LEHI — Earth Day activities around the valley include efforts to beautify Lehi, ridding the community of mercury, sprucing up the nearby forests and literally running for the trees.

April 19 marks the beginning of a week-long "Beautify Lehi" effort. Dumpsters at city parks will be available for yard waste. The city provides trash bags, said coordinator Linda Turner. On Tuesday city employees will have three hours to participate in a massive spring cleaning service project.

At the John Hutchings Museum of Natural History, officials with the Central Utah Water Conservancy District will teach about water conservation and drought-tolerant plants, and a representative from International Automated Systems — a solar energy company — will teach about harnessing energy from the sun. The free events begin at 9 a.m. and run until noon. Home Depot will give away 50 bird house kits and visitors are invited to bring in six aluminum cans to trade for a free seedling tree.

Parks director Steve Marchbanks said he would like to see as many residents as possible be involved and let him know what projects they are working on in their areas.

"We live in a very unique area," he said. "There are lots of retention ponds and parks."

Folks can tidy up neighborhood parks or ask for a project and Marchbanks will pull from his list. That may include painting pavilions, laying bark around trees and cleaning up vacant lots. Lehi city will provide supplies, but residents are asked to bring their own tools.

The Utah County Health Department and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality is taking advantage of Earth Day to focus on ridding the community of old mercury products such as old thermometers, old chemistry sets and thermostats.

Collection of those items is ongoing, but "Earth Day is a good day to focus on it," said county health department spokesman Lance Madigan.

To turn items in, place them in a sealed container and take to the Utah County Environmental Health Division, 151 S. University Ave., Provo.

Uinta National Forest officials have projects planned in the Spanish Fork Ranger District and the Pleasant Grove Ranger District.

In the Spanish Fork district, officials have targeted the Diamond Fork Youth Forest. Volunteers will be cutting and planting willows, planting shrubs and reseeding along segments of the Diamond Fork Youth Forest interpretive trail.

Volunteers are asked to meet at Diamond Fork Campground in Diamond Fork Canyon, about 17 miles from Spanish Fork, just off U.S. 6. Each person should wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes or boots and gloves and bring water and a lunch. Contact Sarah Flinders at 798-3571 or 342-5264 to participate.

In the Pleasant Grove district, volunteers are asked to be part of an ongoing effort to restore an area along the Wasatch Front to improve wildlife habitat and encourage mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. Volunteers also will build a mile of fence and treat about an acre of Yellow Starthistle weeds by hand. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Grove Creek Trailhead off 400 North in Pleasant Grove. Project contact is Mellisa Slaugh at 785-3563.

In Lindon, the Healthy Lindon Committee and the Lindon City Tree Advisory Board are sponsoring the first "Run for the Trees" 5K race to celebrate both Earth Day and Arbor Day, said Debbie Cullimore, city recorder. The race begins at about 800 West and 400 South. About 100 people have signed up.

"They're still trickling in," Cullimore said. "We hope to double that ... on race day." Details are on the city's Web site: lindoncity.org.

Utah Valley State College has already held its Earth Day, dubbing it "Annual Utah Valley University Environmental Awareness Week" and the 21st Annual Conference on Environmental Ethics. Activities included a film screening of "The Great Fog" about the noxious 1952 London Fog that killed thousands and led to new environmental legislation. College students and faculty also discussed Utah's air pollution and other environmental issues, including the future of environmental ethics.

Eco-friendly Web sites

Earth Day is April 22. To find things to do to celebrate and help with green efforts see:

ecologue.com; edhelper.com/; www.agreenerenvironment.com; www.latimes.com; www.earthday.net; www.earthday.gov

E-mail: [email protected]