Water Education Days – Watershed Awakening


Nature’s Classroom hosted and instructed a two day educational ‘Watershed Awakening’ for 23 Eagleville Elementary 5th & 6th graders, 8 Nature’s Classroom Montessori 4th-6th graders, and  26 Eagle Elementary 1st graders on March 11 and 12, 2013, facilitated by Emily Stahl, Timber-Lee Camp; Natalie Dorrler, Briana Kyle, Shari Rosenberg & Andrew Zielinski, Nature’s Classroom Institute; Mike Rutenbar, Camp Edwards YMCA; and Eric Howden, Brian Gifford and Pamela Meyer along with teachers from the participating schools.

This is one of several watershed educational activities facilitated by the Friends’ Watershed Educator’s Consortium partnering under a 2012-2013 a Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB) grant.  Look for more opportunities to volunteer and help these groups outreach to users of the Mukwonago River.

Emily Stahl, Timber-Lee,  “We met at 9 a.m. with the Nature’s Classroom and Eagleville upper elementary children. We divided into two groups: one went to the floating lab to take water samples from the frozen pond and do simple water tests, as well as discussing the players and interactions in the ecosystem.  The other group went to do the groundwater model interactive, design and test their own water filters with natural (from the ground) materials, and play a water cycle game.  After lunch, the groups swapped spots to do the other activity.”

Natalie Dorrler, ” I also went to Rainbow Springs with a group of 7 adolescents from Nature’s Classroom Montessori & 3 gentlemen from the Eagle DNR Fisheries office (Ben Heussner, Steve Gospodarek, & Andrew Notbohm) after lunch Monday and we looked at brush bundles that they had previously made and were installed in the first culvert removal.  They then made some more brush bundles using invasive buckthorn & made observations about the stream flow at the culverts that are still present (high flow due to the rain event). ”

The 1st graders on Tuesday spent the morning doing water activities inside and at the floating classroom on Rice Lake, learning about the water cycle and the animals, plants, birds, insects, fish and others living in a lake, including the requirements for life in a watershed, the sun and wind and water cycle as all these things are connected for a healthy watershed and its inhabitants.

The Friends’ Education committee has been very active in this process and continues to work with our local youth  camps and schools to bring awareness of the Mukwonago River to those who live in the watershed and those who use the watershed about its pristine character and value to all of us.

Emily trained several trainers and facilitated knowledge around groundwater models that already are available in the local camps, sharing resources and parts with the other camps to allow better use of these models by a wider range of personnel. Each of the camps should now be better able to enhance the value of these tools, and use them more efficiently in their programs. Emily noted that she gleaned new ideas from NCI instructor Shari’s water filtration activity that she will share with her own camp interns and incorporate into Timber-lee’s activities. The shared ideas and resources is a large part of the expectation we hope for these grants. Our many watershed camps, as well as local schools, are an enormous resource for watershed education.  Thank you to each and every one of them.