Field Trip Program Stream Ecology

We support education programs that help people discover the great outdoors and learn how to protect Wisconsin’s diverse and beautiful natural treasures.

Many people feel a strong connection to the outdoors because someone—a teacher, family member, or friend—brought them outside and introduced them to the beauty all around us.

The Natural Resources Foundation builds these vital relationships between people and nature, through educational, philanthropic, and recreational opportunities.


Building Capacity for Environmental Education

The Natural Resources Foundation has always made environmental education a priority. We are committed to supporting long-term needs for environmental education in Wisconsin, and we are excited to announce that the Wisconsin Environmental Education Foundation has trusted us with their fundraising and grantmaking efforts in the state. Click HERE to learn more about WEEF’s transition.

  • We invest in educational programs and projects that have a significant impact and provide meaningful experiences for people to connect to Wisconsin’s great outdoors.
  • We work closely with our network of education partners to meet funding, programming, and other needs to support environmental education in Wisconsin.
  • The Wisconsin Environmental Education Fund (established by WEEF in 2017) provides permanent support for environmental education in Wisconsin.


Funding Environmental Education

Katie Martin-Meurer's class with their Insect Motels

UW Milwaukee students pose with their Insect Motels, a project funded in part by the Teacher’s Outdoor Environmental Education Fund.

We have been long-time supporters of environmental education opportunities in Wisconsin. Some projects we have supported include:

  • Citizen-based Monitoring
  • F.I.E.L.D. Corps
  • NRF Field Trip Program
  • Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Conservation Corps
  • Wisconsin Master Naturalist

Grant Programs for Environmental Education

Our grant programs provide funding for schools, nature centers, state parks, and other nonprofit organizations to support projects that connect people to Wisconsin’s natural resources. We have three major grant programs that support environmental education:

  • C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program
  • Go Outside (GO) Fund
  • Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Fund


Connecting People to Wisconsin’s Natural Wonders

Emily Niesen holding a fawn during a Field Trip.

Our immensely popular, and often life-changing Field Trip Program annually offers more than 200 educational trips to explore Wisconsin’s Emily Niesen holding a fawn during a Field Trip.natural resources. Our Field Trips are led by conservation biologists and other experts who share their love and knowledge of Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife through these unique, hands-on experiences.

As a founding partner of Wisconsin Master Naturalist, we support this important program that promotes awareness, understanding, and stewardship of the natural environment by developing citizens dedicated to conservation education and service within their communities.

The Foundation’s support and partnership with the Wisconsin Master Naturalist program were critical to getting the program off the ground. We appreciate your commitment to providing skilled education, stewardship, and citizen science volunteers around the state.

Kate Reilly, Director, Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program

We support citizen-based monitoring and volunteer restoration opportunities to engage the public in the science and conservation of Wisconsin’s natural resources.

We also keep our members informed about opportunities to get involved and make a difference in Wisconsin through our WisConservation Blog and our WisConservation Update e-newsletter.

How can you support education?

Make a Donation

The Natural Resources Foundation serves as a hub for funding and resources for environmental education in Wisconsin. By making a donation to the Foundation we can leverage your gift to do the most good and have the biggest impact. You can make your gift to environmental education in general or choose a specific program to support such as:

Lead a Field Trip

The Field Trip program is so popular because the trips are led by conservationists who are passionate about what they do. While some trips are led by professional scientists, we have many incredible trips that are led by do-it-yourself conservationists who are life-long learners with a genuine desire to share their love of Wisconsin with others. Whether you are working on restoring a native landscape on your own property, want to share a special State Natural Area with others, or happen to know a heck of a lot about a certain place or species, we would love to hear from you.

For more information, contact Field Trip Program Coordinator Christine Tanzer: [email protected] or (608) 264-8548.

Become a Master Naturalist

Master Naturalists are adult volunteers who are passionate about conserving our natural resources and inspiring a conservation ethic in others. Master Naturalists receive 40 hours of training in natural history, interpretation, and conservation stewardship. The training covers eight topic areas and includes field training as well as classroom lessons. Once trained, Master Naturalists can volunteer to serve as a naturalist and interpreter at state parks, nature centers, or State Natural Areas.

Trainings are regularly scheduled around the state. Learn more at

Volunteer as a Citizen Scientist

Researchers can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why Citizen Scientists are so important. When you volunteer to help collect information for projects like the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey or eBird, you help build a collection of data that can change the conservation game by providing your own observations of animals in the wild.

Learn more and get involved at the Wisconsin Citizen-Based Monitoring Network.