Environmental education has a unique opportunity to strengthen a student’s experience with the outdoors. Incorporating observational field studies, climate science, long term ecological studies, and even cutting edge technology into current environmental education curricula will stand to enliven the existing opportunities inherent in fostering a student’s outdoor leadership, conservation, and genuine exploration of the natural world.

This site offers new and innovative techniques, lesson plans, studies, and research to help bolster any environmental education curriculum.

WI Youth Water Stories Summit

girl going through DOTS kit on a beach

A Water Summit Participant finds her data collection tools during a canoe trip.

Project partners converged at Upham Woods for a STEM, citizen science and water quality research event August 2nd to 4th. Youth from La Crosse School District, Ashland and Washburn County Extension, Escuela Verde and Urban Ecology Center (both organizations from Milwaukee) came together to share their water stories and collected water quality data.

Youth explored Blackhawk Island, challenged their team building and communication skills on our Low Ropes Challenge Course, and inspired others to help make a collective positive impact on Wisconsin water quality.


World Water Day 2017

To celebrate World Water Day – March 22nd – Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center Staff checked in on the health of the Wisconsin River. Using the new Water Monitoring DOTS kits, staff gathered data on the weather, thermal and water conditions at three unique sites – two samples of the river, and one sample of a free flowing creek. World Water Day is a United Nations initiative to “take action to tackle the water crisis” worldwide, and Upham Woods was honored to participate in raising awareness and educating youth about local and statewide water issues. This project would not be possible without support from the Environmental Protection Agency Local Environmental Education Grant (“Digital Observation Technology Skills: Students Collecting Data in their Environment”). To learn more about our DOTS Water Monitoring partners state wide, check out our website.

Wisconsin Science Immersion Experience

In February 2017, 20 students from various Omaha Nebraska schools joined forces for a scientific inquiry and DOTS filled weekend. The students enjoyed unseasonably warm weather as they hiked to North Shore, explored micro-climates and learned how to use the DOTS tools. They came up with their own questions and experiments to investigate for the remainder of the weekend, culminating with engaging scientific research presentations to their peers. Click here for more on their experiments and collected data and check out their Trail Report Video below.

DOTS Water Quality Monitoring

Educators from School District of La Crosse, Escuela Verde and Urban Ecology Center were able to join Upham staff for a Grant Kickoff Meeting in January, 2017.

In January 2017, Upham Woods hosted collaborators and partners for a Grant Kickoff Meeting to begin a recently awarded grant from the EPA. Upham and their partners have been awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Education Local Grant Program (Grant number: EPA-00E02045) to support two years of DOTS implementation with a focus on local water quality. Collaborators and partners in this project include Escuela Verde and the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, the School District of La Crosse, and the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation of Northland College.

Partners have begun using specialized DOTS kits to conduct water monitoring with youth at their own sites. Programming will run through the spring and summer, with a Student Data Summit planned for early August. This Summit will bring youth from each site to share their water “stories” and experiences. To learn more about our partners and collaborators, the upcoming Student Data Summit, or just to learn more about the program, click here.

EE in Wisconsin Video

“Find Environmental Education in Your Community,” a video project made possible by North American Association of Environmental Educators, Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education, Environmental Protection Agency, and University of Wisconsin-Extension. Check out the video here.

Wisconsin State-Wide Environmental Education Survey Results

See the most recent findings summary here.

Value of a Tree How-To Videos 

Please view our newest video guides on “Value of a Tree Tools: How-To” at the Upham Woods YouTube Channel. These tools include an increment borer, DBH tape. a forestry clinometer, and a homemade clinometer.

Increment Borer

DBH Tape

Forestry ClinometerHomemade Clinometer





University Place Video

Check out this video on the Wisconsin Public Television – University Place website! Justin Hougham details many  components of the (Digital Observation Technology Skills) DOTS program, including the pedagogy and considerations behind the program.



DOTS Kit How-To Videos

Please view our videos on the “DOTS Kit: How-To” YouTube Channel. The videos available explain how to use the Infrared Thermometer, the Garmin GPS, the Fluke Thermal Imager, the Kestrel 2000, and the Digital Microscope and iPad.

 Kintrexfluke thermal imagerGarmin GPS Kestrel 2000 Stock Photo            Digital microscope