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- MacKenzie Environmental Education Center [exit DNR]
W7303 County Road CS & Q
Poynette WI 53955-9690
MacKenzie Environmental Education Center
The MacKenzie Environmental Education Center (MEEC) is one of the most diverse environmental education centers in Wisconsin.
The 250 acre center has a variety of habitat types including prairie and forest land that is a wonderful place for; hands-on outdoor experiences, family outings and picnics. The center has many features including a live wildlife exhibit, self guided nature trails, museums, fire tower, large picnic area, lodge and dormitories and so much more!
The education center is located just 25 miles north of Madison and is an excellent place to visit and learn about the natural world around and experience outdoor education at its best! Admission is free to the general public but donations are greatly appreciated.
The MacKenzie Center is operated and managed by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF) through a unique partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Friends of the MacKenzie Center. All partners are committed to educating youth and adults about conservation and natural resource issues.
School and Group Programs
All of our classes include classroom instruction and field experiences.
At the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center, the experienced education staff offers classes to elementary and middle school students on a variety of environmental topics including, but not limited to: forest ecology, pond and stream life and wildlife.
All of our classes include classroom instruction and field experiences. We work with you to design a one-day or multi-day program to meet the educational needs of the students.
We also offer self-guided field trip opportunities on a daily basis to match school classroom instruction prior to and after your visits.
Check for availability, Reserve a time
Please phone us at 608-635-8105 or visit MacKenzie Environmental Education Center to learn more about our classes or to check for availability and reserve a time for your class. If you want to spend the night or more at MEEC, please call to schedule an on-site planning session.
Facility and grounds
Property map [PDF]
Hours of operation
The center's grounds are open daily from dawn until dusk. The wildlife exhibit and museums are open daily, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from the first full weekend in May through the last full weekend in October. They are open Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. November through April.
The MacKenzie Environmental Education Center is located on a 250-acre property near rural Poynette in Columbia County, WI. The center is readily accessible to people in south-central Wisconsin. Many of the trails and exhibits are handicap accessible.
The center has many exciting features.
- A wildlife exhibit that features live animals native to Wisconsin, including bison, bobcat, deer, mountain lions, gray wolves and many raptors including a bald eagle. All of the animals in the exhibit were injured, orphaned or raised in captivity and cannot be released into the wild.
- An arboretum that includes more than 100 species of trees.
- Five themed nature trials that wind through 150 acres of forested land.
- A nature study pond.
- Prairies that are in various stages of restoration.
- An observation tower from which one can view the grounds and the surrounding countryside.
- A large picnic area with a pavilion and restrooms.
The facilities also include: a lodge building with a commercial kitchen that can accommodate 160 people; two rustic dormitories that can sleep a total of 80 people; a logging exhibit that features a 19th century log cabin and sawmill; three small environmentally-themed museums; and a maple syrup exhibit.
Partners in education
The MacKenzie Environmental Education Center (MEEC) partnership is comprised of three individual organizations: the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Friends of MacKenzie Center. Each partner brings knowledge and expertise in offering education opportunities to youth and adults. Together they provide "the best in outdoor education."
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is fiscally responsible for two full-time educators, one full-time facility repair worker and the operational costs associated with the education program. Management authority lies with the executive director according to the ten-year contract with the Department of Natural Resources.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources owns the 250-acre facility and is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure: water wells, septic systems and the heating and electrical systems. They also provide three full-time employees including the facility director and wildlife technician.
The Friends of MacKenzie raise funds to support education activities, pay a portion of the salary for one educator and award scholarships to schools for their visit to MacKenzie.