EE Toolbox

Since 1998 UW-Extension staff at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center have developed innovatiNGLVC-UWEX school estuary programve research based environmental education curriculum for grades pre-k through high school and for adults that address issues affecting the sustainability of Lake Superior’s coastal environment and communities.

Here are some of the resources and curriculum we’ve developed. We are happy to share them with you! Just click on each to view the curriculum.

Fish Creek Freshwater Estuary Curriculum

The curriculum takes you paddling through the geology, history, culture and ecology of the Lake Superior’s Fish Creek Estuary without getting your feet wet!  This freshwater estuary system west of Ashland, WI  has been a major player in the culture and economy of the Chequamegon Bay region. Learn about why this estuary was the site of a major Ojibwe village, the landing point for Raddison and Grosseilliers the first European explorers/fur traders, and how it was shaped by logging and farming.

Experience Fish Creek during one of our Paddle the Pearls programs.  Get out and have some fun!  Join us for an ed-venture paddling the Lake Superior region’s freshwater estuaries, wetlands gems, lakes and rivers while you:

  • Explore and share ecology, natural history, and culture of these waterways
  • Learn to identify native plants & invasive species that threaten lakes and streams
  • Receive training to become a citizen monitor to safeguard these special waters

These 2-hour on-the-water ed-ventures are led by Diane Daulton-Wisconsin DNR Lake Superior Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist and Cathy Techtmann-UW Extension Environmental Outreach State Specialist, in partnership with local experts.

Here’s what you can expect in a “Paddle the Pearls” program:

  • experience the unique ecology and cultural history of each site or “pearl.”
  • learn to identify invasive species and help stop their spread.
  • Make  observations to help document the health of our waterways.

Watercraft vary by trip and may include paddleboards and kayaks.  We provide the watercraft paddles, and pfd’s.  Participants may bring their own non-motorized boats, if desired.  Basic paddling instruction will be provided.

Registration:  $10.00 per person* (trip costs may vary depending on location) Registration is first come, first served depending on boat availability. Age limit:  12 years old or older. Participants will be asked to sign a pre-trip waiver & health form.

Watercraft, paddles, pfd’s provided. Watercraft availability is limted so please register early. You are welcome to bring your own non-motorized watercraft on any of the program trips.

What to Bring:  Water, sunscreen, water shoes that provide protection, camera and binocs (optional)

Weather:  Trips will go rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, we will contact participants.

For more information contact:  Cathy Techtmann at 715.561.2695 or email

Adopt-An-Estuary Curriculum

A 12-series multi-disciplinary curriculum for middle school and above students that challenges learners to understand a freshwater estuary or coastal wetland system through mapping and sampling activities, applying this knowledge to identify issues affecting the system, and taking action to resolve them. Created by UW-Extension educator Cathy Techtmann with support from the WI Coastal Management Program.

Fish Creek Estuary Ed-Venture Curriculumlandscape-kayak

This on-the-water curriculum uses a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the ecological, historic, cultural, geological,  hydrological characteristics of freshwater estuaries. Developed for use on the Fish Creek & Whittlesey Creek Estuaries in Ashland, WI by Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center UW-Extension educators. This curriculum can be modified for use in other freshwater estuary and coastal wetland environments. Created by UW-Extension educators Cathy Techtmann and Kathleen Morgen with support from the WI Coastal Management Program.

Paddle Through Time Sustainability CurriculumPaddle salute

Boozhoo!  Bon jour!  Hello!  We greet you in the languages of the Lake Superior region, past and present.  This innovative curriculum explores the relationship between natural resources, economic development, and society’s needs from the pre-European contact days through the fur trade era to today. Originally developed for teaching in a 34-foot voyageur canoe and using “costumed interpretation”, this curriculum investigates the sustainability of past uses of Lake Superior’s coastal resources. It integrates Ojibwe cultural perspectives and reveals an  important choice we are facing if we are to live more sustainably.  You don’t need to dress as a voyageur to conduct this program– although it adds to the fun!  This curriculum can be adapted to any setting to investigate the issue of natural resource sustainability using historic and current perspectives. Created by the UW-Extension voyageur team of Cathy Techtmann, Kathleen Morgen, and Elizabeth Post with support from the WI Coastal Management Program and the WI Environmental Education Board.

Northern Forest Digital HerbariumAcer-rubrum

A cool digital library of native and invasive plants of the Ojibwe Ceded Territory of northern Wisconsin. Real life plant images with Latin, Ojibwe, and English name, habitat description, and notes on traditional uses.  A great teaching tool.  This project was partnership between the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC)  and UW-Extension. Created by UW-Extension educator Kathleen Morgen and GLIFWC Biologist Karen Danielson with support from the WI Environmental Education Board.

 CTC logo“Connecting the Coasts” Service Learning Website

A service learning web-based, service learning curriculum for middle and above learners that investigates critical issues affecting the Lake Superior Region, as identified by the Lake Superior Binational Program in their Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP). Learn how to take action in your community to promote a more sustainable future. Created by UW-Extension educator Cathy Techtmann with support from the EPA.


 Firesouls on the Chequamegon Bay… Passions and Partnerships for Sustainability”

This 15-minute video, produced for the Chequamegon Bay Alliance for Sustainability by UW-Extension educators Cathy Techtmann and Tom Wojciechowski. The reveals  how local citizens collaborated to create a model for community sustainability.

Other UW-Extension Environmental Resources

We have many more available on a variety of natural resource and environmental topics at UW-Extension Natural Resources publications.

Lake Superior National Marine Sanctuary

Get the facts about the grassroots initiative to nominate a Lake Superior Marine Sanctuary to protect Wisconsin’s Lake Superior water and marine resources