BIRCHWOOD — As an expansion to its Get Out There programming, Birchwood Public Schools added a community education component to its summer school options.

This summer as part of the Discover Wisconsin program, Birchwood middle school-aged youth explored the state and all that Wisconsin has to offer. With as many as three trips a week over a six-week period, adventures included fishing on local lakes, portaging canoes and taking river floats. They also took hiking trips to Levis Mound, Pipe Stone Quarry, Rock Creek Felsemer, Wisconsin Point, Amnicon Falls and Chester Bowl, and learned about the natural history of Wisconsin in authentic settings by being immersed into the local culture.

Discover Wisconsin, in its third year, was led by teachers David Lorentz and Amber Miller. The summer school program saw 14 students, twice as many as the previous year, participate in the statewide adventures.

The Birchwood Get Out There program began as an expansion of the school forest program that started in 1991 by Bill Cutsforth and Butch Johnson of Johnson Timbers. The program began as a way to teach students about forestry and outdoor skills. In 2014 it was revamped by Lorentz, Eric Rademaker and Adam Smith as a “Great Outdoor Day.”

The programming has increased each year with students from pre-K through 12th grade getting to explore the school forest as an outdoor educational classroom at least twice a school year. Get Out There days include guest speakers, horse rides, dog sledding, skiing, fishing and more.

Lorentz said the school is looking to grow the Discover Wisconsin program by offering a winter edition two days a week after school in January and February this upcoming year. Students will get to snowshoe, ski, practice winter survival skills and more. Those interested in learning more about the program can contact Lorentz ( or Miller (

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