04/21/2012 01:21 pm ET

Earth Day In Chicago: Events Around Town Mark Green Holiday

Sunday marks Earth Day, a holiday that's particularly timely for Chicagoans this year as the city was recognized this week by the U.S. Chamber Business Civic Leadership Committee as its Sustainable Community Award winner among large cities.

According to a press release announcing the win, Chicago was chosen for the award due to "its multi-stakeholder approach to implementing the Chicago Climate Action Plan."

"Area businesses, advocacy groups, philanthropists, utilities, government offices, museums, and restaurants all play a part in achieving results against the plan, which is an element of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s broad strategy to integrate sustainability throughout Chicago and its government," the group's announcement read.

Santa Monica, Calif., and Purcellville, Va., were also chosen from among 132 communities across 40 states as fellow Sustainable Community Award winners.

The mayor's office reports that Chicago will receive $20,000 worth of new trees as a prize for its award. The trees are slated to be planted later this year.

Care to concurrently celebrate your win and mark Earth Day, Chicago? Below are a few ideas of green festivities around town. Did we miss something? If so, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Clean It Up
The Friends of the Park will be hosting its 23rd annual "Parks and Preserves Clean-up" at locations throughout the city between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon Sunday. Click here for more information. Meanwhile, the Illinois Sierra Club will sponsor a nature walk and beach sweep on the city's Montrose Beach beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday. The group is hosting several other activities throughout the Chicagoland area.

Party For The Planet
The Brookfield Zoo, located at 3300 Golf Rd. in Brookfield, on Sunday will host a "party for the planet" featuring plantings, the band Green 13, an "eco expo" and a variety of "zoo chats" addressing how you can help make a difference for animals living across the globe. The party also features an electronic recycling drop-off.

Want A Burrito?
Chipotle Mexican Grill is offering free food on Earth Day in exchange for the online purchase of a reusable lunch bag made from "upcycled" Chipotle billboards. All proceeds from the sale of the bags will benefit the company's Cultivate Foundation, a group that helps fund initiatives that support sustainable agriculture, family farming and culinary education, according to its website.

Or How About Something For Your Sweet Tooth?
The Magnolia Bakery, located at 108 N. State St., will be offering customized Earth Day cupcakes on Sunday and giving away reusable tote bags to any customers who purchase six or more of the delicious desserts. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the cupcakes will benefit the Active Transportation Alliance.

Sing It Out
The RedEye reports that environmentally-focused singer-songwriter Joe Reilly will be performing at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum's Earth Day family-friendly celebration. The event begins Sunday at 11 a.m. at the museum, located at 2430 N. Cannon Drive.

Plant A Tree, Meet Curious George
Otherwise occupied on Sunday but still hoping to plant a tree and meet Curious George on the same day? That's oddly specific of you but yes, it is possible: The Morton Arboretum, located at 4100 Illinois Route 53 in Lisle, is hosting a day-long celebration on Arbor Day on Friday, April 27.