Waukesha County

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!

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 4K and up. All children must be accompanied by an adult. 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. 

Wednesdays at 10 a.m.
$4 per child per class 
Free for adults and young siblings ages 3 and under
Pre-Registration is required at least 24 hours prior to the program.

May 17: Secrets of Stream Life - Discover a whole hidden world of life in Retzer Creek. Learn how these creatures survived through the winter and what they will become this year! Most importantly, we will learn simple actions we can take to protect our streams and the life in them.

June 7: Secrets of Pond Life - Discover a whole hidden world of life in the Retzer Pond. Learn how these creatures survived through the winter and what they will become this year! Most importantly, we will learn simple actions we can take to protect our ponds, lakes and the life in them.

June 14: In Search of Bobolink Birds - Many birds find nesting habitat at Retzer. Join us as we explore the Retzer vista looking for our favorite ground nesting birds – Bobolinks!

June 21: Animal Adapations - Turtles - Enjoy a visit from the Retzer teaching animals! See how an animal’s physical and behavioral traits can help it to survive as we explore the concepts of habitat and adaptation. For the class, we will focus in on turtles!

June 28: Plants and Pollinators - Come explore what is buzzing around the blooms at Retzer Nature Center! Investigate the relationship between plants and the animals that contribute to the process of pollination.

Looking Ahead:
July 12: Dragonflies & Damselflies
July 19: Art in Nature - Painting the Prairie
July 26: Nature Exploration - Brown’s Fen Hike
August 2: Bumble Bee Hunt
August 9: Crystal’s Clean Water Adventure
August 16: Energy in Nature
August 23: Insect Investigation
August 30: Art in Nature - Spirals


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.

Wednesdays, 11 a.m.
$4 per child per class
Free for children ages 2 and under

Show descriptions by title can be found online at: https://hdplanetarium.ticketleap.com/

Public Shows on Wednesdays:

May 10: 11 a.m.- One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure
May 17: 11 a.m.- Defying Gravity
May 24: 11 a.m.- A to Z Astronomy: From 3 to 103
May 31: 11 a.m.- Amazing Planet

June 7: 11 a.m.- Mayan Archaeoastronomy: Observers of the Universe, 1 pm.- Stargazers of Africa
June 14: 11 a.m.- Stars of the Pharaohs, 1 p.m.- Seven Wonders
June 21: 11 a.m.- Sky Tellers: The Myths, The Magic, & The Mysteries of the Universe, 1 p.m.- Cleopatra’s Universe
June 28: 11 a.m.- Rising Star, 1 p.m.- Living in Balance: Anishinaabe Star Knowledge
July 5: 11 a.m.- George and Oatmeal Save Santa (Christmas in July), 1 p.m.- Season of Light (Christmas in July)
July 12: 11a.m. -Spooky Space, 1 p.m.- It’s About Time: Cosmic Cycles We Live By
July 19: 11 a.m.- Khrumka’s Adventures in the Winter Forest, 1 p.m.- Mystery of the Christmas Star (Christmas in July)
July 26: 11 a.m.- Dino Soars! Change Over Time, 1 p.m.- Mexica Archaeoastronomy: Between Space and Time
August 2: 11 a.m.- Max Goes to the Moon, 1 p.m.- Forward! To the Moon
August 9: 11 a.m.- Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast, 1 p.m.- Surviving In Space
August 16: 11 a.m.- Secret of the Cardboard Rocket, 1 p.m.- CapCom Go! The Apollo Story
August 23: 11 a.m.- Voyage to the Distant Worlds, 1 p.m.- Satelix
August 30: 11 a.m.- Cosmix, 1 p.m.- Back to the Moon for Good!

Wee Wonders

This monthly program is an opportunity for nature exploration and discovery for children ages 2 - 4 with their guardians. Wee Wonders offers hands-on experiences about a variety of nature topics. Each child must be accompanied by an adult. Each program includes an outdoor experience; please dress for the weather. 

Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
$4 per child per class 
Free for adults and siblings ages 5+
Registration required at least 24 hours prior to the program start.

Tuesday, April 11 • Wednesday, April 12
Hurray for Spring! - Spring is the time of year when the Earth comes alive with new life! Come help us celebrate all that is new in nature. We will read a story and engage in activities to help us learn what happens in springtime, then head outside for a sensory search of all things spring

Explore Our Activity Guides

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

Public Environmental Education Activity Guide
School Environmental Education Guide

Retzer Nature Center Activity Sheets

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

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:

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!

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

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

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
Experts from Waukesha County Parks and Land Use are joined Retzer's 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)