An image of people planting a tree outside.

Join the DNR celebrate Earth Day by volunteering at state parks throughout April. / Photo Credit: iStock/fstop123

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced Work Play Earth Day returns after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

Wisconsinites have several opportunities to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) through acts of service and outdoor recreation at Wisconsin state parks throughout the month.

Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Wisconsin native Gov. Gaylord Nelson to raise awareness about air and water pollution. Today Earth Day is observed around the globe and is commemorated as a full month of recognition, stewardship and celebration of the natural environment.

The public can participate in family-friendly activities that help enhance public lands. These events lead to lasting enhancements, increased awareness, and continued support for the Wisconsin State Park System. In 2019, nearly 1,500 volunteers logged 4,131 hours of service.

“We are thrilled this year to celebrate Earth Day with the public at our beautiful parks, forests, trails and recreation areas,” said Janet Hutchens, DNR Friends Group And Volunteer Coordinator. “Joining us for Work Play Earth Day is a great way to invest in our planet and enjoy the outdoors.”

Work Play Earth Day activities happening around the state include:

  • Tree planting
  • Installing benches
  • Removing invasive plants
  • Painting picnic tables and other structures
  • Raking and cleaning up leaves and picking up litter

Hours vary by event, with most beginning mid-morning and running through the early afternoon. Following service projects, volunteers are encouraged to stay, play and enjoy the great outdoors.

Anyone interested in volunteering for service projects are encouraged to sign up online through the DNR’s volunteer portal. Both individuals and groups may sign up online.

Friends Groups are co-sponsoring several events at many properties and often provide lunches or refreshments. A Friends Group is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose members volunteer their time, services and support to enhance Wisconsin’s state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas.


Work Play Earth Day

Be sure to the check the DNR’s event calendar for specific event details. Events will continue being added throughout April.

Sign up to volunteer through the DNR’s volunteer portal.

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