Earth Day: Plant watermelons, or learn via videos

There’s a big anniversary coming up on Wednesday, April 22. It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The five decades of Earth Day have brought about school projects worldwide and a desire from the public to help create a better environment.

Earth Day 2020 will be far more than a day, notes Marlene Janetos, a Plantation resident who served at science museums for 20 years and has a passion for environmental conservation.

“It’s a call to action for citizens to rise up in unity and use their creativity, innovation and ambition, and bravery to help address our climate crisis,” she says.

And by now we all know that getting together for a group celebration can’t happen this year. So, I’m suggesting parents and their children work together on their own individual Earth Day project or participate in some online programs that illuminate wonders of the world we live in.

The one I’m choosing to do at the Sortal home with our amazing grandchild is inspired by the movie “Watermelon Magic,” a sweet summer tale of a young girl and her home-grown watermelon patch. You can click here to see the trailer.

I will have a live tutorial to help. At 4 p.m. EST on Earth Day, the star of Watermelon Magic, Sylvie Hoffmann, will demonstrate how to start watermelon and other seedlings. Go to

Starting a project like this has several benefits. Children learn the science of food production, while developing an understanding of the challenges related to growing food. And this year, the benefit is one more – different! – thing to do while you are at home for weeks and weeks with your children. You can find activities for kids on the Watermelon Magic web site at

You can order seeds online from many places such as Burpee at

Other Earth Day topics, available at include such actionable ideas such as lifestyle changes that cut emissions, action on plastics pollution, species protection, university and school teach-ins, tree plantings, local and global cleanups, switching to a more plant-based diet, or political activism.

More options

Learn how to create a NatureScape habitat for native and migratory wildlife, conserve water and minimize the use of common pollutants such as fertilizers and pesticides. Go to

Giant-screen documentaries are known to transport audiences around the globe and immerse them into cinematic experiences that are educational, adventurous, and entertaining. Film makers and museums are providing free opportunities to continue learning experiences online. Audiences can stream films, meet experts through Facebook Live events, access science demonstrations, and find activity kits online. See the list of virtual programs at

The Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science is offering virtual programs via Videos can be found at

Alan Nursall, CEO for the TELLUS World of Science in Edmonton, conducts Alan’s Science at Home daily experiments on Facebook

MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF) has curated a list of some of the best family-friendly and educational films available for streaming, including accompanying educational activities and informative, supplemental videos where available.

Nick Sortal is city council president in Plantation, Fla., which had hoped to have a big celebration to mark the 50th Earth Day. Alas, this will have to do. Email Nick at