EARTH PARTNERSHIP FOR SCHOOLS (EPS) CENTERS
The Arboretum's Earth Partnership for Schools (EPS) program works with interested partners to expand the program on a regional basis.
To best ensure localized support to K-12 teachers, students, and schools involved with schoolyard restoration-education and native plant garden projects, "EPS Centers" have been established through support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Wisconsin's Improving Teacher Quality ESEA Program, University of Wisconsin Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and private donors.
These EPS Centers are designed to provide regionalized ongoing support to participating schools in Wisconsin and beyond.
Click on the organizations below to learn more about the programs and activities they offer to area schools interested in ecological restoration, environmental education and schoolyard learning. Click on the link to the left to find an updated Contact List for Earth Partnership for Schools across the country.
National EPS Centers
Dyck Arboretum of the Plains, News articles
Litzsinger Road Ecology Center, St. Louis, MO, 9/09 Newsletter, 10/09 Newsletter
Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, LaCrescent, MN
Earth Partnership for Schools - Chicago Partnership
Institute for Applied Ecology, Corvallis, OR
Purdue University at Indianapolis-Center for Earth & Environmental Science, Indianapolis, IN
North Carolina Botanical Garden
Return of the Natives, Watershed Institute, CSUMB, Seaside, CA
Sacramento Schoolyard Habitat Program RESTORE Sacramento
Nevada Schoolyard Habitat Program
Wisconsin EPS Centers
Southeastern Wisconsin-Milwaukee EPS Center
Northwestern Wisconsin EPS Center
Western Wisconsin EPS Center
Northeastern Wisconsin (N.E.W.) EPS Center
Central Wisconsin EPS Center
Southwestern Wisconsin EPS Center
Northcentral Wisconsin EPS Center
Southeastern Wisconsin-Kenosha EPS Center
Kathy Palmer, Environmental Educator, Urban Ecology Center
Riverside Park, 1500 E. Park Place
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Web site: http://www.UrbanEcologyCenter.org/programs/programs.html
The Urban Ecology Center (UEC) is a non-profit, neighborhood-based, community center that has been associated with the Earth Partnership for Schools Program since 1997.
Located in Milwaukee's historic Riverside Park, UEC provides environmental science programs to the neighborhood schools, promotes environmental awareness in the community, preserves and enhances the natural resources of Riverside Park, and protects the Milwaukee River.
This historic park was well groomed and popular for seasonal activities in the early 1900's. As pollutants accumulated behind a dam in the Milwaukee River, Riverside Park lost its appeal for recreation and became a hot-spot for crime. In 1991, neighbors pulled together to save the park from both crime and development by forming a nature center.
Now through UEC activities and programs, over 30,000 people visit the park annually, crime is significantly reduced and the ecosystem is being revitalized. Students and teachers from 22 neighborhood schools explore the ecology of their urban wilderness using UEC 's K-12 science curriculum and outdoor classroom for hands-on learning. In addition, UEC provides a space for community clubs, events and outings such as hiking, climbing, canoeing and kayaking.
UEC continues to be an integral part of the community and local restoration efforts made possible by their devoted staff, volunteers, students, teachers and community leaders, as well as many donations and grants. In 1999-2000, 2005, and 2009, EPS held summer institutes for teachers at UEC that trained 107 teachers in 30 Milwaukee schools who have reached approximately 5350 students annually. EPS continues to collaborate with staff to support native gardens as outdoor classrooms for those schools involved in the summer institute.
The Northwestern Wisconsin EPS Center builds on the work of Ted May and Becky Brown, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College who provided teacher professional development and support to 53 teachers from 13 school districts reaching 700 students annually beginning in 2001. Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center (NGLVC), Ashland, WI, hosted EPS Professional Development Workshops in October 2008 and June 2009. NGLVC will host a Great Lakes Earth Partnership Institute for teachers in 2011and will network with researchers and educators in Northwestern Wisconsin. The NGLVC is a collaborative venture between the USDA Forest Service, National Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, UW Extension, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and Friends of the Center Alliance Limited. It is a focal point for education and research along the south shore of Lake Superior. NGLVC is centrally located in the Lake Superior Basin and has an established reputation with Basin schools as a destination for off-campus school programs. The Center also offers the opportunity to showcase EPS educational programs and their impacts to the 150,000 annual visitors that stop at the Center, including school groups. Other partners include Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), School Districts of Ashland, Bayfield, Washburn, CESA 12, Northland College, Red Cliff and Bad River Tribes, Douglas County Soil and Water Conservation and the Alliance for Sustainability.
The UW-Extension Office conducts classroom, field-based, and on-the-water, experiential coastal wetland educational programs for youth to adult audiences, stressing watershed, estuary, and coastal wetlands connections and sustainability. Experiential coastal wetlands and estuary curricula in place would complement the goals of the EPS project. The initiative to designate a Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve (LS-NERR) sprang from work here. An EPS center in Superior could complement the NERR education outreach currently planned.
Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI), UW-Superior. LSRI will collaborate with the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center to host a great Lakes Earth Partnership Institute for teachers in 2011 and consult with teachers and students implementing rain gardens, wetland restoration projects and monitoring. LSRI’s mission includes environmental research, environmental education, and public information for the Great Lakes Region. Major research efforts have focused on biological monitoring (sampling, identification and analysis) of aquatic communities, ballast water treatment research, biodiesel fuel research, invasive species monitoring, and toxicity tests in the Great Lakes and inland water bodies of the Upper Midwest. Many students at UW-Superior participate in LSRI research projects as student research assistants.
LSRI’s environmental education and stewardship efforts include Watershed Stewardship and the Northern Wisconsin Watershed Education Resource Center projects. These efforts are reaching in excess of 1400 primary and secondary students. As part of the Stewardship project, the Kimmes-Tobin wetland area, which encompasses approximately 140 acres, has been set aside for wetland education activities. Local students sample and identify aquatic insects, learn about aquatic plants, and measure water chemistry parameters. Students are exposed to a variety of wildlife species. A scope and sequence of wetland thematic units were developed for K-12 students.
Cathy Techtmann, Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, UW-Extension Office, Education Coordinator,
Linda Kunelius, Bayfield School District Superintendent
Susan Masterson, Washburn School District Administrator
Spring Rosales, Washburn District Ranger, email@example.com
Dr. Ted Cox, UW-Superior, Associate Professor of Education, (LSRI).
Susan O'Halloran, Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI), UW-Superior, Public Education Director.
Ken Kasinski, CESA 12 Administrator
Contact: Chuck Bomar, Ph.D., Director, Applied Sciences Program, UW-Stout, e-mail: BomarC@uwstout.edu
The Western Wisconsin EPS Center is a joint effort of University of Wisconsin-Stout Biology Department and Standing Cedars Land Conservancy/Philadelphia Community Farm.
Since 1997, Earth Partnership for Schools has partnered with the Western Wisconsin EPS Center to offer a series of summer institutes for teachers at UW-Stout, training over 80 teachers from 30 schools (20 school districts) who reach about 1600 students annually.
In addition to assisting with EPS programming held at the UW-Madison Arboretum and offering on-going support to regional schools, this EPS Center also extended EPS programming through the STAR Academy in 2005, reaching another 10 teachers from 3 area schools.
Standing Cedars Community Land Conservancy is a non-profit organization that has formed a unique public-private partnership of local citizens, community groups, and public agencies. It provides a model of sustainable local community building as a basis for long-term stewardship and protection of biological and cultural diversity within St. Croix Valley and Western Wisconsin communities.
Since 1994, over $2.5 million has been raised to protect more than 1500 acres of undeveloped woodlands, bluff lands, wetlands, and farm land in a Farm and River Greenway along more than 5 miles of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Community volunteers, including hunters, farmers, students, neighbors and nature enthusiasts, are beginning restoration and management efforts.
Web site: http://www.philadelphiacommunityfarm.org
Philadelphia Community Farm (PCF) is a non-profit, community-based organization in the St. Croix Valley and has been working to restore health and vitality to people, animals, plants, and the Earth since 1989. It includes people with special needs in its community life and work. Philadelphia Community Farm provides in-depth, meaningful experiences in nature for youth and adults. Through its Community-supported Agriculture (CSA) project and Cedar Bend Folk School, PCF involves individuals, families, schools, and community groups in environmental education, agricultural experiences, and community building efforts.
As a non-profit conservation organization, PCF serves as a catalyst, incubator, and training ground for rebuilding sustainable rural communities. Since 1990, 60 interns and apprentices, and each year more than 1000 children, youth and adults have learned about growing food, protecting the environment, and sharing life and work with differently-abled people. PCF also partners with Standing Cedars in creating educational programs like Earth Partnership that are being developed with area schools.
Chuck Bomar, Ph.D., Professor,
UW-Stout Department of Biology
Menomonie, WI 54751
UW-Stout is a long-standing, highly reputable institution of higher education. This institution was established by the former Wisconsin civic leader, James Huff Stout, in 1891. Since then UW-Stout has remained true to its mission of providing educational excellence, providing a wide range of programs that lead to professional careers.
Its many programs are presented through a "hands on-minds on" approach to learning by combining theory, practice and experimentation. Just recently UW-Stout began a program in Broadfield Science Education.
Dr. Chuck Bomar has been directly involved in the Applied Science program, engaging undergraduates in the natural sciences. As faculty in the UW-Stout Biology Department, Dr. Bomar's research involves comparing remnant and restored/reconstructed prairies. His primary method of comparison uses grasshoppers (Orthoptera: Acrididae). He is particularly interested in developing an ecological time-line for grasshoppers in Wisconsin prairies, to better determine which grasshopper species are truly prairie dependent. Bomar is the author of numerous peer reviewed publications, and co-author of the Guide to the Grasshoppers of Wisconsin, available through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/es/science/publications/ss1008_2005.htm
Vicki Medland, Ph.D., Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, UW-Green Bay; Natural and Applied Sciences, MedlandV@uwgb.edu
Jill Fermanich, LFRWMP, Watershed Outreach Education Coordinator, UW-Green Bay, firstname.lastname@example.org
Libby Dorn, Director, Fallen Timbers Environmental Center, email@example.com
Cofrin Center for Biodiversity (CCB), UW-Green Bay’s mission is to promote education, research, and community services that contribute to conservation of the western Great Lakes fauna and flora. CCB can facilitate faculty support for educators interested in watershed-based projects including expertise in GIS, water chemistry, macroinvertebrates, coastal wetlands, and phosphorus issues in the Great Lakes. CCB partners with Sea Grant, Fallen Timbers Environmental Center, UW Extension’s Estuary Initiative, the Lower Fox River Water Monitoring Program (LFRWMP), and Earth Partnership for Schools.
Fallen Timbers Environmental Center located near Seymour, WI, is owned by six area school districts in the Lower Fox River Basin: Ashwaubenon , DePere, Little Chute , Seymour, West DePere, and Wrightstown and operated by CESA 6. The educators at Fallen Timbers provide hands-on learning opportunities for students throughout the state. Nearly 20,000 students (K-16) participate annually. The mission of Fallen Timbers Environmental Center is to facilitate hands-on experiences that will enable students to realize the interdependence of people and the environment.
Lower Fox River Water Monitoring Program (LFRWMP) is a collaborative watershed education and stream monitoring program focused on identifying non-point source pollution within the Fox River watershed. Teams of high school students and teachers assess aquatic ecosystems by performing a variety of monitoring activities in selected watersheds of the Fox River Basin.
Cofrin Center for Biodiversity (CCB), and Fallen Timbers Environmental Center are current EPS partners and offered their first EPS teacher institute in summer 2009. Together with LFRWMP, they will host a Great Lakes Earth Partnership Institute for teachers in 2010-11 and will explore K-16 curricular links between EPS and LFRWMP.
Lower Fox River Water Monitoring Program (LFRWMP) is a collaborative watershed education and stream monitoring program focused on identifying non-point source pollution within the Fox River watershed. Green Bay is the largest bay of Lake Michigan and constitutes the largest freshwater estuary in the world. The Fox River is the largest tributary to Green Bay and contributes most of the pollution to Green Bay due to the highest concentration of pulp and paper mills in the world. (24 mills on 39 miles of river.) LFRWMP is designed to enhance student, teacher and community understanding and stewardship of the Lower Fox Watershed. Teams of high school students and teachers assess aquatic ecosystems by performing a variety of monitoring activities in selected watersheds of the Fox River Basin. Annual teacher training workshops and use of standardized monitoring methods and equipment allow students to collect quality-assured data. Data from the student monitoring is shared on the project Web site (www.uwgb.edu/watershed) and at the annual Student Watershed Symposium.
Each student/teacher team works within a specific sub-watershed of the Fox Basin to monitor water quality parameters (streamflow, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, conductivity, soluble reactive phosphorus, ammonia, and nitrate) in September, May, and August. They monitor amphibian populations from April to June and conduct bird surveys with bird monitoring experts from the UWGB Cofrin Center for Biodiveristy. Macroinvertebrate and stream habitat surveys are performed in August. Students gain understanding of environmental science, biology and chemistry through real-world hands-on experience. Through the project Web site, students and teachers relate their results and activities to those of other student-teacher teams in the Fox River basin and to broader university and agency projects being conducted in their watersheds.
LEAF and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education teamed up with the Earth Partnership for Schools program to offer the Central Wisconsin EPS Institute in 2009. 19 teachers participated from Black River Falls, Menominee Indian Reservation, Stevens Point, Granton, Pittsville, Eau Claire and Lake Geneva School Districts. The Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education (WCEE) assists in the development, dissemination, implementation and evaluation of teacher and student K-12 EE programs. The WCEE houses several statewide programs: Environmental Education Resources Library, Wisconsin Environmental Science Teacher Network, Masters Degree for Teachers, High School Conference on the Environment, KEEP Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program, LEAF, and Global Environmental Teaching (GET). Dr. Dennis H. Yockers, Associate Professor of Environmental Education, Elementary Environmental Education Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org joined other WCEE staff to bring Earth Partnership to Stevens Point.
Learning, Experiences, and Activities in Forestry (LEAF)
As Wisconsin's K-12 Forestry Education Program, LEAF's mission is to provide Wisconsin’s educators with high quality forestry education materials for use in the classroom and field. This is done through professional development for educators, the Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Lesson Guide, distribution of materials from the existing forestry education community, and school forest services and consulting. The LEAF program is a partnership between the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry.
Kickapoo Area School District in Viola, WI hosted an EPS Institute August 10 – 14, 2009 with 22 participants from the following school districts: LaCrosse, Boscobel Area, Fennimore Community, Viroqua, Highland, Kickapoo, Platteville, Belmont, and Richland Center. Kickappoo teachers attended Earth Partnership Institutes in 1999-2000 at UW Stout, 2003-2004 and the RESTORE Institute in 2008 at UW-Madison Arboretum.
The Kickapoo Area School District is located in the scenic Kickapoo River Valley in Wisconsin’s magnificent driftless region with natural wonders and excellent recreational and environmentally friendly tourism opportunities. www.KickapooValley.org.
A Kickapoo-Griffin Land Stewardship Team was created by the Kickapoo Area School District to develop a land use plan to preserve the Griffin Property conservation parcels across the road and behind the school according to Helen Griffin’s will, to provide a model for sustainable resource management. The team has representation from the schools, UW, DNR, NRCS, LWCD, Coulee Region Prairie Enthusiasts and citizens.
The Kickapoo School prairies (11.5 acres) were seeded in 1999-2000 by our PK-12 students and teachers. Today the prairie community is a source of study for our students. Art students can be seen with their sketch pads. Biology students add to the existing plant collection as new species make themselves known. Environmental Science students collect seeds for their future prairie plant sale project in the spring. Elementary students enjoy collecting seeds and making leaf prints. All our students have the opportunity to keep in touch with their natural world, thereby enriching their lives.
Other collaborators include the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Organic Valley, Inc., US Fish and Wildlife Upper Mississippi NWR La Crosse District, CESA 3, and other area environmental organizations.
Nicole Shutt, Biological Science Technician
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Lakewood Ranger Station
15085 State Rd. 32
Lakewood, WI 54138
An EPS Center is forming in North Central Wisconsin thanks to USDA "More Kids in The WoodsF funding for "Schoolyard Habitats Across Wisconsin" Sowing the Seeds of Environmental Literacy and Stewardship. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest project was developed by Project Leader Nicole Shutt, a Biological Science Technician of the Lakewood-Laona Ranger District and Rick Hall, EPS RESTORE program manager. Involving two Districts of the Forest, the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center (NGLVC), the Region's Urban Connections Program, and 12 other partners, this project links urban and rural kids through distance learning, and brings student-directed ecosystem restoration to communities across Wisconsin. It will occur in the northeast, northwest, and southeast regions of the state from May 2008 to October 2011.
On the Lakewood-Laona District, students at the Crandon, Laona, and Wabeno School Districts will create schoolyard habitats using field trips to National Forest lands, UW-Madison Arboretum's Earth Partnership for Schools' (EPS) curriculum, Nicolet Distance Education Network's interactive television sessions (available state-wide), and help from Arts Vitally Enrich Communities (AVEC) and the Sokaogon (Mole Lake) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. In addition, selected students will work alongside District personnel in service-learning summer internships. AVEC will help all the students enlist support through community mural projects, and will also assist the students in creating a video program and companion book about their Schoolyard Habitat development.
On the Washburn District, students at the Bayfield and Washburn Schools will create schoolyard habitats with the help of EPS, NGLVC, and Northland College. In southeast Wisconsin, EPS, the Urban Ecology Center, and Urban Connections will be working with the Milwaukee Public Schools to restore habitats on their school grounds.
Prisca Moore, email@example.com, (715) 346-4924;
Associate Professor of Education
Carthage College, Kenosha, WI
Beyond the Classroom: Integrating Prairie Restoration, Environmental Education and Community Building
Dr. Tracy Gartner, the director of Carthage’s Environmental Science Program, has teamed up with Dr. Prisca Moore, a professor in the Carthage Education Department, to offer a unique opportunity to students studying environmental science at Carthage. They co-taught the week-long workshop Integrating Outdoor Education into the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards at the Chiwaukee Academy in August 2007, to recruit teachers and schools for the Earth Partnership with Schools Project. They developed and co-taught a Carthage Symposium Building Community Through Prairie Restoration in spring 2008 and spring 2009. In the course, they worked with teachers and ninth-grade students at Harborside Academy to design and create a Native Plants Demonstration Garden at Hawthorn Hollow. Harborside Academy is a Kenosha school that specializes in expeditionary learning.
Profs. Gartner and Moore teach the service learning course BIO/EDU/ENVS 271: Prairie Restoration, in which students work with a local nature center in Kenosha to design and implement a native prairie planting.The course is offered in collaboration with the Earth Partnership for Schools Program, sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. Profs. Gartner and Moore completed RESTORE Leadership Institute and serve as the team leaders of the Southeastern Wisconsin site for Earth Partnership with Schools Program.
The objectives of the course are to strengthen environmental education in the community, develop students’ knowledge of native prairie plants, and to illustrate the process of collaboration and environmental decision-making. Students develop an understanding of environmental restoration as they plan, implement and evaluate prairie restoration projects.
The long-term goals of the course are to have students develop an appreciation for stewardship for the environment and begin a habit of community service, as well as reinforce the positive presence of Carthage in the community by connecting Carthage students with K-12 students.