Youth Programs at Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Looking for something fun to do with your Scout Group? Here at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center we have tons of fun programs for Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts that include troop badge work, overnights, and other pre-scheduled programs that will help foster their relationship and appreciation for the outdoors! We have different programs for all ages and levels of Scouts, which teach about all different aspects of nature.


Some fun upcoming programs for Girl Scouts include:

  • Wonders of Water-Brownie Scouts will earn their love water journey award as they learn about the water cycle and the importance of wetlands while searching for critters in the pond
  • Soil to Sky Overnight-Senior Girl Scouts will spend the night at ALNC in Black Earth.  They will share stories around a campfire, watch the stars in the night sky, and in the morning they will head into the forest and measure and identify trees, while discussing Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic”.
  • Snow Art-All levels of girl scouts will use the natural world to paint, even using ice!


Some fun upcoming programs for Boy Scouts include:

  • Trailside Backpack Programs-We have four seasonally themed backpacks containing Exploration Guides and tools to help the troop investigate and discover nature!
  • Overnight Adventure-A full weekend of badge work, night hiking and a nighttime snack around the campfire!

Additionally, we have all other kinds of youth programs for kids who aren’t in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, but are in other sorts of youth groups such as 4-H, church youth groups, environmental service clubs or any other organized group of youth!  We also host birthday parties for those who want a nature-themed birthday program. Additionally, we have vacation day programs for those days when school isn’t in session and you want to do something fun outside! No matter what kind of troop or group you’re in, you’re sure to find something unique and exciting to do here at ALNC that will help you bond with your friends and with nature.

Summer at Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Here’s what summer looks like at ALNC…

Bumblebee and Bee Balm, ALNCrsBumble bees, which are considered to be the most important pollinators of native Wisconsin plants, are busy buzzing around and pollinating our many wildflowers that are still blooming in the prairie, including the beautiful yellow coneflower.


The black-necked grebe cools off by taking a leisurely swim in the pond on a hot summer day, while diving for aquatic insects to snack on.  He is an excellent swimmer and diver, and is a member of the grebe family; freshwater birds that include five Wisconsin species.


Sandhill Cranes are still roaming around the grounds, feeding on worms, grasshoppers, snails, frogs and more.  When the the fall and winter months bring in the cold winds and snow, they will be gone, on their way to warmer southern climates.  But for now they are here to stay and bask in the warm August sun.


The monarch and viceroy butterflies are fluttering around from flower to flower along the trails of the prairie. These two butterflies are an excellent example of Mullerian mimicry, which is when two or more poisonous species resemble one another, and give similar warning signs to keep predators away.
Monarch on gayfeatherThese two butterflies look very similar and it can be difficult to tell them apart.  The viceroy tends to be smaller than the monarch, and its flight is usually faster.  Additionally, viceroys do not migrate, unlike monarchs.


10410174_10154443350555397_8794211764724239679_nAlong with
having plenty of monarchs flying around the grounds, we also have a Nature Nook vivarium set up in the nature center, which is exhibiting the life stages of the monarch.  Recently, the monarchs emerged from the chrysalis and were set free to enjoy the prairie and its many wildflowers.



Summer is a beautiful time to explore the wonders of nature and get outside.  So stop by the nature center soon and take a hike on our trails, which are surrounded by an abundance of wildflowers and critters. Take in all of the beauty that these unique plants and animals have to offer!



Wisconsin Energy Institute 2014 Energy Summit

For the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s population lives in cities.  In the coming years, this trend will only increase: the United Nations estimates that by 2050, three-quarters of the world’s population will reside in cities. This means that cities will account for 75 percent of the global use of energy, water and food supply.


This year, on October 29th, the Wisconsin Energy Institute 2014 Energy Summit hosted by UW-Madison will bring international stakeholders to Madison to discuss upcoming demands for energy associated with urbanization and the growing global population, and the needs for future cities and communities worldwide. Participants will be connected with UW-Madison resources and will be able to network with one another and share their perspectives on the future of energy. The featured panel includes the Mayor of Madison, Paul Soglin, the Director at the Center for Comparative Legislative Management, Stephen Halloway, and the Environmental Director of the City of Freiburg, Germany, Franziska Breyer.  Additionally, there will be professors from universities around the world covering a wide range of energy related topics.  The Aldo Leopold Nature Center has partnered with WEI on several educational initiatives, and we are excited to attend the provide attendees with some updated information about our local energy efficiency initiatives and upcoming energy related programming!

The summit is from 8:30am-5pm and will be followed by a reception.  It will take place at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and Union South on the UW-Madison campus.  If you register before October 1st, the summit only costs $40, (or only $15 for students), and the fee includes coffee, snacks and lunch. So join the WEI 2014 Energy Summit to learn more about upcoming demands for energy that cities will soon face, and how to meet these needs for future communities!