Outdoor Education

PhenoCulture Wisconsin, LLC can help make the most of your property- no matter how small

 

 

 

RiverLab Outdoor Education Area

This area is approximately nine 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 getting permission from 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 nine 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 leads to a teachable moment 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 learning area in our 7000 square foot garden, complete with a 10'x 20' pergola and Leopold benches

 


 

Classroom Extensions

As part of a summer school course called "How to be a Localvore", we offer small group tours of our gardens

*We'd love to host Homeschooling groups and other small groups

 

      

    

 

We teach students how to make pickles, sparkling lemonade, pesto - and we top it off with a nice snack of grilled zucchini

 


 

 

Outdoorsman

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 be found in the gardens, anxiously getting his hands in the soil

 

Peter has a spiritual, careful and respectful approach when among natural things - including 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 - "That's why it's called hunting, not shopping."

 

The woods and fields offer so much more than bringing home game because life's mostly about the journey not the destination

 

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 sacred tobacco to the land and to 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 his 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 memory of 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

 

If you eat meat, then at some point in your life you should hunt and kill 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."


 

 

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