Work Play Earth Day - Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day in 2020

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Wi DNR Work Play Earth Day Calendar

Each year, the Wisconsin State Park System offers a host of opportunities for citizens to celebrate Earth Day while also helping staff prepare the properties for the coming season. Volunteers also get a chance to interact with staff and enjoy recreating at a Wisconsin State Park System property as spring emerges. This annual series of events in April is co-sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks in cooperation with individual property Friends Groups and partners across the state. This year will not only be the 12th annual Work*Play*Earth Day program in Wisconsin, but it also marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day globally. This international day of volunteer action was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin, for whom a Wisconsin state park is named. The Wisconsin State Park System’s goal is to reach or exceed 50 events/activities that are planned to help recognize this important anniversary and engage citizens in caring for our state’s natural resources.
This year, Friends Groups are invited to work with property managers to schedule activities primarily on weekends between April 11 and May 2nd. Last year over 700 volunteers participated, donating more than 2,195 hours at 29 different events. These volunteer activities can create a springboard to help staff prepare the property for the busy season, while also providing an opportunity for the local Friends Group to recruit additional members and volunteers to support the property.

Popular Projects include:
  • Adopt-A-Trail work days
  • tree planting
  • building and installing benches & picnic tables
  • removing invasive plants
  • painting picnic tables and other structures
  • raking leaves
  • campground clean-up
  • picking up litter (property roadways, beach, day-use areas, etc.)
  • trail repairs and brushing
  • nature center clean-up
  • garden preparation (rain, butterfly, visitor station, entrance signs/areas, etc.)
  • installing bird feeders
  • beach, parking lot, and day-use area clean-up
  • preparing and inspecting recreational rental equipment, and cleaning storage areas
Planning teams are also encouraged to consider offering a recreational opportunity following the work portion of the day to engage the volunteers to “stay and play” so they might enjoy the unique features of the property for the remainder of the day. Event hours may vary by property, but most events begin either at 9 or 10 a.m. and run through noon or early afternoon.

Events that are open to the public will be promoted through the department’s various communication channels. For the best promotion results, event details are due to the property manager as early as possible prior to the March 15 deadline. Friends Group and partner Work*Play*Earth Day activities during this timeframe that may not be open to the public and/or involve select volunteer groups will also be counted towards the 50th anniversary goal. The Bureau of Parks and Recreation Management encourages each Friends Group to take advantage of this special stewardship opportunity.

Janet Hutchens, CVA
Friends Group & Volunteer Services Coordinator
Bureau of Parks and Recreation Management; Fish, Wildlife and Parks Division
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster St., Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
Phone: (608) 261-8453

View WI DNR Work Play Earth Day Calendar

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