Celebrating Earth Day
Improving a Community and the Environment
Earth Day began in Wisconsin 40 years ago as an effort to raise awareness about the environment. In one Wisconsin town, the only riverfront park in town needed some help. The foliage was overgrown and the garden beds needed tending.
Janesville, Wisconsin, USA
The Lions Step In
More than 10 years ago, the Janesville Noon Lions Club saw a need in their community. A group of Lions banded together with Leos and their families to make their community a better place, both on Earth Day and throughout the season.
“The Lions motto of We Serve to me means that we need to be proactive,” said Mike Payne, the club’s president. “We need to be involved in the community. We need to engage others to make this a better place for ourselves and our families.”
Lions ensure the landscaping in the park is neat and free of trash and weeds. The Lions also cover the ground with fresh mulch and plant new shrubs on Earth Day. The entire park takes the Lions and Leos two weekends to complete every spring so the public can enjoy the space all summer long.
Hard Work Pays Off
The work ethic and know-how is something the Lions want to share. Leos from Craig High School help with the gardening efforts and learn how to properly care for trees. “We as Janesville Noon Lions Club members believe that we will instill in those students the need to serve their communities for years to come,” said Lions Steve Huth.
Lions often bring their spouses and children along for the project. Even young children help out where they can by sweeping the sidewalk and raking mulch. The youngsters learn how fun it can be to volunteer.
Earth Day began in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1970. The Janesville Noon Lions Club has worked on this environmental project for more than 10 years. It takes 20 cubic yards of mulch to cover the park’s flowerbeds.
Tips and Tools
Make It Happen: Coordinate an annual clean up
Why did the club decide on this project? »
This park is unique in our community and we want to make sure every member of the community has the chance to enjoy it.
How did Lions start the project? »
We started more than 10 years ago. This small park by the library is a great resource. The open space and quiet benches are refreshing for students, senior citizens and children. We want to keep this area clean, attractive and lush.
How do you plan this event? »
Because it takes us more time than Earth Day will allow, we usually do this project in stages. This year, we had mulch delivered on two separate days and worked together to get the project done while still having a good time.
What kinds of resources does it take to keep the project going? »
We have to raise the funds for the project, as well as work with the city and library, which is directly adjacent to the park. We sell roses and engraved bricks for the park as fund raisers. We keep the line of communication open with the local parks department so they know what we’re up to. We also coordinate with the Leos to get as many helping hands as possible.
Any special words of advice? »
Consistency helps keep people involved. It’s easy for Lions and Leos to stay active since we know when we will perform this project each year as well as what kind of work it will entail.
"We need to be involved in the community. We need to engage others to make this a better place for ourselves and our families."
Janesville Noon Lions Club
"This is a very spirited community project. It brings together the city and the Lions club."
City of Janesville Parks Director