2012 Winter Workshop in Review

Theme: Awareness, Action, Enjoyment!

Dates: January 27th-29th

Cassie & Foghorn Leghorn open the 2012 Winter WOrkshop

Location: Tomahawk, WI- Treehaven Field Station

WAEE Winter Workshop 2012 was a much-anticipated event by many environmentally minded educators, families, and students alike! Our workshop welcomed 105 individuals to participate in a weekend to remember.  Some attendees even made the trip to Tomahawk, WI from Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota!  This year we had beautiful glittery Northwoods snow and crisp winter weather to provide the backdrop for a weekend focused around awareness, action, and enjoyment.

New to Winter Workshop this year was a family friendly focus, pulled together by our 2012 WAEE board chair Abbie Enlund and fellow WAEE member Becca Franzen.  This year the workshop welcomed individuals of all ages to share the experience with their families. Attendees ranged in age from 9 months to 70+ years, and a good time was had by all! Thirty-six students from far and wide came to network and learn with others, participate in the fun, and share their ideas in the field of EE.

EE Panelists field questions and talk about the past, present & future of EE.

Opening the workshop Friday evening was the Homegrown EE Panel – a unique collection of environmental educators throughout the state of Wisconsin.  The panel included: Clayton Russel, Joey Zocher, Molly McKay, and Dennis Yockers, who shared their perspectives of environmental education in Wisconsin today. Participants listened as each panelist addressed the challenges, successes, inspirations and needs of environmental education as it existed in the past, now, as well as into the future. During this workshop opener the tone was set for the workshop: “Whatever you do in environmental education, and however you do it – do it with love.”

Friday rolled on into an evening filled with quality mentoring opportunities provided by WAEE board members, Karla Lockman and Amy Jo Dusick. John Huesinkveld lead the ever popular night hike and wolf howl into the backwoods of Treehaven, while others enjoyed a crackling fire and good company in Bear Track Lounge.

Dr. John Francis playing one of the many songs he used to communicate during 17 years of silence.

Saturday morning welcomed the first two presentation sessions, including the Brutal Gourmet. Over 25 brave souls joined our Brutal Gourmet in Wisconsin trivia, unique cuisine, as well as learning that “meat is meat.”  After lunch, conference participants welcomed our keynote Dr. John Francis, the Planet Walker, Visiting Associate Professor at the Nelson Institute of UW-Madison.


Winter Workshop Participants doing winter tree ID.

John captivated all of us while tickling our souls with the sound of his banjo followed by his inspirational tale of environmental action through walking and silence.  Saturday continued with more sessions including the Winter Olympics brought to us by UW-Stevens Point Chapter of Environmental Educators and Naturalists Association (EENA). This year’s Winter Olympic events included a cookie decorating contest, a marshmallow roasting competition, and snow sculpting.  Those who chose to opt out of the annual competition enjoyed the freshly groomed ski trails and the newly established snow-shoe trail.

The Nertz Tournament, a Winter Workshop Tradition (& WAEE fundraiser).

Saturday evening offered a little bit of something for everyone including a kids wolf howl, the traditional Nertz tournament, games in Black Bear Lounge, and plenty of quality conversational opportunities. As the Nertz tournament came to a close, participants congratulated three-time champions Abbie Enlund and Tom Quinn, before preparing for live evening entertainment provided by Milwaukee based band: Overstory.  Overstory rocked the Northwoods with original tunes (and a few covers too!) while participants danced, swayed, and hoola-hooped their evening away!

Sunday morning brought us bright sunshine and two more sessions before our workshop closing.  Our presenters this year provided numerous opportunities for broadening awareness in the field of EE. Our Homegrown EE panel along with our keynote speaker, John Francis gave participants a call to action through inspirational words and stories. Each one of our workshop participants, and the amazing Treehaven facility, helped make Winter Workshop 2012 an enjoyable experience for all.

A BIG thank you to everyone who contributed to the fun, success, and stories that made Winter Workshop 2012 so amazing!  We hope to see you again next year.  Keep your eyes peeled for the 2013 Call for Presenters, share your knowledge, experience and stories, or even consider joining the 2012 Winter Workshop Planning Committee!

Can’t wait till Winter Workshop 2013?!!???- Join us for WAEE Fall Conference in Door County- October 25th-27th, 2012. Education, Conservation, Recreation on the Peninsula!

Winter Workshop is just ONE way members can benefit from being a part of WAEE. To learn more about membership visit: http://www4.uwsp.edu/cnr/waee/Members/members.aspx

–          Until next time,

Cassie Bauer, 2012 Winter Workshop Chair


About wisconsinassociationforenvironmentaleducation

WAEE is your direct connection to Environmental Education (EE) in Wisconsin. Join teachers, naturalists, youth leaders, natural resource professionals and others dedicated to learning more and educating all persons about the natural and built environment. WAEE is a non-profit organization that sponsors conferences, workshops, and gatherings to promote professional growth and networking opportunities. Our organization also supports the work of its members through statewide initiatives, professional resources and recognition.
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