DOTS Kit Lending

Thank you for your interest in the DOTS kit lending program!  Please refer to the steps below to begin the process of using one, or more, of the DOTS kits for your group.

Youth exploring the content of the DOTS kit

Bring DOTS Kit technology to your own programs

There are currently a total of twelve DOTS kits that are available for lending at one time. Once you complete the kit lending interest form, a Research Naturalist will work with you to determine the best number of kits for your group’s needs.  Each kit is sent out on a first come first served basis.  The DOTS kits are housed at Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center and maintained by Research Naturalist staff. The staff is responsible for making sure that each kit leaves Upham Woods in top working order, ready for your group’s exploration. You are responsible for making sure all the DOTS kit components are present and accounted for before you send it back to Upham.

DOTS Training and Lending

Interested in hosting a DOTS Kits Training Event?

DOTS Training Events cover the basics of DOTS Kits tool use, background history of the program, and teaching methodology for the kits. They are minimum six hours long and include tool use, data collection and presentation about the background, methodology and DOTS tools. For approximately 10 participants, the cost of a training is $150 plus round trip mileage to and from Wisconsin Dells ($0.54/ mile). This cost includes two DOTS kits and one Upham Woods staff member. Additional kits can be requested for training events at $25 per kit.

If your organization is interested in hosting a DOTS Training, follow this link to the DOTS Lending Interest Form and indicate that you have not received a DOTS Training. You will then be able to request a training; an Upham Woods staff member will be in contact with you with further scheduling details.

Interested in using the DOTS Kits for programming?

  • All DOTS kit lending must be organized and led by an educator who has attended an official DOTS Kit Training Event within the past 2 years (or conducted a successful DOTS experience within the past 2 years).
  • To initiate the kit lending process, please complete and submit the online DOTS Lending Interest Form.
  • Once the online lending interest form is received, a Research Naturalist will follow up with you regarding dates of availability and answer any other questions you may have.
    • Please note that the standard lending event is two DOTS kits for a duration of one week. In excess of this standard, please contact a Research Naturalist to explain your need and your programming plan at (608) 254-6461.
  • Before any kits can be mailed, please complete and return the DOTS Equipment Cost Recovery Form.
  • After programming, please be sure to fill out the DOTS Reporting Form in Qualtrics. This helps us quantify the impact the kits are having and gather your important feedback for the program.

If you have any questions regarding the kit lending program procedures or to locate the next available DOTS Kit training event near you, please contact our Research Naturalist staff at

Lending Cost

The DOTS Kits are available to loan out for one week periods of time for a cost of $60 per kit plus shipping and handling rate of $20. You will be billed directly for each lending event. Additional shipping and handling for more than two kits will be charged at $10 per kit.

Example: $60 per kit x 2 kits = $120 + $20 shipping and handling = $140 total cost of lending event

$60 per kit x 3 kits = $180 + $30 shipping and handling = $210 total cost of lending event

Thanks to a 4-H Foundation Grant, 4-H Youth Development Educators of Wisconsin may request up to two kits at a reduced cost. Two kits can be loaned out on a first-come, first-served basis for lending periods of one week. The lender will be billed for the shipping and handling rate of $20 for one kit or $30 for two kits.

Need Facilitation Support?

Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center staff will travel to your classroom or outdoor learning space and help facilitate DOTS programming upon request on a first come, first served basis, provided the Research Naturalist schedule allows. DOTS programs are a minimum of two hours long and intended for one classroom (approximately 25 students). Examples of how Research Naturalists can help with your students include: kicking off your programming with the DOTS tools to familiarize your class with the tool set, assisting with a larger scale data collection event, or facilitating a specific lesson that is enhanced with the DOTS tools. The outreach cost is $150/ day programming event, plus round trip mileage to and from Wisconsin Dells ($0.54/mile). Please provide details regarding how a Research Naturalist can help you achieve your learning objectives in the DOTS Lending Interest Form when you request support.

GPS Kit Lending

Use GPS technology in programming at your own location, with the GPS kit available through the lending program.This smaller version of the traditional DOTS kit contains five GPS units and necessary GPS accessories. Upon request, a GPS program lesson plan is available. The lesson uses hands-on activities to navigate the various functions of the GPS, including: setting way points, navigating to way points, tracing the perimeter and calculating the area of a location, and using the compass feature. For more information about using a GPS kit through the lending program,  please complete and submit an online DOTS Lending Interest Form, and specify your interest in the GPS kit.

Lending Program History and Goals

Group carrying DOTS kit across bridge

DOTS on the go

In response to the success and subsequent demand for the DOTS kits following many of the formal DOTS training events, a kit lending program was established starting in the summer of 2015.  Since this beginning, the lending program has allowed 108 educators and over 950 youth to utilize this unique STEM focused environmental education program.

The goal of the DOTS lending program is to allow each group who receives a kit to fully utilize their own unique environments and learning objectives.  Because the kits have a large variety of tools, each educator can select to use all, or only a select set, of the tools to personalize their educational experience.  Each kit arrives complete with lesson plans, technical support resources, and specialized DOTS program training, but educators are encouraged to adapt the program to best fit their own needs.

We did a hike using the equipment, with the campers changing “jobs” at each stopping spot. Then they put together a story map about their observations of the different sites. Using the equipment was a lot of fun for them and they definitely noticed the habitat through using these different tools.

-DOTS trained Community Educator

Seeing the engagement and excitement of the students when they were involved with using the equipment was the biggest success. It was very interactive and enjoyable for the students and myself.

-DOTS trained High School Educator