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Sister Events Planning Guide

The Earth Optimism 2018 global events will take place the week leading up to Earth Day, April 22, 2018. We invite you to change the conversation from gloom and doom and be part of our global Community of Practice around Earth Optimism: What is working in conservation, why, and how do we replicate and scale up best practices and good ideas.

What is a Sister Event?

A Sister Event can take many forms to support the broad goal of helping drive engagement around what is working in conservation, why, and how do we replicate and scale up best practices and good ideas. Sister events may focus on having their audience commit to their very own Earth-friendly action and are co-branded with Smithsonian’s #EarthOptimism.

When should I host my sister event?

Your sister event can occur anytime in April, but preferably closer to Earth Day on April 22, 2018.

Why host a sister event?

Hosting your own sister event is an opportunity to showcase and highlight the work your community, institution, or organization does to contribute to conservation and sustainability, changing the focus from problem to solution, from a sense of loss to one of hope. Host your own event and highlight stories of conservation success and commit to your own Earth-friendly action by bringing your community and networks together.


Please send all inquiries to: earthoptimism@si.edu

Examples of Sister Events

Possible sister events include, but are not limited to, the following examples. If you have a creative idea not listed below you would like us to highlight, please email it to us at EarthOptimism@si.edu. We also invite you to host a Pledge for the Planet Wall where participants can write down the Earth-friendly action they plan to commit to after your event and where your organization can also highlight its own pledge. Local organizations, schools, universities and professional institutions can be great partners. Promote your event on our website and through social media, news outlets, community posters, or local newspapers.

  • Information booths / Demonstrations
    • Invite local experts, conservation organizations, or businesses to your event, festival or institution to host an information booth highlighting awareness and actions that are eco-friendly or put on a demonstration.
    • Find ways to make these interactive for best success.
    • Public Program / Lecture
      • Host a discussion with a panel of experts or on a certain theme relevant to your community or organization.
      • Feature guest speakers presenting stories of success.
    • Environmental Film Screening and Discussion
      • Showcase an inspiring film about what’s working in conservation and host a public discussion after the screening.
    • Festival
      • Host a conservation comics making station.
      • Host art stations where discarded materials can be reused to make works of art or provide examples of how items can be repurposed.
      • Partner with a local community garden to provide native species seeds.
      • Host games for all ages. See our resources section for ideas.
    • Community Event
      • Partner with your local farmer’s market and make this an event where you can highlight food sustainability, reducing food waste, importance of local produce, recycling, and so much more.
      • Partner with a local theater company or high school to create a short play or showcase a positive #EarthOptimism story.
    • Exhibition
      • Host an exhibit themed around Earth Optimism.
    • Tour
      • Get your community outside and appreciating nature by partnering with a national park or wildlife refuge and host a tour. You can add a theme like learning about local wildlife, birding or photographing nature to attract an audience.
      • Partner with local nature or outdoor recreational groups to plan an engaging activity.
    • Competition
      • Hold a comics, art, video, music, writing, or photography contest where winners can be showcased on your webpage, through social media during #EarthOptimism2018, or in your institution.
    • Cleanup / Adopt / Bioblitz
      • Host a cleanup in an area of interest that supports biodiversity: beach, river, lake, wetland, or local park or protected area.
      • Adopt a beach, river, wetland, park, etc.
      • Plan a bioblitz
      • Partner with local venues and environmental organizations for support and donations.

Engaging via Social Media and Branding

How do I participate?

Share with us how you are creating a new narrative of hope for our planet by using #EarthOptimism2018. Post messages, photos, or videos in celebration of the campaign on social media. Make sure to include the hashtag in every post so everyone can find them.

Your social media posts can occur any time – during the lead up to the digital event, Earth Day weekend, or any time after.

How can we connect to Earth Optimism social media platforms?

Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

What Sister Event information will appear on the website?

Featured events will include: Event Name, Organization Name, Web Address, Country, City, and State.

Events and activities can occur any time within the year, but we encourage them closer to Earth Day, April 22, 2018.

How do I co-brand my event with Earth Optimism?

The following Earth Optimism taglines and text are approved for use to co-brand your sister event and/or social media involvement.

Tag line: "This [event name] is presented in celebration of the Smithsonian Global Earth Optimism Campaign."

Text: "The Smithsonian Global Earth Optimism Campaign celebrates a change in focus from problem to solution, from a sense of loss to one of hope, in the dialogue about conservation and sustainability."

Social media: #EarthOptimism2018

When using the Smithsonian Earth Optimism logo, you must include the following disclaimer statement:

"The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this [event name] do not necessarily represent those of the Smithsonian Institution."

How can we show that our event is aligned with the Earth Optimism campaign?

Make sure you register your event. Registered Sister Events will be pre-screened for possible inclusion in a global directory of events listed on our website.

Audience Engagement

Things to consider

We encourage you to use #EarthOptimism2018 to highlight the work your organization does to contribute to conservation and sustainability, changing the focus from problem to solution, from a sense of loss to one of hope.

Engage Others

Use this opportunity to collaborate with other organizations in your community. Grow existing relationships and discover new partners. Think about social organizations, civic groups, faith-based and community outreach organizations, schools, universities, etc.

Document the Experience

Document your event from planning through implementation; hire a photographer or take photos/videos to post on social media. Solicit participant feedback via surveys, guest books, and informal interviews; collect anecdotes to use in future publications and promotional materials.

Build Membership

Use your event to increase membership of your institution!

Public vs. Private Event

Determine whether your event is public or private:

  • Invitation-only
  • Ticketed
  • Open access

Spread the Word

Use social media and other marketing efforts to promote your event; make sure your local and regional officials (mayor, town council, representatives, senators, funders, etc.) are aware of your efforts.


If you are looking for resources, lesson plans, apps, games or activities which you can incorporate into your event, please check back soon for a list of resources.

What other Smithsonian resources are available online?

Smithsonian Earth Optimism YouTube Channel

Smithsonian Affiliations

Smithsonian Science Education Center

Smithsonian Youth Programs

SmithsonianX Free Online Courses

Smithsonian Website

Become a part of our community! Earth Optimism logo


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