About 1000 Islands
1000 Islands Conservancy Zone was established in 1969, by the
Common Council of the City of Kaukauna. The purpose of this
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. The
Conservancy Zone now encompasses 350 acres.
In 1976 the initial building was dedicated as a Bicentennial
remembrance established by the City. Building was added to in
stages up through 2001.
The naturalist was hired in 1978.
The Environmental Center is administered by the 1000 Islands
Environmental Center Committee - consists of 9 Kaukauna citizens
appointed by the Mayor and Common Council.
The Center is staffed by the Naturalist and a part-time Business
Coordinator. They are aided by many volunteers. In 1997 the
volunteers worked 3,500 hours. The core of the volunteer group
comes from the Friends of the 1000 Islands, a support group whose
primary goal is to provide assistance and funding for special
projects and items necessary for the efficient operation of the
Center. Being a Friend makes you a part of the Center's efforts to
preserve this part of our natural heritage.
Original funding was through donations from private citizens,
businesses and organizations, and the City of Kaukauna.
The Center is now funded through the Kaukauna School District, City
and Outagamie County. Also much support comes from the Friends of
the Center, private donors and local industry. Thilmany has been a
large donor and supports the Center in many ways, including our
recycling program. All building additions were funded through
donations from both public and private sector through fund drives,
grants, bequests, and memorials. Endowment program was started in
1983 with a bequest of $25,000 from former teacher Evelyn
Other donations include birdseed and all kinds of food for
Animals and birds. Donations of furniture and fixtures to complete
finishing of rooms and buildings. Donations of materials, trees and
plants to renew tree areas, wild flowers, etc. Donations of labor
for building, maintenance and general upkeep and control of
buildings and property.
Major mounted animal collections are donations of Joe Van
Daalwyk - North American and Asian/African mounts including many
full mounts of species. Other collections that have been added to
our collection are donations of Asian/African and North American
mounts from John Barlow and Bob Juneau. Collections are housed in
the two last major building additions. There are also, displays of
arrowhead collections found along the Fox River.
Live bird displays include a talking parrot and cockatiel,
snakes, turtles, a trantula, gecko and live fish.
The conservancy zone now has 7.2 miles of trails. One mile of trail
along the river. It also has 2000 feet of barrier free boardwalk.
The hiking trails along the river have benches with wonderful views
to enjoy as you rest and relax. Cross country ski trails are in the
upper woods of the conservancy and provide recreation for hundreds
of skiers each winter. While walking, you may see eagles, deer and
a great variety of waterfowl and many birds of all kinds.
The number of visitors at the Center have gone from less than
10,000 in 1978 to the present count of 55,000 to 60,000 visitors
each year. 18,000 school children make this their field trip each
year. Programs for school groups led by the Naturalist consist of
Sugar Bush - making maple syrup: paper making program, Earth week
activities, spring wildflower hikes, birding hikes, eagle viewing,
and fall hikes in lower and upper woods. Scouts, senior citizen
groups and general public can enjoy any of these programs and more.
Canoe launch aids canoeing along the lower Fox.
Summer programs are organized for children of all ages, hikes,
picnics, and birdhouse building, fishing, crawfish and critter
hunts. Winter snow offers snowshoeing for all ages.
The Friends of the 1000 Islands sponsor an Art Fair each May and
many other fund raising programs to aid the programs at the
New projects and additions include a 4,000 ft. blacktop trail
which will make the wooded area more accessible to all, an
observation deck for eagle watching and more land as it becomes
About 1000 Islands ( Handout )
Appreciation of our natural environment is the primary reason for
the existence of the 1000 Islands Environmental Center. The Center
is here for students of all ages to enjoy passive and active
experiences while gaining new and ongoing appraisals of our local
The lower Fox River Valley is rich in Native American and European
American history. People were attracted to this region eons ago
because of its forests, abundand wildlife and fruitful rivers and
The 1000 Islands of the Fox River is a small but vital reminder
of northeastern Wisconsin's natural and historical heritage. We lie
within a major corridor of bird migrations that is known as the
Mississippi flyway. These traditional movements of birds which have
been taking place twice annually for thousands of years still
occur. From this vantage point bird watchers often monitor
population fluctuations of waterfowl, songbirds and predatory birds
as they travel north and south with the changing seasons.
Our location in Wisconsin, which is approximately at 46 degrees
north latitude, in addition to our relative location to the Great
Lakes, places the 1000 Islands within another significant occurance
called the tension zone. This is evident as an irregular band
across the north central tier of states in which northern and more
southernly species of plants and animals co-mingle. Within this ten
to twently mile-wide band certain species reach their normal limits
Center activities involve all ages and occur throughout the
year. A full-time naturalist is present to provide guidance for
students at all levels.
Formed by the Fox River and molded by time the 1000 Islands area
was home to several bands of Indians, who found fish, game and
shelter in abundance.
In 1969, the City of Kaukauna officially created the 1000
Islands Conservancy Zone by setting aside 240 acres of woodland and
The 1000 Islands Environmental Center was established adjacent
to the zone in 1976 as part of the City's celebration of the
In 1978, a full time naturalist was hired to conduct programs
and supervise development of the center.
The center continues to grow both in quality and services. Miles
of boardwalk trails have been constructed to provide access for all
individuals. Some of the trails follow deer paths and others wander
along the shores of the river.
1000 Islands offers many opportunities to enjoy nature:
- Hiking Cross country skiing
- Snowshoeing Canoeing
- Great blue herons, owls, bitterns, teal coot, ducks and many
migratory song birds Hundreds of acres of waterfowl nesting
- Nature Studies Butterfly Garden
- Chinquapin Oaks Whitetail deer herd
- Mink, muskrat, raccoon, and woodchuck
- Scenic overlooks
- Large display of North American, Asian and African mounted
- Spring Art Fair
- Pair of nesting eagles
- Fishing piers
Drop-In Nature Crafts
February 16th - 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Stop by the Environmental Center
for some fun take-home projects! Free for all ages. Please call to
register at least one week in advance.
Friends of 1000 Islands
The "Friends of the Center" is a non-profit organization whose main
objective is to provide assistance to the 1000 Islands
Environmental Center. This assistance comes through fund raising
projects, membership dues and volunteers who donate time and skills
to the Center. The purpose of the Environmental Center is to
promote the appreciation of and involvement in nature by people of
Some of the benefits offered to members of the "Friends"
- The newsletter called Cat-Tales which features articles of
interest to the whole family
- Special programs for members with visits to interesting nature
- Free use of snowshoes
- As a member, you are welcome to attend the "Friends" meetings
which are held the second Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at
- Members names are listed on the "Friends" plaque located in the
- Membership fees are:
- Adult $20.00 per year
- Family $30.00 per year
- Student $10.00 per year
- Senior Citizen $10.00 per year
- Benefactor $100.00
- Lifetime $100.00 per person
Please print, complete and mail this application or stop into the
Center for a paper copy of the application.
Enroll me as a "Friend of the 1000 Islands."
Here is my $ __________ for a _____________ membership.
____This is a new membership
____This is a renewal
City :______________________ State:______ Zip:_____
The Friends of the 1000 Islands Environmental Center
1000 Islands Environmental Center
1000 Beaulieu Court
Kaukauna, WI 54130
Moonlit Snowshoe Hike
February 7th - 6:00 PM. Enjoy the (almost) full moon while hiking
the trails. Snowshoes will be provided. Please arrive 1/2 hour
early if you will need assistance puttin gon snowshoes or for a
quick lesson. Free program for all ages. Please call to register at
least one week in advance.
April 25th - 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Wrap up your Earth Day
celebrations by helping to beautify the 1000 Islands Conservancy
Zone. Clean up litter, bark trails or help battle the invasive
species. Bring work gloves if you have them. Lunch will be provided
after the clean-up! Free program for all ages. Please call to
register at least one week in advance.
Webelos Scout Clinic
April 4 - 1:00 - 3:00 PM. Learn about forests and the outdoors as
you earn your Naturalist and Forester activity pins!
Pre-registration and $5/scout fee is required.
Wildlife New Year's Bash
December 31 - 10:00 AM. Help ring in the New Year with nature. Will
include games, crafts and lots of fun! Free for all ages. Please
call to register at least one week in advance.