About Us

1000 Islands Environmental Center provides the public with a place to enjoy our natural resources. Recreation is provided by the many miles of trails, which can be used for hiking and snowshoeing. Year-round educational programs teach children and adults the importance of the inter-relationships between them and the environment. Inside the Nature Center, you will find live animals, interactive educational displays, a Fox River arrowhead collection, native animals, a gift shop, and much more.

Mission Statement
To provide children, adults and families the knowledge and skills needed to build a sustainable balance among the environment, economy and community through education, conservation and recreation.

Inclusion Statement
Diversity of Nature. Diversity in the natural world creates balanced, resilient and productive ecosystems. Diverse plants and animals co-exist and complement each other while still maintaining their own identity. 1000 Islands Environmental Center strives to model nature through cooperative relationships creating a more diverse organization and aligning our programs, events and operational procedures to ensure everyone is valued, respected and belongs.

Strategic Plan

The 2023-2027 Strategic Plan was approved by the 1000 Islands Environmental Center on April 20, 2023 and received and placed on file with the Kaukauna Common Council on August 15, 2023. This plan will help guide the organization over the next five years. Details of the Strategic Plan can be found here.


The 1000 Islands Conservancy Zone was established in 1969 by the Kaukauna City Common Council and included 240 acres of woodland and river area. The purpose of the Conservancy Zone is to preserve the land in a natural state for the benefit of all citizens, with the idea of teaching good conservation practices and preservation of natural resources.

Original funding for 1000 Islands came from the City of Kaukauna, local businesses, organizations and private donations. Building additions were completed throughout the years with the last addition completed in 2001.

Currently, the Conservancy Zone has 350 acres including over seven miles of trails with a one-mile trail along the Fox River and 2,000 feet of barrier-free boardwalk. Trails are open year-round allowing for winter hiking and snowshoeing. Bald Eagles, deer and a great variety of waterfowl and birds of all kinds reside in the Conservancy Zone.

Visitors at 1000 Islands have gone from less than 10,000 in 1978 to over 60,000 annually. Over 18,000 school children from Northeast Wisconsin make 1000 Islands their environmental field trip each year.

History Book Order Form (PDF)


The Environmental Center is funded through the City of Kaukauna, the Kaukauna Area School District, Outagamie County, the Friends of 1000 Islands, local organizations and donations. An Endowment program was started in 1983 with a bequest of $25,000 from a former Kaukauna High School teacher, Ethelyn Handran. Contributions to this fund can be made through gifts, wills and bequests.




Sarah Ironside
Assistant Naturalist
(920) 759-5681

Brad Garrity
Site Manager
(920) 759-5676


1000 Islands Environmental Center Committee
1000 Islands is administered by the 1000 Islands Environmental Center Committee consisting of eleven members. Ten City of Kaukauna citizens, appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Common Council, and the President of the Friends of 1000 Islands make up the Committee. Meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM at the Nature Center and are open to the public.

Current Committee Members:

  • Kathy Breitzman
  • Jennie Eggleston
  • Eric Hietpas
  • Brian Hintz
  • Deb Jakel
  • John Manion
  • Penni Pautz, Chair
  • Paul Van Berkel
  • Charles West
  • Diane White, Vice-Chair

City of Kaukauna Committee Meeting Agenda & Minutes

If you are interested in becoming a Committee member, please visit the City’s website for more information and for a volunteer form.