It is important to conserve lands and save endangered wildlife. It is equally important to foster the conservation ethic that results from a direct connection to nature.
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. We believe not just in talking about our relationship with Wisconsin’s lands, waters and wildlife, but in ensuring that both kids and adults have opportunities to develop those relationships.
We support education programs that help people discover the great outdoors and learn what they can do to protect Wisconsin’s diverse and beautiful natural treasures.
The Wisconsin Environmental Education Fund was created in 2017 to generate more support and funding for environmental education in Wisconsin. This fund is a legacy fund of the Wisconsin Environmental Education Foundation and will be administered in partnership with education leaders identified by WEEF. Click HERE to learn more about WEEF’s transition.
Our C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program and Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Fund provide small grants to schools, nature centers, state parks, and other non-profit organizations to support projects that contribute to knowledge about Wisconsin’s natural resources, benefit the public, and/or involve management and restoration of Wisconsin’s natural resources. To-date, we’ve supported over 500 conservation education projects in every county in Wisconsin.
Our immensely popular, and often life-changing Field Trip Program engages nearly 4,000 people on an annual basis. Our Field Trips are led by professionals from the Department of Natural Resources and other experts who share their love and knowledge of Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife. No other organization offers these kinds of up-close experiences that inspire our participants and provide a great introduction to Wisconsin’s precious natural resources. Join us on a Field Trip this season!
We support the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program, which promotes awareness, understanding, and stewardship of the natural environment by developing citizens dedicated to conservation education and service within their communities. Modeled after successful Master Naturalist programs in more than 25 states, the WMN Program provides education, training, and service opportunities for adult volunteers who are passionate about conserving our state’s natural resources.
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
How can you support conservation education?
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 WIMasterNaturalist.org.
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.
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:
Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program