In celebration of the weeks around Earth Day, National Environmental Education Week, and the spring season, enjoy a range of free and low-cost family events each day. 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

2022 Events at Nature Net Sites

UW Arboretum

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 seasonally prepared for weather and insects. Walks take place except in unsafe weather.

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 seasonally prepared for weather and insects. Walks take place rain or shine, except in unsafe weather.

Join us at the UW-Madison Arboretum’s Longenecker Gardens unveiling “Canopy Understories,” a new public art sculpture series commissioned by the Madison Public Art Project featuring artists William Grant Turnbull and Laura Richards. Opening ceremony on Earth Day! All are invited. Join us as these exciting sculptures premiere to the public. An artists’ talk will follow.

Volunteer for restoration activities and learn about prairies and savannas. Tools and training provided.

Tour the Longenecker Horticultural Gardens’ extensive collection of more than 80 magnolia trees. Join David Stevens, garden curator, for a blast of dazzling spring color.

This gently paced stroll through the gardens is well-suited for a multi-generational outing. Learn about the land, plants, animals, fungi, phenology, and ecology. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes and come prepared for weather and insects. Walks take place rain or shine, except in unsafe weather. Routes are wheelchair accessible when weather allows.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Interested in helping restore and maintain ALNC’s prairie, pond, and woodlands? Join us the second Saturday of the month, April through October, to help control invasive species, seed with native plants, get dirty, and have some fun! Volunteer work days will focus mainly on land management and other projects as needed. Work days may be cancelled or planned activities modified due to inclement weather.

Bird and Nature Outing at Edna Taylor Conservation Park starting at Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Children’s Shack. Join a naturalist for an easy, family-friendly walk from Aldo Leopold Nature Center into the beautiful Edna Taylor Conservation Park and enjoy a bit of nature education along the way.

Please join us for a very special ALNC Land Steward Work Day, co-hosted with ECO Tree Company. This is a free public program for community volunteers of all ages who are ready to roll up their sleeves and dig in the dirt! Learn about tree installation and maintenance with guidance from an ECO Tree Certified Arborist and get some hands-on experience as we work together to plant native evergreens on nature center grounds.

City of Madison Parks

Join Friends of Starkweather during Earth Week for a walk and canoe creek cleanup. Bring your own canoe or kayak, vest and paddles if you have them. Or just grab a garbage bag and pick up litter on your own along Starkweather Creek to help beautify this incredible natural area in the middle of the east side of Madison! A limited number of canoes or kayaks will be available to borrow.

Celebrate Earth Day with your neighbors and friends by volunteering to clean up your local park! Join this community-wide volunteer effort to help make a difference. Accept the Earth Day Challenge with Madison Parks! We are seeking 850 volunteers at 50+ parks, located throughout the city to assist with trash pickup, raking, weeding, and removing sticks.

Dane County Parks

Join us to celebrate Earth! Receive a complimentary Allegheny Serviceberry bush, a planter with seeds of your choice, or a birdhouse (first-come, first-served as supplies last). Plus, complete the “Earth Day Course” (scavenger hunt) for your chance at additional prizes. Face painting will also be available for the kids! Events will be held at two Dane County Parks:

      • Badger Prairie County Park (4654 Maple Grove Dr., Verona) – at the shelter
      • William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park (4330 Libby Rd., Madison) – shelter #1

The Dane County Trash Lab will be set up at Demetral Park during the City of Madison’s Earth Day Cleanup Challenge! The Trash Lab will help you learn more about the world of waste and where your trash goes. Let’s rethink our relationship with stuff together!

Join Friends of the Cottage Grove Library and celebrate Earth Day with the Friends at the Norman Vethe Cottage Grove School Forest. There’s something for all ages at this family-friendly event, including a nature walk lead by Wisconsin Master Naturalists, a compost bin sale and workshop with the Village of Cottage Grove Sustainability Committee—and for younger guests a story walk through the forest, a STEAM-inspired trash-to-treasure makerspace and the Dane County Trash Lab! The Trash Lab will help you learn more about the world of waste and where your trash goes.

The 2022 Bird & Nature Festival is a free, family-friendly event celebrating Madison Bird City, Arbor Day and Earth Day. See live birds by Open Door Bird Sanctuary and visit nature displays throughout the day. Plan 30-45 minutes for your visit anytime between 12 noon and 4 pm during this ongoing event. See, Do, Explore! See birds of prey including a hawk and eagles up close with Open Door Bird Sanctuary!

It’s that time of year again, the Friends of McCarthy Youth and Conservation Park have announced their annual Youth Service Day! Youth Service Day is a National Volunteer Day when students, service groups, and families work to to make a difference in their communities. Join us at McCarthy Park for mulching, seed dispersal, tree planting and more. They welcome youths of all ages, student groups, youth groups including Girl Scouts, Scouts, 4-H groups, and Community center groups, and Families. This is a great way to involve our youth in the outdoors and to make a positive impact in the community by doing important work in the park. We always look forward to the community coming together and helping get the park ready for the future.

Friends of Cherokee Marsh

  • April 23 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Earth Day Challenge Garlic Mustard Pull at Cherokee Marsh North and South Units

Make room for native wildflowers by helping pull garlic mustard in the woods. No experience needed.

      • Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, North Unit, 6098 N. Sherman Ave. Follow N. Sherman Ave north to the parking lot at the end of the gravel entrance road.
      • Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, South Unit, 802 Wheeler Rd. Corner of School Rd and Wheeler Rd.

MMSD Planetarium

In honor of Earth Day, we will turn our attention to our own planet with this new fulldome program. The devastating power of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis is demonstrated with breathtaking visualizations in order to teach the concept of plate tectonics and show the technologies developed to minimize the destruction they cause. We will also explore the current night sky.

Madison Children’s Museum

  • April 22 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Earth Day Seed Balls 

Celebrate Earth Day with a craft that promotes species diversity and support for pollinators. Use clay, soil, and seeds to make seed balls for Earth Day! Using seeds collected from rooftop plants, clay, soil, and compost, we’ll make seed balls you can disperse in your gardens, in vacant city lots, along railroad tracks, etc. or anywhere else that needs more native wildflowers and vegetation. Seed balls were originally invented to drop from airplanes to reforest devastated land.

Celebrate Earth Day with Forward! Marching Band, explore the Wonderground, and learn about dozens of free family events taking place April 22-30 as part of Remake Learning Days – Badgerland. This evening, we kick off the festival and celebrate Earth Day from 5-7 pm in the Wonderground: Science and art activity tables provided by local informal education partners, and music by Forward! Marching Band 6-6:30 pm

Learn about seed saving and take some seeds to bring home to start a garden.

Welty Environmental Center

Join us at the Welty Environmental Center as we explore the anatomy and ecological importance of worms and the three basic ingredients of a successful compost pile. We will investigate the day in the life of a worm by reading a story, and with the information we learn, we will be constructing small-scale compost bins that will house our very own earthworm that will promote decomposition of plant material. This nutrient-rich soil can then be used in our gardens!

Put Your Kitchen Scraps to Work with a Compost Bin! The City of Beloit and Welty Environmental Center are having a Compost Bin Sale to celebrate Earth Day. These 128-gallon bins, made in North America of 100% recycled materials, allow you to conveniently process raw food waste (fruit and vegetable scraps) and keep it out of your trash can and the landfill. Compost bins can be pre-ordered by filling out the following form and paying with a credit card. Each bin costs $55. We are ordering 90 bins, total, so place your order soon! We will host two pick-up events (April 23 and May 14), for you to get your pre-paid bin. April 23 will be from 9am-noon at Big Hill Center lower parking lot in Big Hill Park; the May 14 event will be from noon-3pm at the Beloit Public Library (605 Eclipse Blvd). Welty will run four 15-minute demonstrations on each day, with information on getting started with composting.

Join Welty and the Rock County Conservationists to learn how to install a rain barrel to an existing gutter and downspout system. Dave Bendlin, local naturalist and retired Milton biology and environmental studies teacher, will install a rain barrel behind Big Hill Center to support the rain garden and lead a discussion of their benefits.

Let’s get outside to celebrate Earth Day and hike to see earliest spring wildflowers of the woods and look for migrating birds. Dave Bendlin is a retired biology and environmental studies teacher from Milton. In his new career as a volunteer naturalist, he leads nature hikes for the Rock County Conservationists, the Janesville, Beloit and county parks and helps with environmental education programs for schools and nature centers throughout Rock county. He especially enjoys helping people develop an interest in benefiting wildlife through gardening and landscaping with native plants.

Henry Vilas Zoo

Party for the Planet is our annual Earth Day celebration and we’re excited to be bringing it back after two years of virtual events. This year we are learning all about some amazing rainforest animals! All funds raised during Party for the Planet this year will go to support the Rainforest Alliance. The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests to make responsible business the new normal. FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

      • 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 hackberry, American plum, and highbush cranberry saplings for you to take home and plant.
      • 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.
      • 10am – 2pm Frog Hunt Did you know there are over 170 different kinds of poison dart frog? Learn more about these colorful endangered species as you search for all the frog facts in the Herpetarium.
      • 10am – 2pm Thumbprint Pledge Find out what you can do to help! This year’s thumbprint pledge will be located in our Guest Services building next to the Gift Shop near our main entrance.
      • Every half hour from 10:30am – 1:30pm Story Time Especially for the younger kiddos, come listen to stories about some of the amazing animals you can find in the rainforest!

Join These National Programs

Don’t Miss

Thursday April 21 – Friday April 22 Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Earth Day 2022: Water on the Rise

Free in-person & virtual event, registration required: Water and life are inextricably intertwined. Without access to adequate water, humanity suffers. Yet, water in extreme abundance can also become a destructive force. We invite you to join us as we explore these concepts and more during the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Earth Day 2022: Water on the Rise. This day-long community learning event, featuring both in-person and virtual experiences, will examine how communities across the globe are facing, responding to, and mitigating critical water issues. This event will be in partnership with Water@UW, which will continue the conversation on Friday, April 22, 2022, at the annual Water@UW Symposium.

Let Us Know How You Celebrate!

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