MARSHFIELD — Prominent local scientists and state and regional environmental experts will headline a grassroots march and rally on Earth Day in Marshfield.

The free, public event celebrates the essential contributions of science to society, with speakers including the founder and CEO of PreventionGenetics, the senior policy director of Clean Wisconsin, and two distinguished Marshfield Clinic Research Institute scientists. Organizers expect the event will be the largest Earth Day science march in central Wisconsin.

Marchers are invited to gather in the parking lot of the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library at 10 a.m. on April 22 and will begin marching shortly thereafter.

The march will proceed from the Library to City Hall, then north to Veterans Parkway, and on to the Oak Ave Community Center. Following the march, a rally will be held from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Speakers include: Keith Reopelle, senior policy director for Clean Wisconsin, who is responsible for state and regional policies addressing global warming; Dr. James Weber, founder and CEO of PreventionGenetics; Dr. Barbara Lee, director of the National Farm Medicine Center and senior research scientist at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute; and Dr. Edward Belongia, director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Population Health at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. Several other prominent agricultural science and environmental leaders will speak at the event.

Central Wisconsin’s diverse mix of scientists, farmers, physicians and lovers of the state’s rich wildlife resources inspired the event as a way to respect and preserve the role science plays in expanding human knowledge and prosperity.  The march and rally will raise awareness and generate support for the numerous ways science positively impacts local communities and the world, organizers said.

“Science is unbiased. It seeks truth and the best solutions to our issues as a society. As such, it should play a significant role in our local, state and national government policy decisions,” event organizer Marian Greenburg said. “It is our best tool for moving our world forward and improving lives of people all over the planet. Government funding for scientific programming and research must be maintained, not cut.”

Mark T. Nelson, a Marshfield businessman, said in addition to its global importance, science is indispensable to the well-being of central Wisconsin.

“If you look at our mid-Wisconsin economy, science is responsible for thousands of jobs in medicine, agricultural research, dental research, technology fields, natural resources, food safety, water testing, and education,” Nelson said. “Our health, material prosperity and survival depend on science. It’s essential for citizens to understand the role of science and insist upon government policies that support it.”

Jamaican Kitchens will provide food for the rally, and fun activities for children will be available. A Tesla electric car will be on display, music will be provided by local artist joe g., and local organizations and institutions will host display tables.

For more information on joining the march and rally, or to volunteer or reserve a display table, search “Central Wisconsin March for Science” on Facebook, or contact Karen Shulman at factsmattermarshfield@gmail.com.

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