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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Rock the Green Celebrate Earth Day

Apr 01, 2022 12:00AM ● By Sheila Julson
From 9 a.m. to noon on April 23, Milwaukee Riverkeeper will host the 27th annual Milwaukee Riverkeeper Spring Cleanup, a community-wide event to clean up and restore our rivers at more than 75 locations around the Milwaukee River Basin in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties. Afterward, cleanup volunteers and the community are invited to the 11th annual Earth Day celebration, co-sponsored by Rock the Green, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Harley-Davidson Museum campus.

 “April is Earth month, and folks are looking for ways to take action in their neighborhoods and communities. As the weather warms and the snow melts, we’re reminded once again of the trash littering our communities,” says Anne Michalski, creative director of Milwaukee Riverkeeper. “All of that trash eventually makes its way into our beautiful river system.”

She adds that during the pandemic, the organization has seen an uptick in the amount of single-use items, plastic and personal protective equipment littering our rivers. During last year’s river cleanup, 3,000 community volunteers removed over 100,000 pounds of trash at nearly 90 sites in one day.

The free, zero-waste celebration includes a concert on the pedal-powered stage head-lined by indie-folk band, Bendigo Fletcher, and Milwaukee’s very own funkadelic band, V Funk. Nonprofits and organizations including Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin, City of Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office, Teens Grow Greens, Sweet Water–Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, Reflo Sustainable Water Solutions, Milwaukee Bicycle Collective, Urban Ecology Center, Plastic Free MKE and Compost Crusader will join Rock the Green and Milwaukee Riverkeeper to offer eco-education.

The event will also offer tasty, sustainable fare and local beer for purchase from Motor, the Harley-Davidson Museum’s bar and restaurant. Participating organizations will deliver remarks, and there will be a presentation of the second Dan Aukofer Earth Day Rockstar award, in honor of longtime Rock the Green friend and sustainability steward.

Rock the Green is dedicated to building a sustainable ecosystem by marrying the environment, music and community into their mission.

2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. In 1972, the Clean Water Act ended the culture of dumping raw sewage and untreated industrial waste into our waters and highlighted the importance of protecting and restoring water. The Clean Water Act drastically changed the health and safety of our waterways for the better. To celebrate its birthday, Milwaukee Riverkeeper hopes to inspire people to act in their own neighborhoods.


For more information or to volunteer for the river cleanup or the Earth Day event, visit and