Denis Hayes is President and CEO of The Bullitt Foundation. He directs the Foundation, which he joined in 1992, from the perspective of a practical visionary who has devoted his life to conservation. He acknowledges, albeit with mixed feelings, that he is probably still best known for having been National Coordinator of the first Earth Day when he was 25. But he also is the seasoned veteran of many environmental, legislative, and litigation victories over the years.
He was born in Wisconsin though raised mainly in the small town of Camas, Washington, where in 2007 Hayes Freedom High School was named in his honour. His experiences growing up in the Pacific Northwest instilled in him a lifelong love of nature. He received his undergraduate degree in history from Stanford University, where he was president of the student body and an activist against the Vietnam War. During those years, he spent significant time backpacking to remote corners of the world.
Denis later enrolled at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He left Harvard after being selected by Senator Gaylord Nelson to serve as National Coordinator of the first Earth Day. Earth Day, on 22 April 1970, had participants and celebrants in 2000 colleges and universities, about 10 000 primary and secondary schools, and thousands of communities. The Associated Press estimated that more than 20 million ...