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 Nature Passport

Ringo Raccoon

Common Questions:

Wondering what to do with your children this summer? Are you looking for a family activity that costs nothing, has a variety of convenient locations, and is scheduled exactly when you want it? Do you enjoy the thrill of discovery and the fresh air?

Then, put on your adventurer's hat, get your eyes, ears, hands and nose ready for exploring, and begin your Nature Passport journey! Nature Passport is an outdoor self-guided family program at various environmental education sites throughout South Central Wisconsin. The Summer version is generally available Memorial Day through Labor Day. Winter Passport is available some years around winter break.


What Is Nature Passport?
Nature Passport is an educational nature "scavenger hunt" for children and parents. Explore Nature Net nature centers, parks and museums in the Dane County area at your leisure and, using your senses, record observations in your own Nature Passport. See if you can meet Ringo Raccoon's nature challenge this year!

Here are some general tips for explorers:

LOOK! Pick your favorite color and find five things in nature that color. Are some darker and some lighter? How many different shades can you find?"

TOUCH! Find 5 things that are: wet/dry, hard/soft, rough/smooth. In what other ways are they different? How are they the same?

SMELL! Snoop around and find 5 different smells. What do you think made them? Are some pleasant and others not? What other smells can you find?

LISTEN! Listen to the sounds around you and write about five of them. Which are natural? Which man-made? Can you figure out who is making the sounds... and why?

During your visit, stamp your Nature Passport to mark your adventures. Visit as many Nature Passport sites as you want!

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Nature Passport Includes

For Kids...          
Each child receives a special Nature Passport containing pages to draw and write about their amazing journeys at various Nature Passport sites! This year's theme also includes a "Movin' Mission" to encourage healthy, physically-active kids.

For Parents...
Look at the online
Parent's Guide for fun facts and explanations to help spark your kids' imagination and answer those big questions like: How do we see color? Don't forget to sign up for Nature Net's FREE Nature Net News, find us on Facebook and visit our blog to stay up-to-date on area nature events and activities!

    You provide family time -
we provide a fun way to explore and learn together!

"We know that this program is a winner!" comments Nature Net Founder and Executive Director, Kathe Crowley Conn. "It encourages children to explore and respect the natural world, promotes self-expression through writing and drawing, allows children to learn with their parents and siblings in a fun and non-threatening way, and makes everyone more aware of the wonderful free resources that our area has to offer."

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Where To Go

Nature Passport is a self-guided and unstructured program, providing you the opportunity to visit Nature Net sites at your convenience. If you have a specific question, please call each site directly for hours.

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How To Get Your Nature Passport

Getting your FREE Nature Passport is Easy!

1. Pick one up at any participating Nature Net site.

2. Request online (max 3 per request).

3. Download one here and print it out double-sided.

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Pasaporte a la Naturaleza

Ringo Raccoon

El pasaporte a la Naturaleza, es una guía gratuita de pistas para todos aquellos que quieran adentrarse al mundo de la Naturaleza. ¡De Montañas a Mariposas y de flores a fósiles, el Pasaporte a la Naturaleza te llevará a ti y a tu familia a un viaje divertido y educativo!

Todo lo que tienes que hacer para participar es tu Pasaporte y un espíritu de aventura. Obtén gratis tu Pasaporte a la Naturaleza en linea, en localidades de la comunidad o en cualquiera de los sitios participantes (busca el estante de “Nature Passport”).

Después visita uno (o todos) de los sitios Nature Net participantes cuando tu quieras durante el verano. Sella tu pasaporte en cada lugar al que vayas y usa tus habilidades de buscador para desenterrar los objetos de Ringo el Mapache. Después mándanos tu página de Ringo con los dibujos e historias de tus aventuras favoritas para ganar un premio muy chévere.

Los sitios participantes incluyen: Fundación Aldo Leopold, Centro Natural Aldo Leopold, Horizontes Bethel, Pantano Cherokee, Zoológico Henry Vilas, Fundación Internacional de la Grulla, Escuela Forestal Jackson, Centro Patrimonial de la Familia Lussier, Centro Educativo MacKenzie, Parques de Conservación de Madison, Museo del Niño de Madison, Jardines Botánicos Olbrich, Jardines Troy - un proyecto de Community GroundWorks, Arbolario de la Universidad de Wisconsin, Museo de Geología de la UW, y Bosques Upham.

El Pasaporte a la Naturaleza está disponible para las familias de Wisconsin a través de la generosidad de la American Girl’s Fund for Children. Nature Net es una red de centros naturales sin fines de lucro que promueve la educación al aire libre y el aprendizaje del medio ambiente haciéndolo sencillo, divertido y costeable. Las redes existen en seis diferentes regiones a lo largo del estado. Lideradas por el Centro Natural Aldo Leopold, la meta de Nature Net conectar a las escuelas y a las familias con los fabulosos recursos dentro de sus propias comunidades.  

Current availability limited/disponibilidad limitada.

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More About the Nature Passport Program

Nature Passport is a project of Nature Net: The Environmental Learning Network, a not-for-profit consortium of organizations serving schoolchildren, teachers, and families. Nature Net provides free resources to educators and parents. For more information, call the Nature Net Hotline at (608) 221-0404 x5. Nature Passport is made possible through the generosity of American Girl's Fund for Children.