Donor Impact, Center News

We Energies Foundation: Powering Environmental Education

We Energies’ commitment to charitable giving is exemplified through their unwav­ering support of local non-profit organiza­tions. Not only do they power homes and businesses throughout Wisconsin, but they also fuel the efforts of many non-profit or­ganizations through their dedicated philan­thropic efforts. The We Energies Founda­tion has been Schlitz Audubon’s community partner since 1982, and over this time they have donated over $550,000 in support of our mission! The Center is so grateful to the We Energies Foundation for their generous support in two key programming areas: An­imal Ambassadors and Youth Scholarships.

We Energies Foundation and Our Raptor Program

A long-time supporter of Schlitz Audu­bon’s feathered animal ambassadors, the We Energies Foundation has sponsored the popular Raptor Saturday program since 2005, ensuring that this event is always free for Center visitors. During these monthly demonstrations, audience members have the special oppor­tunity to share space with a selection of our remarkable birds and view them from a mere few feet away. With the help of staff members and trained volunteers, our birds—like Loki the American Crow or Willow the Northern Saw-whet Owl—share information about their wild relatives, habitat concerns, and issues facing raptors today.

Our raptors have also been the featured performers at Energy Park at the Wisconsin State Fair for the last 15 years. Through dynamic live shows, raptor ambassadors take the stage for unique interactive experiences while spreading awareness of conservation issues, inspiring environmental stewardship, and sharing the successful work We Energies conducts to support wild raptor populations.

We Energies Foundation and Youth Scholarships

The We Energies Foundation is also a strong partner of our Youth Scholarship Program. Through this initiative, Schlitz Audubon educators provide high-quality field trips for free or at minimal cost to children who attend schools where most of the student body experiences economic challenges. The goal of this program is to remove the physical and social barriers that often prevent people who live in lower-income Greater Mil­waukee communities from forming strong connections to the natural world.

Outdoor exploration and learning from nature can be transformational experiences for students, and many scholarship program recipients live in neighborhoods with few green spaces or play areas. During the 2022-2023 school year, over 4,100 scholarship students had the opportunity to go ponding at Mystery Lake, hike the glacial terrain of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, or even see a live Peregrine Falcon spread its wings.

New this year, the We Energies Foundation invited Schlitz Audu­bon to expand our State Fair offerings to highlight our reptile and amphibian ambassadors. In the Wildlife of Wisconsin Program, visitors to Energy Park can look forward to new experiences like watching a fox snake slither along a peg board or touching an or­nate box turtle’s grooved shell. Staff and volunteer handlers will share information about each animal’s habitat, role in the environment, and adaptations.

Schlitz Audubon raptor, reptile, and amphibian ambassadors will be at the We Energies State Fair Energy Park August 3-13, 10:00am to 3:15pm.

Thank you again to the We Energies Foundation for helping to power Schlitz Audubon’s mission! Your support has connected so many people throughout Wisconsin to environmental education.