The Ridges Sanctuary

Preservation, Education, and Research

Earth Day

What is Earth Week?  

Many Wisconsinites might be surprised that the first Earth Day has close ties to their state! The 1950s and 60s were bustling decades for Americans, but over time they revealed the cost of urbanization and large-scale industrial production: pollution. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, published in 1962, propelled the issue of air and water pollution to the center stage of popular media.  

In 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a rally to raise awareness about the air and water pollution occurring in the United States. Roping in other senators and activists, plans for events on the day of April 22nd began to pop up all over the country. On April 22nd, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to bring awareness to the environmental crisis. At the time, this was 10% of the entire population of the United States!  

The first Earth Day led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in December of 1970. The mission of the EPA was to set standards for air and water quality, research and monitor environmental issues across the country, and work with states to establish their own environmental regulations.  

Gaylord Nelson went on to help bring many other environmental protection bills to life. On the 25th anniversary of the first Earth Day, he gave a speech, stating, “The opportunity for a gradual but complete break with our destructive environmental history and a new beginning is at hand…. We can measure up to the challenge if we have the will to do so — that is the only question. I am optimistic that this generation will have the foresight and the will to begin the task of forging a sustainable society.” 

Today, Earth Day is celebrated across the globe. In fact, many organizations and cities choose to celebrate Earth Week, bringing awareness to environmental issues and celebrating the planet and its stewards.  

Earth Week at The Ridges 

At The Ridges, we like to celebrate Earth Day every day by protecting and preserving land, teaching the public about this biologically diverse area, and inspiring people to protect their own communities. This year, we’re committed to focusing on sustainability. We started in January with our discussion series, Ridges + Regeneration, based on the book Regeneration: Solving the Climate Crisis in One Generation by Paul Hawken. Our last discussion of the series will take place on Tuesday, April 19th from 6:00pm-7:30pm.  

This Earth week, April 18th – 22nd, The Ridges will be celebrating sustainability both online and in person! See our list of events below and be sure to save them to your calendar! 


All Week 

Daily DIY Posts 

This Earth week, we’re sharing our ideas for how you can reduce your climate impacts one change at a time. We’ll be bringing you daily posts about small changes you can make to your lifestyle that can have a big impact on the planet. 

Tuesday, April 19th 

Ridges + Regeneration 


Join us for our final discussion based on Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation by environmentalist and best-selling author, Paul Hawken. In a new approach to the climate crisis, we’ll meet, ask questions and discuss how the concepts of justice, policy, individual action and community are connected to climate crisis solutions. Moderated by Ridges staff members, discussions will include perspectives from community experts who will speak to how their work intersects with the climate crisis. For the last discussion, we’ll also be creating an Action Item list for our community to reduce our climate impacts. Discussion will take place online through Zoom. 

Free event, limited to 100 participants.  

Wednesday, April 20th 

Tree Transplant 


Want to get your hands dirty this Earth Week? We’ve got a job for you! Join us at The Ridges to help us move tree seedlings between the Range Lights and find them a new home in the sanctuary. Tree transplanting is a more environmentally friendly way to landscape or remove trees from a habitat. It can also help seedlings survive in a more suitable environment.  At The Ridges, tree transplanting allows us to keep the Range Light corridor clear to abide by Coastguard regulations and maintain a critical open space for maritime travel while saving tree species and restoring other habitats within the sanctuary! 

We’ll provide instructions for how to transplant the trees as well as all the necessary equipment for transplanting. We’ll start by removing trees from the corridor, then we’ll move them to another location to transplant. This will be a hands-on activity. Bring your own gloves and clothes that can get muddy! If you have a spare bucket handy, bring that as well! This event meets at the Workshop on our North Campus off County Q. If you’re interested in attending, contact 



Want to learn more about Earth Day and initiatives that you can take in your community? Check out the resources below. 

What’s happening in Door County this Earth Week? 


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