SDW Environmental Education

April 2018 Newsletter

Our winter season is coming to an end (despite the snow), and soon we will be in full swing with spring programming. Over the winter months, 1st graders continued to explore animal adaptations and habitats at E.B. Shurts. We also kicked off our 4K program and traveled to several school and community sites to help students learn about the difference between living and nonliving.

Meet an EE Teacher

After the spring season we will say goodbye to two long-time EE teachers, Barb and Pat Montenero, who are both looking forward to traveling and spending time with family in their retirement.

Barb Montenero

How long have you been working in the program?

I've been an EE teacher since fall of 2006.


What is your favorite grade level to teach?

I like working with all of the grades, but the younger ones are special when you see the wonder in their eyes, and they comment "This is the best field trip ever!" When my own kids were young, we always enjoyed outdoor adventures, and it's fun to share them with other children as well.


What is your favorite thing about working with the EE program?

It's great fun working outdoors with children, and having them explore science and discover the beauty and wonder of nature.


If you could live in any ecosystem on the earth, which would you choose and why?

My favorite biosystem is a tropical rain forest filled with beautiful flowers and waterfalls.

Pat Montenero

How long have you been working in the program?

I have worked with the EE program since the Fall of '09.


What is your favorite grade level to teach?

All of the grades have something special but third grade is really fun for everyone.


What is your favorite thing about working with the EE program?

What I have enjoyed is running into older students or adults who have been through the program and seeing the instant smile on their faces. The impact is obvious.


If you could live in any ecosystem on the earth, which would you choose and why?

My favorite ecosystem is the Caribbean island environment. The combination of temperature, water, beaches, vegetation, and sea life can't be beat

Tips for a Greener Community:

This winter we travelled with a group of SDW middle school teachers to tour various environmental education sites in Waukesha and Milwaukee counties. One of our stops was at the Milwaukee Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). It was a great reminder of the importance of reducing, re-using, recycling, and especially recycling correctly!


Did you know?


  • Many villages, towns, and cities in Waukesha County now send their recyclables to the Milwaukee Materials Recovery Facility
  • The MRF receives 200 tons of materials each day, which is about 50 truckloads!
  • Due to incorrect recycling, Waukesha county often has to pay over $100,000 per year to dispose of incorrectly recycled material.


What can you do to recycle correctly?


  • Avoid "wish-cycling", if you aren't sure, call or check online
  • Rinse all materials that you plan to recycle
  • DO NOT put plastic grocery bags in your recycling bin
  • DO NOT put propane canisters in your recycling bin


Check out the pictures below for a view into the recycling facility!

Who Am I?

Big picture

Scroll to the bottom to find the answer!

Wisconsin Nature Note

Cougar Sightings in SE Wisconsin

In light of recent cougar sightings in SE Wisconsin, we wanted to share some facts about the species!


1. Cougars, along with Bobcats and Canada Lynx, are native to Wisconsin and had historic populations throughout the state.


2. Currently, cougars are not thought to have an active breeding population in Wisconsin. Any cougars present in the state likely traveled here from the western United States.


3. Cougar tracks are rounded in shape and can range from 2.7-4.0 inches long and 2.8-4.5 inches wide. Claw marks won't be present since cats retract their claws while they move.


4. Cougars are very solitary animals and don't pose a threat to human safety. According to the Mountain Lion Foundation, only 13 people have been killed in mountain lion attacks in North America in the past 100 years. To put that number in perspective, consider that there have been 1,300 deaths by rattlesnakes and 4,000 by bees.


The WI DNR wants to hear from you! If you have any large mammal sightings, you can report them online using the large mammal observation form.

Who's got the answers?

New Views of Jupiter

Ever wanted to know what it is like to ride a spacecraft to the surface of Jupiter? Now you can find out using NASA's new online tool called "Eyes on Juno".


If you're worried about motion sickness, you can check out Nasa's photo database instead. They are asking for public interaction in the photo editing process. NASA posts the raw images of Jupiter on the website, and then ask people to edit the images however they see fit and upload them back to the website. This process is engaging for us (citizen scientists), and can also help NASA scientists uncover new and interesting things about the planet.


The photos below are examples of photos that have been edited by the public.

Who Am I Answer.....

....... a black walnut tree seed


Black Walnut trees are native to southern Wisconsin. They produce an edible fruit every fall. Black Walnut trees are disliked by some people because they produce a toxin that seeps into the ground and makes it difficult for other plant life to survive nearby.

Featured Picture

An amazing time-lapse photo of bees travelling to and from their hive.

What more info about SDW EE?

Feel free to reach out with questions, comments, or news by e-mailing enviroed@waukesha.k12.wi.us or follow us on Twitter @SdwEnvEd!


Check out our website at https://sdw.waukesha.k12.wi.us/EE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlOpnHY_E68&feature=youtu.be