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Earth Week 2013: Celebrate With Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha

Earth Week finale event on Saturday, April 27, will be full of fun and activity at the Retzer Nature Center in Waukesha.

While Earth Day is Monday, the Waukesha County Parks System is celebrating all week long. Earth Week at the Retzer Nature Center is full of fun, family friendly activities teaching parents and their kids about the environment, recycling techniques and gardening tips.

But for Ginny Bocek, parks program specialist, the Earth Day finale makes the week that much more enjoyable.

“It is a great family fun day to get outside, to get active and to learn about one’s surroundings,” Bocek said.

Bocek’s brought her children to the Earth Week finale event in the past, she said, and it’s a treat to watch the children exploring the environment with the hands-on activities.

"It is just amazing to see it through the eyes of your children,” Bocek said.

Earth Week starts Saturday with an open house at the Waukesha Recycling Facility, 220 S. Prairie Ave., Waukesha, from 10 a.m. to noon.

With activities throughout the week, the fun comes to an end at the Retzer Nature Center on Saturday, April 27. Even with the icky weather in Menomonee Falls lately, the finale event will be held rain or shine.

“It doesn’t matter what the weather is,” Bocek said. “There will always be something to do.”

A full list of Earth Week activities can be found here. The only activity that has been canceled so far is Sunday’s canoe outing because of the weather. 

Earth Week Finale Activities (April 27)

Descriptions of the following events were provided by the Retzer Nature Center.

Jack Young Memorial Earth Watch, 5 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Experience nature’s beauty in a whole new way by volunteering for Earth Watch. You’ll observe the often unnoticed activities of the birds and animals of Retzer during your 2-1/2 hour shift at one of our observation sites. Equipment is provided for watching and identifying the many beautiful creatures of the wild. Register by April 24.

Family Bird Watch, Groups depart at 9, 10, 11 a.m. - meet by main entrance

Join Retzer Naturalist Larry Kascht for a bird watching adventure. Learn how to participate in this fascinating & fun activity through a guided tour of feathered wildlife. This program includes a half-hour discussion and a half-hour hike on wooded and open areas on gentle terrain, near the building. No need to register.

Family and Children's Activites, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Kids of all ages will enjoy a variety of crafts and activities exploring the mystery surrounding our changing climate. Create a Litter Bug out of recycled items, go on a “Climate Mystery” Scavenger Hunt, start a garden to take home, and have fun creating cool crafts with everyday items found around the house.

Compost – Turn Your Green Into Gold, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

Join UW Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, as they show you the perfect recipe for creating the best compost to be used in your garden beds. 

Container Gardening, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 pm.

Spruce up your landscape as UW Extension Master Gardener/Volunteers show you how to grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs in containers.

Family Photo Spot With Patch, noon to 3 p.m. 

Meet the editors of the Waukesha County Patch sites and get a free group photo so you can take your memories home with you.

Volunteer Opportunity, noon to 3 p.m., ages 14 and above.

Join Retzer staff in this worthwhile volunteer project of invasive species removal or spreading wood chips on trails. Call (262) 896-8074 to register by Saturday, April 20.

Wiggle With Worms, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. 

Children will learn another great method of recycling – composting! We will talk about nature’s ultimate recyclers, worms, and vermicomposting. Children will be able to touch, learn about, and feed our worms as well as find cool “decomposer” bugs. Make a recycled, biodegradable seed pot that they will plant to take home! We will challenge children to learn about all items that can be recycled and actions everyone can take to become more environmentally-friendly at home!

Trees and Wildflowers Hike, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., meet by main entrance

Enjoy this guided hike on trails in wooded and open areas on moderately hilly terrain.

Family Concert by Tom Pease, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Music to get the whole family singing and dancing.

Campfire Songs and Smores, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Magical Mystery Tour, Guided Twilight Hike Into Brown’s Fen (7:15 p.m. to 9 p.m.)

This nature area features frogs and peepers, woodcocks, coyotes, and constellations. Enjoy your own treasure hunt! This hike is on very hilly terrain, in twilight and darkness, so bring your flashlight. Recommended for older children. 

“Cosmic Colors” at the Planetarium, 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Sit back and enjoy how colors display their personalities. See how scientists use the vast wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum to study the mysteries in deep space.

Earth Day Planetarium programs are presented FREE to the public to coordinate with Retzer’s Earth Day celebrations. Tickets for each show will be available starting at 8 a.m. at the Planetarium Ticket Office. Space is limited, so arrive early.

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