Earth Day 2009
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About Earth Day

Construction crew installing levelers to innudate area and create wetlands
restored wetland

  Kummer Sanitary Landfill Restoration in Minnesota. Levelers were installed to inundate and thus create 40 acres of wetland habitat to replace waterfowl, wading birds & neotropical migrants habitat lost at the landfill site. Credit:USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service's conservation efforts and the central concepts behind Earth Day have been closely related since the celebration's inception in 1970. Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin who possessed a strong belief in furthering environmentalism.

Throughout the years, this celebration's core messages - respect for the natural world, responsible use of natural resources, and ensuring a healthy planet for future generations- have been reflected in Service programs and initiatives. For example, the Strategic Habitat Conservation program enables the Service to form partnerships with key stakeholders in order to preserve habitat as effectively as possible, and the Service's Fisheries program ensures the careful maintenance of marine and freshwater fish, which help support a national economy.

Additionally, the Environmental Contaminants Program works to prevent pollutants from entering natural systems and harming fish, wildlife, and people, keeping the nation a safe place to enjoy the outdoors for all ages. It has been nearly forty years since Earth Day founding, but its message is as powerful as ever. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is dedicated to carrying out this message and continuing a legacy of conservation, responsibility, and appreciation of nature.

Earth Day - April 22 - each year marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.

Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest "to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda. " "It was a gamble," he recalls, "but it worked."

On Earth Day in 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, and his youthful staff organized massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Last updated: April 20, 2009
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