2023 Earth Month & No Mow May

Earth Month in Sun Prairie

Earth Month in Sun Prairie

Earth Day is annually held on April 22 to demonstrate and promote environmental awareness through a variety of different efforts and initiatives. In Sun Prairie, we will be turning this day into a month+ timeframe that is filled with a variety of pledges, initiatives, and community activities. We have provided many opportunities to not only protect and preserve our area but also build community while doing this work. Check out below everything we have planned! 

Have questions? Contact:

Scott Semroc | Sustainability Coordinator 

Email Scott Semroc


Cindy Burtley | Parks and Forestry Division Manager 


Email Cindy Burtley


What is Earth Day?

Earth Day originated in 1970 as a dedicated day of education and engagement about environmental issues. It takes place annually on April 22 and is observed in a variety of ways depending on the organization or community recognizing it. 

One of the major catalysts that caused Americans to become concerned about the environment in the early 1960s was Rachel Carson's 1962 bestselling book Silent Spring. This book highlighted the negative impacts of pesticides on the American countryside. Furthering public concern was the 1969 fire on Cleveland's Cuyahoga River. This was a fire on the Cuyahoga River that was caused by an accumulation of debris and oily wastes. The floating pieces of oil slicked debris had been ignited on the river by sparks from a passing train. Prior to occurrences like these, protecting and preserving the earth's natural resources were not considered major priorities. It was common for pollutants found in the lakes, rivers, and air to come from nearby factories with minimal legal consequences. The number of activists devoted to addressing these issues were very limited. Things began to change due to the efforts of a former Wisconsin senator. 

Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Democratic junior senator, was concerned about the environment and its deteriorating state in the U.S. In 1969, the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California was witnessed by him and others. This signaled a major wakeup call for change. Nelson was inspired to initiate this change and determined to persuade the federal government about the existing environmental risks the nation faced. He developed the idea of "Earth Day" (inspiration also came from the anti-Vietnam "teach-ins" taking place around college campuses in the U.S.). Nelson carried this idea to a Seattle conference with the intention of getting many others across the nation on board with it. It's reported that he received an enthusiastic response that spread beyond just attendees at the conference. 

Denis Hayes, a young activist from Stanford University, served as Earth Day's first national coordinator. He collaborated with student volunteers and staff members from Nelson's Senate office to organize and carry out the initiative. The first Earth Day took place on April 22 in 1970. Many locations across the U.S. observed this day in different ways that included political speakers, city center rallies, concerts, and more. Since this time, Earth Day events have evolved and changed over the years. 

Many more communities have used this time to organize park cleanups, fundraise for different environmentally friendly initiatives, embed sustainable practices into the community, and more. In the 1990s, recognition of this day surpassed North American borders with over 140 nations beginning to place activities and events to celebrate the cause. 

To learn more about different Earth Day news and events around the world, please go to earthday.org 

No Mow May 2023

Per Bee City USA,

Lawns cover 40 million acres, or 2%, of land in the US, making them the single largest irrigated crop we grow. Lawns are mowed, raked, fertilized, weeded, chemically treated, and watered⁠—sucking up time, money, and other resources. Lawns provide little benefit to wildlife, and are often harmful. Grass-only lawns lack floral resources and nesting sites for bees and are often treated with pesticides that harm bees and other invertebrates.

When we think of habitat loss, we tend to imagine bulldozers and rutted dirt, but acres of manicured lawn are as much a loss of habitat as any development site. 

Re-thinking the American lawn can take a variety of forms from reducing mowing frequency or area mown to permanently converting lawn to a more diverse and natural landscape.

Why mow less in the spring?

The start of the growing season is a critical time for hungry, newly emerged native bees. Floral resources may be hard to find, especially in urban and suburban landscapes. By allowing it to grow longer, and letting flowers bloom, your lawn can provide nectar and pollen to help your bee neighbors thrive.

Mowing less creates habitat and can increase the abundance and diversity of wildlife including bees and other pollinators. One way to reduce mowing is by participating in No Mow April, No Mow May, or Low Mow Spring.

No Mow May - Bee City USA 

Low Mow May/No Mow May in Sun Prairie,

Sun Prairie piloted No Mow May for the 1st time in 2022. To learn more about that first-year effort please view the 2022 Impact Report. No Mow May Impact Report Draft (cityofsunprairie.com) 

In 2023, Sun Prairie is partnering with the American Geophysical Union, UniverCity Alliance, and UW-Madison Gratton Lab WiBee: The Wisconsin Wild Bee App – Wisconsin Pollinators – UW–Madison to provide additional community science and data collection efforts for this program. 

Sun Prairie Residents Register Here!

No Mow May Community Science Resources

WiBee Postcard
WiBee Quick Guide
WiBee Bee Guide
How to Survey