Earth Day Began in Wisconsin

Earth Day Began in Wisconsin

Earth Day Founder Gaylord Nelson

Post by: Marsha Mood

U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson

Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson was born in Clear Lake, Wisconsin on June 4, 1916 and died on July 4, 2005.


Nelson served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1949 to 1959, as Governor of Wisconsin from 1959-1963, and in the United States Senate from 1963-1981.

Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day to educate people about the environment after he saw the damage done by a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

April 22, 1970: the first Earth Day

Nelson advocated protecting America’s national forests, national parks, and other public lands from harmful development.

In 1995, Gaylord Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his environmental work.

In 2002, the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison was renamed the “Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies” in his honor.

Earth Day is an annual event that celebrates the planet’s environment and helps raise awareness about plants and animals, air pollution, clean water, and recycling.

For more information on Earth Day: 


Photo credits: Photograph of wooden sign by Mark Dwyer, Director of Horticulture, Rotary Botanical Gardens, Janesville, WI. Stock photos of the earth and Senator Gaylord Nelson. All other photographs by Marsha Mood.We encourage feedback and questions from you, our readers. To contact Janice or Patrea click here to send us an email.

Mark Your Calendar!

Plan to attend the Earth Day Celebration on April 22, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Drive, Janesville, WI 53545. Featuring the Zoozort mini-zoo, children’s activities, family education, community exhibits, and local food trucks. Free Gardens’ admission from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on this event click here.

Guest blogger Marsha Mood is a volunteer at Rotary Botanical Gardens. She is a photographer and teacher and serves on several committees.