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Business of the Month: June 2024

North Lakeland Discovery Center



North Lakeland Discovery Center

14006 Discovery Lane
Manitowish Waters, WI 54545
Phone: 715-543-2085
[email protected]
https://discoverycenter.net/

The North Lakeland Discovery Center (NLDC) on Statehouse Lake in beautiful Manitowish Waters has a rich history and mission:  Conservation.  

“We pride ourselves on making environmental education accessible for people with all mobility levels, people that are more sedentary, that don’t go on long hikes but also people that like hiking and exploring or biking or snorkeling in rivers and lakes,” said NLDC Naturalist Jenna Richardson.

With a rich history dating back to 1961 as the Wisconsin Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), in 1996 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) leased 850 acres to the NLDC to maintain the campus and promote environmental education.  

Today, the NLDC is guided by a 14-member Board, employs ten staff and adds five additional employees in the summer. Don Anderson, who co-founded SOAR Middle School in Land O’Lakes will join NLDC as its new Executive Director on June 17th. 

The NLDC campus includes diverse habitats, forests, lakes, wetlands, and bogs. It offers 12 miles of trails for hiking, biking, XC skiing, and snowshoeing. Adjacent to the main entrance is the Manitowish Waters Bike Trail, a portion of the 52-mile Heart of Vilas County Bike Trail System.  Nearby are state and federal forests.  The campus is open to everyone from dawn to dusk to enjoy the Northwoods.  Signs throughout the trail system highlight habitat for local bird breeding.  

Discovery Destinations offer educational and fun experiences for all ages, incorporating live animals (salamanders, bats, turtles, frogs, and snakes).  NLDC features kids’ crafts and outdoor exhibits, the Tadpole Classroom, the Shoreline Restoration Garden, the Discovery Garden and Nature Playscape.   

“Not only are we making environmental education available to different ability levels, it’s also to all ages,” said Richardson. “We’re offering this to kids from four to 90 years-old.“ 

The Summer Program Guide lists nearly 100 excursions, including hiking, water exploration, pontoon tours, wildlife insights. "Eco" kids are Discoverers and Explorers. There is even a gift shop selling visually nature-based, educational items for children and adults. The white t-shirts which change colors in the sun are a big hit for the kids.  

Rental options at NLDC include a lodge with commercial kitchen, cabins, modern bunkhouses, meeting rooms, large tent, recreational facilities and outdoor amphitheater. The campus is suitable for educational or private events.

Staff and volunteer naturalists present the wonders of the Northwoods through outdoor education camps and programs. NLDC coordinates canoe trips, research excursions, offers tailored programs, crafts and children’s activities serving schools, local communities and the traveling public. 

Citizen scientists and volunteers of all ages are trained to conduct scientific research and collect data to foster environmental stewardship and enable more efficient studies. Projects include bat monitoring, monarch butterfly tagging, birds, monitoring aquatic invasive species (AIS) and environmental change.

NLDC is dedicated to environmental education and community engagement and embody the mission statement:  To enrich lives and inspire an ethic of care for Wisconsin's Northwoods, through the facilitation of connections among nature, people and community.

The Discovery Hall features interactive exhibits, a Nature Center with an eagle’s nest, a beaver lodge, and classrooms. Pick up a self-guided map. Summer hours: Monday-Wednesday; Friday-Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm.

Congratulations North Lakeland Discovery Center Staff & Volunteers!



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