MADISON - People looking for a good way to celebrate Earth Day while giving back to and enjoying their favorite Wisconsin state park property will be able participate in any of 20 upcoming Work*Play*Earth Day events around the state.
Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (exit DNR) is sponsoring the 5th annual Work*Play*Earth Day, with events scheduled on April 13, 20, 27 and May 4.
"Because Wisconsin has such beautiful natural resources, the friends groups around the state work very hard to sponsor these Earth Day projects and to preserve, protect and enhance the parks, forests and trails for all of the visitors to enjoy," says Patty Loosen, friends group coordinator for the Wisconsin State Parks program.
There are more than 80 individual friends groups for parks, forests, trails, nature centers and other properties around Wisconsin, organized under an overall umbrella group, the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. A friends group is a group of people who have an interest in Wisconsin's natural resources and who volunteer their time, services and support in order to enhance one of Wisconsin's state parks, forests, trails or other properties.
"Last year we had more than 650 volunteers who donated more than 2,000 hours cleaning up and maintaining parks and trails, planting more than 700 trees, doing invasive species work and building benches and picnic tables" Loosen said.
Volunteers plant trees at High Cliff State Park during last year's Work*Play*Earth Day event.
More than 150 volunteers showed up at Kohler-Andrae State Park to help remove sand drifts, conduct trail and building maintenance and removed non-native plants from the state natural area. The Friends of Kohler-Andrae provided lunch, snacks and refreshments.
Volunteers at Hartman Creek State Park picked more than 200 pounds of garlic mustard, fixed eight picnic tables, and cleaned and made ready for the season the park's historic log cabin, the Hellestad House. At the Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest volunteers removed honeysuckle to improve nesting habitat for songbirds.
Activities planned this year include planting trees and shrubs, making memorial benches, removing invasive plants, painting picnic tables and other structures, trail repair, raking and cleaning up leaves, picking up litter and getting campgrounds ready for the camping season.
Each work day will run from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The schedule may vary slightly at each location. Volunteers should wear work boots or athletic shoes, long pants and bring their own work gloves. Advanced registration is free and encouraged. People can register through the park, forest, trail or recreation area where they would like to volunteer.
When the work is done, volunteers join staff in hiking or biking park trails, visiting nature centers or interpretive displays, or enjoying any of the recreational opportunities available at the different parks.
These Work*Play*Earth Day are made possible by sponsoring businesses around the state such as REI, Cabelas, Ansay and Associates, and Wild Birds Unlimited and by donations from people who care about the environment and Wisconsin's parks, trails and recreation areas.
People interested in volunteering at one of these events are asked to contact the park, forest, trail staff to sign up. Contact information can be found by searching the DNR website using the park name in the search function.
Saturday - April 13
Saturday - April 20
Saturday - April 27
Saturday - May 4
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patty Loosen, 608-264-8994 or Paul Holtan, DNR parks and recreation public affairs manager, 608-267-7517