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.

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.

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

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 have pared back to a more practical $3 million that still enables us to fulfill our vision.

Recently, a generous donor gave us an exciting challenge: raise $800,000 and begin construction by July 2021 and he will provide the final $600,000. Together, as of May 5, 2021, the Discovery Center board and staff and more than 212 other donors have already pledged or donated more than $2.1 million. Now we need your help to raise an additional $296,000 to take us to the finish line.

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 a letter from John Heusinkveld, our executive director, detailing our future vision. John brings a career’s worth of service in Wisconsin nature centers and endless passion for ecological protection, hands-on learning, and outdoor recreation. His leadership guides us to a future both bright with possibility and grounded in experience.

Also included here is our amended Pathway to New Discoveries campaign plan, with updated building and financial plans to renovate the Lodge and add a new Welcome & Learning Center. You can see the site, building and Nature Center renderings here. We have revised the facility plan, yet our mission is more necessary than ever. Together we pledge to do our part to preserve and protect Wisconsin’s magnificent Northwoods.

2021 will mark the Discovery Center’s 25th year. Please join us in fulfilling our longtime dream by making a pledge or donation today.

Make a donation

Please be sure to type "Capital Campaign" into the text box on the next page when making your donation. This ensures that your donation is applied to the building campaign.


New! Watch our video by clicking the image below.

Link to video about the Capital Campaign


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.