By Rebecca Biggs, communications assistant.

As children get older and become busy with school, work, and responsibilities, it can be difficult to find the time to get together with family. It can be just as hard to make time to take a break from everyday life and return to the pleasures of Wisconsin’s wilderness. One family, however, has found a way to combine these two endeavors through the Natural Resources Foundation’s Field Trip program.

The Niesen family

Roger and Cindy Niesen with their eight children. Five of the Niesen children are adopted.

Roger and Cindy Niesen first learned about the Natural Resources Foundation and the Field Trip program in Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine a few years back. After reading through some of the available trips that year, they decided to become members in order to go on a few that had caught their eye. Each year since then, the Field Trip season has been highly anticipated in the Niesen home.

Getting together for the Niesen family is no easy task; with eight children ranging in age from four to 23, it is real work trying to find activities to suit them all. When it comes to picking out Field Trips, the family tries to match each child to at least one Trip that is appropriate for his or her age, interest, and schedule.

Out of the 212 Field Trips offered this year, the family has found four that they are really excited for. Roger says, “Getting the kids out in Nature has always been a top priority for us, and having these trips is such an asset.”

Emily Niesen holding a fawn during a Field Trip.

Roger and Cindy Niesen.

Roger hopes that these Field Trips will instill a long-lasting appreciation for nature in his children. “When I am gone someday I want my kids to recognize a certain kind of frog, or a bird or just see something in nature and say, ‘Wow, I wish Papa was here to see this,’” he said.

Roger teaches his children to notice the incredible, everyday things that most people pass by in their daily routine—to really understand, appreciate, and love nature. The role he’s playing as an educator and conservation mentor in his family is so important to our work at the Foundation. He’s helping to create the next generation of conservationists.

But what Roger is also doing, is instilling in his family a value in spending time together. As kids we might roll our eyes at “family time,” but the older we get the more we long for it. The Natural Resources Foundation is proud to provide such opportunities for all Wisconsin families.