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Senator Gaylord Nelson is best known as the “Founder of Earth Day.” An astonishing 20 million Americans participated in the first observance on April 22, 1970. American Heritage magazine described the event years later as “one of the most remarkable happenings in the history of democracy.” Today, Earth Day is an annual observance that has grown to a week or more in many places. Gaylord Nelson grew up in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, just 10 miles from the St. Croix River. He paddled and fished the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers as a boy and was later successful (along with Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale) in having both rivers designated in the first Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Senator Nelson’s environmental advocacy influenced national policy, inspired generations of environmental leaders, and helped to protect our nation’s land and water.

We celebrate Gaylord Nelson’s legacy and that of other conservation heroes in 2021, the 51st Anniversary of the first Earth Day.

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Our Namesake: The LYNX


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