Healthier human and natural communities
To support conservation through education that awakens curiosity,
engages the body, and
explores connections to nature for all generations.
Within Our Natural Sanctuary: We work to change lives by inspiring youth, families, and adults to step away from life’s distractions and into the prairies, woods, and wetlands. Our innovative programming makes it fun to make time for nature.
Within Our Communities: Reaching people where they are, we create partnerships that help people integrate nature into their everyday lives. Our community programing brings the great outdoors to families, schools, and neighbors.
Bringing Nature to Communities
Exploring and learning about nature as part of family life just became a whole lot easier in southeastern Wisconsin! As we reimagine the role a nature center can serve, we acknowledge the growing disconnect between society and the great outdoors. Riveredge works on strategies to incorporate nature into all aspects of our lives.
- Partnership with ‘Every Kid in a Park’ campaign to provide free memberships to all 4th graders and their families for their fourth grade year (September – August).
- Launch family nature clubs hosted in the southeastern Wisconsin counties of Sheboygan, Washington, Ozaukee, and Milwaukee.
- Collaborate with other organizations to provide “Family Reading Campouts” to combine both environmental education and literacy outcomes.
- Bring nature learning and outdoor exploration to non-traditional partnering organizations such as Betty Brin Children’s Museum, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, the Kettle Moraine YMCA, and the Museum of Fiber Arts. Help outdoor organizations, such as Washington County Parks, expand environmental and adventure education programming.
A Riveredge field trip is many students’ first immersion into the natural world. It’s their first time wading through a river to discover the hidden reams of life below its surface. It’s their first time practicing science outside of the classroom, and their first time realizing a career in science is not only fun, but possible.
- Launch, evaluate, and expand the Scientist in Residence partnership with local school districts to create a school cultures where the outdoors is interconnected to daily learning and nature is the inspiration for the next generation of scientists.
- Support the development and integration of a public nature-based 4K program with West Bend School District.
- Investigate options to host a public nature-based elementary charter school at Riveredge
- Expand existing onsite school programs and develop effective integration of technology within appropriate environmental science investigations.
From increased attention, creativity, and calmness to overall benefits to the body and mind, time in nature just maybe what our world needs to bring balance back into the lives of both children and adults. Our strategy is simplistic: meet people where they are, identify activities which lure us away from our perceived comforts of indoor life, and begin help people at all stages of life experience an enriched life outside.
- Expand offerings at Riveredge which integrate areas of societal interest and need with nature.
- Experiment and develop offerings which appropriately use technology to engage youth and adults with the natural world.
- Partner with county Aging & Disability Resource Centers to host nature centered ‘Memory Café’ programs for adults with memory challenges and their caregivers.
- Host nature-based programming for other youth and adult groups such as families with autistic children
- Launch and expand a comprehensive adventure education program to entice people of all ages outside through adventure activities such as recreational tree climbing and kayaking.
- Expand the popular summer camp program offerings both onsite and in partnering offsite locations.
Rooted in Research
For over 40 years, Riveredge has collected and interpreted environmental research while engaging people of all ages in citizen science. Population counts, phenology records, and even species restoration has and continues to contribute to local and national scientific data bases while encouraging healthier local ecosystems.
- Expand the Undergraduate & Graduate Environmental Research Symposium held at Riveredge
- Develop and launch a robust and exceptional environmental science internship & fellowship program
- Expand citizen-based collection of environmental research data and share data with local and national databases.
- Collaborate to strengthen native terrestrial orchid populations throughout our region.
- Continue the species specific restoration efforts of the Swamp Metalmark butterfly and the Lake Sturgeon.