With Plants, Paints, & Creativity Residents Respond to Utah’s Earth Day Challenge

By DEQ Communications Office

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but rather than celebrate it as a community event or at a favorite park, the current pandemic forced Utah residents to get creative from the safety of their homes. Eager to commemorate such a momentous milestone, DEQ challenged Utahn’s to do the following:

☑️Create an Earth Day poster using materials found in your yard/house.
☑️Share with your neighbors by placing your sign in your window or lawn.
☑️Post your sign on social media using the hashtag #UtahEarthDay.

Using plants, paints, pictures, and stones — DEQ was delighted to see how many imaginative signs came out of this challenge. Here are a few of our favorite submissions:

We had fun hiking the suspension trail loop in Draper on Earth Day. As we hiked I had the boys look for trash to pick up as well as interesting sticks and rocks to collect for a project. At home they used their discoveries to make Earth Day posters to display in our windows. (I had seen this challenge issued on Fox13 News that morning.). The boys had so much fun and I loved to see their creativity. We love the 🌍!

Six pictures of the Brown family.

The Browns spent the day hiking. As they hiked they picked up interesting sticks and rocks to build their project.

The Browns – Adrian, Caisa, Beck, McKay, Crew & Taggart (and puppy, Bella, too!)

The Utah Earth Day challenge was a wonderful way for my family to get outside and stretch our creativity by making an art piece with things we found in our backyard. It was a welcome distraction and also a great opportunity to teach my kids about our environment.

While we scavenged for rocks and sticks, we all agreed Moab best represents the reason that preserving and protecting our environment is so important. The “UTAH” is made of green buds from our willow tree, the “EARTH DAY” willow tree branches, the clouds gravel and some river rocks we painted orange to look like Delicate Arch. The kids were so proud of the art they had created they were bursting with ideas for next year.

A poster of Delicate Arch

The Ryan Family built a 3D image of Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch.

The Ryan Family

Earth Day is a time to reflect on our impact on this great planet. As a member of the Salt Lake County Council, building a more sustainable future is top of mind for me. My family and I enjoyed making a poster for DEQ’s creative #UtahEarthDay activity. I’m fortunate to have a job that largely allows me to work from home. I’m also a mother to a five year old, and I think we’re all looking for engaging activities these days. We chose a tree, a jellyfish, and a hummingbird to honor the land, oceans, and air. These are uncertain times in many ways. Breathe easy and let’s all do our part to protect our community and this planet.

Shireen Ghorbani, Salt Lake County Councilmember, participating the Earth Day Challenge

Shireen Ghorbani, a member of the Salt Lake County Council, toasted the future with her Earth Day poster.

Shireen Ghorbani

Celebrating Earth Day is important to me because I’m reminded about the delicate balance of life cycles and how much impact humans have on our planet. Painting is a way for me to remind people about the beauty of the Earth and how important it is for each of us to protect it.

Picture of a butterfly

Miara Farnsworth created a beautiful image of a butterfly to remind us of the delicate balance in the natural world.

Miara Farnsworth

Our Earth Day Poster idea came from my daughter’s AP Environmental Health class assignment. The students had been asked to create a poster for their class that represented how they feel about our planet. This drawing of the Earth with the hearts surrounding our planet reflects our feelings for this beautiful place that we live and the importance of keeping it pristine.

Two sisters holding a poster with the earth and hearts.

The Divver sister created a drawing of the Earth with hearts surrounding it.

The Divvers

This Rachel Carson quote has been in my head since the COVID-19 quarantine began. It reminds me that even during times of human isolation, I can surround myself with the incredible beauty of this Earth, both on my local trails and in my own backyard, and I am never truly alone. This challenge was a great way for me to use art, a passion of mine, to create this reminder to spend time preserving and enjoying our Earth.

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

Amber Qalagari used her art to create a reminder to spend time preserving and enjoying our Earth.

Amber Qalagari

Before stepping outside to make my poster, I had thought I would make mine out of something I had plenty of and was going to trash: rosebush twigs from my unruly roses. But when I stepped outside that day, I felt like using something that made me smile. The first thing I saw to spark my smile was little sunshiny pinpricks in the grass, Dandelions! I spent the next hour gathering the fluffy sunbursts one by one. While I did this I started to reflect on something that had been coming to mind a lot in the past month — my impact on the Earth. Those little dandelions were much hated by some, but you can’t deny how blindingly bright they were. Picking them renewed a little appreciation for our planet and how every little thing has its place here and I shouldn’t overlook the little things, and that a little extra effort is worth it if I’m doing something for the planet, like composting my food waste (which I will start this week!). It just felt natural to form them into a giant heart and thus my Earth Day poster was born!

Dyani Wood used objects found in her yard to create this poster.

Dyani Wood used objects found in her yard to create this poster.

Dyani Wood

I really wanted to participate in the DEQ challenge and offer my take on why Utah and its diverse outdoor resources completely reflect the essence of any Earth Day celebration. Afterall, I’ve been fortunate to be involved with environmental work for 40 of those 50 years. I wanted to craft something that would reflect the tremendous environmental experience we enjoy throughout the state and thought of my aspiration to become an outdoor photographer in my eventual retirement. With the many pics that already exist online of Utah’s great scenery, I didn’t have to rely on my amateur point-and-click skills and was able to select some great photos of Utah’s mountains, red rocks, desert, and Salt Lake City’s skyline to form a collage of Utah’s unique landscapes.

Utah's mountains, red rocks, desert, and SLC's skyline to form a collage of Utah's unique landscapes.

Rusty Lundberg created a collage of Utah’s unique landscapes.

Rusty Lundberg

We took this photo of our charismatic mutt, Callie, after one of our evening walks. I liked the double meaning of Callie being “my world”, especially as we spend much more time at home with her during this pandemic, and the sentiment that the future of the world is (to a large degree) “in our hands.” It took me a while to sketch a passing Earth (why yes, I even referenced Google Images), but all the while I was thinking about what I can do to take care of our local and global community. Donating time and money to organizations whose missions help the Earth by supporting Utahns in need are a few ways I am celebrating Earth Day this year. Plus, I always have a healthy dose of admiration for nature’s beauty that bursts forth every evening during our family strolls!

Elise & Trevor Hinman dog

Elise & Trevor Hinman got their dog involved in the Earth Day Challenge.

Elise & Trevor Hinman