CTanzer Stream Ecology 25 (2)

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. While 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.

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. Our support goes to programs, including:

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.

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.

You can support conservation education:

  • Participate in or lead a field trip
  • Make a gift to the Foundation’s field trip program, or join the Sojourners Society
  • Give to the C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program
  • Give to the Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Fund
  • Give to the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program
  • Sign up for a Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer training program
  • Volunteer on a citizen science project
  • Create an endowed fund for conservation education
  • Leave a bequest in your will to support the Foundation’s conservation education efforts

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