Our Capital Campaign: Pathway to New Discoveries


For twenty-five years, the Discovery Center has connected people to the natural world through bog hikes and waterfall tours, lake level monitoring, and bird banding. By foot, canoe and snowshoe we help youngsters and adults alike explore, interpret, and learn. The Northwoods is a magical place in all seasons; however, our most limiting factor has always been our lack of year-round facilities. That’s what Pathway to New Discoveries, our capital campaign is all about.

Already the campaign has enabled us to complete the winterization of our historic YCC lodge, combine existing cabins with bathrooms for year-round residential use, and provide an excellent working environment for our invaluable staff. Now the time has finally come for us to realize the campaign’s showstopper, Discovery Hall. This addition will feature classrooms for education programs, a welcome center to engage visitors, and an interactive nature center to inspire a true connection with the outdoors. Along with our other improvements, the Discovery Hall will allow us to create a stronger foundation for the next generation of environmental stewards.

We pledge that all of our planning, construction, and continuing operations are being undertaken with one overriding goal: sustainability. From our all-geothermal heating and cooling system to our runoff capturing rain gardens to our use of local, sustainable materials, we are doing our utmost to provide leadership in sustainable design and performance to further the Discovery Center mission and as a model to the community. You can read much more about our sustainable features here.

Campaign Update

Updated July 7, 2022 :

Discovery Hall, our showstopper new building and the hallmark of our capital campaign, is under construction, its foundation complete and slab being poured as we speak. Featuring classrooms for education programs, a welcome center to engage visitors, and an interactive nature center, Discovery Hall will inspire in young and old alike a true connection with the Northwoods outdoors.

Our programs are building, too. Already, our renovated and geothermally heated and cooled historic YCC lodge is housing year-round nature based education classes and community networking eventsOur newly winterized cabins sport bathroom and shower connections to house groups in rustic comfort. And, just as important if a bit less glamorously, a new septic system accommodates our increased capacity. In true Discovery Center fashion, the septic field will be transformed into a profuse pollinator garden.

Perhaps most important of all, our staff is building too. A new water programs coordinator, naturalist and six summer interns are doing important work in aquatic and terrestrial invasive species and teaching kids to become the next generation’s Northwoods stewards. A facilities and volunteer coordinator and assistant maintenance director are integral members of the team ensuring classes and groups have optimum experiences.

All of these building blocks exist only because of you. At last count, our generous donors have raised more than $3.8 million for Pathway to New Discoveries, our capital campaign. Click here to view our Capital Campaign donors!

With rising costs and additional requirements from governmental review, we still need to raise $200,000 to complete our campaign. We urge you to donate or pledge now. If you’ve already given, please consider an additional gift or pledge. New naming and sponsorship opportunities are available here!

Thank you for making the Discovery Center a vital organization preserving and spreading Northwoods values and bringing people closer to nature. The core work of the Discovery Center has never been more important.  Exposure to and connections with nature yield not just knowledge, but also a better-informed citizenry more capable of addressing the critical environmental issues of today and for decades forward.

Support the Campaign

If our mission and development plan have touched your heart we encourage you to demonstrate your dedication through support of our campaign. We will accept and appreciate both donations and written pledges to help us meet the challenge.

You may choose a naming opportunity, sponsorship item, or a general donation to the capital campaign fund to express your commitment.

See Naming Opportunities and Sponsorship Items.

Whether or not you choose to avail yourself of this opportunity, we want to express our sincere thanks for helping the Discovery Center realize its 25-year dream of truly being able to connect people with nature year-round.

Words from our Donors

Make a donation

Please be sure to type where you would like your donation applied into the text box on the next page when making your donation. This ensures that your donation is applied to the correct fund.

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.