Nature inspires a sense of wonder in all generations. When children are a part of educational programming at Schlitz Audubon, they learn about, see, and even touch wildlife they might not otherwise experience, igniting a passion that lasts years into the future. When adults sense the same wonder as a child does, it plants a seed that blossoms into a spirit of stewardship for all of nature.
Nature Experiences Beginning in Childhood
Starting with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, students interact with the outdoors in myriad ways. They turn over logs to gaze at salamanders without touching their sensitive skin, learning scientific inquiry and empathy. Children hike to an ephemeral pond to look at the first blooms of skunk cabbage, observing the seasons and talking about what they encounter, introducing literacy skills. Through patting mud into mud pies, students squeeze, grasp, and bear different weights, developing the tactile skills that help them hold a pencil.
These activities are part of an innovative curriculum that is filled with authentic learning. Thanks to generous donors, every week students from Malaika Early Learning Center and Next Door Milwaukee, often living in areas with little green space, join us to enjoy these formative opportunities through our Urban Outreach Program.
Last year, we provided 16,000 school children with stimulating environmental education. Through donor support to our scholarship program, children who can’t readily access nature are able to experience our inclusive classes. More than 4,225 youth developed powerful connections to nature through free field trips and in-school assemblies.
Throughout summer, bright rays of sunshine fill our summer campers with joy during thoughtful, nature-inspired programs. Campers search for rocks and fossils, make art with found materials, and learn about water while hiking near ponds or by the Lake Michigan shore, forging a strong relationship with nature at an early age. Every year for over a decade, children from the Boys & Girls Club of Milwaukee have enjoyed a week of participating in camp activities. Many will pilot a canoe for the first time and may even catch a frog, having fun while developing skills in environmental stewardship!
Adults Experience Wonder in Nature
Our age-encompassing programs encourage adults to also experience the natural world with wonder, including those with specific needs. Adults are captivated by our many birding programs, where they observe colorful migrating species or winter residents. Many identify trees, gaze at prairie wildflowers, and discover the magic of insects while surveying principles of science and phenology. They use telescopes to tour moonlit evenings and hike our trails inspired by the perspective lens of nature writers. All spark an interest and fulfill a passion for nature knowledge. There’s an opportunity for lifelong learning in every step taken at the Center, no matter the age.