One of the great challenges of our time is to satisfy humanity's needs and desires while protecting the natural resources and environmental conditions upon which all life - including our own - depends. The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies was created in response to this challenge.
A pioneer in interdisciplinary environmental studies, the Nelson Institute has been an incubator, laboratory and model of collaborative education, inquiry, and public service for 40 years. The institute is a campuswide unit of the University of Wisconsin-Madison headquartered in historic Science Hall with offices, classrooms, and laboratories in several additional locations.
Armed with a diversity of perspectives and expertise, we tackle local concerns, global challenges and the connections between them.
Our institute was established in 1970 and renamed in 2002 for former Wisconsin governor and U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day. His legacy is our inspiration.
Private giving is a crucial source of financial support for the Nelson Institute. Your contribution helps us meet the challenges of achieving a more sustainable world.
The short video below captures the mission of the Nelson Institute.