• Earth from Space

There was a time when man took no more

Than he needed.

That time is gone….

There was a time when he gave something back.

That time is gone….

There was a time when he worshipped the creator

And honored creation.

That time too is gone…

Now the waters are polluted.

Our natural resources are all but gone

And creation is dying…

It is time…

To find our way back to the earth.

–Kevin Thunderhorse Wright


It is easy on warm sunny days to find my way back to the earth. Spring flowers are blooming. Lettuce planted last November has sprouted. Rhubarb plants are pushing through the soil.

I grew up in Wisconsin and took our natural beauty and resources for granted. Now I am like the poet and have become vigilant.Northern Wisconsin Sunset

Fortunately, Wisconsin has many caretakers of Nature to help us be vigilant.

  • John Muir grew up in Wisconsin and studied at the UW-Madison.

One of his best known quotes is: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

Muir was the champion of the national parks and his writings continue to inspire us.

  • Sigurd Olson (1899-1982) was an author, environmentalist and activist to protect the Boundary Waters. He is well known for his books including: The Singing Wilderness and Listening Point.

One of his quotes is “Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.” In the spirit of the need for nature, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute was established.

The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute is an outreach arm of Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. It works to find solutions to environmental problems and to inspire the next generation to love and protect our natural resources.

  • Aldo Leopold came from Iowa to Madison to be a wildlife scientist. He bought an old shack in Sand Country…and he is forever remembered for A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC.

WildernessLeopold taught us a “thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

Leopold was a founder of The Wilderness Society in 1935. He worked hard for the enactment of the Wilderness Act of 1964. This law protected more than 110 million acres of federal lands across America. That amounts to 5 percent of all the land in our country, four times as much as all the land tied up in our interstate highway system.”

  • Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970.
  • Doug Scott served with Senator Nelson on the national steering committee for the first Earth Day. Scott has spent more than 40 years working to persuade Congress to protect national parks, wildlife refuges, rivers and wilderness areas. He has written The Enduring Wilderness as well as Wild Thoughts: An Anthology of Selections from Great Writing about Nature and Wilderness.

“Wisconsin has seven federal wilderness areas amounting to 80,000 acres. Twenty-four miles of the Wolf River were protected under the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.”

  • Doug Scott’s article in Wisconsin Natural Resources (April 2015) inspired me to write this article. For many years, that magazine has shared the natural beauties of Wisconsin.

All of these writings continue to inspire us to love and protect our beautiful Wisconsin.

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Explore Wisconsin’s natural beauty and thank the people who worked to preserve that beauty for us.