Earth Day

April 19, 2023

“The Good Stuff”

Virginie Boone


As The New York Times reported earlier this week – and as we already knew – California is the most biodiverse state in the nation. It has 6,500 types of plants alone, in addition to the largest variety of animals of any place in America, and 40% of those plants and animals are only found here. We also have the tallest, largest and oldest trees.

The state is big geographically, and also has a hospitable Mediterranean climate that supports this broad range of habitats, from coastlines to deserts to high mountain ranges. We also have the lowest and highest elevations of any place in the continental United States.

To capture the state’s biodiversity, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco partnered with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County a few years ago to sponsor a friendly competition called the City Nature Challenge. Now everyone in the state is invited to participate.

Lasting one week, the contest invites residents of the Bay Area and Los Angeles to photograph images of species in their neighborhoods; the most submissions wins. Submissions can be posted from April 28 to May 1.

The challenge is one of many inspired by this month’s annual Earth Day, which happens every year on April 22. The first Earth Day took place in 1970 in the United States and mobilized 20 million Americans, bringing together Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, folks who lived in cities and folks who lived on farms.

In 1990 Earth Day went global and two years later the United Nations hosted an Earth Summit in Brazil. Today more than 190 countries are involved – representing more than a billion people – and every year has a theme. This year’s is Invest in Our Planet.

In Sonoma County, the first Earth Day celebration was held on the Sonoma Plaza in 1990 and inspired the creation of the Sonoma Ecology Center, which oversees Sonoma Garden Park and the restoration efforts for the Sonoma Overlook Trail, Montini Open Space Preserve and others.

Every day is Earth Day for Sonoma County grape growers who have been on a decade-long commitment to sustainability and climate stewardship.

As the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world, it is not a surprise that the innovative and forward-thinking Sonoma County Winegrowers continue to lead with their vision for the Farm of the Future. Inviting global and regional partners to collaborate and be part of a “living lab” ensures that we can all celebrate the preservation of agriculture this Earth Day and every Earth Day to come.

To that end, enjoy the day in Sonoma County this year by taking part in one of many activities happening on Saturday, April 22:

  • The city of Sonoma is hosting a 53rd anniversary celebration of Earth Day with a Park Exploration Photography Contest and Green Business of the Year Award
  • Earth Day at Luther Burbank Experiment Farm in Sebastopol includes scavenger hunts, nursery and plant sales, tree planting and docent walks through the garden and farmstead
  • Earth Day at Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen involves trail maintenance and the building of burn piles
  • Earth Day at Safari West includes a safari adventure and guest speakers as well as live snakes and birds from various rescue centers
  • Santa Rosa’s Earth Day Festival is happening on Old Courthouse Square with workshops, exhibitors and a beer and wine garden
  • HenHouse Brewing Company is hosting a party to release a new beer in collaboration with the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation called Sonoma Sunshine; the foundation is also offering a garden walk and outdoor picnic at its Laguna Environmental Center
  • Sangiacomo Family Wines is doing a guided hike with friends and family on its Home Ranch in Sonoma with wine tasting, picnic lunch and glass of wine
  • Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma hosts visitors for vineyard walks to learn more about sustainably grown wines and taste those wines in special Earth Day tasting flights
  • Earth Day at Balletto Vineyards in the Russian River Valley is all weekend and includes Saturday sustainability tours, immersive experiences and live music, with a Q&A and group tasting; on Sunday Balletto partners with the Laguna Foundation to follow the private trail from Balletto to the Laguna to take in the biologically diverse landscape
  • Earth Day in the Vineyard at Saralee’s Vineyard at La Crema in the Russian River Valley takes a deep dive into regenerative farming and carbon-neutral practices in the vineyards, with a walk through the estate and tasting
  • Alexander Valley Vineyards offers a grape-to-glass hiking tour of its sustainable vineyards Monday through Saturday
  • Immersive floral and agricultural workshops at Singlethread Farm at Dry Creek kick off Saturday with an inaugural Community Day and open house