Learning Outdoors

Resources from Environmental Education - 2/25/21

The SDW Environmental Education team will be sending weekly newsletters throughout the school year. Our hope is that some of the activities will support your classroom learning, inspire you to take your students outside, or spark a creative idea for you. If there are specific topics that you would like us to explore, please feel free to reach out with your ideas or suggestions! We can support you best when we know what you need!

Phenology Phorum

Snow Moon

written by EE teacher Laureanna Raymond-Duvernell

Well, with the additional 3” that we got this week - and a total snowfall on the ground that is above my (granted, very low-to-the-ground) knees, the name of the upcoming full moon is fitting!

The second full moon of the year is called the Snow Moon by many Indigenous Peoples. Some other Native American Nations also call it the Hunger Moon, which is a reference to the dwindling food supplies for both people and animals until the spring thaw.

It should be a beautiful weekend to get out to see the moon and possibly go on a night hike. Bring along a flashlight or headlamp for safety, but see if you can find your way with just the moonlight.

If you want a fun activity to add on to your hike, try owl calling! The book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen tells one story of a father and child going on an owl calling hike. It’s a great family adventure that is perfect for this weekend’s full moon!

WCEE Trunks and Kits

The WI Center for Environmental Education has kits and trunks that you can reserve for your classroom! Check out their website for more information about each kit. These are the kits available during the spring 2021 season:

​Bat Trunks (K-3, 4-6, Edubat)

​Forestry Education Kit​


Forest Explorer Kit

​Energy Audit Kit​

Forest Health Kit​

Wildlife Tracks

Hear from the Experts - WDNR Forestry Lecture Series: Burning Questions

Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 12-1 pm, register here!

"Did you know that Wisconsin’s primary wildfire season is in the spring? Or that more than 99% of our wildfires are caused by people? Or that the beloved wildfire prevention icon Smokey Bear is 76 years old but still as relevant and needed as ever? Tune into this presentation for an overview of how we prevent, detect, and suppress wildfires in Wisconsin."

The Story of Smokey Bear

In 2019, Smokey Bear turned 75 years old! Curious to learn more about the history of Smokey Bear? The WI DNR wrote an article with lots of interesting information.

Tracking "HamHigh" : Circling the World with a Balloon

Article by Brian Cieslak

Check out the full article here!

"Project HamHigh, an attempt to send a balloon around the world, is moving toward a launch date in early May. Our balloon will carry a solar powered tracking device that will transmit, via Amateur Radio, its location and altitude as the jet stream carries it around the world. The balloon will report its position every hour as long as it has sunlight to power its electronics. A worldwide network of ‘HAM radio’ operators will monitor signals from HamHigh and relay them back to ‘mission control’ (The HD Planetarium) via the internet."

Planetarium Corner

Each week, Lisa Swaney (the Planetarium Director) will share some fun opportunities here!


Next week, on March 2nd….celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and take part in this annual celebration of reading.

..and check out Seuss crater, on Mercury!

Moving in Nature - Forest Bathing

Check out this offering from the Mohonk Preserve: "Join Jane Dobson, Mindful Nature Guide, in a webinar to explore tips for developing your own Forest Bathing practice at home or locally. With COVID still a daily reality, we cannot gather to explore our nature connection together, yet, we need nature's gifts of healing, resilience and connection more than ever. We’ll share thoughts on nature connection and things you can individually do to deepen your connection with the more-than-human world."
DIY Forest Bathing with Jane | Webinar


It may be getting colder but that doesn't mean that learning can't happen outdoors! We are still offering sit-upon kits for classrooms. These are cushioned, waterproof spots where students can take a seat during outdoor learning. If you are interested in requesting them for your classroom, email Emma Koeppel at ekoeppel@waukesha.k12.wi.us

Science Joke of the Week

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