Nature isn’t just the beautiful view we get to enjoy living in Muskoka (and sometimes something to rail against…will this winter ever end?). We are part of it, too, and our actions impact it.

That’s why every day is Earth Day in Muskoka. We officially celebrate—and remind ourselves to do better for—this wonderful planet we call home on April 22 each year. This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘Protect Our Species’.

In Muskoka, there’s lots we can do to support that theme. With lots of aquatic species, and many (including us!) that rely on our abundant water sources, it’s wise to do everything we can to protect our waterways.

And did you know that there are also more than 40 species-at-risk in Muskoka? They include birds like the bank swallow and the Eastern meadowlark, reptiles like Blanding’s turtle and common five-lined skink, insects like the monarch butterfly and yellow-banded bumblebee, fish like the lake sturgeon, and mammals like the Eastern wolf.

You can see full list here:

How can you make a difference? Here are some helpful tips to help protect both local species and those the world over:

  • Avoid the use of pesticides to help protect pollinators like bees.
  • Be mindful of what you put into the water—including what goes down your drain or into your septic tank. Properly dispose of harmful chemicals.
  • Reduce your use of plastic, especially single-use plastics: avoid buying items in plastic packaging whenever possible, say no to plastics like straws and plastic beverage bottles, bring your own reusable shopping bags everywhere, and recycle the plastic you do use.
  • Plant a tree or make a donation to plant a tree: yes, we have lots of them in Muskoka, but trees are one of Earth’s best defenses against climate change and deforestation is a problem the world over.
  • Eat less meat: the meat industry generates about 20 per cent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. You don’t have to give up burgers entirely, but adding more veggies to your diet is good for both you and the planet.
  • Grow your own produce or join a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program and support local farmers. And remember to reuse (mmm…broth!) or compost your scraps. If you have a garden, don’t forget about the District of Muskoka’s annual compost giveaway, too. Details here:
  • Buy less, make it last, and repurpose/donate/recycle what you no longer need: the less often you have to replace something, the less stuff that ends up in landfills. When you do need to by, look for sustainably made options.
  • Drive less: that can be hard to do in Muskoka where there can be vast distances to cover and limited transit available. Put your pedals or your paddles to work for you and bike, canoe or walk when you can.
  • Be thankful to live in Muskoka! What we love, we are more likely to protect. Happy Earth Day!