Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is a 76-acre urban nature reserve with habitats including forested wetland, cattail marsh, open water, created prairie, open field, and upland forest. Persisting despite the urbanization that continues to grow around it, the Reserve is home to numerous species of reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Migrating songbirds and waterfowl nest and feed in its protection.
The mission of HWR is to enhance, restore, and preserve the Reserve and educate all people in the importance of conserving our natural resources while promoting the Reserve’s many recreational opportunities.
The Nature Center
The 4,000 square foot Nature Center features a “Living Waters” exhibit with an indoor live wetland, and aquariums that are home to local fishes, crayfish, turtles, and snakes — surrounded by a display of mounted Wisconsin mammals and birds. Outdoor exhibits include a memorial butterfly garden and bird feeding area, as well as a pond, bog and stream complex. The Nature Center facilities feature a workshop/meeting room, a classroom amphitheater/Discovery Den, Solarium, and a resource library.
Three miles of trails, including nearly 4,000 feet of elevated boardwalks, provide access to the wetland habitat to all visitors to explore and enjoy bird watching, walking, photography, and snowshoeing in winter. Wagons and strollers are available for check out to increase visitor enjoyment of the hiking trails. Wheelchairs are available for visitors who may need assistance. Explorers Companions, backpacks equipped with exploration materials for the season, are available for checkout at no cost. Snowshoes are available in winter for a small fee. Please call to check on availability of rental snowshoes before your visit.
The HWR Board of Directors consists of volunteers who are members of our community with interest in the environment and education. A list of 2018 members of the Board of Directors follows: 2019 BOD Members
Tracey has been with Heckrodt Wetland Reserve since March 1998, first as a volunteer, then as Site Restoration Manager. Tracey became Executive Director in June 1999. She earned a BS in Biology/Geology from Bowling Green State University and an MS in biology/aquatic ecology from the University of Mississippi. Tracey is responsible for all executive operations at the Reserve as well as scout programs and adult tour groups. She is also responsible for site restoration and management.
Director of Fund Development
Chris joined the staff at Heckrodt in October 2018. Chris is a graduate of UW Stevens Point where he earned a B.S. in Natural Resource Management. Chris has worked in many related positions throughout Wisconsin.Chris is responsible for managing the comprehensive fundraising program for the Reserve, all donor support programs, and implementation of the strategic plan for the organization.
Director of Education
Luke started his career with Heckrodt in March 2008. Luke is a graduate of Iowa State University where he earned a B.S. in Animal Ecology with an Interpretation option. Luke has been working in the field of environmental education since 2003 in a variety of settings in the US and abroad. Luke is responsible for overseeing the entire education department and its day-to-day functions including leading the development and implementation of education, goals, and objective that advance the HWR mission.
Heather has been with Heckrodt Wetland Reserve since October 1998 first as a volunteer and then as a part-time educator. She became the full time Education Coordinator in May 1999. Heather is a graduate of Northland College with a BS in Outdoor Education with a natural history emphasis and has worked at several environmental facilities in the Midwest. She is responsible for all curriculum education programs at the Reserve including school and daycare programming, and HWR summer camps.
Naturalist / Early Childhood Specialist / Volunteer Coordinator
Andrea joined HWR’s staff in June 2011. Andrea is a graduate of University of Wisconsin – Stout (B. S. Early Childhood Education) and University of Minnesota- Duluth (M. Ed. Environmental Education). Andrea has worked in nature education in many settings including resident nature camps, girl scout camps, and Great Lakes Aquarium. Andrea is responsible for the early childhood and girl scout programming, supporting in-house environmental education, and all volunteer coordination.
Kelsey joined the staff at HWR in January 2013. Kelsey has an Associate Degree in Automotive Technology from Fox Valley Technical College and experience in construction and maintenance, and land and property management. Kesley is responsible for all aspects of property management including buildings and trails.
Natural Resource Associate
Emma joined HWR’s staff in July 2016. Emma holds an Associate Degree in Natural Resources from Fox Valley Technical College. She served as HWR’s habitat management intern for 2.5 years before becoming a full time employee in July 2016. Emma is responsible for developing and implementing the Reserve’s habitat management plan.