|Work Play Earth Day 2012 - Volunteers at Lapham Peak State Park|
|A Few Friends of Lapham Peak|
Gaylord Nelson and the First Earth DaySenator Gaylord Nelson, a conservation-minded Democrat from Wisconsin, first proposed making environmental protection a national priority. In 1963, he convinced President Kennedy to go on a national conservation tour, That same year, Nelson introduced legislation to ban DDT: not one single member of Congress joined him.
Speaking at a conference in Seattle in September of 1969, Nelson proposed that in the spring of 1970 there would be a coast-to-coast grassroots demonstration on behalf of environmental concerns -- and in Nelson's words, "The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters."
People across the country had apparently been looking for an outlet to express their growing environmental consciousness. Nelson also took out a full-page ad in The New York Times in January of 1970, announcing that Earth Day would take place on Wednesday, April 22. The date was chosen because of its timing with student class schedules, warmer weather and no competing holidays.
Thus, Earth Day was born.