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May 12


An ephemeral plant is one marked by short life cycles. The word ephemeral means transitory or quickly fading. In regard to plants, it refers to several distinct growth strategies. The strategy of the spring ephemerals is to come out of dormancy, leaf out, bloom and seed all before the trees are in full leaf. These means they can take full advantage of the sunlight. Some common Wisconsin ephemerals are the trilliums, hepaticas, spring beaulty, wood anemone, dutchmens breeches, and trout lilly. Make it a great day and step into Wisconsin woodlands to discover the flowers that hide most of the seasons and find them in all there spectacular glory. 

May 11
Help Wisconsin Bats!

​White nose syndrome is spreading throughout the state, in an effort to get a handle on the spread and existing bat population, consider participating in the summer bat survey. For more details click here.


May 04
Applicants sought for Conservation Grants

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is calling for grant applications for its two matching small grants programs, the C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program and the Teachers’ Outdoors Environmental Education Grant Program.

The Besadny program awards grants to projects that involve the management and restoration of Wisconsin’s natural resources and/or focus on natural resources education and outreach.

The Teachers’ Outdoors program awards grants to projects focused on outdoor environmental education.

Both programs provide grants of up to $1,000.

“We know what a big difference our small grants program can make for organizations throughout the state,” said Ruth Oppedahl, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. “We’re glad to support our partners and the conservation legacy that they’re helping to maintain for our state. We have no doubt that we’ll get another great batch of applicants this cycle.”

The C.D. Besadny Grant Program supports projects in Wisconsin that promote the responsible stewardship of Wisconsin’s natural resources at the local level. The program has awarded $447,000 to nearly 600 organizations in every county in Wisconsin since its inception in 1990. The program is named after former Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary and Foundation founder C.D. “Buzz” Besadny.

The Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Fund provides grants for public school teachers (K-12) to undertake outdoor environmental education projects. The Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Fund was established by Pete Ostlind in memory of his wife Sue Spaeth, a Wisconsin native and elementary school teacher for more than 30 years.

To apply for a grant from either program, submit a grant application electronically to by Sept. 1, 2016. Grants will be disbursed in October. More details are at Questions may be directed to the Foundation at 608-266-1430 or

In 2015, the Foundation awarded more than $35,000 to 35 organizations through these two grant programs.​

Mar 30
Rooted in Math

​National Environmental Education Foundation just put out a downloadable booklet containing great Math connections for all levels. 

It is an easy way to find a strong math lesson that is connected to the outdoors. My favorite lesson is the Mathabitat where students

build a trophic pyramid for three ecosystems: alpine, rainforest , and river. Then complete each puzzle by dragging food web

components into the trophic pyramid and using algebra to figure out which components fit in each ecosystem. 

                                          Rooted in Math Toolkit​ 

rooted in math.jpg

Mar 15
International Day of the Forest

Dovetail Partners Encourages Celebration of Forests and Water Quality on March 21st

2016 International Day of Forests - 'Celebrating Forests and Water'

International Day of Forests 2015 

(Minneapolis, MN) - Celebrate forests on March 21st, the annual International Day of Forests as promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The theme of the 2016 International Day of Forests is 'Celebrating Forests and Water', chosen to raise awareness of how forests are key to the planet's supply of freshwater, which is essential for life.


In 1971, at the request of the European Confederation, the FAO's member governments supported the observance of an annual World Forestry Day on March 21st. That same year, in the United States, a presidential proclamation declared World Forestry Day to be part of a week of activities and ceremonies aimed at celebrating the role of forests in everyone's life. Forty years later, 2011 was declared the International Year of Forests as a global celebration of people's action for sustainable forest management. March 21, 2013 was proclaimed the first annual International Day of Forests by the United Nations General Assembly. The goal is to continue raising awareness of the importance of all types of forests.  


Forests and water quality are intrinsically linked - forests act as natural water filters and are a key component of watershed management. Forested watersheds and wetlands supply roughly 75 percent of the world's accessible fresh water for domestic, agricultural, industrial and ecological needs and about one-third of the world's largest cities rely on forested watersheds for a significant percentage of their drinking water. When sustainably managed, forests contribute significantly to reducing soil erosion and risks associated with natural disasters which can disrupt the source, supply and quality of freshwater. As climate change influences the availability of the planet's freshwater resources, and global populations become increasingly urban, it is important to recognize the role that sustainably managed forests play in keeping water supplies accessible and ecologically healthy.


Additional information about the vital role forests play in relation to our water supply can be viewed in the following 2016 International Day of Forests video.





On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. Actively celebrate on March 21st by planting trees, celebrating forests, and showing gratitude for the products and services they provide in your community. ​

Feb 25
5 Tips for Better Insect Photography

​Here is a link from the Xerces Society that gives a few great tips for photographing iinsect. These creatures enthrall our students and the chance to record them is always fun, but to have some know how to make those photos pop makes the experience that much better.

Click here to Link: to improve your insect photography​

white insect.jpg

Nov 24

78-Sandhill cranes.jpg

This might be a great time to start recording all the changes you are noticing in the outdoor world around you and your classroom. Great time to take a picture to compare to a picture in Feburary. 

Black Bears seem to be in dens(no sitings)

Deer Rut is almost done

Ducks and geese are still migrating

Sand hill cranes are still around but less active

Birds are almost frantic at the feeders

Pheasants are heading for the cattails for the winter

Little brown bats are still migrating but number if sughtings are low

Finally this is a great time to mark buckthorn as the leaves are still holding on so it is very easy to identify. 

Feb 18

​This Wisconsin Company is offering a snowshoe fitness program to school. Getting children outside in winter can be a challenge but not if snoeshoes are available, be it the use of equipment or just the idea of moving on top of the snow I can not tell you but children love to snowshoe.


Let's Work Together This Winter To Get Kids Moving.

Getting kids moving in the winter is one of the nation's biggest challenges. With the rising rates of childhood obesity and so many technological distractions, the health of our school-age children is a national concern.

We at Redfeather feel strongly that snowshoeing is one of the answers to this issue of getting our children moving in the winter. As the saying goes, "If you can walk, you can snowshoe." There is no special talent required. So we've created the Redfeather Snowshoe School Fitness Program (available free to schools who use our Redfeather School Program) to help kids become "Light As A Redfeather". This Snowshoe Curriculum has been designed to accompany our Redfeather School Program snowshoes to provide educators in grades K - 12 with lesson plans, goals, terminology, history, games, special activities, and much more.

Consider these facts:

* Snowshoeing is one of the fastest growing winter sports in America and in Europe, with participation up 43% in just three years' time.

* Walking, running or simply playing while wearing snowshoes burns 45% more calories than these same activities without wearing snowshoes.

* Anybody can snowshoe. If you can put one foot in front of the other, you can do this.

* Redfeather's "easy on, easy off" binding will get kids snowshoeing in no time, no problem.

* There is no equipment maintenance and snowshoes are easily stored.

* Snowshoeing has been proven to be an excellent cross training platform for track, cross country, soccer, football, and other sports. Studies at major universities have concluded that athletes who have trained in snowshoes have benefitted from a much greater aerobic capacity than those who performed the same activities but did not use snowshoes.


Redfeather provides substantial discounts of up to 50% and special pricing on an assortment of snowshoes just for schools. We provide not only the snowshoes, but a tote/storage bag for each pair of snowshoes ordered through our school program.

Redfeather Snbowshoes School Fitness ProgramRedfeather Snowshoes School Fitness ProgramFinally, we also include our "Light As A Redfeather" written snowshoe curriculum for physical education instructors and teachers to use to make snowshoeing a fun, active, and creative activity for every child involved.

Please contact us for a printable version of our School Order Form,

For a printable version of our School Program information, please click here.

To find out more, please contact us, toll free, at 800-525-0081.


970000 Youth 20 V-Tails:
Feature a user friendly design for easy entry and exit that stay flexible and secure.

9700092 Youth 22 V-Tails:Feature the Redfeather Summit Binding with the rugged "Stand Up" design for easy entry and exit.

970004 - 970010 Western Roundtails: Feature the Redfeather Summit Binding with the rugged "Stand Up" design for easy entry and exit. Three straps secure your foot tightly without pinch points, fully molded sides for increased lateral support accommodates as wide range of shoe sizes. Special UV resistant material maintains a soft feel even in subzero temperatures.

Live Action Hinge: The Live Action Hinge lifts the tail of the shoe with each step for added mobility and speed.

Frames: 6000 Series Aircraft Grade Aluminum.

Crampon: Western Roundtails: Sure Grip powder coated steel crampon/talon system which bite securely into hard pack or ice crusted snow. Powder-coated to shed snow and ice.

Youth Crampon: Heavy duty aluminum crampon system.

Decking: Rip Stop Vinyl- Superior puncture and abrasion resistance that stays soft in sub zero temperatures.



RedFeather Snowshoes 2700 Commerce St, La Crosse, WI 54603    1.800.525.0081
Here is a generic snowshoe unit plan: Snowshoeing

Feb 13
GBBC -Great Backyard Bird Count

13 Tips to Get Your Kids Involved in the 2015 Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count starts today and runs through February 16, 2015. It's a great activity for kids, especially for those who live in the northern climes, when the temps are low and the winds do blow. It's easy, fun and only takes 15 minutes of your time each day.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society together launched the Great Backyard Bird Count back in 1998. It was the first opportunity for citizens to collect data on wild birds and post it online. The uber cool thing is that results are displayed in near real-time.
More than 100,000 people from across the globe have joined the count each February. It's important to bird conservation because it creates an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. Having this data helps scientists understand the status of bird populations and develop conservation plans based on their needs and distribution.
Your kids can play a role in real scientific research. Here's how to participate:
  1. Go to the Great Backyard Bird Count page and register.
  2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or all of the days. You can count in the same location or anywhere else you happen to be.
  3. Keep your lists tallied by species (i.e. - Cardinal, Black-Capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, etc.)
  4. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking “Submit Observations” on the home page. Or download the free GBBC BirdLog app to enter data on a mobile device. 
  5. Download any of the helpful documents such as instructions, online bird guides, and helpful videos.
  6. Go to the online world map via the GBBC landing page and watch near real-time submissions.
  7. Read the results from previous year that are downloadable from the landing page.
  8. Print out the participation certificate available on the Website and have your kids fill it out.
  9. Encourage them to enter the photo contest. They can also view photos of past winners.
  10. Participate in local events if in your area. The list is available on the site.
  11. Choose one species and spend time learning more about it.
  12. Draw pictures or write stories and poems about the bird.
  13. Go outside and refill the bird feeders when you finish counting. Birds depend on a specific food source all winter. Don't let them down.
Join thousands of people world-wide and encourage your kids to "Count for the Birds!"

Dec 23
What Forest Knows

​Looking for a last minute Christmas gift consider this wonderful book written for younger children it has a message to all.

What Forest Know    by George Ella Lyon  illustrated by August Hall

what forest knows

Hope you enjoy, it made my day.

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This blog is designed to connect outdoor happenings to your curriculum