Celebrate Earth Day — the annual ode to the environment marked each year on April 22 — with several events and activities in and around Madison.
Party for the Planet: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Madison’s Henry Vilas Zoo; free admission. Learn about solar energy and dealing with invasive species, and get a free tree seedling and Earth Day Fun Book. The event is part of the zoo’s series of Conservation Celebrations that also includes Orangutan Caring Day, June 4; International Red Panda Day, Aug. 27; and African Penguin Awareness Day, Oct. 8. On the web: vilaszoo.org/conservationcelebrations.
Terrace Town — Going Green: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Monona Terrace (Exhibit Hall), 1 John Nolen Dr; free admission. Check out the 10,000 square feet of scale-model box cities constructed by 1,500 area students and teachers using “green” design principles. Other activities include a cookie-building challenge and LEGO building area. On the web: mononaterrace.com/community.
Aldo Leopold Nature Center: It’s not just Earth Day, but Earth Month throughout April at Aldo Leopold Nature Center, 330 Femrite Dr., in Monona. The center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for exhibits and activities around the grounds as well as the Children’s Shack, Green Building and Climate Science Education Center (education center admission $4 for adults, $3 for ages 3 and up). On the web: aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org.
Earth Day concert: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1021 Spaight St., hosts the Madison Area Community Earth Day Celebration Concert, with programs at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The concert includes the Ringing Badgers Handbell Ensemble, Madison Area Community Chorus & Orchestra, and guest soloists; a reception follows. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $8 for students and children. On the web: maestroproductions.org/earth-day-concert.html.
UW Arboretum: Get outdoors with various events at the Arboretum this Earth Day weekend. A “Skydance” night walk is 7 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, take a guided “Woodland Wildflowers” walk, 1 to 2:30 p.m., or check out a “Who’s Migrating North?” family nature program, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. All events are free; meet at the Visitor Center. On the web: arboretum.wisc.edu.
Lakeshore Nature Preserve: The 300-acre natural area along Lake Mendota hosts a free Bird and Nature Walk, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, as it does on the fourth Sunday of every month. Meet at the Picnic Point parking lot 129, 2004 University Bay Dr. On the web: lakeshorepreserve.wisc.edu.
Madison Audubon Society: A series of field trips, free and open to the public, are offered throughout the year, with two this weekend — Backyard Birding & Beyond, 8:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Lakeshore Nature Preserve (spots limited, registration required); and Birds & Wildflowers of the Baraboo Hills, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hemlock Draw in North Freedom. On April 30, a Birding outing is planned at Wyalusing State Park near Prairie du Chien, 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. On the web: madisonaudubon.org/education/field-trips.
Madison parks: The annual Earth Day Challenge, a volunteer cleanup effort coordinated by the city’s Parks Division, is set for Saturday. Although registration has closed for projects to be officially included in this year’s challenge, there are volunteer work parties held throughout the year at numerous Madison parks. The Parks Division also has an Adopt-a-Park Program for maintenance and beautification efforts led by businesses, groups and individuals. On the web: cityofmadison.com/parks.
State parks: Friends of Wisconsin State Parks have events planned at various locations on Friday and Saturday, as well as April 30 and May 7, as part of a Work Play Earth Day effort, with volunteers doing tasks such as cleanup, planting, picnic table repair and invasive species removal. Participating state parks include Mirror Lake in Baraboo on Friday, Governor Nelson in Waunakee on Saturday, and Devil’s Lake in Baraboo on April 30. On the web: bit.ly/1Wsj0VQ.
Earth Day cleanup: The Monona East Side Business Alliance is leading Earth Day cleanup efforts along Monona Drive and other nearby areas on Saturday, with times varying by group. On the web: mononaeastside.com.
Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies: The UW-Madison institute named for former Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day’s founder, leads a variety of efforts year-round focusing on environmental education (the 10th annual Earth Day Conference is Monday at Monona Terrace, though registration has closed). Check online for upcoming events and speakers sponsored by the institute. On the web: nelson.wisc.edu.
MG&E Earth Day Contest: Madison Gas & Electric is having a contest for students in grades 4-8 to create a video showing an Earth Day-related activity. Entry deadline is May 2, and winners can receive a party worth up to $500 for their school classroom. On the web: mge.com/earth-day.
Photo gallery: The Wisconsin Historical Society has an online photo gallery featuring dozens of images documenting the life, career and environmental legacy of Gaylord Nelson, taken from 1954-2006. “An Earth Day Gallery in Gaylord Nelson’s Honor” can be found on the society’s website by typing “Earth Day gallery” in the search line. On the web: wisconsinhistory.org.