The History of Earth Day & How You Can Help

By: Bob Robinson, Chief Aquatic Biologist | April 20, 2023


An Earth Day Message from Bob Robinson:


As a kid in the 1960’s, I remember fishing the Wisconsin River for panfish. With so much pollution and papermill waste, though, I didn’t dare bring the fish home for dinner. Pollution like this was becoming commonplace across so many of our nation’s waterways with no one paying close enough attention. Until, that is, WI Senator Gaylord Nelson took notice. Being from a small town in WI not far from Kasco’s headquarters in Prescott, Nelson understood the importance of the outdoors and of our natural resources. He knew something had to be done to protect it all. Along with the help of others, Nelson brought attention to the pollution and established what we all know as Earth Day. Recognized every year on April 22nd, this significant day brings attention to our most precious resources, like water. Additionally, it addresses what’s being done to ensure their existence for future generations.

Try to picture raw sewage dumping into our national treasures or the Cayuga River in Ohio on fire because it’s so polluted. Thanks to Nelson’s efforts 53 years ago, we don’t have to. Instead, we have a day to highlight the condition of our planet and what’s being done to make sure we all have a future here. Gaining global recognition in 1990, Earth Day has grown to become an internationally-recognized day of action to focus on keeping our environment clean and pollution free. More than 1 billion people worldwide will recognize and reflect on what could be done for our planet.

Gaylord Nelson Earth Day

Earth Day was the precursor to the Clean Water Act, the development of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the designation of National Scenic Riverways. The Namekagon and St Croix Rivers in Wisconsin were some of the first in the country to receive such designation. Just last week I was lucky enough to hike 6 miles alongside the Metolius River in Oregon, also designated as a National Scenic Riverway. I have never seen water as clear and blue as this inland river. It was a treat!

The Theme for Earth Day 2023 as well as Earth Week (April 16 – 22) is “INVEST IN OUR PLANET” and as Wendall Berry once said, “The earth is what we all have in common.” On this year’s Earth Day let us pause and reflect on:

  • Energy conservation
  • Picking up trash
  • Smarter recycling practices
  • Preventing stormwater runoff from entering precious waters of the nation
  • Engageing about wise use of fertilizers
  • Walking or biking for some of your shorter trips
  • Bringing your own bags to the grocery store
  • Turning off lights in rooms you are not in

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” – Gaylord Nelson

Why not take a step outside and enjoy the waters of this great nation. Go for a hike and appreciate the natural resources we have. We at Kasco are here to help make your body of water a better place.


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