2018-2022 Strategic Plan
Trails to Innovation
Summary of Results
In the summer of 2017, we set about creating a five-year strategic plan to guide the work and direction of the Center. A comprehensive process to build the plan was established and included 12 preliminary steps. These steps included the identification of the Center’s vision and mission, the identification of the Center’s three signature priorities, and the identification and implementation of the goals and projects that would lead to our defined success supported by measurable evidence.
During the plan’s five-year span, the Center completed the Stormwater Wetlands and Ravine Restoration Project, a half-million-dollar initiative underwritten entirely by grant funding and the recipient of the 2020 Green Luminary Award for Sustainability. The Center also added nearly 1.75 miles of accessible trails and boardwalks through the Central Wetlands Loop and additional accessible trails in key parts of the property. The Wayfinding Signage Project was implemented, dramatically improving the capacity for all people to confidently navigate the entirety of the trail system. Trails and ponds were reconfigured and renamed to create harmony and reflect its surrounding habitat. The Center procured four new vehicles and two off-road vehicles, a new fleet that was safe and reliable. An equipment shelter was built to secure and protect the fleet and other assets.
Over this time, membership, fundraising, and admissions continued to grow significantly as new processes and initiatives were implemented to enhance system integrity. A new website was launched in 2018, greatly enhancing navigability and the user experience. This new platform was designed to educate and inspire the community in fresh, new ways and our subscriber list increased from 9,000 people to nearly 17,000. New or reimagined special events brought in hundreds of first-time visitors allowing us to creatively cultivate this population.
The Four Pillars of Education were established which included new, thematic direction for the Center. The Center’s roster of partnership schools grew to 317, including the notable recent formation of the North Shore Education Alliance with the Bayside/Fox Point School District. Focused attention was placed on specific needs programming and customized offerings in this area nearly quadrupled. Our Raptor Program continued to inspire, teach, and touched the lives of over 50,000 people per year. Continuing to assert its leadership in the early education realm, the Nature Preschool established a new “forest classroom” experience that allows children to learn experientially and almost entirely outdoors; the preschool continues to thrive and was the recipient of two awards during this timeframe.
ADDITIONAL CENTER AWARDS | 2018 – 2022:
- 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022: Charity Navigator – 4-Star Charity Rating
- 2018: Milwaukee Lifestyle Reader’s Choice – Best Family-Friendly Nature Center
- 2019: U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools – The Nature Preschool
- 2019: WI Department of Public Instruction – Green and Healthy School, Sugar Maple Level
- 2020: MMSD, Fresh Coast Guardians – Green Luminary Award for Sustainability
- 2022: Milwaukee Magazine – Best Wedding Venue
Learn about 2023 – 2027 Strategic Plan: On Kinship and Nature.