Ensure the Next Generation of Wildlife Education at MacKenzie
Vice President John Frank, on the Wildlife project:
What Hooked You on Nature?
Unfortunately, kids today spend far less time outside than previous generations. The Friends of MacKenzie work to help solve this problem by supporting environmental education at the MacKenzie Center, where thousands of students each year experience hands-on learning outside among the trees and weather and wildlife.
We’ve found the wildlife exhibit at MacKenzie, above all else, can make an unforgettable impression. Home to living bison, lynx, wolves, coyotes, a bald eagle, and other animals native to Wisconsin, MacKenzie’s wildlife exhibit is truly one-of- a-kind. For kids whose time at MacKenzie might be one of their earliest experiences in nature, it’s the wildlife that hooks them. Students have no other state property in Wisconsin where they can learn about such a diverse variety of native wildlife in the same place.
Connect the Next Generation to Nature with Wildlife Education
“I love looking at the animals. They bring back memories from when I was very little…”
– Friends of MacKenzie Facebook Follower Sammie H.
For more than a generation, the wildlife exhibit at MacKenzie has given students and families the awe of seeing a live wolf or bald eagle together. For many children today, a visit to MacKenzie might be their very first opportunity to learn about wildlife in Wisconsin.
The Friends of MacKenzie are working to ensure the next generation of Wisconsin families and students have a chance to discover their passion for nature in the wildlife exhibit at MacKenzie. We will enhance the space for kids and families to learn in our one-of- a-kind exhibit of diverse native wildlife by improving visitor trails, viewing areas, interpretive resources, and animal living spaces—all routinely maintained but without major updates for 35+ years of active visitor use.
Our goal is to break ground on the first phase—improvements to the areas for wolves, coyotes, and foxes—in time to celebrate the Friends of MacKenzie’s 40 th anniversary in 2018.
MacKenzie’s Wildlife: A Treasure for Everyone
Improvements to MacKenzie’s wildlife exhibit will bring benefits for everyone:
- Families need opportunities to get active outside together with low-cost nature outings. An improved wildlife exhibit will give the next generation of Wisconsin families a place to experience the awe of seeing a real bald eagle, wolf, or bison together—making memories that last a lifetime.
- Students have no other public property in Wisconsin where they can learn about such a diverse variety of wildlife—all of them native to Wisconsin—in the same location. Among other animals, MacKenzie is home to living lynx, wolves, a bald eagle, badgers, and even bison.
- The public will benefit from better access to learn about Wisconsin wildlife through updated trails and improved viewing areas.
- Wildlife educators will have more time to lead hands-on learning for students, keep an active personal presence in the wildlife exhibit to respond to visitor questions, and help more kids make unforgettable memories on their visits to MacKenzie.
- Wildlife at MacKenzie will thrive in spaces better suited to their needs—which means long, healthy lives for them and a secure experience for visitors, volunteers, and staff.