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Earth Day or Arbor Day?

Earth Day was started in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson as a national teach-in to gather support for environmental issues. Among a growing list of threats to the natural environment, a massive oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast inspired this event and the environmental protection that followed. Earth Day (April 22) is now celebrated by more than one billion people in 193 countries.

Arbor Day originated even earlier, in Nebraska, after J. Sterling Morton, a lover of trees, became Secretary of the Nebraska Territory and declared a tree-planting holiday called “Arbor Day” to be held on April 10, 1872.  Morton, who moved to the Nebraska Territory in 1854, extolled the virtues of planting trees through his position as editor of one Nebraska’s newspapers. The holiday spread through the rest of the nation and is now commonly observed on the last Friday in April.

recycled craft create studio

The City of Thousand Oaks combines these traditions into one event called Arbor/Earth Day to celebrate our trees, open space, and learn about ways to help our environment. On April 27 at 10:00 a.m. our event will start at the Grant R. Brimhall library with Councilmember Claudia Bill-de la Peña welcoming attendees. The event will include plenty of activities for adults and children alike, with workshops, booths, live music, games, a food truck and a chance to engage with environmental professionals. Some exciting prizes will be given out this year including multiple Venstar ColorTouch Smart Thermostats ($200 Value), rain barrels, compost bins and more.

CReATE Studios and Art Trek are each sponsoring art stations for kids and adults to get creative. The Thousand Oaks Youth Commission will host an area with supersized games like an extra-large Jenga for kids to play. Students from Simi Valley High School are bringing an augmented reality sandbox for both kids and adults to experience and enjoy.

The City is working with Plug-in America to promote the transition to electric vehicles (EV) through Drive Electric Earth Day. Local EV owners will exhibit their cars and be on hand to answer your questions about going electric. Be sure to attend the Electric Vehicle Curious workshop at 10:30 a.m. to hear all about EVs from expert David Eagle, Founder and CEO of Current EV. Audi has just confirmed that they will be showing the Audi e-tron their new electric SUV which most dealerships don’t have in stock yet. Two exhibitors will feature their electric bikes and, if you have not tried one yet, you are in for a treat. Whether it’s the little extra boost for difficult hills that you’re looking for, or you’re just out to have fun, an electric bike might be all you need to enjoy riding more.

If you have a not-so-green thumb or just need a couple of gardening tips, drop by and talk to the people at the Master Gardeners, Ventura County Organic Gardeners, or Los Flores Community Gardens booths to get answers to your gardening questions or to pick up a few plants to fill in your garden. Take a tour of the demonstration gardens or attend one of the Healthy Soils workshops from Michael Wittman, owner of Blue Sky Biochar to learn about the foundation of a healthy garden.

There will be a number ways to win our amazing prizes this year, with raffle tickets available at each booth, drawings at the end of each workshop for those attending, and a chance to win the prize of your choice in the event drawing at 1:45 p.m. Winners leaving early can pick up their prizes at City Hall within two weeks.

Visit for more details on the event, exhibitors and workshops.

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