SDW Environmental Education

October 2019 Newsletter

The fall season is in full swing for SDW Environmental Education! Since the last newsletter was published in June, we ran two weeks of summer camp, collaborated to host a Waukesha County teacher tour, and welcomed community members for two adult workshops.

As this is being written, 5th grade students are tromping through the puddles of an overflowing Fox River and 4th grade students are moseying down the Ice Age Trail at Lapham Peak. Kindergarteners are visiting us as well to learn about Whistle-pigs (you'll have to google it) and about being community helpers.

We hope you are enjoying the crisp weather and changing leaves as much as we are!

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Words for Fall

An excerpt from "A Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold

From the chapter "October"


To arrive too early in the marsh is an adventure in pure listening; the ear roams at will among the noises of the night, without let or hindrance from hand or eye. When you hear a mallard being audibly enthusiastic about his soup, you are free to picture a score guzzling among the duckweeds. When one widgeon squeals, you may postulate a squadron without fear of visual contradiction. And when a flock of bluebills, pitching pondward, tears the dark silk of heaven in one long rending nose-dive, you catch your breath at the sound, but there is nothing to see except stars.


When was the last time you listened to sounds without being able to see their source?

Summer Camp

Dramatic Decline in Bird Populations

According to the United States Geological Survey, bird populations have declined dramatically in recent years. Specifically, “the North American bird population is down by 2.9 billion breeding adults, with devastating losses among birds in every biome. Forests alone have lost 1 billion birds. Grassland bird populations collectively have declined by 53% or another 720 million birds." For more information about these recent findings, check out this article.

To help support birds in your own backyard, you can make some simple changes including planting native plants, reducing pesticide use, and consuming less single-use plastics. Check out this article for more ideas of ways to support birds in your backyard.

Who Am I?

Scroll to the bottom to find the answer....
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Collaboration Corner

Waukesha Water Utility

One of the many awesome partnerships we have is with the City of Waukesha Water Utility. Our 5th grade students visit a Water Utility pumping station to learn about where our water comes from and how it is transported from the ground to our houses.

Community Workshops

Who's Got the Answers?

Have you ever been curious about what happens to frogs and other amphibians in the colder months? Well they turn into Frogsicles, of course! Check out this video by the Smithsonian to learn more about this fascinating process.
Frogsicles: Frozen But Still Alive

Meet an EE Teacher

Rita Keber

How long have you worked with the EE program?

I've worked 3.5 years with the EE program.

What is your favorite grade level to teach?

I like the lower grades and getting kids excited about nature.

What do you enjoy most about working with the EE program?

I enjoy working with the other EE teachers because everyone has something different to offer and we learn from each other. I also like teaching the various grade levels and being outdoors connecting others with nature.

If you could live in any ecosystem anywhere on the planet, what would you choose and why?

I like living in the temperate forest because of the different seasons I can experience. In winter I can search for animal tracks and cross-country ski, springtime is wonderful to see new plant life, summer a different set of plants, and fall hiking through the gorgeous colors.

Outreach Efforts

Who Am I Answer

A Great Blue Heron! The photo above was captured by our trail camera that we monitor and maintain through the WI Department of Natural Resources Program "Snapshot Wisconsin".

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Great Blue Heron is the largest of all North American Heron species. They live in colonies where they build nests out of sticks high off the ground. When they fly, they pull their long necks in to form an "S" shape. For more information and videos, check out this website.

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Looking for more info about SDW EE?

Feel free to reach out with questions, comments, or news by e-mailing or follow us on Twitter @SdwEnvEd!

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