Take a walk and clear litter from a section of park, beach, vacant lot or your neighborhood. Be sure to take the necessary precautions, including wearing sturdy gloves, being careful on riverbanks or near roads, having adults handle dangerous items and supervising children closely. You can pick your favorite walk and do a one-time sweep, or make cleanup a regular family event. If you want to go further, take a few digital photos of what you’ve picked up. (If you don’t have access to a camera, this requirement can be waived.) Then together have your family write and email an essay about your experience, along with your names, age(s), address and favorite photo, to mail@wildernessproject.org. Your essay will be published on wildernessproject.org, your children’s names will appear in the Registry of Apprentice Ecologists, and you will receive an official certificate. Visit the website for more details.

Talk to your child: Why is it important to pick up litter? How can we encourage others not to litter?

Book to share: Colonel Trash Truck by Kathleen Crawley. Ages 4-8. The colonel is on a mission to protect the beauty of the earth by cleaning up litter — and convincing others to do the same.