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April 12, 2011

MADISON -- Wisconsin played a leading role in the original Earth Day on April 22, 1970, and an even bigger role in the 41 years that have followed.

Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson founded what became the nation's largest grassroots gathering to demand action to clean up and protect our air, land, water and wildlife. Learn more about "Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day: The Making of the Environmental Movement [] (exit DNR) on a website from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

While the original Earth Day was largely a combination of festival, political and academic discussions, and coalition building, in subsequent years much of the focus has been on hands-on opportunities for people to get involved with protecting or restoring natural resources in the area where they live.

In Wisconsin, people will have multiple opportunities for hands-on work at local parks, forest, trails and nature centers.

Work*Play*Earth Day!

The statewide organization Friends of Wisconsin State Parks, has organized the third annual Work*Play*Earth Day! to give people a opportunity to celebrate Earth Day 2011 by helping Wisconsin State Parks and Trails get ready for the busy summer season.

Volunteers can join DNR staff, local friends group members, and people from nearby communities for a day of getting their hands dirty helping repair and improve park and trail facilities, then taking time to have some fun enjoying those facilities.

Some of the work volunteers will help out with include planting trees, raking campsites, repairing picnic tables, cleaning-up trails, and pulling invasive species.

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.

Each work day will run from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but the schedule may vary slightly at each location. Volunteers should wear work boots or athletic shoes, long pants and bring their own work gloves. Lunch and snacks, donated by area businesses, will be served at many locations.

Advanced registration is free, but required. People can register through the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks website [] (exit DNR).

Work*Play*Earth Day 2911 events are scheduled for April 16 at Red Cedar State Trail and Big Food Beach State Park; April 23 at Mirror Lake and Kohler-Andrae state parks; April 30 at Peninsula and Harrington Beach state parks; May 7 at Whitefish Dunes and Hartman Creek state parks; and May 14 at Kinnickinnic State Park. For more information contact: Jenna Assmus -(608) 264-8994 or by email at

In addition to the Work*Play*Earth Day events, there are many other activities and work days scheduled at state park, forest and trail properties around Wisconsin. People can also check with local chambers of commerce, or conservation and environmental clubs for other activities.

From its inception, Earth Day has been grass-roots driven, with many groups organizing their own local activities. This makes it very difficult to compile any all-inclusive list of Earth Day activities around the state, but the Department of Natural Resources and many of the friends groups that have formed to assist specific properties have organized many events.

The following is partial list of Earth Day 2011 activities.

2011 Earth Day related activities

Thursday, April 14

Friday, April 15,

Saturday, April 16

Monday, April 18

Tuesday, April 19

Wednesday, April 20

Thursday, April 21

Friday, April 22, Earth Day

Friday & Saturday, April 22 & 23

Saturday, April 23

Saturday, April 30

Sunday May 1

Saturday, May 7

Saturday, May 14

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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