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Earth Day 2020! Celebrate our home planet with these online activities

Most of us won't be venturing into the great outdoors on Wednesday (April 22), but you can still celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in style.

NASA, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City and a number of other organizations are offering online activities that will teach you more about our planet Earth and drive home the need to protect its plants, animals and wide-open spaces.

The space agency has combined a variety of educational resources into a 50th anniversary toolkit, which is designed to get conservation messages across to young people — and the rest of us as well. NASA has also launched an #EarthDayAtHome campaign to help the public celebrate.

Related: Earth science is more important than ever (op-ed)

A NASA camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite caught this view of Africa and the entire sunlit side of Earth on July 9, 2015. NASA released the image July 29. (Image credit: NASA/NOAA)

"Fifty years ago, people around the world celebrated the first Earth Day (April 22, 1970). Organizers selected dates and planned activities specifically to engage young people in the growing environmental awareness movement," NASA officials wrote in a statement on the toolkit's home page.

"As we plan for Earth Day 2020, NASA continues that outreach to young people and their mentors by pulling together various resources from across the agency into this online Earth Day Toolkit," they added. "All the resources here are free and available to teachers and students, parents, civic leaders, museums — and anyone else — to use and enjoy."

The space agency will also host a special Earth Day edition of "NASA Science Live" on Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT). The webcast will feature agency chief Jim Bridenstine, who will talk about how NASA tech is helping scientists learn about Earth and its many interconnected systems.

The AMNH, meanwhile, will air an all-day "Earthfest" on Wednesday. One of the livestreamed events, a "watch party" at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) hosted by AMNH planetary geologist Martha Gilmore, will compare our planet to its cosmic neighbors, putting Earth in a larger context and shifting our perspective. 

"Hop aboard a live flight to unveil the mysteries of Earth’s toxic twin, Venus, and the dynamic nature of our planetary neighbors," AMNH officials wrote in a statement. "What can Venus and Mars teach us about climate change and the unique conditions that support life on Earth?" 

These activities are just the tip of the Earth Day iceberg. You can find the right online Earth Day event for you via a search tool produced by the Earth Day Network

Happy hunting, and happy Earth Day!

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook

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