NOVA, HBO, National Geographic and others for the past 15 years. In 2006 she received an Emmy-nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft - Research for her work on Gray Matter by Joe Berlinger, a documentary that investigates the fate of children killed in the Nazi’s euthanasia program, whose remains continued to be used for medical research in post-war Austria. Most recently she produced Tatyana Yassukovich’s short film Closing Night, and co-produced the PBS NOVA program Can We Cool The Planet.

Shaker of Science: What’s Bugging the Planet?
Thursday, April 22, 5:30 p.m.

A scientist wearing a red shirt with black glasses and a grey hat.\

Zoom; Pay-what-you-wish, suggested donation of $10–25 per person

What can a single dead bug tell you about climate change? Not much. However, if you put the 4 million specimens in the Academy’s Entomology Collection together — and our entomologists will be, well, pretty annoyed that you took out all the specimens and glued them together — a story of climate change may begin to emerge as you identify and organize them. Or you can save some time, grab a drink and come to this month’s A Shaker of Science to hear the story right from the Academy’s entomologists instead!

A Shaker of Science is a pay-what-you-wish, interactive virtual happy hour where Academy scientists and staff can share their stories and adventures in a casual setting.

Science Suggested Libations:

Temperance Cocktail: Greg’s Bug Juice

Short on time? Commercial Bug Juice is now available. But for a real entomological experience, try Greg’s summer camp-tested recipe:

Mix a lemon-lime Kool-Aid drink packet with two quarts water and add sugar. Pour a 2/3 glass of lemon-lime Kool-Aid and mix the remaining third with your favorite lemonade. Garnish with gummy worms to taste.

Cocktail: Tanqueray and Tonic

A classically refreshing cocktail for after a long summer day in the field collecting insects.

Fill glass with ice. Pour 1.5 oz of Tanqueray London Dry Gin and 3 oz of tonic water over ice. Add lime slice.

Beer Yards Brewing Company, Loyal Lager

Aromatic Loral hops gives this lager a floral aroma that will send you buzzing from flower to flower.

Wine: Cuatro Rayas Tempranillo Rueda, La Seca, Spain

Bees, like the one depicted on the label, provide an unexpected service to help create your favorite vino. Generally, the grapes are wind pollinated, but surrounding vegetation that keeps the soil just right for the vines does require helpful bees for pollination.

About Academy Entomologist Greg Cowper:A scientist with grey hair and glasses with a white lab coat

Greg Cowper is an entomologist at the Academy of Natural Sciences. He and his colleagues take care of the 4 million insect specimens in the Academy’s Entomology Collection. He is particularly interested in the Hemiptera, the true bugs, and the Orthoptera, the grasshoppers, crickets and katydids. Greg returned from a grasshopper expedition to South Africa in March 2020 just as international travel was shut down in response to the Covid pandemic. He joined the Academy in 2007.



Academy Seminar: Co-ops Will Save the World 
Friday, April 23, 12 p.m. 

Zoom; free with registration

As you embark on your career path, do you dream of making the world a better place? Do you envision communities where science and technology create opportunities and equity for all? If you do, find out why the Academy might just be your next home.

Drexel co-ops are instrumental in contributing thousands upon thousands of hours of critical scientific research at the Academy of Natural Sciences, including important data that helps us understand and combat climate change.

From collecting, identifying, cataloging and scanning to examining, reporting and teaching, our co-ops tell some of the most interesting stories about how their co-op experiences contribute to a better place for us all to live.

Talk to Academy co-ops past and present about the interesting and important work that they do. Become acquainted with the scientists and staff with whom co-ops get to work. Discover an experience that will help you become the impactful, engaged citizen that you aspire to be. This free-form presentation and conversation is open to all co-ops, students and members of the public who want to find out more about how the Academy of Natural Sciences welcomes co-ops who support science.



Naturally Awesome Days: Earth Day Celebration
Friday–Sunday, April 23–25
10 a.m.–5 p.m

naturally awesome days - minerals, polar bear, turtle

Recommended for families with children ages 7–11
Onsite; self-guided activities free with museum admission

Come find out why science is Naturally Awesome! Visit the Academy to enjoy a themed family-led activity, auditorium program and take-home craft kit to show off all the awesome science that we have to offer. Pick up your activity mini-guide when you enter, and then explore the museum at your own pace with your family and friends. Investigate Earth and water as you learn about ways to conserve resources to help the habitats found in the dioramas. Take home a craft kit to make a useful item out of recycled materials, and have an environmental adventure with your whole family. Families with children ages 7 to 11 will love this self-guided program, but younger guests will also be able to enjoy the activities with adult support.

Ask the Scientists: Taking Action for the Earth
Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m.

A child with a magnifying glass

Zoom; free with registration
Recommended for families with children ages 8–11

Climate change is impacting the earth on every front. The health and quality of the water we drink, air we breathe and ground we live on are at increasing risk. However, all is not lost. The Academy of Natural Sciences and other groups are monitoring these vital resources and asking how we can make a positive difference. Join Academy scientists as we discuss how you can take action for the earth and what impacts you can have. Climate change is a big problem, but we can solve it together!

Celebrate the Earth Family Workshop
Saturday, April 24, 1–1:45 p.m.

a parent and child making crafts

Zoom; free with registration
Recommended for families with children ages 3–8

Join early childhood educators as we explore fun and creative ways to celebrate the earth from your very own home. We will meet some decomposers from the animal collection, try out some fun activities and match them to books you can read at home. All materials for this workshop will be from your kitchens, recycling bins and backyards, and we will send a materials list prior to the workshop.

New! Science in the Wild: Creek Exploration Family Field Trip
Sunday, April 25, 9–11 a.m. 
Kirkwood Preserve, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

two female scientists stand in creek next to old bridge measuring

Registration Required
$30/25 per household/member household, up to 5 individuals per reservation
Recommended for families with children over the age of 8

Now is your chance to get your feet wet, literally, to help Academy scientists gather critical data about our waterways, including the invertebrates that rely on them. Join Academy staff for an exclusive outdoor opportunity to try some guided community science at Kirkwood Preserve. Test the waters and identify the species that live there as you learn about the ecology, equipment and methodology that scientists use to explore and understand creek systems. You’ll meet scientist Stef Kroll, PhD, and find out what the Kroll Lab at the Academy is doing to make the world a better place. No experience or equipment necessary, but we do recommend wearing shoes that can get wet and muddy.

Transportation is not included to Kirkwood Preserve. Field trip waivers will be sent upon registration. All social distancing and mask measures must be adhered to during the program. This event is rain or shine, as safety allows. Be prepared to dive in and have some fun! Contact Mary Bailey, Youth and Family Programs Developer, for more information:

A green leaf with the text 'Willistown Conservation Trust'

Get Outside! Nature Hunt

Listen for bird calls, smell a flower and hug a tree to complete this outdoor scavenger hunt! Bring your completed scavenger hunt on your next visit to the Academy for a free child’s admission with a paid adult admission. Can’t print this page right now? No problem! Record your answers on a separate sheet of paper and bring it with you. Already a member who visits for free? Email for a special renewal discount for completing your scavenger hunt.

Download the scavenger hunt here.

Crafting for the Climate: Earth Day Video

Grab some household materials and build a useful, eco-friendly craft with Academy Educator Amy Hoyt. Learn how small everyday actions can help to reverse climate change and benefit the environment as you create a useful item out of trash. Different recyclable materials will be featured at each monthly session in 2021! Send us pictures of your creations. We’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @acadnatsci.

Click here to download step by step instructions and the supply list.

Environmental Justice Family Resource Guide: Earth Day Downloadable Guide

Are you interested in learning more about environmental justice but not sure where to start? This guide features suggested reading for all ages, recommended websites and media and conversation starters for kids and families. Find out what a few local organizations are doing to impact positive change and learn how you can help. Talking about inequities can be difficult no matter where you live or who you are, but challenging conversations help us grow. Learning is the first step toward building the equitable future we all deserve.

Click here to download the guide.