Monday, January 31, 2011

Volunteers Needed for MEEC's “Sugarbush” Program

To a member of the Cree Nation, "Sisibaskawat" means the time of the melting snow, better known as Maple Sugaring Time. The MacKenzie Center's Maple Education Program is created around this special time of year.
The annual "Sugarbush" education program begins in March and help is needed in many areas. Volunteers will be trained to conduct student tours, boil the sap, process the maple syrup, and assist with other “sugarbush” duties. No previous experience is necessary. Training sessions are scheduled for February 22-24 from 9am-noon. Much of the training is outdoors so please dress accordingly. Registration before Feb 22nd is required. Please read about the Maple Sugarbush program for more information.
The MacKenzie Environmental Education Center is one of the most diverse environmental education centers in Wisconsin, encompassing 250 acres of varied habitat. It is located 25 miles north of Madison, two miles east of Poynette on County Road CS.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ALNC Featured on U.S. DOE blog!

Nature Net member the Aldo Leopold Nature Center was featured this morning on the U.S. Department of Energy's "Energy Blog"! The post, How a  Wisconsin Nature Center Is Leading By Example, highlights the LEED-certified, energy self-sufficient educational facility currently under construction, and lauds ALNC's goal of helping Wisconsin children and families understand both the challenges of climate change and the growing opportunities to promote economic growth and cut carbon pollution. Read the post on the U.S. DOE's "Energy Blog" and visit to read more about the expansion project and innovative plans for combining exciting, real-life experiences in nature with sophisticated touch-screen and interactive media.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nature Games for Kids

What are your favorite outdoor games?

Nature Net has great suggestions on fun ways to engage kids outside. From leaf rubbings and windchimes, to scat tracking and bird calls, these activities are great for kids (and adults!) of any age.

The Animal Game (which consists of thinking of an animal and getting other players to guess it - as described here) is another simple classic.

Other fun ideas include:
  • collecting nature smells in small jars or unused film canisters and having others guess what they are.
  • cloud gazing or star gazing. Who can find the most shapes or constellations?
  • using magnifying glasses or your own eyes to see who can spot the most bugs in one tree/leaf pile/cup of soil/patch of grass.
  • sack races, May poles, tag and other fun games will get your kids running around and burning off energy!
Comment below with some of your family or schoolyard favorites!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nature Net Photo Contest

Calling all photogs and shutter bugs! Send us pictures of your family or students enjoying nature, and you may win a Nature Net prize package.*

Submit digital images (5MB or less) to Include names and ages of photo subjects along with a brief caption. Submissions must be received by February 28, 2011. [*Winner will be selected by Nature Net staff. All photos become property of Nature Net and may appear on Nature Net websites, newsletters or other promotional materials.]