Category Archives: Outdoors

Aldo Leopold Writing Contest


Here is a writing contest opportunity for high school students to showcase their writing talents, explore the land ethic, and compete for cash prizes!

Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest

All students enrolled in grades 9 to 12 in public, private, and home schools in the state of Wisconsin are eligible.
Students must submit original work.
One entry per person.
The essay should be 500 words or less in length.
Submissions must be sent by 11:59 pm on March 17, 2017.
Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Aldo Leopold is best known for writing A Sand County Almanac (1949), in which he articulates his vision of a “land ethic” – that people come to “see land as a community to which we belong” and learn to “live on a piece of land without spoiling it.”

As a work of great literature, A Sand County Almanac powerfully reshapes our understanding of the relationship between people and land. The Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest uses Leopold’s ideas to inspire students to participate in the evolution of the land ethic through the written word.

2017 Writing Contest Topic

The topic for the 2017 Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest is based upon Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic” essay from A Sand County Almanac:

Tell us the story of a local leader who exemplifies Leopold’s land ethic

You may interpret “local” as someone who lives as nearby as your own neighborhood, or who resides and works elsewhere in Midwest region of the United States.

To be successful, you will need to read and understand the “The Land Ethic” essay in A Sand County Almanac and convey that understanding in your writing.

Download “The Land Ethic” essay in PDF format:

DOWNLOAD “The Land Ethic” essay Reprinted from A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC by Aldo Leopold (1968): “The Land Ethic” (pp. 201-226).

Participants are also encouraged to explore other 
writings by Aldo Leopold as part of your preparation and become involved with a local Leopold Weekend celebration, happening throughout Wisconsin from March 3 to 5, 2017.


All students enrolled in grades 9 to 12 in public, private, and home schools in the state of Wisconsin are eligible. Students must submit original work. One entry per person.


The essay should be 500 words or less in length.

All essays must be typed in 12 pt font, double spaced, and submitted electronically. If you run into trouble submitting your essay online, please contact .gro.dlopoelodla@tsetnocgnitirw

The writer’s name may not appear anywhere on the manuscript to allow for blind judging.


Submissions must be sent by 11:59 pm on March 17, 2017. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered.


Contest winners will be notified in May 2017, and will receive the following:

  • Three winners from 9th-10th grade: $300 each
  • Three winners from 11th-12th grade: $500 each

Writing contest winners will also receive copies of A Sand County Almanac, and memberships to the Aldo Leopold Nature CenterInternational Crane Foundation, and the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

An awards ceremony will take place at the Leopold Center in Baraboo, WI, on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Winning essays will be featured on the Leopold Foundation website and may also be printed in The Leopold Outlook, the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s member magazine.

Student and Teacher Resources

Would you like to explore this year’s essay topic in depth with your students? We’ve compiled these resources and lessons for teachers as a guide.

Readings and lessons on the land ethic:

View the winning essays from the 2016 writing contest:

Download a flyer to print and share!

Contest Sponsors

The 2017 Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest is presented by:


Aldo Leopold writing at the Shack. Photo: Aldo Leopold Foundation




Every Kid in a Park

Hey fourth graders!
See America’s natural wonders
and historic sites for free. All year!

From the forests in Alaska to the marine sanctuaries in the Florida Keys. There is so much to see and do.

Every Kid in a Park is a nation-wide endeavor to provide free access to any fourth grader to more than 2000 federal land and water sites.

There are 7 federal agencies involved: Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, National Park Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Every Kid In A Park Logo

That means there are more than 2000 federal land and water sites to be visited!

Better still, your fourth grader can take his or her siblings and up to three adults when visiting these great places.

Some states, like Wyoming, New York and Indiana, also honor the pass. Check your state parks to see if they are participating.

In Wisconsin, 2 park trails and areas are accessible with a Every Kid in a Park pass. These trails are the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

State Parks in Wisconsin

National Parks in Wisconsin

Go to after Sept. 1st, 2016. There are instructions for the fourth grader (must be in in fourth grade or age equivalent during school year 2016-2017) to follow steps to download and print-out their own pass. Passes are good through August 31st, 2017.

There also is a link for educators — teachers and youth group leaders — to download for their group in preparation for a field trip.

Why fourth graders? Because research shows that kids ages nine to 11 are beginning to learn about the world around them. They’re open to new ideas, and they are likely to connect to nature and our history. The pass will be for fourth graders every year. Over time, every new fourth grader can get a free pass to explore our country.

Your child can take you amazing places! With the pass, fourth graders can bring family and friends on adventures free for a full year.

Let the year of fun and learning begin!

PARTICIPATING AGENCIES: These agencies support Every Kid in a Park. Learn more about their conservation work and find activities by visiting their websites.

The National Park Service turns 100 in 2016.
Happy Birthday, National Park Service!

As a proud partner of the National Park Service Centennial, Humana is encouraging Americans to get out and enjoy nature this summer. Take a 360° tour of Joshua Tree National Park as part of the “Bring the Parks to You” program.

Learn more at

Any “A” Will Do at Noah’s Ark Waterpark for Free Admission During “A Days”

Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, WI, as the self-proclaimed “America’s largest water park” is a favorite summertime treat for families. Many deals and discounts will help you squeeze more fun into your visit. By far, one of the most popular is Noah’s Ark Waterpark’s “A Days” which is a reward for excellent behavior, preparation and achievement for students.

Noah's Ark DarkVoyage

Any “A” or equivalent grade in any subject on a recent 2016 report card will get a student – from Kindergarten through College – in for Free during A Days at Noah’s Ark Waterpark.

(More details below.)

Noah’s Ark is proud to announce 2016 “A Days” Sunday, June 12th, Monday, June 13th, and Tuesday, June 14th 
(Regular Park Hours:10 am to 6:30 pm)

Noah’s Ark Waterpark
1410 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 53965
(608) 254-6351
Get Directions

The weather forecast
may have ups and downs, but don’t let that scare you away. Sometimes when the skies are cloudy and the temps are cooler, the lines for the rides are shorter!

There’s lots to do at Noah’s Ark Waterpark. More than 25 attractions await you, from the water coaster, Black Anaconda, to drifting down Adventure River or splashing around one of the Kiddie Areas, Noah’s Ark is pure family-fun.

{You also may want to check out the
special summer ticket deal of $10 per person that Wisconsin Dells neighbors, Mt. Olympus Outdoor Waterpark have going on until Labor Day 2016.)

What qualifies for a student’s free admission during A Days?

Any A will do!

Show up on the designated days with an official student report card or transcript.

The document must show at least one A grade or the equivalent of an A grade from the most recent 2016 version that they can obtain.

Homeschoolers need to have a “bona fide” report card or transcript showing a grade equivalent to an A. Many parents have used forms found on websites like Donna Young or forms that they use for their record-keeping. What is important is that the document is real and unaltered; it cannot be copied or transferred to another individual or hand-created by the student.

You are only permitted to attend once on the A Days promotion. The report card acts as the admission ticket, so it is valid for one use only. To prevent multiple uses or device transfer, they need to stamp the actual paper report card or printed screenshot with name. Students get in free when presenting their most recent report card featuring any A in any subject!

You must follow the dress code and other rules of the park. No outside food or beverages are allowed inside the park.

Noah’s Ark has over 250 trained and licensed Lifeguards stationed throughout the park to help you have a safe day. They even help you get on rides and provide “splashdown” assistance. Life jackets are available at the wave pools at no charge and are required in the wave pools for those under 48 inches tall.

Parents and relatives will have to pay regular admission in order to enter the park. Children under 48 inches tall are $28.99, Children age 2 and under are free. Seniors age 55 and up with ID are $28.99. (There is no discount for those who will not be getting wet.)

Veterans and active or Reserve Military get FREE admission during Military Days June 1-30, 2016. Plus, Military Family members get half off admission during June 2016. Just bring your valid Military ID.

Parking has gone up in price again, and this year will cost you $10 for the day. Or you can get Preferred parking closer to the gate for $15. There are handicap accessible spaces.
Noah's Ark Waterpark

Get your report card and your swimwear, and head out to Noah’s Ark Waterpark for some fun!

Free Outdoor Art Event: Plein-Air & Mosaic Making at Wegner Grotto

A day of fun through art making.

Art Outdoors at the Wegner Grotto County Park, Sat., August 22nd 2015

Plein_air_flyerThis event includes exploring one of Wisconsin’s fascinating art environments, the Wegner Grotto, and creating art in the out-doors.

Wegner Grotto County Park is located on Hwy 71, ¼ mile west of Hwy 27, Cataract (9 miles north of Sparta)

Bring yourself lots of water and some snacks as the Grotto is a bit removed from town. Looks like wonderful fun!

Two art activities will be available to visitors: outdoor painting and mosaic making.

Visitors can learn to paint in the Plein-Air style on a postcard-size canvas.

All skill and age levels are encouraged to make-and-take home their own painting or mosaic. This event will take place rain or shine, so come prepared.

Plein-Air” means “painting in the open air,” which in this case means painting pictures of the sculptures you see at the Wegner Grotto park. Visitors may also choose to make mosaics using materials similar to those used to create the Wegner Grotto sculptures.

Cash prizes will be awarded for all age levels and abilities creating Plein-Air paintings, from young children through professional adult artists. All art supplies will be provided but supplies will be limited. Judging for the Plein Air painting event will take place from 4:00-5:00 pm. For beginners, there will be instruction on Plein Air painting and mosaic creation throughout the day.

For more information:

Contact Monroe County Local History Museum and Research Room. Jarrod Roll, (608) 269-8680 or


Soil Sisters: Family Friendly Educational Fun – Aug 1, 2

Here’s a local event in Green County happening next week with lots of family friendly education fun:

Soil Sisters
July 31 to August 2, 2015
A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms & Rural Life

Soil Sisters:
A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms and Rural Life
Runs Aug 1 through Aug 2 and involves over a dozen women-owned organic and sustainable ag operations, including many run by homeschool families.

Saturday, August 1, 10 am – 4 pm
ocations: Family farms in the Monroe, Brodhead, Browntown, New Glarus and Blanchardville communities.

There are a variety of activities going on all weekend, with two family-oriented workshops that I wanted to point out especially…

The registration price for these family sessions includes your WHOLE family for some hands-on, on-farm fun. There are still spots open for all workshops but they are going fast (they’re keeping the sessions small).

Full list of all workshops

Dinner on the Farm at Inn Serendipity: Sat. Aug. 1st
A family-friendly local food dinner. Kids under 10 eat free. Bluegrass music, sunset bonfire, local brews. Tickets still available.

Tour of Farms: Sun. Aug. 2
Tour eight women-owned farms.
Free and open to the public; no pre-registration required.
Farms open 11-6.
Bring your cooler to stock up on farmstand produce, eggs and meat. Maps and more info.


Three different family workshop offers Sat. Aug. 1

1) Birdhouses, Gardens & Family Homesteading
Host: Erica Roth & Windy Hill Farm (Albany)
Description: Join the Roth Family for a casual tour of their newly emerging homestead. This new-to-rural family has started their farming life with lasagna gardens, chickens and pigs, and plans for so much more! Enjoy a walk and talk about all things homesteading, how to start lasagna gardens, raise chickens and pigs — followed by a cedar birdhouse making session where families build their own birdhouse to take home.
Cost: $40 per family (not per person)
Duration: 2 hours
Two Workshop Sessions Offered: 10am-noon and 1pm-3pm
Click here for more info/registration:

2) Eggs, Sprouts & Farm Critters, Sat. Aug. 1

Host: Kath Kramer, Katharsis Meadows (Blanchardville)
Description: Hands on activities show how an egg is formed and how seeds sprout into plants. Plant your own microgreens to take home. Visit the barn to look for eggs, feed the chickens and ducks and walk a goat on a leash. Clean up at the hand washing station using goat milk soap made on the farm. Activities designed for ages 4 and over, but all are welcome.
Cost: $40 per family (not per person)
Duration: 2 hours
Two Workshop Sessions Offered: 10am-noon and 1pm-3pm
Click here for more info/registration:

3) Hayride, Buzzing Bees & Milking Goats
Host: Melissa Burch, Bountiful Hope Farm (Monroe)
Description: Explore Bountiful Hope Farm with a hayride journey through the landscape, plus a garden tour where “farm fresh” is the norm. Milk a goat and learn about bee keeping and how the bees and garden help each other.
Cost: $40 per family (not per person)
Duration: 2 hours
Two Workshop Sessions Offered: 10am-noon and 1pm-3pm
Click here for more information/registration:

Experience farm livin’.  Women-owned and co-owned farmers don their farm hats, fancy up their place and invite you to participate in numerous fun, hands-on and educational workshops on their farms. 

Soil Sisters
July 31 to August 2, 2015
A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms & Rural Life


Summer is upon us…

Two quick things that you should know, now that school is out for the summer:

A lifeguard keeps watch on opening day of the newly renovated McCarren Park Pool on June 28, 2012, in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Report Card Days at Noah’s Ark Waterpark for 2014 are scheduled for JUNE 15th, 16th, 17th.
UPDATED Dates for Noah’s Ark Waterpark “A Days” June 2016 listed here.

As always, I suggest that you check with the park  before heading out. There may be more details that you’ll want to know.

Secondly, just a friendly reminder to watch your children closely. Water is a powerful force and drowning doesn’t look like you think it should.

Be safe and have fun!


Summer at Living Waters Bible Camp

Summer Camps
Living Waters Bible Camp
Westby, WI

Living Waters Bible Camp - Summer Camp

Summer Camp at Living Waters

Kids Camp (Grades: 3-6) 

This classic camp experience will introduce campers to the Good News of Jesus Christ and teach them what it means to be a child of God. Kids Camp is bursting with fun filled activities such as swimming, horseback riding, campfires, crafts, games, meeting friends, and a whole lot more. It will be a week that you will never forget and leave you wanting to come back for more! 
June 15 – 21, 2014 Directors-Rick & Sheri Lucht
July 20 – 26, 2014. Directors-Mike & Renee Melcher

Boys Camp (Grades: 7-9)

Boys Camp is a high energy activity driven week where young men will be challenged to grow in their walk with God. This camp is designed for young men to enjoy the rugged outdoors and captivating Bible lessons that will challenge your heart. Filled with thrilling activities like: capture the flag, paintball, rock climbing, and more Boys Camp is an exciting adventure waiting for you!
June 22 – 28th, 2014.

Girls Camp (Grades: 7-9)

 Girls! Come enjoy a host of activities, from elegant evening events to rugged outdoor adventures, all planned especially for you and your friends. Challenging sessions with caring teachers to help you understand God’s Word for your life, as well as, lots of laughter and fun await you at this camp!
July 13 – 19th, 2014.

Senior High Camp (Grades: 10-12)

The goal of Senior High Camp is to build Servant Leader followers of Christ. This camp offers a variety of on and off site activities designed for you to build friendships, serve in community and grow in your relationship with God. You are sure to go home spiritually challenged, full of stories and experience that will stretch your understanding of God during this incredible week!
July 6 – 12th, 2014.

Family Camp

Exciting full and half week camps where families can take a break from normal life to come relax in the valley while enjoying great activities and excellent teaching together. This is a wonderful opportunity for your family to spend quality time together in a fun, Christ-centered environment.

Take advantage of the Living Waters Kid Kaddie program. Your family will be assigned one staff member to help your family during those times when you need it most like meals, nap times and free time.

Come for a full or half week!
June 28 – July 1st  OR July 2 – 5th, 2014.
Cost: Adult $330 for full week; $165 for half week.

Little Squirts Camp (Grades: 1-3)

Get a jump start into camp! This is a two night introduction to summer camp for “Little Squirts” looking for a chance to experience camp for the first time. Enjoy three days of camp activities like swimming, campfires, singing, games and more!

July 27 – 29, 2014.

K-3rd Day Camp

Our day camp program is a great opportunity for kids to get a small taste of Living Waters Bible Camp. Exciting activities, fun times of learning from God’s word, and new friends make this a camp you and your friends won’t want to miss!

July 28 – 29th, (9 am to 4 pm) 2014.

Adventure Family Camp

This program is geared to families with older children who love adventure.
(Kid Kaddies will not be available for this Family Camp.) Activities May Include: Caving, Climbing, Boldering, Canoeing, Nature Hikes, Camp Store and more.
August 6 – 9th, 2014.
COST: $ 165 per adult, $135 per youth, $ 99 per child, Babies free. Ask about family discounts if you have 4 or more children!

Summers at Tent Camp

Summer Camp at TENT CAMP

Tent Camp is an adventure helping meet the spiritual, physical, and entertainment needs of youth.  It includes * surprise * sleeping in tents (a big one for boys and another one for girls), swimming, mini golf, hiking, basketball, volleyball, water balloon games, capture the flag, whop ’em, box hockey, carpet pool, four square, lightning, Foosball, air hockey.  They have Bible time, videos, songs, puppets, water slides, campfires, and snacks.

Tent Camp is a Christian Youth Camp near Black River Falls, run by the American Missionary Fellowship.
Each 3 day camp costs only $30 per child (or $20 for age 5 to 7).

All camps begin at 9 am and end at 4 pm – except Teen Camp which begins at 7 pm.

The Summer 2014 Schedule is:

Teens (14+) June 18 – 21
Ages 7 – 9 June 23 – 25
All Girls: Ages 10 – 13 June 26 – 28
Boys Wilderness: Ages 8 – 10 June 30 – July 2
Boys Wilderness: Ages 11-13 July 7 – 9
Ages 5 – 7 July 14 – 15
Ages 11 – 13 July 22 – 24
Ages 8 – 10 July 28 – 30

What to bring: water bottle with name on it, sleeping bag, play clothes, swim suit, towel, jeans for hiking or cool weather, sweatshirt or jacket for evening, flashlight, and other personal items.

Tent Camp is run by Ralph and Connie Schram, and Karl and Charity Lehrke.

You can contact them by calling or by emailing.

Registration Forms can be found at:

Check out Tent Camp on Facebook!