Science Hall on the UW Madison campus, home of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Science Hall on the UW Madison campus, home of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

50th Anniversary

In 2020 as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we invite you to join us in celebrating Earth Day every day during the Year of the Environment (PDF). This special year-long celebration will feature lectures, films, performances, and special events that will honor the legacy of Earth Day founder and Nelson Institute namesake, Gaylord Nelson, while expanding the Institute’s mission to inspire and educate the next generation of environmental leaders.

50th Anniversary Events

Join us for our yearlong celebration of great events.

scilla flowers

Support the Nelson Institute Legacy

In honor of the 50th anniversaries of the Nelson Institute and Earth Day, help us raise a brand new $2M endowment that will support student programming and public engagement for the next 50 years and beyond!

Nelson Institute 50th anniversary logo

Get your Nelson gear here

Shop our online store to show your pride.

Sling bag type backpack with ther Nelson Institute logo

Our Stories

These stories highlight the people, projects, and pioneering spirit that is the cornerstone of the Nelson Institute today.

1987 Nelson Institute field trip group

50 Years in Photos

Our image galleries showcase the people, places, and experiences that have shaped the past 50 years.

IES Field Trip

Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day: The making of the modern environmental movement (a web site co-sponsored with the Wisconsin Historical Society)

“Protecting our natural heritage, defending the public's right to clean air and water, and halting catastrophic climate change are all critically important. But so is getting ready for what's next.”

Paul Robbins, Dean of the Nelson Institute