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Local Earth Day events highlight environmental justice, sustainability

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(WKOW) -- There are plenty of Earth Day events scheduled for Thursday that highlight the importance of learning about and taking care of the Earth.

UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies will host a virtual 2 day event titled Nature at Work: Inspiring Just Responses for an Unruly World. There will be a range of live and pre-recorded sessions from speakers who will highlight these issues. Here is a link to the program of sessions and events. The seminars are free but you are encouraged to register.

UW-Platteville plans to highlight its commitment to the planet and a sustainable future by hosting a celebration on the Markee Pioneer Student Center North Lawn starting at 11 a.m. and going until 1 p.m. There will be live music, an ice cream tasting, zero waste information, and a plant give-away by Green Campus Projects.

If you live in Madison, you can catch a parade of electric vehicles in the downtown area. The parade kicks off at 2 p.m. from Brittingham Park, and will drive through the city and university, make a loop around Capitol Square, and return to Brittingham around 2:30 p.m.

“Dane County is excited to participate in the Earth Day EV Parade and help showcase that electric vehicles are already being utilized in our community,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “This parade gives people an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of EVs. Dane County added several EVs to our fleet in 2020, and we hope to see even more on the road in the future.”

Speaking of electric, all electric bikes are free to rent for 30 minute rides in Madison all day. Use promo code EarthDay21 in the BCycle app, which is available for Android and iOS. For more information, visit

Finally, SSM Health is getting in on the action by hosting a pine tree giveaway on Thursday afternoon. From 3 to 6 p.m. at Badger Prairie County Park and Lunney Lake Farm County Park.

Quantities of the jack pine saplings are limited and they'll be handed out to community members on a first come, first serve basis. The tree giveaways are part of an initiative called "Healthy Parks, Healthy You," which was announced earlier this year.

“We’re excited to offer this tree giveaway to area residents because caring for our environment and building healthy and sustainable communities are part of our core values,” says Dean Health Plan President Les McPhearson. “We hope the trees help people reflect on their own sustainability efforts, and together, we can improve the health of the communities we call home.”

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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