Archival video, new film added to Earth Day web site

April 19, 2011

Several archival video clips and a new short film have been added to a Web site that documents the history of Earth Day.

Five excerpts from a 1990 Wisconsin Public Television documentary, "Gaylord Nelson: A Profile," feature Nelson discussing topics including the Apostle Islands and the St. Croix River, the conservation ethic, how protecting the environment helps the economy, and military and environmental spending. Walter Mondale, George McGovern, and other former Nelson colleagues also appear. The Wisconsin Historical Society furnished the clips.

The new film, "Water Wake-up Call: America's Conservation Crisis," features award-winning "Heart of Dryness" author James Workman, former U.S. Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, and Tia Nelson, daughter of the late senator and executive secretary of Wisconsin's Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. American Standard Brands commissioned the film to raise awareness of water supply issues and inspire viewers to act on behalf of water conservation.

Additional photos and documents have been posted on the site at www.nelsonearthday.net, as has a new section of tips for classroom use and discussion.

Launched last year for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Web site tells the story of how Nelson's idea for a "national teach-in on the environment" in 1970 became a historic turning point in the environmental movement. It expands access to the Wisconsin Historical Society's Gaylord Nelson Collection - donated by the Nelson family - containing thousands of personal and official papers from Nelson's political career and his subsequent work as counselor for the Wilderness Society, a period spanning more than 50 years.

The Web site is a cooperative venture of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Wisconsin Historical Society. For further details, visit www.nelsonearthday.net.