Earth Day 2013

As Earth Day approaches, there are easy ways for households to make simple changes to traditional springtime activities with the help of local groups dedicated to preserving our rivers and promoting wise water usage.

Missouri American Water recommends six easy household steps to preserve local water resources:

• Garden with native plants. Native plants support wildlife and preserve our natural diversity. Natives also require no fertilizer or herbicides that can wash into streams after a spring rain.

The St. Louis Audubon Society’s “Bring Conservation Home” program provides landscape recommendations for as little as $25.

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• Visit St. Louis Earth Day’s Recycling Extravaganza. Find a home for “hard-to-recycle” items from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at the St. Louis Community College Forest Park Campus.

Check the website for a list of recyclables at

, events tab.

• Be water smart. Lawn watering is a big part of summer water usage. Many lawns need only one to one and a half inches of water per week to stay healthy.

Check out Missouri American Water’s website at

and click on the “Learning Center” tab.

• Drink water wisely. Keep a reusable bottle of tap water handy. As many as 85 percent of plastic water bottles — an average of 38 million bottles a year — are sent to landfills, according to the Container Recycling Institute.

• Dispose of unneeded medicines properly. Missouri P2D2 offers prescription drug collection boxes at several police stations in St. Louis County.

Founded by the St. Louis County Police Department, Missouri American Water, the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District and the cities of Florissant and Sunset Hills, the program is free, anonymous and available 24/7/365.

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• Make Earth Day fun. Visit the St. Louis Earth Day Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday April 21, on the Muny grounds in Forest Park. Hands-on activities, music and fun are all part of the day. Children will enjoy birds of prey up close and in flight at the “Wings Over Water” program by the World Bird Sanctuary at 11:45 a.m. on the Community Stage.