Rudolph Environmental Center
Newman Catholic Schools’ Outdoor Classroom
Location: 3113 Mallard Court, Weston, WI 54476
See Map Below
Mission: The Rudolph Environmental Center (REC) exists to provide Newman Catholic Schools and neighbors a place to appreciate God’s beautiful natural resources through outdoor education, recreation, and conservation.
An ideal setting for an outdoor classroom, the REC is thirty-three acres of diverse topography, flora, and fauna. From bottomland, flood-prone forest, marsh, and oxbow to dry, upland and field areas, students can explore many of the biological and physical processes that occur all over Wisconsin. Opportunities to help control invasive species and monitor deer overgrazing provide Newman students with important immersion into real problems. Conservation clubs at both the High School and Middle Echool, elementary classes, and Eagle Scout candidates have all provided projects to enhance the land and learning opportunities.
Mid-1800s – Logged as part of the Great Wisconsin Cut-Over to help build Chicago and St. Louis.
Early to mid-1900s – Part of Rudolph family farm. Grazed by cattle. Rail line brought lumber from Eau Claire River Mills through current property heading south.
1970s – Red pine plantation started.
1995 – Donated to Wausau Area Catholic Schools by Priscilla Rudolph and family.
1998 – Property was visited by former Newman science teacher Stephen Schmidt for the first time.
1999 – REI donated lab services to check water and sediments for toxins. Property cleared for use.
2000 – School Forest Steering Committee formed. NCHS and NCMS Conservation Clubs (CC) formed by Steve Schmidt and Dev Quandt.
2001 – Environmental Education plan written with WEEB grant funding. Forest dedication by chaplain Father David Olsen with Priscilla Rudolph in attendance. This was her last visit before her passing a few years later.
2002 – Forest officially named the Rudolph Environmental Center (REC).
2003 – Forest use policy established.
2004 – Shelter completed and composting toilet installed.
2005 – Forest Management Plan completed.
2006 – Several invasive species identified including buckthorn, honeysuckle, and gypsy moths.
2008 – REC becomes a state certified community/school forest.
2012 – Eighty watt photovoltaic system with inverter installed by Steve Robison and Bryan Skzcrpchak.
2013 – Mary Wagner, teacher at NCES-St. Mark honored as Wisconsin School Forest - Educator of the Year
2015 - Timber harvest
2017 - Don's Delight Memorial Trail Guide by Dev Quandt and the Rudolph family
List of Eagle Scout projects
2001 - Chad Giles cleared a 0.4 mile trail loop and laid wood chips.
2001 – Kyle Plautz built a swinging gate for the path into the field.
2003 – Jeremy Hoffman built the first REC sign with map, numbered trail markers, and printed trail guide.
2003 - Luke Johannsen built and mounted 10 wood duck houses.
2003 - Mark Romportl built picnic tables and placed trash cans.
2004 - Dustin Heinrichs completed the shelter.
2005 – Alfonse Dreschler completed the ramp to allow wheelchair access to the building area.
2005 – Matt Dalsky built a flower bed and placed the sign at the entrance to the REC.
2006 - John Dolde (Great grandson of Priscilla Rudolph) built the bridge connecting the ‘island’ to the rest of the bottomlands.
2009 - Nick Cornell completed a fire pit and amphitheater at the south end of the field.
2010 – Adam Hoffman completed the gravel steps from the field to the building. His family also put a fresh coat of paint on his older brother’s 2003 project.
2011 – Andrew Dushek organized a buckthorn control project. Scouts and NCHS football team pulled thousands of seedlings and small saplings between pond and marsh.
2012 – General Maintenance & trail work.
2016 - Justin Thums built and placed 10 Leopold benches.
2018 - Matthew Beck resurfaced the trail with bark chips.
2019 - Nick Thums built a dozen wooden duck houses.
2020 - Sam Beck is currently working on building a St. Mary adoration area.