More than one billion people are expected to participate in activities planned around Earth Day next Friday, April 22.

This year, Green Columbus continues its tradition of a two-part observance of Earth Day; the theme: "Lighten Up." Countless volunteer projects are planned in central Ohio for the weekend of April 16 and 17 and then Green Columbus organizers are gearing up for a big celebration the following Saturday, April 23 at Franklin Park Conservatory.

In recognition of Earth Day, volunteer projects include planting trees, creating community food gardens, and restoring local ecosystems, just to name a few.

The goal of both the volunteer projects and the celebration that follows is to raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage everyone to work together to find solutions.

Green Columbus is a not-for-profit organization and coordinates the most Earth Day service projects in the U.S., not to mention hosts the largest party in celebration of volunteers' efforts.

For more information check out www.greencbus.org.

-- Kristen Maetzold