PhenoCulture Wisconsin, LLC can help make the most of your property- no matter how small
RiverLab Outdoor Education Area
This area is approximately four acres across from Riverside Middle School and has about 900 feet of river shoreline
Peter has been involved with keeping this property 'undevoloped' since 1991
RiverLab is now endowed with a lovely ~75’ x ~200’ native prairie installation
We are currently pursuing permission with the city and fire department to allow a controlled burn of the prairie
Without this vital step in prairie maintenance, the prairie ecosystem is incomplete
The middle school construction class built the 8'x 8' boardwalk sections and pylons
RiverLab's 150’ boardwalk through wetlands hosts an observation deck
and bench seating for 60 all built without using school district funding
Students investigate the telltale signs that beavers have moved into the area
RiverLab has also become the nesting site of returning sandhill cranes
This four acre parcel was slated to be sold off for revenue in a struggling district. We were able to save it by creating an outdoor classroom. Now students can explore, observe wildlife within the city limits and learn the importance of stewardship
Wetland areas like this provide so much more than recreational - or even learning - space
These lowlands help control flooding in the city by giving rising waters a place to go and hold onto that moisture in times of drought
This particular wetland is fed by virtually every storm drain on the school property and that water is naturally cleaned by cattails, river willow and other native species
Tapping trees to make syrup leads to a little 'tree hugging'
Sipping rainwater from a nasturtium leaf and inadvertently learning about nanoscience and the lotus effect
Most kids benefit from being outside and connecting to nature is even vital for some
The photo on the right are seedlings started from a student's apple core. This boy consistently refused to do any work in school
We included this photo because this simple act of growing plants was so important to him that he became more engaged with school
Outdoor learning is another facet of education that is incredibly important and too often overlooked
Recent Google Earth screenshot of the boardwalk
The bench area and some of the prairie
Aerial view of the RMSG
We developed a more formal sitting area in our 7000 square foot garden, complete with a 10'x 20' pergola and Leopold benches
As part of a summer school course called "How to be a Localvore", we offer small group tours of our gardens
*Homeschooling groups and other groups are welcome to set up a tour
We teach students how to make pickles, sparkling lemonade, pesto - and we top it off with a nice snack of grilled zucchini
One of the things that Peter Watts is known for is his uncanny sensitivity to the changing seasons
As the temps drop, he yearns for the woods and fields while when the spring begins to show its impending arrival, he can found in the gardens, anxiously getting his hands in the soil
Peter has a spiritual, careful and respectful approach when among natural things and hunting
Peter is willing to consider mentoring you and/or your young outdoors-person on a limited and selective basis
"Peter is a man of the forest and earth. He exudes the strength of earth. He is my favorite "dirty hippie"- and I mean that in the best of ways. He is a man who walks the walk. No pretense. And of course, he is a teacher. He teaches with almost every action he takes. He is sensitive to others emotions and troubles. He is quick to pick up on energies. He is an ethical person. He's also very funny and lighthearted. He understands the importance of humor. Peter respects intelligence and seeks to learn new things."
Peter often comes home with no game and he replies, "That's why it's called hunting not shopping."
The woods and fields offer so much more than bringing home food because life's mostly about the journey
Nature's bounty and beauty is something to be cherished and respected
Scouting is essential to getting to know the land - using all of our senses
Peter offers tobacco to the land and those that dwell there which is the way he was taught
The act of offering acknowledges Nature and the Spirit that provides everything we need
Offering kinnickinnic is a humble demonstration of reciprocation
Peter has almost been stepped on by deer and they often were never the wiser
It's important to leave the land in a better state than when we found it
Two does battling it out in April
Being outdoors should be a sacred experience
In Peter's worldview, hunting and fishing is, in no way, a sport
When offered "The Gift" Peter usually takes it
Hunting is about sustenance and not about getting the biggest rack
Peter is primarily a bow hunter of whitetails and he fulfilled a bucket list item- canoeing to the hunt and returning with 'The Gift'
"Peter is a hunter. He hunts for the goodness and love in all people. Peter hunts for a better future and, consequently, he teaches others in order to achieve that end. Peter hunts the other worlds so as to improve this world. Peter is the kindest and most true hunter of animals that I have ever seen."
Preparing hides and cleaning the skulls are only one part of a philosophy of using as much of the animal as possible
"What I love most (of many things) about Peter is the natural, feral, wildness of his connection to the earth and respect for the Mother. His way of being a man in the context of family and tribe awakens in me a longing for a more direct and organic connection to animal nature. I see it in him strongly. His patience in hunting is also inspiring to me. For him, what is hidden to others is plainly visible and a very old thing in him has never lost its way."
Some people will never 'get' placing European mounts on a wall
For Peter, it keeps the hunt experience alive and he offers his thanks and gratitude every time he looks at them
When one has taken a life, which should NEVER be easy, it makes that prayer of thanks before our meal ever the more meaningful
Humans are animals and therefore must kill to survive- even a vegan must take life to live
Another philosophical position is that if you eat meat, then at some point in your life you should hunt for your food, field dress your harvest, drag that animal home, butcher that animal and feed your family
Only then will you truly know the sacrifices that are made to provide us sustenance
"The extent of Peter's humanness is that if you pinch him he'll yell. Otherwise, he is a multi-realm Warrior Being who speaks the language of the forest. He sees with the eyes of the medicine man, his ears are of the animal kingdom, his feet are winged, his heart belongs to Earth. He is an artist, a creator and an Investment Banker in the futures commodity. (teacher of children). His intelligence is sharply honed and reliable. Peter is one of the few people I know who is humble but shouldn't be."
Feathers from wild turkey harvests were used to make this feather cloak
"Peter Watts is an improbable man. His connection to the earth is forged in blood-- his as much as any. He is a Warrior Poet wielding a *bat'leth* of honor and passion. He is one of the precious few for whom the earth's siren song is so loud as to be overwhelming; he is as likely to be swallowed by a rolling hill as he is to climb over it. And though he may venture deeply, he does so knowing that he will not forget. He is a man who does not fear passionately embracing what his heart tells him is right."