Looking for a way to teach your family about Earth Day, and also have some fun? Perhaps there is a Procession of the Species parade in your hometown! Where I live, in Bend, Oregon, the parade will take place on Saturday, April 24, just after Earth Day on April 22.
The annual event is in its its 15th year. The Procession started in 1995 in Olympia, Washington to commemorate the (then) 25th anniversary of Earth Day. Its other primary purpose was to support federal renewal of the Endangered Species Act.
Each year, participants in the Procession of the Species parades create inventive costumes or masks to wear. Its like Halloween in April! But unlike the fall festival, creations are made of repurposed, donated clothing, plastic bags and other items. Check out the inventive jellyfish umbrellas above!
The overall idea is to express appreciation for the natural world, primarily living creatures and primal elements. Anyone that wishes to march can do so provided that you comply with three general rules: no live pets, no motorized vehicles, and no written words.
After Olympia started the Procession of the Species, there are now similar celebrations across the United States and around the world. According to Wikipedia:
It is a nationally recognized model for community arts-based involvement, environmental education, arts education, and cultural exchange.
In fact, just four years after its inception, the Procession of the Species was honored in the Reader’s Digest’s Best of America feature, capturing the top spot in its “can’t resist” parades and processions list, after having considered 50,000 other celebrations in the United States.
Don’t you agree this looks like so much fun?
We’ve gathered a few links of other Procession of the Species events for you:
There is also a list of contact information for locations from Alabama, U.S.A. to Romaina about Procession of the Species events.
If you don’t have an official Earth Day Procession of the Species event where you live, why not organize your own? Even if you only get a few neighborhood kids together in old Halloween costumes, you can still celebrate nature through the eyes of a child.
Have you ever been to a Procession of the Species parade? Please share your experiences below!