supports the implementation of Wisconsin’s Plan for Environmental Literacy and Sustainable
Communities . This plan is the latest in a long line of environmental education initiatives in the
state . Beginning with the Conservation Movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s through
the Environmental Movement in the 1960s and 70s and on to today, residents of Wisconsin
have played a key role in shaping the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of individuals, groups,
and organizations with respect to environmental issues at the national, regional, and local
levels . As a new century has just begun, this plan provides a pathway for all of us to build
upon this prior work and move forward in developing an environmentally literate society
comprised of sustainable communities .
Sustainable Communities (referred to in this document
as the “Plan”) serves as a strategic plan for achieving
the vision of environmentally literate and sustainable
communities across Wisconsin . The Plan is meant to
build capacity, awareness, and support for environmental
literacy and sustainability at home, work, school, and
play . It encourages funding, research, and education for
environmental literacy and sustainability and it supports
Wisconsin’s Plan to Advance Education for Environmental
Literacy and Sustainability in PK-12 Schools.
This Plan was developed through input from diverse
representatives from around the state, all of whom—
like many before them—are attentive to the health and
well-being of Wisconsin’s people, the stewardship of our
natural resources, the sustainability of our communities,
and to leaving a positive legacy for the future . Wisconsin
people value the state’s natural resources and the functions
these resources serve at home, work, school, and play .
This commitment to protecting and conserving valued
resources can and does lead to sustainable communities
that enjoy a healthy environment, a prosperous economy,
and a vibrant civic life . The purpose of this Plan, therefore,
is to provide a roadmap, a course of action, individuals,
organizations, businesses and governments must
take to attain environmental literacy and sustainable
communities . By providing a shared vision, mission,
and goals, encouraging the use of common language,
and promoting collaborative efforts, the Plan offers the
opportunity for extraordinary impact and change .
The Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB) is charged with
leadership for environmental education for all people in the state and is required
to develop a strategic plan every ten years . This Plan was born from that
demand . WEEB’s previous strategic plan, A Plan for Advancing Environmental
Education in Wisconsin: EE2010, had seven goals that were based on the central
purposes of providing positive leadership; developing local leaders; developing
and implementing curricula; and furthering professional development .
An assessment provided insight into this plan’s successes and what remains to be
done . Major successes include:
• The creation of a website, EEinWisconsin .org, which acts as a tool for
statewide communication and a clearinghouse for both formal and non-
formal environmental education in Wisconsin .
• The WEEB’s use of the goals in its grants program .
• The initiation of research in environmental literacy and sustainability .
• The establishment of Wisconsin Environmental Education Foundation,
which is leading the way toward more sustainable funding for
environmental education .
The assessment found more work needs to be done to support and enhance
non-formal and non-traditional environmental education . The Plan addresses
this need and sets new goals .
Collaboration with Other Efforts
Wisconsin’s Plan for Environmentally Literate and Sustainable Communities
considers educational needs and responses for the whole community and
supports sustainable practices at home, work, school, and play . The Plan is
coordinated with and supported by two additional statewide efforts to advance
the implementation of the Plan’s goals and the integration of sustainability . They
Wisconsin’s Plan to Advance Education for Environmental Literacy and
Sustainability in PK-12 Schools addresses multiple aspects related directly
to pre-kindergarten through high school student learning to ensure every
student graduates environmentally literate . (NCLIwisconsin .org)
Cultivating Education for Sustainability in Wisconsin builds capacity
and support for schools and communities to focus student learning on
sustainability . It provides recommendations for resources and services to
implement education for sustainability in schools . (www .uwsp .edu/wcee/efs)
2 Wisconsin’s Plan for Environmentally Literate and Sustainable Communities
Benefits of a State Plan
• Provide a common vision and set of goals for people in Wisconsin to work
• Guide decision-making, policy making and priority setting .
• Serve as justification for and purpose behind creating or continuing
programs, tools and resources .
• Set priorities for development and delivery of educational programs,
business plans, and community efforts .
• Rationale and guidance for funding and research efforts .
How to Use the Plan
Wisconsin’s Plan for Environmentally Literate and Sustainable Communities is
not an organization, but rather a document that serves as the state strategic plan
requiring partnerships and collaboration . It is designed to serve as reference
material for individuals, businesses, and communities . Those who influence
environmental literacy and sustainability in Wisconsin such as community
leaders, traditional and non-formal educators and administrators, resources
developers and providers, policy makers, funders and researchers will find the
Plan useful as a guide in setting priorities and making decisions . Over the course
of the next decade, the Plan’s desired outcomes will be central to environmental
literacy and sustainability efforts across the state . As Wisconsin people work
toward achieving the four main outcomes of the Plan, this document can help
guide attitudes, planning, actions, and endeavors .
Today “camp” means more than it did 100 years ago. Today it’s traditional camp and sports organizations, parks, museums, schools and colleges, dance troupes, arts centers, animal shelters, heritage groups and churches and synagogues computers, shopping, makeup and Lego Camps.
According to the American Camp Association is expecting another strong summer season. "It seems many families see value in the summer camp adventure. Although our children are heavily over scheduled summer camp provides that chance for children to just slow down and play and learn outside a class room," said Jeff Lorenz, Director of Swift Nature Camp in Wisconsin.
Parents today are coming to realize that children need to get weaned off their personal electronic devices. " With the growing concern of obesity, America is in the midst to reconnect to nature. At SNC we are electronics-free zone for kids and staff alike. We are truly living in the past,” said Jeff.
Swift Nature Camp this summer has started a hydroponics garden. “We feel that often children don't understand how food gets to our table. At SNC, we focus in on spirit, mind and body and we feel that this connection helps kids better understand how important nature is to all of us." This is just a natural continuation of our Science Summer Camp program
Today, kids are living in a 'concrete jungle,' always indoors or watching TV, and being online not really getting outside and appreciating nature. At Swift Nature Camp we believe, summer camp is all about being outside and reconnecting with nature, this can happen in many way from just playing in it , to actually taking classes in our Nature Center and learning about nature. However, what the children most enjoy at SNC is going on backpack and canoe trips, it is a way to learn about nature and yourself.
Summer Camps are remarkable at teaching kids life skills. Camp provides aa nurturing and child centered community, filled with human relationships. The outcome from these experiences is independence, responsibility, teamwork, cooperation, communication and leadership.
If you are just starting your search for a Summer Camp please visit Summer Camp Advice a wonderful website that will give a parent loads of information on how to find the best summer camp for your child.
Experts tell us the first step in becoming an environmentalist is noticing what nature offers. Such observation often leads to a desire and commitment to conserve and protect the natural world.
However, with out having a purpose many times staff and campers merely walk along the trail without really noticing what is around them. They overlook the sounds, sights, textures and diversity of the ecosystem.
Please read these simple programs that can be done while walking through the woods. You may need suppliesbut it will take only a few minutes to get them.
One you feel you have a feel for these activities invite your childrens friends to come along, I'm sure they too will enjoy being away from their scheduled lives and enjoy the peace of nature,
Supplies: Yarn and scissors
Ahead of time: Cut the yarn into 15-inch pieces, have one for every two campers.
Assignment: Move off the trail, and make a square on the ground with the yarn. Study what you find within the square. What lives there? What is the soil like? What grows there? Use a stick and dig into the ground a little. What do you see?
Conversation: What did you find in the square or circle that surprised you?
Supplies: Clipboard and writing utensils
Ahead of time: think or research how things would be different if the land was developed
Assignment: Stop along the trail and look into the woods. Imagine that the land had sold this plot of land to a developer to build. How would that development changethings? What effect would it have on the habitat and food supplies of the animals living there? What would happen to the soil if the trees were cut down? How would the plants in the woods change? How would the threat of erosion increase?
Conversation: How have ecosystems near your home been destroyed? What changes have happened to the land?
Look a Tree
|Ahead of time: look for a place on the trail where there is a variety of trees.
Assignment: Find a partner and decide who will be blindfolded first. The sighted partner will lead his/her partner to a tree. The blindfolded child will explore the tree by touch and smell. Then the sighted partner leads his/her partner away from the tree. Once the blindfold is removed, that camper tries to locate the tree. Switch places and repeat.
Conversation: What have you learned about trees that you didn't know before?
Swift Nature Camp hopes this information give you few a simple projects we do at our camp out in Nature. If you child is interested in these sorts of activities Please look at our website and see if we might be part of your summer plans,
If this is your first time thinking about Summer Camp look at Summer Camp Advice a free website that helps parents fing the right camp for thier child.
About the authors: Jeff and Lonnie Lorenz are the directors of Swift Nature Camp, a non-competitive, traditional overnight Animal Summer Camp. Boys and Girls Ages 6-15 enjoy nature & animals along with traditional camping activities. As a Summer Kids CampSwift specializes in programs for the First Time Campers as well as Adventure Teen Camp programs
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Now is a good time to show your support for this effort - here's how:
1. Attend Lobby Day - March 16th, 2011
The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters (WLCV) has declared the Wisconsin Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights a legislative priority for 2011-12. You can show your support and speak directly with legislators about this issue at WLCV's Lobby Day on March 16th. For more information and to register for this exciting and empowering day, visit: Lobby Day 2011.
You are also invited to attend:
WAEE's Lobby Day Breakfast
Immediately preceding WLCV's Lobby Day
9-10am March 16th, 2011
Monona Terrace Room M/Q
There's more you can do:
2. Sign on as a Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights Supporter.
3. Contact Your Legislator to let them know EE is important in Wisconsin and mention the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights.
4. Forward this information to your colleagues.
What is the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights?
Children who have the opportunity to explore, learn and play in Wisconsin's outdoors are more likely to be healthy, to do better in school, to experience improved creativity and concentration, and to discover the rewards of outdoor stewardship. To that end, we believe the children of Wisconsin have the right to experience each of the following (draft) activities during their youth:
Every Wisconsin child has the right to:
• Follow a trail, whether by hiking or biking.
• Visit a working farm.
• Eat healthy and sustainable food.
• Splash, swim and play in a clean Wisconsin lake or river.
• Catch and release frogs, fireflies, and insects.
• Tap a maple tree.
• Explore wild places close to home.
• Eat a fish they catch.
• Discover Wisconsin’s diverse wilderness – prairies, forests, wetlands, and beaches.
• Share a hunting experience with a great mentor or teacher.
Why is it important to get involved?
In order to pass this resolution, we need your help! Over a thousand bills and resolutions come across our legislators desks each year but only about 30% are passed. Those that pass do so thanks to people like you. Legislators tell us they are significantly more likely to consider a bill or resolution if they've heard about it from their constituents.
Is the timing right?
Now is a great time speak up for EE: the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights is a non-budgetary resolution and may be just what legislators are looking for to stand behind (rather than the politically charged "budget repair" bill). However, in order to be heard above the current turmoil and get legislators' support, it's critical the EE community comes forward to declare "EE in our state is important".
Need more information or want to learn more about how this venture got started and where it can take us? Visit the Wisconsin Children's Outdoor Bill of Rightswebsite or contact us - we're happy to discuss this exciting project with you:
Modern times have come to call for change in the way we prepare our children to live life in the world they will inherit. Our kids simply must find a way to reconnect with our natural environment as they grow up. The global effort to restore ecological balance will need aware participants at every level. Environmental awareness always begins with a personal sense of connection to nature.
Parents can bring back awareness of nature to a child’s experience. Summer camp has been around since for over 150 years and is still an effective way to bring back balance to a child’s life. Trained staff members of modern summer camps can guide kids back into an alliance with nature through the pure fun of camp activities. The challenges of summer camp activities are fun rather than stressful, making them even more effective for learning how we are a part of nature.
Most directors of quality modern summer camps have developed policies that encourage camper experience that reconnects the camper to nature without sacrificing the great fun and memorable friendships that are the classic benefits of summer camp. One such policy is simple and sweeping: beginning by not permitting cellular phones, BlackBerries, pagers, radios, iPods, cassette or CD players, laser pens, TVs, Game Boys or digital cameras. Children forget that life is possible without these ubiquitous accessories. Not including them in the camp experience brings children a revelation: they find out that they can actually have fun and enjoy themselves living without those things.
A camp that combines traditional camp activities such as hiking, canoe trips and horseback riding with modern ways for campers to learn about nature will succeed in instilling environmental awareness in campers. Learning is potentially much more effective because it is associated with fun and friendships.
Summer camps have added modern awareness of health and nutrition to the established means of meeting physical needs such as good hygiene, exercise, and teamwork. Modern summer camps can offer a healthy menu that still includes foods that kids enjoy. A salad bar at lunch and dinner that includes a choice of fresh vegetables and salads is an example of this. Vegetarian meals should be made available to campers who have that preference. Fresh fruit can be made available all day for snacks. Nutrition is a part of a modern summer camp’s “green” approach to total wellness that includes providing means to develop of a camper’s positive self esteem, build friendships, and promote having FUN.
When they are discussing a possible choice of a camp with a camp’s directors, parents should ask about the sustainability of that camp’s own day-to-day ecological practices. How do they conserve energy and water and recycle? What is the camp doing to take responsibility for its own environmental footprint? Learning is a combination of information and participation. If a summer camp’s practices don’t reflect their talk, campers aren't going to absorb important messages about their own relationship with nature. Summer camps are becoming aware of the effects they are having on their immediate environment. Camp directors should be looking at the big picture and showing care for the earth as well as their campers.
What about science?
Summer science camps and programs let students get close to areas of scientific inquiry in a way that isn't always possible in the classroom.
Does science come to mind when you think about summer camp? It should!
You might be surprised to learn that hundreds of camps and programs across the United States offer science as part of their summer-fun lineup—and in support of an increasing committment to supporting and strengthening science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills.
Like all other summer camps, science-related summer programs are an American right of passage: hours of fun with friends, away from parents, no textbooks, no tests, no homework. The difference is that a summer science camp also offers students of all ages an opportunity to reallyexplore science in all its hands-on, fun, goopy, messy, glory, without the burden of needing to know the 'right' answer for Wednesday's quiz.
Science camps come in a wide variety of formats. There are day and residential camps focusing on every aspect of science and engineering you can imagine: robotics, chemistry, the environment, zoo animals, architecture, space science, and dinosaur fossils, to name just a few! These programs use fun and play to help teach and introduce science and engineering concepts. For example, a week-long day camp focusing on amusement park physics might have kids exploring centripetal force, and kinetic and potential energy, while riding real amusement park rides and building their own mini versions from LEGO blocks, buckets, string, or foam tubing. When done right, science camp is a combination that is super fun and engaging, and fosters learning and creativity.
Why attend a science camp?
The advantages of attending a science camp or program can be summarized by a simple equation:
Summer + Camp + Science = 3x Fun + Real Learning
Science camps fall under the umbrella of what is commonly called informal science learning. Recent studies show that informal science learning is one of the most effective ways people learn science. Students who participate in these types of activities are more likely to have an above-average understanding of science, and pursue science-related careers.
For younger children, science camp can introduce them to many different areas of science and give them the confidence and inspiration to embrace science at school. Older students, who are already interested in science, may use science camp as a way to explore what a specific science-related career would be like, or to meet mentors and role models in the field. Such connections could lead to other opportunities, like internships, or become a featured event on a resume or college application.
For all students, science camp can be the opportunity to explore a branch of science that might not be available in their school, like marine biology or aeronautics, or to cover a topic more in depth than they'd otherwise be able to.
How do I choose a summer science camp or program?
Through innovative hands-on activities and demonstrations, students can explore a range of scientific fundamentals and areas of science at summer camp, from chemistry and microbiology to aeronautics, electronics, and computer science.
Choosing a summer science camp is similar to choosing any other type of camp. You have your usual considerations about cost, distance from home, and amount of time, along with the question of finding the "best fit." For science camps, the "best fit" often boils down to figuring out what science topic(s) are of interest and finding a camp that does a good job of implementing those.
Figure out what science topic(s) are of interest.
- Older children might already have a clear preference. Perhaps they're keen on video games and would love to go to a camp where they could design and program one. Or maybe they're into hiking and wildlife and are looking for an outdoor experience as a junior park ranger. Their hobbies and reading choices are often a good indicator of their interests.
- Younger children might not yet have a clear preference. If they don't, then look for camps that offer a wide variety of science and engineering topics for them to explore. For example, a day camp that has a new science theme every week, or a balance camp that has a blend of science, arts, and physical activities.
Determine the level of "academics" you want.
- Science camp should always be fun. A good science camp will allow students plenty of time to do hands-on exploration. This is part of the informal component. How much additional formal education a science camp has varies. Programs that incorporate lectures from distinguished professors or professionals might be appropriate, inspirational, and informative for older students who are interested in a specific field. Younger students are more likely to benefit from group activities, projects, and interactions with informed camp counselors rather than lectures.
Search for camps that fit your needs.
Once you know the range of science topics you'd like the camp to cover, the level of academics, the general geographic location, and the time and money commitments that are right for your family, you're ready to start searching.
- Cogito and The Connectory are two great national science camp directories and a fantastic place to begin your search.
- Local parenting magazines and websites might also have lists of camps in your area.
- Science museums, zoos, aquariums, planetariums, and state or national parks are also great resources, as they often run their own camps and/or link to science camps with similar interests.
- Many colleges and universities also run summer science camps. A simple search for "summer science camp" on a local academic institution's website is a good way to find these.
- Simple web browser searches can also turn up a wealth of information.
- How To Pick A Summer Camp is a great way to start
Summer science programs give students the opportunity to explore issues related to current global science and science news.
Make sure you choose a camp or program with qualified counselors.
- Once you've located some camps that meet your search parameters, you should do some legwork to make sure that the counselors—the people the campers interact with all day long—are knowledgeable about science. For example, a knowledgeable counselor can transform a simple day of splashing in the creek into an adventurous treasure hunt for local plants and animals, andincorporate substantive and engaging lessons about food chains and the interconnectivity of different habitats.
- Ask the camp or program director questions aimed at making sure the counselors have had ample formal training in the subject area(s) and excel at explaining the science in an engaging, age-appropriate manner.
- Register Early!
While summer might seem a long way off, it's time to start thinking about summer camps. Many top camps offer "early bird" registration discounts in the January-March timeframe (check camp websites for specific camp deadlines).
Find Out More
More information about the educational benefits of science camps and other informal education opportunities can be found here:
- National Research Council of the National Academies. (2009). Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12190&page=1#
- Folk, John H., and Dierking, Lynn D. (2010, November-December). The 95 Percent Solution: School is not where most Americans learn most of their science. American Scientist. Volume 98, Number 6, Page: 486. Page: 486
Do you enjoy Nature? Do you like to take pictures?
Now it’s your chance to make the call! The National Wildlife Federation needs your vote!
Their Magazine has selected the finalists for this Photo Contest. The theme is “Nature in My Neighborhood.” Now we need YOU to help choose the winner!
Vote for your favorite image today! The top vote-getter receives an official NWF field guide and, if not already a member, a free one-year membership to National Wildlife Federation. But we need to hear from you soon: Voting ends April 15!
Jacob here, I will be in the Nature Center this summer teaching you all about the big beautiful outdoors.. I like to fish, hunt and play sports. This is my first summer at camp but at school I’m studying youth programming and camp management. I love being outside and making new friends... ( this is my new friend here in the picture :) It is going to be a great summer!
Despite this awareness of Nature and the Environment there is a staggering divide between children and the outdoors, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation-he calls it nature-deficit-to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder has spurred a national dialogue among educators, health professionals, parents, developers and conservationists. This is a book that will change the way you think about your future and the future of your children. The bottom Line we and our youth need to spend time outdoors.
Schools have realized this for some time. Teacher Judith Millar, Lucy Holman School, Jackson, NJ, more than five years ago, began an environmental project in the school's courtyard. It has become quite an undertaking--even gaining state recognition. It contains several habitat areas, including a Bird Sanctuary, a Hummingbird/ Butterfly Garden, A Woodland Area with a pond, and a Meadow. My classes have always overseen the care of this "Outdoor Classroom", but now it's practically a full time job!! My students currently maintain the Bird Sanctuary--filling seed and suet feeders, filling the birdbaths, building birdhouses, even supplying nesting materials! In addition, this spring they will be a major force in the clean up and replanting process. They always have energy and enthusiasm for anything to do with "their garden".
Despite schools doing their best to get kids to play outside, we as a nation have lost the ability to just send our kids out to play. Yet, it seems we are learning that Summer Camps help children grow into mature adults. A new British study finds that most modern parents overprotect their kids. Half of all kids have stopped climbing trees, and 17 percent have been told that they can't play tag or chase. Even hide-and-seek has been deemed dangerous. And that dreaded stick..."will put out someone's eye".
It is easy to blame technology for the decline in outdoor play, but it may well be mom and dad. Adrian Voce of Play England says 'Children are not being allowed many of the freedoms that were taken for granted when we were children,' 'They are not enjoying the opportunities to play outside that most people would have thought of as normal when they were growing up.'
According to the Guardian, "Voce argued that it was becoming a 'social norm' for younger children to be allowed out only when accompanied by an adult. 'Logistically that is very difficult for parents to manage because of the time pressures on normal family life,' he said. 'If you don't want your children to play out alone and you have not got the time to take them out then they will spend more time on the computer.'
The Play England study quotes a number of play providers who highlight the benefits to children of taking risks. 'Risk-taking increases the resilience of children,' said one. 'It helps them make judgments,' said another. We as parents want to play it safe and we need to rethink safety vs adventure.
The research also lists examples of risky play that should be encouraged including fire-building, den-making, watersports, paintballing, boxing and climbing trees. Summer camp provides an excellent opportunity for children to get outside take risks and play, all while still while being supervised by concerned young adults...knowen as counselors.
Swift Nature Camp is a Noncompetitive, Traditional Summer Nature Campin Wisconsin. Our Boys and Girls Ages 6-15. enjoy Nature, Animals & Science along with Traditional camping activities. We places a very strong emphasis on being an ENVIRONMENTAL CAMP where we develop a desire to know more about nature but also on acquiring a deep respect for it. Our educational philosophy is to engage children in meaningful, fun-filled learning through active participation. We focus on their natural curiosity and self-discovery. This is NOT School.
No matter what skill level or interests your children have, Swift Nature Camp has activities that allows them to excel and enjoy. All activities are promoted in a nurturing, noncompetitive atmosphere, giving each camper the opportunity to participate and have fun, rather than worry about results.
Campers also can participate in out-of-camp trips, such as biking, canoeing, backpacking and horse trips. This is the ultimate test of a camper's skill and knowledge. It's a reward to discover new worlds and be comfortable in them. This is what makes S.N.C. so much more than just aSCIENCE SUMMER CAMP.
Earth day has provided so much..but their is more we can learn from nature. This summer help your child regain their appreciation for nature by sending them to Swift Nature Camp. This is an opportunity that will be treasured the rest of your child's life.