The Ridges Sanctuary

Preservation, Education, and Research

Earth Week

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, The Ridges is committed to conducting scientific research as part of our mission to promote positive environmental behaviors. We recognize the importance of both conducting scientific research and empowering our community to engage in scientific discussions. We started in January with our third annual book club, Ridges Reads, where we discussed Suzanne Simard’s Finding the Mother Tree and Peter Wholleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. In previous years, the Ridges Reads book club has explored topics of climate solutions and Indigenous ecological knowledge. In this year’s Ridges Reads book club, we dove into an ongoing conversation in the scientific community – and one currently without a conclusion.

This Earth week, April 22nd – 26th, The Ridges will be celebrating the scientific community in and outside of the sanctuary! See our list of events below and be sure to save them to your calendar!


Friday, April 19th

Community Tree Planting at Appel's Bluff with The Big Plant, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm | 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm 

Calling all volunteers - Join us for a Community Planting at Appel's Bluff, hosted by The Ridges Sanctuary!

We invite you to join us in the Climate Change Coalition of Door County's next phase of the Big Plant: free and public Community Plantings! At five sites over two weeks, they'll be planting together over 4,000 new native trees. At these sites, native Oaks, Birches, Cedars, American Plums, Tamaracks, Firs, Pines, and Spruces will be planted. All tree-planters will be able to take away free, additional 2-year-old conifers to plant at home or at your business. Volunteers of all ages are invited to help with our land restoration efforts.

Please bring your own gloves and dress to be outside for two hours!. You can register for the 10:00am planting or the 2:00pm planting. Walk-ins are also welcome for these two plant opportunities, with arrivals at 10:00am and 2:00pm. There is no fee to register (it just helps us know who will be joining).

Sign up HERE for the 10:00 am - 12:00 pm slot or HERE for the 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm slot.

If you have any questions regarding the plantings, call Anna at (920)-839-2802 ext. 115 or email

Saturday, April 20th

Every Day is Earth Day, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm 

Join us, along with other organizations, at this years’ Every Day is Earth Day event at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor! Visit our table to learn about Citizen Science opportunities at The Ridges, other ways to get involved, and how to take steps toward living sustainably! Be sure to check out other great organizations’ tables and activities! The festival features tree plantings, an Energy Forum, a two-location Earth Day Festival, and wraps with an Earth Day Celebration Open Mic. For the full schedule, visit

Fee: Free

Location: Kress Pavilion, 7845 Church Street, Egg Harbor. 

Ridges Forest School Artist Reception and Celebration, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Kick off the start of Earth Week at The Ridges with this fun family-friendly event. Join us for an artist show and reception of Ridges Forest School student masterpieces. Come experience impactful works based on their perspective of Earth’s systems and cycles that they’ve studied through all seasons at The Ridges.

Fee: Free

Location: Kress Pavilion, 7845 Church Street, Egg Harbor. 

Monday, April 22nd 

Range Light Corridor Restoration Project Presentation with Director of Research Tony Kiszonas, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm 

Join us for an update on the Range Light Corridor Restoration Project with Director of Research Tony Kiszonas. The presentation will include what to expect when walking through the corridor this year and insights into important ongoing research on federally threatened Dwarf Lake Iris in partnership with the USFW Coastal Program. 

Fee: Free

Location: Cook-Fuller Nature Center, 8166 State Hwy 57, Baileys Harbor. 

Pre-registration is required due to limited space; Click here to register! 

Wednesday, April 24th 

Tree Transplant @ 10:00 am 

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, shovels, and buckets if you can and clothes that can get muddy! This event meets at the Workshop on our North Campus off County Q. If you’re interested in attending, contact 

Friday, April 26th 

Arbor Day Tree Giveaway, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Get your free trees! Stop by The Ridges Cook-Albert Fuller Nature Center on Friday, April 26th, during our hours of operation, where we'll be giving free trees away! Plant them at home or at your business: inspire as many people as possible to plant and grow as many trees as possible! The giveaway begins at 9:00 am and will run until supplies last. First come first serve. 

Location: Cook-Fuller Nature Center, 8166 State Hwy 57, Baileys Harbor.


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?