MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is pleased to announce its participation in the Happy Little 5k, a race benefiting tree health in Wisconsin state parks. The race, inspired by artist Bob Ross, is a virtual event with proceeds going towards tree health and protection across the state.

This is a race that anyone and everyone can do. Participation is open to people of all abilities, whether they walk, run, skate, bicycle or use a mobility device. Participants can pick their start and finish lines for this 5k (3.1 mile) race. Compete against a friend or find a partner to help you both meet your miles.

Registrants can select Wisconsin as the state they wish to represent. A portion of the $34 registration fee will go towards tree planting and forest health efforts to combat threats from invasive species in Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas.

Everyone who participates gets a Happy Little t-shirt, a commemorative bib and a finisher’s medal. Participants pick the pace and the place, as long as it’s outdoors and you reach the finish line between Earth Day (April 22) and Arbor Day (April 28).

The Wisconsin DNR is working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to offer this opportunity. Michigan started the Happy Little Trees program in 2019 by partnering with Bob Ross Inc. to raise awareness of tree planting and forest protection efforts in its state parks. The program has led to thousands of trees planted in state parks across Michigan. This year, Michigan is partnering with other state departments of natural resources, including Wisconsin, to offer the Happy Little 5k.

People around the world are familiar with the work and personality of Bob Ross, the American painter, art instructor and television host who in the ’80s and ’90s shared his love for painting and the environment with millions of viewers on the PBS show, “The Joy of Painting.” Ross was known for demonstrating seemingly simple brushstrokes that brought gorgeous landscapes – full of happy little trees – to life on the canvas.

Suggested 5k routes at Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas will be available in January on the DNR’s OutWiGo webpage. Registration is open until March 1, 2023.

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