Waukesha County

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Waukesha County Environmental Education Resources Hub

Enhance your learning with these great resources from Waukesha County Parks and Land Use. Explore our virtual and in-person opportunities for learners of all ages. 

Topics are updated often, check back to see what comes next!


Environmental Education COVID-19 Response:

All visitors are encouraged to consider CDC guidelines to protect employees and members of the public from the COVID-19 virus. Waukesha County Parks is taking steps to provide a safe learning environment, including conducting programs outside when possible, enhanced cleaning, and social distancing measures. Programs may be conducted completely outdoors, so dress for the weather. In case of inclement weather, the program may be cancelled or moved indoors.


The Outdoor Classroom Series

Expand learning to the outdoors with an environmental education program at Retzer Nature Center! The 60-minute environmental education programs are perfect for home school groups, virtual learners, families, caregivers, scout troops, 4-H groups, and more! Programs are geared towards elementary students. Programs will be conducted completely outdoors, so dress for the weather. In case of inclement weather, the program will be moved to an openly ventilated location. 

September 8: Secrets of the Stream - Discover a whole hidden world of life in a local stream. Learn how these creatures survive through the winter and what they will become next year! Most importantly, we will learn simple actions we can take to protect our streams and the life in them. 

September 22: Nature Exploration- Prairie - Explore and observe at Retzer Nature Center’s colorful prairie. We will look closely at the different prairie plants and the remaining pollinators before they disappear for winter.

October 20: Trees, Seeds, Nuts and Leaves - Using our powers of observation, we will have a hands-on outdoor experience exploring the changes in the season. We will discover different trees at Retzer Nature Center and identify them through the different seeds, nuts and leaves.

October 27: Migration - Join us as we learn about the various wildlife that leave in the fall and come back in the spring.

November 17: Camouflaged Critters - Wildlife has a unique way of hiding themselves all year round. During this program, we will be looking at fur, feathers, and scales that help an animal hide in their habitat.

December 1: Hibernation / Migration - Hit the trails to see who you can find. Find out which animals at Retzer stay, sleep or leave during winter. Learn about their special adaptations and strategies that help them to survive and search for their various forms of shelter and food sources.

  • Programs are available at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • $4 per student*
    *Free for adults and young siblings ages 3 and under
  • All children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Maximum of 20-30 paid registrants (program dependent)
  • Register online at least one day prior to the program
    Search "Classroom" for listings. Sorry, no walk-ins.
 
Wednesdays at The Planetarium

All shows are held at the Horwitz-DeRemer Planetarium located inside the Retzer Environmental Learning Center. Complement and expand your learning with a show on the dome! All groups are welcome. The 60-minute shows are geared towards elementary students. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Our Place in Space: September 1 & October 13

One World, One Sky, Big Bird’s Adventure: September 8 & October 20

Nine Planets and Counting: September 15 & November 3

Flight Adventures: September 22 & December 8

Spooky Space: September 29 & October 27

Wilbear’s Adventure: October 6 & November 17

Max Goes to the Moon: November 10

Khrumka’s Adventures in the Winter Forest: November 24 & December 15

George and Oatmeal Save Santa: December 1 & 22

  • Shows available at 11 a.m. 
  • $4 per seat *
    *Free for young children ages 3 and under
  • 30 seats maximum per session (at the time of publication)
  • Register online at least one day prior to program. 
    Search "Wednesday Elementary" for listings.
Explore Our Activity Guides

Flip through our digital guides for information on events, programs, activities and more.

Public Environmental Education Activity Guide
September - December 2021

School Environmental Education Guide
2021 - 2022 School Year

Retzer Nature Center Activity Sheets

Download our digital activity sheets and enjoy them when you visit Retzer Nature Center.


Virtual Lessons and Videos

Learn from Park and Land Use staff about ecology, wildlife, land management, recycling, waste reduction, science applications, water conservation and more!

Flora
Busting Backyard Invasives
Nearby Nature: Plant Shapes - Earth Week Edition
Virtual Wildflowers Hike - Earth Week Edition
Native Nature - Earth Week Edition

Fauna
The Power of Pollination
Backyard Birding - Earth Week Edition
Turtles vs Tortoises - Earth Week Edition

Sustainability
Understanding Soils:  What Homeowners Need to Know for their Basements
Super Soils: Composting at Home - Earth Week Edition
Nature Storytime & Craft - Earth Week Edition
 - Reading "What Matters?" by Alison Hughs and Holly Hatam

Ask the Experts Series on Facebook
Each month, experts from Waukesha County Parks and Land Use are joining the Retzer Facebook page live to answer your burning questions!

Watch the recordings:
-How to Green Your Lawn Q&A (Jan. 2021)
-Backyard Birding Q&A (Feb. 2021)
-Well & Septic Q&A (Mar. 2021)
-Invasive Species Q&A (Apr. 2021)
-Rain Gardens and Rain Barrels Q&A (May 2021)

Follow their FB page and stay tuned for future topics live!

Resources for Teaching Outdoors

Helping educators, parents and caregivers use the outdoors to enrich learning and extend beyond the walls of a classroom. 

Resources, Projects and Ideas: