In celebration of the weeks around Earth Day and the spring season, enjoy a range of free and low-cost family events! Earth Day Bouquet offers your family a variety of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, get involved in your local and natural community, and become motivated to make a difference in the health and sustainability of the environment.

Check our events schedule and mark your calendar for a Bouquet of things to do, explore and learn about this Earth Day season.

Nature Net Calendar

2024 Events at Nature Net Sites

UW Arboretum

Volunteer for restoration activities and learn about prairies and savannas. Tools and training provided. Groups welcome with advance notice. Meet at Grady Tract parking lot, southeast corner of Seminole Hwy. and W. Beltline Frontage Rd. Event capacity is limited, please arrive by 9 a.m. More information: (608) 265-5214 or

Celebrate the return of spring on a flower-filled stroll through Longenecker Horticultural Gardens’ dazzling collection of over 100 magnolia trees. Tour led by David Stevens, garden curator and Magnolia Society International board member. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center.

This program is a fun, fascinating way for families with children elementary age and younger to explore the natural world. Nature walk: 1:30–2:30 p.m., activities: 2:30–3:30 p.m. Adults must attend. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes and come prepared for weather. Walks canceled for unsafe weather or trail conditions. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center. This event is part of UW-Madison Earth Fest.

Listen for frogs and other night animals, like woodcocks. We can’t guarantee that wildlife will appear, but if they do we may see the woodcock’s fascinating mating ritual known as sky dance. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes and come prepared for weather. Walks canceled for unsafe weather or trail conditions. Free, register through Eventbrite by April 16: Meet at the Visitor Center.

Learn about the land, plants, animals, fungi, phenology, and ecology. Geared for adults, these longer walks may cover some sloping terrain. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes and come prepared for weather. Walks canceled for unsafe weather or trail conditions. Free, no registration required. Meet at the Visitor Center. This event is part of UW-Madison Earth Fest.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center

In honor of Earth Day, join us for a fun and playful afternoon of clean-up at everyone’s favorite park… Dream Park at Winnequah Park in Monona.

This family-friendly land stewardship event is geared towards all ages. Spend a spring afternoon outside, connecting with one another and the land, as we clean up our green spaces!

Registration is encouraged but not required.

Celebrate Earth Day with Mundo Esperanza: World Hope and learn about the different ways we are working to heal the planet and ourselves. With talks and speakers on Traditional Environmental Knowledge, the Land Spirit Project, modern practices of prescribed fires, a conservation project in Peru, the connection between Art and the Environment, and more.

This is a free event! Come for the whole program or attend only a portion.

  • April 22 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. Do More Trash BashJoin the Do More Trash Bash from Monona Parks & Rec for a race to collect the most pounds of waste in parks and throughout Monona. See how much trash you can pick up before the clock runs out. Prizes available for category winners in the trash bash.The timer is set! Here’s your chance to do your part. Join the inaugural DO MORE Trash Bash. They’ll provide the bags and disposable gloves, you supply the hands!

More information and registration coming soon.

Friends of Horicon Marsh

Celebrate Earth Day and bring your family out to the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center to discover all the incredible wildlife that makes YOUR marsh such a special place.

Families can complete a free self-guided scavenger hunt with hands-on activities in and around the Education Center to be entered for a Flyway Gift Shop prize drawing.

Join us at 10:00am for a special book reading and signing by local author Jessica Stremer of her book “Lights Out: A Movement to Help Migrating Birds”. Based on the real-life Lights Out movement, this inspirational picture book shows how even the smallest of actions, like flipping a switch, can make a big difference in helping migrating birds. Books we be available for purchase.

New this year, our very own Horicon Marsh Wildlife Biologist shares through an interactive presentation on what makes our marsh so marvelous!

Examine animal artifacts, meet hard-to find critters in person, and even take a look under the water as you learn about all kinds of Wisconsin wildlife. You will have the opportunity to learn about the water cycle on the short-loop trail, make a seed bomb, solve a nature mystery or two, and have the chance to take a selfie with our lovable snapping turtle Marshall.

We’ll also have Reduced Explorium admission rates of $2 per person all day, children 4 and under free. Join us at the marsh as we explore special creatures in a special place.

Free and no registration required. Event is located at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center

City of Madison Parks

Celebrate Earth Day with your neighbors and friends by volunteering to clean up your local park! Join this community-wide volunteer effort to make a difference. Earth Day Challenge Projects are held throughout the city. Volunteers may assist with trash pickup, raking, weeding, and removing sticks. We will supply gloves, garbage bags and rakes. Rakes at each park will be based on the number of volunteers participating. TO PICK UP SUPPLIES: Look for the Earth Day Challenge sign in each of the designated parks. No staff is onsite during the event.

Dane County Parks

  • April 22 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Earth Day ExtravaganzaJoin Dane County Parks staff for an Earth Day Extravaganza! Stop by the William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park solar shelter for some fun activities, including:
    • Heritage Oak Tree Sapling Giveaway (while supplies last) – Dane County Tree Board
    • Rainfall Simulator Demonstration
    • Healthy Parks, Healthy You Initiative
    • Self-guided Scavenger Hunt
    • Native Plant Seed Ball Making
    • Pollinator Information – UW Extension

    We will also offer volunteer shifts for a number of activities including tree planting, brush cutting, trash pickup, mulching and more. You must sign up in advance if you would like to volunteer. An outdoor wheelchair will be available for use by volunteers with an advanced sign up. Use the volunteer signup form to register for a wheelchair spot and also a volunteer spot.

    This event is a part of the Healthy Parks, Healthy You program, an initiative led in partnership between the Foundation for Dane County Parks, Dane County Parks, Dean Health Plan by Medica, and SSM Health. Healthy Parks, Healthy You engages youth, seniors, and their families in improving their mental, physical, and emotional health through the use of our beautiful Dane County Parks system.

Lussier Family Heritage Center

Come to a free hike with a Dane County Staff member. This program’s goal is to get our youngest explorers comfortable in and enjoying the outdoors. The path is flat, grassy terrain that may not be suitable for a stroller.

Come have fun with other families and get in a short hike with your littles. Ages: 0-5 Cost: Free. This is drop in event. No Registration Required

  • April 17 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. Earth Day Movie Night: “Wall-E” Join the City of Sun Prairie and Lussier Family Heritage Center for a screening of Disney Pixar’s Wall-E in honor of Earth Day! Waste-focused children’s activity begins at 5:30 pm, movie begins at 6 pm. The screening will be followed by a brief kid-friendly discussion. Popcorn is provided. Feel free to bring a blanket or pillows to enjoy the movie! Cost: FREE. Ages: All. No registration required.
  • April 26 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Family Night Out Come join us the week of Earth Day to enjoy the outdoors with your family. We will spend the evening on a guided night hike, making pudgy pies over the fire, meeting our education animals, s’mores, and more!Program includes dinner and activities up to 4 people. An adult must be present with their children for this program. Cost: $60 per family (up to 4 people) + $15 for additional family members. Ages: 6 years old and up. Registration is required and closes April 22nd. When registering, only register one adult from your family.

Henry Vilas Zoo

Every year we partner with the Wisconsin DNR, and the Dane County Regional Arborists Group to celebrate the planet! Our goal is to inspire everyone to learn more about sustainability and resource conservation. This year we’ll also be hosting a Planting Party for our new sensory garden! This new garden will feature native plants that provide homes for Wisconsin songbirds and pollinators. Once completed, this garden will also incorporate flower beds that invite guests to experience plants with all of their senses. Guests will be able to listen to plants, smell them, see them, touch them, and even taste them!


    • ALL DAY Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt – Start at the main entrance (the gate near the Randall Ave. and Drake St. intersection) and find all the animals who want to teach you some wet & wild facts!
    • ALL DAY Spring Enrichment – We will be giving spring enrichment to our animals all day. Make sure you explore the Zoo to see our animals interacting with various spring-themed enrichment!
    • WHILE SUPPLIES LAST Tree Sapling Giveaway – We will be giving away a selection of native tree and shrub saplings for you to take home and plant.
    • 10am – 2pm Bat Stuffy Adoption – Come check out our “Bat Cave” in the Main Tent at the center of the Zoo and bring home a new friend! All proceeds go to Bat Conservation International. Bat stuffed animals are upcycled by volunteers using old HVZ event t-shirts. Each stuffed animal costs $20.
    • 10am – 2pm Tree Climbing – Join Dane County arborists and see how high you can climb! Staging area will be between our North American porcupine exhibit and the Main Tent in the center of the Zoo. Wheelchair harnesses will be available.
    • 10am – 2pm Planting Party – Join our Horticulturist and Garden Volunteers to help us create our new sensory garden! Find us just up the hill from the Aviary across from our old penguin exhibit. This activity is best suited for children 10 and up. We ask all children under 14 be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Join These National Programs

Don’t Miss

UW Madison Earth Fest

April 19 – April 26 UW Madison Earth Fest

Earth Fest is for all members of the Badger community: from students to alumni, faculty to friends, and seasoned experts to future Badgers. Dive into groundbreaking research or dig in the dirt as you pot your own plant. Sift and winnow the latest research or sort and filter recyclables. Make career connections for your future or master sustainable techniques for your home.

Learn more about the Earth Fest Kickoff Celebration

Check out the Schedule of Events

Let Us Know How You Celebrate!

Post comments and photos of your Earth Day Bouquet experiences on Nature Net’s Facebook page.