Tree planting is a great way to get kids outdoors and interested in the future of a healthy environment .
Celebrate Earth Day
And look beyond it with its founder, Gaylord Nelson.
Ellen Corso, Amamda Laurenzi and Carolyn Rumery Betz
There is no shortage of actions you can take, choices you can make, or events you can attend to honor Earth Day (April 22). Personal awareness and behavior change in our lives can add up to a significant benefit in our communities. Wisconsin has events and opportunities in abundance to inspire and inform on this 43rd annual Earth Day. Here are a few.
Plant a tree
As the date also coincides with Arbor Day (April 26 this year), over time Earth Day has taken on the role of tree-planting. Planting trees helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cleans pollution, secures soil to prevent erosion and provides homes for biodiversity. Be sure to pick a tree that you know can survive in your climate. If youíre unsure about what that might be, ask at your local garden shop or consider a Gift of Green.
The Gift of Green is a packet of 300 tree seedlings for conservation purposes from DNRís tree nursery program and helps contribute to a greener, healthier environment. Call the Griffith State Nursery at (715) 424-3700 to order; after the nursery receives your payment, it will send you a gift certificate to present. Visit: DNR Tree Planting
Get the beat
Walk harmoniously with nature in Wisconsin Rapids from April 12 to 14. Join in the "Central Wisconsin Prairie Chicken Festival: A Celebration of Grasslands" with greater prairie chicken viewing, birding tours, childrenís crafts, wildlife talks and demonstrations, local vendors, nature art and literature, book sales and more. Observe the prairie chickenís unique courtship dance and hear its resonant boom. Be ready to get up early and make your reservations to view birding blinds. Call (715) 343-6215, visit: Prairie Chicken Festival or view Greater Prairie Chicken Dance
Join the Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens Earth Day Extravaganza, a botanical showcase providing education and appreciation of horticulture for all people. In honor of Earth Day the gardens will be open to the public at no charge April 19 to 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The celebration will include displays, activities for children of all ages, as well as self-guided walks, presentations and entertainment for families.
Stop at the Cottage Garden Gallery shop featuring works of art from local Wisconsin artists. For additional information call (608) 752-3885 or visit: Rotary Botanical Gardens . The Rotary Botanical Gardens is located at 1455 Palmer Drive in Janesville.
Clear out the clutter
Why not organize a community garage sale or donation drive of household items? Sometimes we take up a lot of space with stuff we donít really need, want or use and there are people who are in need of basic necessities. Plus, a lot of your unwanted clutter can be used by local charities to sell for much-needed cash.
Network and take action
The 7th Annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference is April 15 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. This yearís conference will raise awareness of the many frontiers of environmental action, including, but also beyond, traditional wilderness areas: in neighborhoods and communities, in forward-thinking business models and in sustainable urban areas. This one-day event features appearances from renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, marine conservation advocate and filmmaker Cťline Cousteau and Nelson Institute director Paul Robbins. For more information visit: Nelson Institute
Mark the calendar for April 28 ó a day of family fun and exploring natureís secrets, join Friends of Sandhill Open House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The property features low, sandy uplands of oak, aspen and jack pine forests, large marshes and many flowages. A small herd of American bison, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, Canada geese, ducks, loons, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, shorebirds, songbirds, hawks, owls and furbearers find a great home at Sandhill. You will find the land is a remote, quiet wildlife oasis amidst a bustling world dominated by people. Sandhill Wildlife Area is located in southwestern Wood County. The headquarters and visitors entrance is at 1715 County Highway X, Babcock. For more information call (715) 884-2437.
Find Froggy Hike Night on May 2 at Hemlock Curve Nature Trail. Learn about the interesting lives of native frogs in the Peshtigo Harbor Wildlife area. The hike is about 2.5 miles and insect/tick repellent is recommended. The program is free. For more information call (715) 732-7784 or visit: the real north Marinette County, WI
Ellen Corso is the circulation manager for Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.
Amamda Laurenzi writes for Wisconsin Natural Resources when she isnít studying at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Carolyn Rumery Betz is an outreach specialist at the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.