Friends of Retzer Receive Donation From Local High School

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In December 2016 we received a wonderful donation to the Friends of Retzer Nature Center from Waukesha West’s Interact Club. They held a fundraiser and we were chosen as their recipient. A check for $1280 was presented to the Friends from Patty Corrao (advisor) and Waukesha West students. We were very surprised at such a generous donation and will be put to great use with continuing support of Retzer Nature Center.

Also pictured are Friends Board members: Jerry Strom, Lyle Drier and MK Kelly.

Planetarium Premiers New Video System

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For 39 years, the School District of Waukesha’s Charles Horwitz Planetarium has been using slides for its basic form of media projection.  This fall, at Retzer Nature Center’s Apple Harvest Festival, the planetarium will celebrate the beginning of its 40 year with the premier of a completely new digital sound and video technology.

This entire $330,000 project was made possible by the generous donations of the Friends of Retzer Nature Center, the School District of Waukesha and the supportive public and private fund-raising activities promoted by the “Friends of the Charles Horwitz Planetarium.”

The planetarium’s new equipment called Digistar-6, will be combined with a new 7.1 surround sound system to transform the planetarium dome into an incredible immersive experience for visitors. Digistar-6 consists of a high-powered “host” computer and four, high-resolution “graphic processing” computers.  The 4,000 pixel presentation is made possible by sending the rendered graphic images through two new laser-phosphor video projectors.

Without leaving their seats, audiences can now trek through a rain forest, climb the heights of Mt. Everest, explore the depths of the world’s oceans or experience the weightlessness of space.  Beginning in September, a new library of school and public programs will be available.  For a complete list of programs, please see Waukesha County’s Environmental Guide, or visit the Charles Horwitz Planetarium website:

Woodside at Retzer

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Shared by Woodside Elementary Teacher, Peter Dargatz.

The 2016-2017 school year marked the beginning of a creative collaboration between the staff and volunteers of the Retzer Nature Center and the nature kindergarten program at Woodside Elementary in Sussex. Over the school year,  eight experiences were split between the nature center grounds and the elementary school’s outdoor learning area.

Following the natural cycle of the seasons and connecting to the school’s curriculum, the students engaged in hands on experiential learning opportunities that built on prior lessons, culminating in a special nature celebration event in June where families were invited to the Retzer Nature Center to experience their child’s growth firsthand. Through parent surveys sent out by Woodside’s kindergarten team, the collaboration was very well-received by the families. Both staff at Retzer and Woodside look forward to not only continuing this collaboration, but hopefully expanding it as well.