National CleanUp Day is Sept. 19.

By Christine Burroni
September 16, 2020
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Matt Sayles/Invision for Planet Oat/AP Images

"Avengers" star Cobie Smulders is putting her love for the environment into action by spreading awareness for National CleanUp Day on Sept. 19.

"Having a day where you really acknowledge, 'I’m going out in nature, and I’m going to be responsible, and I’m going to teach that responsibility to my children,' will hopefully create more excitement about preserving nature and treating it with the respect it deserves," Smulders told Travel + Leisure.

A self-proclaimed "recycling machine," the How I Met Your Mother actress is partnering with environmental nonprofit Clean Trails and dairy alternative brand Planet Oat, as an ambassador in their "Planet Oat Project" initiative to help get environment conservation enthusiasts and newbies alike out on Saturday to help clean up parks and trails in their own neighborhood.

Those interested can pledge their time on the Planet Oat Project website.

Smulders' love for the outdoors is evident on her Instagram page where gorgeous landscapes and calming nature scenes are prominent — her most recent photos and videos show a recent road trip to Montana to close out the summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We drove 20 hours with our two children in our minivan which was a real gutsy move," she recalled to T+L. "It was a little bit of a swing but it was a good call because we knew we were entering into a phase of Zoom school and we knew we weren't going to be leaving our house." 

Thankfully, she said that even the long drive served as a treat in itself after spending the majority of their summer at home in California.

"There are so many parts of this country that are just stunning and so many amazing national parks to visit," she said, noting how there was a new view "every 20 minutes" for her kids to see along the way and how once they were settled in they enjoyed swimming and horseback riding. 

Matt Sayles/Invision for Planet Oat/AP Images

Making CleanUp Day a family affair, Planet Oat is also sending participating families a Planet Oat Project CleanUp Kit filled with supplies like tongs — both adult and child-size — to use to pick up debris. Kits will be available for the rest of the month, beyond Sept. 19, to celebrate Clean Trails Month.

"We’re hoping just to get people to reconnect with nature and make it a priority," Smulders said.  

Planet Oat and Clean Trails donated funds to help combat the California wildfires. They also support the Sheldrick Wildlife Fund.

And as for the actress' travel plans for the near and distant future, a trip home to Canada is on Smulders' priority list, but when it comes to the bucket list, getting out in nature also is the goal — in New Zealand.

"It's probably inspired by a little bit of what we’ve been going through," she said. "It's such a beautiful environment that there are so many things you can do and explore outdoors."

Christine Burroni is Travel + Leisure’s Digital News Editor. Find her keeping up with just about everything on Twitter or see what she’s up to in NYC or on her latest trip on Instagram.