NIH Earth Day 2021



The NIH Earth Day is back in 2021! To ensure the safety of our participants, all NIH Earth Day activities will be conducted virtually. The full details for these activities are listed below. Although the activities are listed by campus, please note that most activities are open to all NIH staff, regardless of your "home" campus. Additional details for Earth Day may be added as they become finalized, so please check back regularly for updated content. Please contact Josh Haines with any questions regarding Earth Day activities.


Bethesda Campus – The Bethesda campus will again pair it's Earth Day activities with the NIH Take Your Child to (Tele) Work Day. All live Earth Day activities will occur on April 22 between 10am and 2pm. There will also be a few activities that are open throughout the entire day. 


There are 3 ways to join these activities using Microsoft Teams:

1) NIH staff can register their children for activties through the TYCTWD site (prior to April 20).
2) You may join Teams automatically using this code: qkox76t.
3) You can use the meeting links in the title for each activity below (please note that these links will not be active until shortly before the activity starts).

More details on each of these methods of access are available here. Most of the activities are suitable to children of all ages, although some activities are listed with a specific age range. Here are the activities:

  • Live Animals with Scales and Tales - 10am to 11am session; 1pm to 2pm sessionThe Scales and Tales program from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will host a virtual activity with their animal friends. Join them to learn about a variety of birds and reptiles native to our homes!
  • Fun with Radioactivity - 11am to 12pmLearn about radiation through demonstrations of radioactive decay and shielding! An emphasis will be placed on learning about the ways we can protect ourselves from radiation. These activities are pre-recorded and can be completed at your leisure.
  • Slithery Snakes and ScalyAlligators - 12pm to 1pmProfessional reptile handlers will introduce you to live snakes, a baby alligator, and many other reptiles. Learn about the lives of these creatures, such as their diets, their natural habitats, and much more! Questions about the reptiles are welcome!
  • Cleaning Up the Anacostia Watershed - 12pm to 1pmThe Anacostia Watershed Society will provide an interactive lesson about our local Anacostia watershed. The activity will guide participants through discussions of environmental issues facing the Anacostia watershed and present them with solutions for preventing its pollution. Participants can expect memory games, drawing activities, recorded video content and many other ways to learn about the environment!
  • Craft Time! - 1pm to 2pmJoin the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection to make crafts from materials you likely already have at home! These crafts are fun to make, but also reduce waste by utilizing items we might otherwise throw away. Please visit the Teams channel for this activity to view the material list ahead of time.
  • Play the Energy Olympics! - 10am to 11amPlay the Energy Olympics game to learn about the importance of conserving energy! This game helps children learn to relate abstract concepts like electricity use to more relatable concepts like jumping up and down or walking up the stairs.
  • The Lifecycle of Brood X Cicadas - 1pm to 2pmLearn about the 17-year lifecycle of the Brood X cicada! These insects emerge from the ground every 17 years, with their next emergence expected in 2021! You can expect to see many of these cicadas in the D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area this summer, so get a head start on learning about them now!
  • Make a Pledge to Protect the Environment - All Day - Visit the Pledge Tree to make your commitment to the environment for 2021! This year, we are using the theme “Restore our Earth.” We want to hear how you can help achieve this goal through your actions! Post your pledge to social media to influence others to make a pledge!
  • Energy Efficiency & ULT Freezers - 11am to 12pmJoin the NIEHS to learn about energy efficiency and why it is important, especially for very energy-intensive equipment like ultra-low temperature freezers. Topics will include efforts taken at Research Triangle Park to increase their energy efficiency, ways to identify energy-efficient equipment and advice for future scientists!
  • Build Your Own Bee Hotel - 11am to 12pmEarthShare will lead an activity to construct your own bee hotel from materials found around the house. Bees are pollinators that play a crucial role in our ecosystem. Learn about the importance of bees, then place your bee hotel around your house to help them! Please visit the Teams channel to learn about and gather your materials prior to the activity.
  • Learn about Animals from the Susquehanna River - 11am to 12pmJoin the Susquehannock Wildlife Society to learn about animals that live around the Susquehanna River and its watershed. You can expect to see some live critters to help with the learning process! How can you help the wild counterparts of these animals that live along the Susquehanna River?
  • NICHD Bees, Worms & Plants - 10am to 11:30am - This session will include 3 parts, each connected in our environment. First, learn about how a honey bee hive works. Then, learn about plants, including how to grow some seeds you may already have around the house. Last, discover the usefulness of worms and the role they play in our ecosystem.
  • Learn about the Animal Kingdom - 10am to 11am - Join the World Wildlife Fund for some fun activities involving your favorite animals! For example, learn how to create an animal mask and test your knowledge of the animal kingdom.
  • Drawing Scenes of Nature - 12pm to 12:30pmJoin a relaxing drawing session and learn about the environment at the same time. Children of all ages can enjoy expressing their artistic talents by drawing nature scenes. The drawing will be led by an instructor who will also share interesting facts about the environment.
  • Play the Recycling Quiz Game - 1pm to 1:30pmTest your knowledge about recycling with a fun trivia game. Learn which items can typically be recycled at your home, including which types of plastic can be recycled. The game is recorded, so you can play at your own pace or sort your recyclables as you play!
Other Bethesda campus activities:
  • Seedling Giveaway - First Come, First Served - 150 Black Cherry and 150 Eastern Redbud seedlings will be available in a few locations around the Bethesda campus for staff to come take one on April 22nd and April 23rd. Numbers are limited, so they will only be available on a first come, first served basis. Please only take 1 seedling per person! The locations for the seedling are outside Building 10 (South side) and outside Building 45. Plants will be set out in waves, so be sure to check back throughout the day.
  • NIH Virtual Stream Walk - Visit the Stream Walk page to join this pre-recorded, guided tour.
  • HHS Kids' Earth Day Poster Contest - Observe the creative submissions from the children of NIH staff for the 2021 Earth Day Poster Contest! All NIH poster submissions can be viewed here. Please join us in congratulating the NIH winners from each age category, who will compete with the other OPDIVs for the HHS award.
  • CSR Green Team Earth Day Event - CSR is hosting an Earth Day event called "How to Have Fun Being Green in 2021" on April 22 from 1pm to 2:30pm. This activity will discuss a history of Earth Day and the environmental impact of COVID-19 before breaking out into sessions with topics like shopping green, eating green, and composting. The Zoom meeting can be joined here.

Research Triangle Park Campus (RTP) – NIEHS on the RTP campus in North Carolina will host a virtual seminar by Jeremiah Johnson on April 22 at 1pm on the topic of "Power-to-X" or "P2X." This topic describes using electricity conversion, power storage and power reconversion to efficiently manage power sources. The "X" in this concept can refer to any number of techniques, such as Power-to-Hydrogen, Power-to-Fuel, Power-to-Power, etc. This concept is important for the future of power generation since utilities like electricity are produced in excess of demand to ensure a consistent supply. The excess electricity can be stored for future use or transferred to other grids for immediate use. This concept is also key for the implementation of inconsistent power sources, such as solar or wind power.

NIEHS will also promote "Sustainable Computing" by sharing tips for conserving energy, reducing printing resource consumption, and by informing staff of the computing resources and default settings for their IC. NIEHS will also share results of its 2021 Green Researcher Self-Assessment and update staff on their progress on the Freezer Challenge.