Earth Day History

In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson organized the first Earth Day to bring national attention to conservation issues. Twenty million people joined in peaceful demonstrations – including 10,000 grade and high schools, 2,000 colleges in approximately 1,000 communities. In 1995, Nelson was awarded the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

By the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in 1990, interest in environmental issues had spread across the globe. In Indiana, volunteers organized a 20th anniversary Earth Day celebration in downtown Indianapolis. A short time later, they formed the nonprofit Earth Day Indiana organization to continue the event annually.

Our festival has grown to become what the national Earth Day Network has called one of the most successful annual Earth Day events in the country. The Earth Day Indiana Festival is the largest one-day environmental event in the state, and is free to all participants.

The festival features exhibits on environmental protection, conservation of natural resources and sustainable living.

Learn more about Earth Day and its history at the Earth Day Network.