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April 17, 2012

MADISON - People will have multiple opportunities to help celebrate Earth Day 2012 by participating in a wide variety of events and activities that will be held around Wisconsin. While Earth Day is formally celebrated on April 22, which will be the 42 anniversary of the original Earth Day on April 22, 1970, many events are scheduled on other late April days.

Wisconsin played a leading role in the original Earth Day. 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.

One way people can help celebrate while helping out Wisconsin state park and forest properties is to participate in the fourth annual Work*Play*Earth Day volunteer events sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. The remaining events will be held April 21, 27, 28 and May 5.

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. And Cabela's outdoor outfitters stores have donated gift cards, mulit-tools, hats, water bottles and other merchandise that will be distributed randomly as prizes to participants.

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

A sample to 2012 Earth Day activities around Wisconsin

April 16-22

April 20

April 20-21

April 21

April 21-22

April 22

April 27

April 28

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurel Steffes - 608-266-8109; Bill Cosh - 608-267-2273; or for Work*Play*Earth Day - Patricia Loosen - 608-264-8994;

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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