BLM partners with Wilderness Inquiry to bring outdoor classrooms back to Milwaukee
From Aug. 15-18, BLM Eastern States Northeastern States District staff participated in Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Canoemobile brings classroom learning outside in order to engage youth in science, history, geography, and ethics. It also creates pathways for them to pursue educational and career opportunities in the outdoors.
The Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile is a touring fleet of 24-foot canoes and a crew of trained outdoor educators who travel across the country to connect communities to their local waterways. Canoemobile serves more than 30,000 youth and adults of all backgrounds and abilities each year.
This year, Canoemobile was located at Lincoln Park on the Milwaukee River and Lake Shore State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan. The event brought public paddles to communities who have less opportunities to experience their waterways—reaching more than 152 youth and adults in Milwaukee.
A group gathers for instructions prior to heading out on the water. (Photo courtesy of Wilderness Inquiry)
Paddlers on their way out on the water at Lincoln Creek Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Martha Malik)
During the event, BLM district staff engaged with attendees, partners, and volunteers, and introduced them to the BLM’s youth programs. Staff first presented the Junior Ranger Program to both children and adults—swearing in nearly 60 people on site. They also introduced the Every Kid Outdoors Pass Program to partners, youth serving organizations, educators and attendees who were interested in learning more.
A group, including Lindy Nelson, Assistant District Manager for Natural Resources, gathers to take the Junior Ranger pledge at Lincoln Creek Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Martha Malik)
In addition to providing program education, BLM staff also facilitated discussions about cultural artifacts to make a connection between humans and the environment. The discussions focused on identification of the artifacts, where they were from and how they were used.
Before they set sail, BLM district staff helped prepare participants for their first experience in a canoe, including ensuring life jackets were worn properly and answering questions. BLM paddlers included Danielle Donkersloot, natural resource specialist; Lindy Nelson, assistant district manager for Natural Resources; Wes Willoughby, district archaeologist; and Martha Malik, public affairs specialist.
Canoemobile participants took to the water for hands-on learning. (Photo courtesy of Wilderness Inquiry)
The Canoemobile event demonstrated that waterways are more than just natural features— they are places of recreation, learning, and community building.
626 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 200
Milwaukee, WI 53202-4617
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