Peninsula Nature Center Delivers Exceptional Programs in 2013


If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered,
then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.

-David Sobel

Rachel Swanson, 7, and Gibson Krawjewski, 8, with witch. Photo by Carl Swanson.

Rachel Swanson, 7, and Gibson Krawjewski, 8, with witch. Photo by Carl Swanson.

PSP’s interpretive program is all about connections – not the screen kind – but connections that help people get up close and personal with the land. This year, PSP’s two naturalists and a cadre of volunteers offered a remarkable array of events:

  • At Blossomburg Cemetery, volunteer re-enactors brought history alive through Talking Tombstones. Gibraltar Historical Society co-hosted the event.
  • Bat Conservation of Wisconsin, supported by the Raibrook Foundation, helped visitors understand how this night-time predator survives among the perils it faces, including white-nose syndrome.
  • Community members and the Gibraltar Ecology Club built two “bat condos” funded by FPSP with a matching Stewardship grant.
  • Native American Dancer Ron Preston and his family offered a sunrise honor song at Eagle Terrace. Later that day, they performed various dances in full regalia. Parkwood Lodge, the Homestead Resort, and FPSP offered financial support.
  • Park staff hosted two bicycle safety programs. Both included various obstacle stations and taught adults how kids perceive traffic differently. FPSP provided healthy snacks and volunteers.
  • A grant from Edgewood Orchard Galleries of Fish Creek enabled PSP to host three PSP Digs Reading events where families played extreme hopscotch, hiked the Word Bird trail, and tried various literacy-based activities. Each child received a book to keep.
  • A first-ever archery program hit the bulls-eye, with over 300 attending.
  • PSP collaborated with the Ephraim Foundation to secure an authentic Camp Peninsular CCC trunk which will be featured at heritage school programs. The trunk was donated by the Buck Eckert family, who also gave a memorial gift towards park education.
  • About 1,500 people attended PSP’s 12th and final Spooktacular Candlelight Walk. The Northern Door Firefighters were instrumental in making the event a success, as was Scotty Weborg a.k.a. Smokey Bear. Business supporters included: AppleCreek Resort, Edge of Park, Homestead Resort, Julie’s Restaurant, Nicolet Beach Camp Store, Orchard Country Winery, Piggly Wiggly, and Schartner’s Farm Market, Wood Orchard Market. FPSP helped staff the food tent and provided a “thank you” breakfast for volunteers
  • About 150 people assisted at the Nature Center this past year, donating over 1,000 hours of volunteer time. At least sixty were youth, a testament to the FUN vibe. Readers may also be surprised to learn the number of people who visited during 2013’s peak summer months: 4,240 in July and 4,940 in August.

The Nature Center’s long-standing and growing popularity points to the need for more educational storage and other improvements. PSP has embarked on a 3-stage effort to enhance the building (see Superintendent Brun’s article on page x) while safeguarding its historic charm. If you are interested in learning more about this important initiative please contact kathleen.harris@wisconsin.gov or kelli.bruns@wisconsin.gov.