Annual Environmental Observances

Written by Sarah Kearns, NWNL Project Manager
Photos by Alison M Jones

With Earth Day coming up in April – and World Water Day observed just last week –  we’re using this blog to highlight a few important and unique annual observances that are included on the newly updated NWNL Annual Observances Calendar. (Remember to  look at the new calendar when you’re done reading the blog!)

Jones_170322_NE_2276.jpgPlatte River, a Mississippi River Basin tributary in Nebraska

International Day of Action for Rivers  Sponsored by International Rivers, this day “celebrates our life-giving waters, and honors all those who have worked hard to ensure that our rivers continue flowing.” Celebrated on March 14, this year was its 22nd anniversary. International Rivers encourages actions planned by communities and stewards that coincide with the theme for the year and register them on their website.

Jones_170210_INDIA_0914.jpgSunrise on the Ganges River in Varanasi, India

World Water Day  This annual UN observance day highlights the importance of freshwater. The day annually advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Observed March 22, this year’s theme was “Leave No One Behind,” suggesting that as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.

Jones_150130_K_6561.jpgWildebeest in Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Earth Day – This famous annual celebration on April 22 has included worldwide demonstrations in support of environmental protection. This year’s theme will revolve around protecting species and how the reduction of plant and wildlife populations is directly linked to the effects of human activity.

Jones_111029_LA_1225.jpgCypress Island Preserve wetlands, Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana

American Wetlands Month – Sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], this annual observance is celebrated during the month of May. The EPA and its partners – federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit and private sector organizations -celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to the nation’s ecological, economic and social health.

Jones_150513_WA_1227.jpgPonderosa pine flower, Snake River Basin in Washington

Nature Photography Day – Hosted by North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), this annual observance is celebrated June 15 every year. According to NANPA, this observance “is designated to promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and to explain how images are used to advance the cause of conservation by protecting plants, wildlife, and landscapes locally and worldwide.”

Jones_090928_K_0114.jpgScientist noting Mara River flows, species and sediment, Kenya

World Water Monitoring Day – Though the day is observed on September 22, the official sponsor, EarthEcho International, encourages participation from World Water Day in March through the end of December each year as part of the EarthEcho Water Challenge. The challenge builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of local waterbodies using kits provided by EarthEcho International.

Given these highlights of a handful of the annual observances included on the NWNL Annual Observances Calendar, take a look at the calendar and learn about the rest! Please email us at if you know of any additional observances related to water or the environment missing from our calendar. While on our site, check out our NWNL Upcoming Events Calendar to learn about upcoming lectures, exhibits and expeditions, and the new NWNL Progress page to learn about all NWNL has done in the past 13 years!

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