Heal the Bay announced March 29 that it is expanding the concept of Earth Day to Earth Month for April and will participate in nearly 50 events countywide.

The Santa Monica-based environmental non-profit has designed a series of outreach programs for schools, businesses and community organizations looking to protect and improve local neighborhoods, coastal waters, rivers, creeks and beaches.

Heal the Bay plans to host several volunteer events that organizers hope will draw thousands of participants on Earth Day weekend (April 21- 22) and throughout the month, including:

Volunteer Orientation, April 9, 7 to 9 p.m.Learn more about Heal the Bay, its mission, and the many involvement opportunities throughout the year. Held at Heal the Bay’s main office at 1444 Ninth St., Santa Monica.

Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanup in Santa Monica, April 21, 10 a.m. to noonThe monthly Nothin’ But Sand beach cleanups are open to all. The Earth Day cleanup will be held at Santa Monica Beach at the end of Ocean Park Boulevard.

Community service hours will be offered to those who need to fulfill them. Volunteers must be 13 years old or accompanied by an adult. Bags and gloves will be provided.

Ian Somerhalder, star of “The Vampire Diaries,” will be joining the cleanup in collaboration with the California Coastal Commission, Heal the Bay and Whole Foods Market on the Get Dirty Where You Live, Work & Play Earth Day 2012 Initiative.

Earth Day Weekend at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, April 21-22, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.The weekend-long festivities feature special presentations and activities for all ages and an offer of free admission to everyone who first cleans the beach. Individuals, families and groups are welcome to attend the events.

Information, www.healthebay.org.

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