Our Capital Campaign: Pathway to New Discoveries

Computer rendering of remodeled lodge and new nature center

Computer rendering of the remodeled Historic YCC Lodge and the new Discovery Hall, containing the new Nature Center.

Artist's rendering of the interior of the new Nature Center

The Discovery Center is proud to announce that we are getting close to our goal to raise funds for a year-round facility so we may connect more people to the outdoors in all seasons.

Our present lodge is not winterized and has no heating. Thus, our ability to provide on-campus programs from October through April has always been very limited. This campaign to renovate and winterize the lodge and add a new wing with exciting new facilities will profoundly expand our ability to provide year-round opportunities to connect people, nature, and community.

We embarked upon this effort in 2017 with a lofty $6 million goal. In the wake of COVID-19, we pared back to a more realistic $3 million goal, and we’re delighted to announce that we have met and surpassed that goal.

But now we have a new challenge. With rising costs in these unprecedented times, the bid for our Discovery Hall addition came in far higher than budget. We are taking a hard look at cost-cutting measures and will be rebidding the project this fall, but we still anticipate a need to raise an additional $800,000. With help from Discovery Center reserves (keeping a healthy cushion) and additional contributions from board members, we have already cut this amount in half.

Here’s our new challenge as of July 15, 2021: raise an additional $400,000.

Just imagine the impact an exciting new nature center with interactive exhibits will have in bringing people to a greater understanding of their environment. We already serve as one of the key resources in the entire region with our outstanding programs, diverse trail system, our Nature Nook, Playscape, educational gardens, and more. With new all-season capacity, increased residential and volunteer opportunities, as well as expansion of our educational and ecological services, we will be more capable than ever of bringing people closer to our beloved Northwoods.

On this page, you will find links to much more information on the campaign’s programmatic, building, and financial plans.

2021 marks the Discovery Center’s 25th year. Please join us in fulfilling our longtime dream by making a pledge or donation today. In so doing, you’ll help us reach our second, equally important goal of securing at least 500 donors.

Thank you to the over 559 individuals, couples, groups, businesses, and organizations that have donated to the Capital Campaign so far. We are so very grateful to you all.


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Our Mission

Our mission is to enrich lives and inspire an ethic of care for Wisconsin's Northwoods, through the facilitation of connections among nature, people and community.