Love your mother
When the late Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson proposed the first Earth Day for April 22, 1970, the intent was to raise environmental consciousness through rallies, symposiums and discussions nationwide. Almost 40 years later, it has evolved into something far greater. "Every day is Earth Day for us," says Laura Whitmore, community relations and volunteer coordinator for Madison's Parks Division. "We want to focus on cleaning up, rather than advocacy." To that end, the city is seeking volunteers (individuals, families and neighborhood groups) to participate in the city's annual Earth Day Challenge on April 19, by picking up trash and other debris that has accumulated in parks over the long winter. "This year, with all of the snow, there is going to be so much more trash than usual," Whitmore says. Call 608-266-5949 to choose a park - then bring your gloves.
Older kids and their families are invited to participate in Ecological Restoration Work Parties on April 19 from 9 am to noon at the UW Arboretum (1207 Seminole Highway, 608-263-7888), where tools and training will be provided to help cut brush and remove invasive plants. Meanwhile, the Habitat for Humanity of Dane County's ReStore (208 Cottage Grove Rd., 608-661-2813) will host a Recycle/Reuse Art Auction from noon to 4 pm with more than a dozen earth-friendly exhibits and kids activities.
And don't forget kid-friendly Isthmus Green Day on April 26. See info on p. 13, or TheDailyPage.com/green.
Overture for all
The Overture Center's family-friendly schedule springs into high gear on April 12 with the Children's Arts Festival. This free event targets kids ages 5-12 with a mix of theater, music and dance performances from Ken Lonnquist, the Gomers, Opera for the Young and Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, plus hands-on art participation stations and workshops. The festival runs from 9:30 am to 5 pm.
That's not all. The African Children's Choir presents inspiring song and dance performed by mostly orphaned children ages 9-12 on April 22. Alternative rocker-turned-family entertainer Dan Zanes sings on Friday, May 2. The Grammy winner is joined by a group of friends who blur the boundaries between children's music, sea shanties, Broadway standards, traditional folk music, fiddle tunes and rock 'n' roll. For more info and tickets: 608-258-4141, overturecenter.com.
Families of any faith with children under 5 years old are invited to experience Judaism's weekly Sabbath, or day of rest, at the Madison Jewish Community Council's final Traveling Tot Shabbat of the academic year. This month's service will be on April 5 at the Beth Israel Center, 1406 Mound St., at 10:30 a.m. The goal, according to MJCC program director Dina Weinbach, is to allow families to experience different faith celebrations while meeting others with young children. For details: 608-278-1808.