By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Apr 17, 2009 at 11:25 AM

Earth Day 2009 is Wednesday, April 22, but there's no need to stand idly by and do nothing until then. If you haven't already begun your eco-friendly deeds this spring, here are a few ways to keep you green and active all week long.

River cleanup by canoe
Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Warmer days are just around the corner, giving us just enough time to clean up from the winter. Take part in the Milwaukee Riverkeeper's annual "Spring River Clean Up" with the Urban Ecology Center. Perfect for teens and groups, volunteers can use canoes to get to sections of the river and riverbank that are hard to clean up from the shore. Call (414) 964-8505 to register.

River cleanup, sans canoe
Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
If you enjoy the beauty and adventure of Milwaukee's rivers, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful is looking for you. This Saturday is the 14th annual "Spring River Cleanup," part of Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful Day and The All-American Cleanup. Call (414) 287-0207 ext. 235 to find a site near you and register to volunteer.

Earth Day for the wee ones
Saturday, April 18, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Held at Riverside Park, the Earth Day for Afternoon Nappers Program is free and for kids ages 5 and younger accompanied by an adult. Enjoy a puppet show, craft and outdoor activities. Call (414) 964-8505 to register.

An Earth Day festival, pt. 1
Saturday, April 18, 12-4 p.m.
Stick around the Urban Ecology Center for the annual Riverside Park festival and enjoy rock climbing, nature walks, crafts, carriage rides, games, food, resource booths and music from the Korean Traditional Drum Group. It's free for everyone.

I Heart Company
Thursday, April 23, 7-9 p.m.
Director of Greener Milwaukee and President of iHeart Company, LLC Ryan Thompson hosts the first of many monthly meetups that will "give green activists, artist, growers, and businesses a place to meet socially outside of the educational and more formalized environment of a regular Greener Milwaukee Meetup." The location is Café Luna Lounge, 106 W. Seeboth St.

Poetry and music
Friday, April 24, 7 p.m.
The 22nd Annual Earth Poets & Musicians Festival Program is held at Riverside Park. Enjoy an evening of poetry and song featuring family-oriented/interactive poetry and music with children at 7 p.m. and a concert from Jahmes Tony Finlayson, Louisa Loveridge Gallas, Holly Haebig, Jeff Poniewaz, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Harvey Taylor and Claudia Schmidt at 8 p.m. Free for members. Non-members: $5, non-member families: $10.

An Earth Day festival, pt. 2
Saturday, April 25, 11 a.m.
The annual Washington Park festival has music, canoeing, nature walks, crafts, games, food, resource booths and more. Begin your day by helping to clean up the neighborhood at 11 a.m.

In celebration of trees
Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kids can connect with nature by exploring hiking trails, creating artwork, adopting a tree and more, during this Earth Day / Arbor Day event at the Boerner Botanical Gardens, 5879 S. 92 St., Hales Corners. Cost is $1. Call (414) 425-8550

St. Sebastian scrap metal drive
Saturday, April 25, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.
Get rid of your old scrap metal and help St. Sebastian school programs. Recyclable items include almost anything that has metal in it -- from computers and window weights to old car batteries and home appliances. Action Metals will be on hand to help recycle and properly dispose of all the materials. Items that will not be accepted include: hazardous, medical or chemical waste, printers or monitors. Where: St. Sebastian School, 1747 N. 54th St. Drive will be held on playground at 55th Street and Washington Boulevard. Call (414) 442-4232.


Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”