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Meteor shower, electric bus and freebies: 12+ ways to celebrate Earth Day

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Minnesotans were among the 20 million people that participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, and now the annual event has grown into a global tradition. The Earth Day Network works with more than 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement, the organization’s website says.

A number of communities here in the state have Earth Day events and cleanups scheduled for Wednesday and this coming weekend.

Here's a look at some of them:

Geocaching adventure

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which is encouraging people to conserve water this Earth Day, is launching a "geocaching adventure."

The Call of the Wildflowers treasure hunt begins Wednesday and runs through Oct. 31, 2017, at all state parks and recreations areas, except the St. Croix Islands, the Pioneer Press notes. Participants will use a GPS unit to find hidden caches – containers with a wildflower card that represents a plant that can be found in the area.

For more on how to hunt, click here.

Ride the electric bus

Metro Transit is offering free rides on an all-electric bus for Earth Day.

The bus was built by St. Cloud-based New Flyer, and will be in service on Route 18 (downtown Minneapolis and 46th Street Station) Wednesday morning, with the possibility of some evening service, FOX 9 says.

Electric buses don't have diesel engines, which means they don't produce any emissions.

Powered by wind

For the second straight year, all Hennepin County buildings will run solely on wind power Wednesday.

The county purchased 150,000 kilowatt-hours wind energy through Windsource, Xcel Energy's voluntary green power program, a news release says. That amount of energy is equal to the annual energy use of over 18 homes in Minnesota, or one year of greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 22 passenger vehicles.

Meteor shower

People in the northern hemisphere will have the chance to see a meteor shower Wednesday night and Thursday morning, as Earth passes through debris from Comet Thatcher, NASA says.

The best time to catch the shower is between 11 p.m. April 22 and sunrise April 23, in any timezone in the northern hemisphere.

Tips and events

  • The Pioneer Press has a list of five events to help make a difference this Earth Day, including: tree planting in Lake Elmo, cleaning up the Mississippi River and free electronic dropoffs.
  • WCCO has several ways to celebrate conservation, including connecting with nature at a local zoo, planting a tree, riding a bicycle or by visiting the science museum.
  • MPR News has 22 tips to go green this Earth Day.
  • Minnesota-based General Mills looks at how one of its employees lives every day as if its Earth Day.

Earth Day freebies

Several businesses are offering some freebies for Earth Day. Here's a look at some of them, according to WZZM and the Sun-Sentinel:

  • Deals on gardening equipment. Click here for more details.
  • American Eagle: Bring in an old pair of jeans and get 20 percent off a new pair. More details here.
  • Anthropologie: Free rainforest crafts for kids. Details here.
  • Caribou Coffee: Free coffee all month when you buy their Earth Month Tumbler.
  • Get $10 off $50 purchase using the code EARTH10.
  • It's $4.25 for $25 gift certificate using the mobile app and the code EARTH.

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