About Us

1000 Islands Environmental Center provides the public 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 1000 Islands building you will find an array of 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 between 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.

History

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 7.2 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. 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 this their environmental field trip each year.

History Book Order Form (PDF)

Funding

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 former teacher, Ethelyn Handran. Contributions to this fund can be made through gifts, wills and bequests.

PDF Endowment Brochure

Staff

Debra Nowak
Director │ Naturalist
(920) 759-5673
dnowak@kaukauna-wi.org

Stephanie Feuerstein
Assistant Naturalist
(920) 759-5681
sfeuerstein@kaukauna-wi.org

Maureen Feldt
Administrative Assistant
(920) 759-5674
mfeldt@kaukauna-wi.org

Position Currently Open
Site Manager
(920) 759-5676

Governance

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

Current Committee Members:

  • Kymberly Carlson
  • Diana Driessen
  • Sue Gertz
  • Eric Hietpas
  • Deb Jakel
  • John Manion, Vice-Chair
  • Tom McGinnis
  • Penni Pautz
  • Paul Van Berkel
  • Stephanie Van Groll, 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.