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The Kid Should See This

Gaylord Nelson and how Earth Day got started

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“Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.” But how did Earth Day get started? It was inspired by the student anti-war movement of the era and an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

Learn about Gaylord Nelson, “the father of Earth Day,” with this animated PBS Wisconsin Education biography.

santa barbara oil spill
The story is narrated by his daughter Tia Nelson, as well as with audio clips of Senator Nelson.

Gaylord Nelson had an idea for a day focused on the environment. That idea would become the internationally recognized annual event, Earth Day. Born and raised in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, Nelson went on to become a state senator, governor of Wisconsin, and a United States senator. All along the way, he made the environment a priority by protecting natural resources through advocacy, policies and inspiring greater awareness of the need to care for the earth.

gaylord nelson
father and daughter

• Gaylord Nelson: A Vision for the Earth, a PBS Wisconsin Educator’s Guide Google doc.
• Gaylord Nelson: A Vision for the Earth, Google slides with audio.
• Wisconsin Biographies Educator Resources

Watch more videos about conservation and conservation pioneers, including:
• Dr. Jane Goodall
• Dr. Sylvia Earle, world-renowned oceanographer and explorer
• Marine biologist Dr. Ingrid Visser
• Forest Scientist Stephen Sillett
• Pioneering ecologist Nalini Nadkarni

Bonus: Greta Thunberg makes the case for Natural Climate Solutions and Sir David Attenborough outlines How to Save Our Planet.

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