No matter how you feel about global warming, offshore drilling or the disappearing rainforests – I think all of us can agree that taking care of the planet we call home is a good idea.
Earth Day is on Monday, April 22nd. There are many opportunities to get involved in your community. When you do, you’ll be celebrating an international event with a beginning that can be traced straight back to Wisconsin.
The father of Earth Day was U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin – who also served as the state’s 35th governor.
After seeing the devastation of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill firsthand, Nelson felt moved to start an event that educated the public on the importance of protecting the environment.
Nelson put together a team to organize what he called environmental teach-ins across the country. Colleges and universities from coast to coast took part holding massive demonstrations in addition to the teach-ins.
The first Earth Day in 1970 was a major success. 2o million people participated and there was even an hour-long, prime-time news special on CBS covering the event. Today, it’s grown far beyond the United States with more than one-billion people observing Earth Day in more than 140 nations. It has also become a time of year when people take action and volunteer their time to help out the places that protect the earth.
Nelson firmly believed that our natural resources are the most valuable treasure in our nation or any other nation. That’s what it all boils down to in the end. Nelson once said…
“The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world.”
So for at least one day, roll up your sleeves and make an effort to make the earth a cleaner place for us all.
Here are some ways you can get involved and celebrate Earth Day:
1. Baird Creek Parkway Cleanup & Eco-Fair – Saturday, April 20th
There are some amazing trails in the Green Bay area, and Baird Creek is one of WhooNEW’s favorites. The Baird Creek Preservation Foundation is marking Earth Day with a chance for you to help clean up the preserve.
The foundation is looking for volunteers to assist with cleanup, invasive species removal and trail improvement projects on Saturday from 9am to Noon. You’ll be able to work in an area that most interests you. Light snacks and beverages will be provided.
You can just show up at the Triangle Hill Pavilion (500 Beverly Road), or email email@example.com if you’re coming with a group of 10 or more. Visit www.bairdcreek.org for additional information.
An Earth Week Coalition Eco-Fair will also be taking place at Triangle Park from 8am until Noon. There will be booths set up around the park featuring local conservation clubs, so that you can learn how to get involved. You’ll also find plenty of fun activities for kids.
2. NEW Zoo Birthday Party for the Animals – Saturday, April 20th
Get to know some of the amazing creatures that make up our world. Take a date or take your kids to celebrate with the animals from 9am to 2pm on Saturday.
The stars of the zoo will be getting special birthday treats during the day. You can sing Happy Birthday with all the other visitors, have a slice of cake and sign the giant birthday card. There will be fun and educational activities throughout the day.
The NEW Zoo is also accepting donations of rakes, shovels, brooms and gift certificates to home improvement/hardware stores. Click Here for more info on the event.
3. Downtown Appleton Earth Day Walking Trivia – Saturday, April 20th
Stroll through downtown Appleton and look for local businesses with a poster in their window mentioning this event. There will be trivia questions you can answer about Earth Day.
All correct answers will be entered into drawings for Appleton Downtown gift certificates. The Trivia Walk takes place from 11am until 3pm.
Get a map for the event at Globally Sound Fair Trade (604 W College Ave)
4. State Park Cleanup – Saturday, April 20th
There are State Park Cleanup efforts happening now and throughout the spring as part of the Work *Play* Earth Day program. During Earth Week you can stop by and help out at a few different parks in our area.
On Saturday there will be cleanup projects happening at Kohler Andrae State Park in Sheboygan and Newport State Park in Ellison Bay, Door County. The following Saturday, April 27th, folks will be cleaning up High Cliff State Park in Sherwood, and on May 4th you can help prepare Whitefish Dunes State Park in Sturgeon Bay as summer approaches.
Click Here for a complete list of parks and dates.
5. Science Saturday – Green Bay Children’s Museum – Saturday, April 20th
The new Green Bay Children’s Museum will be focusing on Earth Day with its regular Science Saturday event. Wisconsin Public Service is helping the museum celebrate with special activities centered on conservation throughout April.
There will be an Energy Scavenger Hunt, cookie mining and more. Kids who finish all five science stations get a prize from WPS. This event is free with paid admission or membership.
The Appleton Children’s Museum (aka The Building for Kids) is also planning some Earth Day activities – including recycled art projects on Tuesday, April 23rd. Plus, you and the family can also check out the museum’s new exhibit Wild Safari Adventure.
6. Earth Day at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary – Sunday, April 21st
The Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary will be celebrating Earth Day a bit early. There will be an electronics recycling drive on Saturday along with many other events.
The website lists Critter Counter, Fox Trot, Quill Thrills, Birds of Prey tour and more. You’re asked to look for activity locations and times when you arrive. Whatever happens, the Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to spend Earth Day.
7. Leave Your Car at Home Day – Monday, April 22nd
The official Earth Day date coincides with Leave Your Car at Home Day. Participants look for a way to get to work and get around town without using their cars. That could mean walking, public transportation or riding your bicycle.
We’re not sure if hitchhiking counts…but we don’t recommend it.
8. UWGB Earth Week Picnic – Monday, April 22nd
Head over to the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and be one of the first 200 people to arrive so you can partake in the school’s Earth Week picnic. It’s being hosted by the UWGB Public and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Besides the picnic food there will be live music, games, crafts, student projects to check out as well as informational booths. The picnic takes place Monday from 11-2pm.
9. Green Bay Botanical Gardens, Children’s Story Hour – Monday, April 22nd
Check out some of the beautiful spring flowers and plants popping up at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens, and let your kids enjoy a fun-filled storytime starting at 10am.
Space for the storytime is limited, so you are asked to register with the Gardens at www.gbbg.org
10. Downtown Green Bay Cleanup – Friday, April 26th
Earth Week events will continue well after the official day of observation has passed. And it includes efforts to improve our cities as well as the parks. Join other volunteers to help with the annual spring cleanup in Green Bay’s downtown from 3pm to 5pm.
People will be picking up litter and debris around downtown and in the Olde Main district. Downtown Green Bay, Inc. will provide garbage bags, gloves and other tools. You just need to show up at The Attic (720 Bodart Street). Refreshments will be provided by Jimmy John’s and The Attic.
11. Fox River Trail Work Party – Saturday, April 27th
The Fox River Trail in Brown County is a recreational treasure. The Friends of the Fox River Trial will be preparing an area at the head of the trail for prairie planting. Volunteers may also be put to work pulling the invasive plant garlic mustard as well. Sounds delicious, but it’s a threat to other native plant-life. Meet at the trail head on Polier Street in Green Bay at 9am if you plan to help.
The Brown County Parks Department is asking volunteers from the Adopt-a-Trail initiative to plan their own cleanup projects as well.
Share Your Earth Day Events
We know there are a lot of other things being planned in recognition of Earth Day. Feel free to share them in the comments below.
From recycling efforts to clean up projects…we want to hear about them and so do the rest of the WhooNEW readers.