Increasing lake access to Madison youth
Early experiences in nature can create lasting connections to the land and water that surrounds us. But many local residents don’t have opportunities to enjoy or learn about one of Greater Madison’s most prominent public resources; our lakes. Thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Clean Lakes Alliance is working to shift that reality through the restructuring and expansion of our Lake Explorer Camp.
What began in 2014 as a day on the lake for students from the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County has evolved into a week-long lake immersion program for youth across the community who may not otherwise have opportunities to access our lakes.
About the camp
Wrapping up its fifth year, Lake Explorer Camp partners with Madison Boats, the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, and now the Bayview Foundation & Community Center to engage 3rd, 4th and 5th graders with the lakes. Over the course of two weeks, students identify lake critters under the microscope, learn how to bait a hook and cast a line to fish, investigate water quality, and gain valuable paddling and water safety skills under the guidance of experienced outdoor education staff and multilingual instructors. To date, 809 students participated in the Camp, with 3,570 hours of lake education.
A new approach
The 2018 Lake Explorer Camp piloted the new immersive experience and proved to be largely effective, with the help of a $2,000 grant from Madison West Kiwanis. Looking forward to 2019, we are excited to expand Lake Explorer Camp to more students from the Bayview Foundation and Community Center, which neighbors Brittingham Boats. By moving the camp from its former location at Wingra Boats to Brittingham, we are able to engage students in their own backyard to build a new generation of lake enthusiasts.
We are honored that the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and Madison West Kiwanis value a future with equitable lake access and lake education.
Would you like to help grow the Lake Explorer Camp to reach more students in our community? Become a Lake Buddy today and donate to send one or more kids to Lake Explorer Camp!