The Driftless Region

Map-of-Minnesota-Wisconsin-Iowa-Driftless-AreaA member of the HDT team recently relocated to the Winona, MN area and took Happy Dancing Turtle with her! We are excited to be extending our reach into a second location – the Driftless Region. Nora will be working to fulfill our mission in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. She will be promoting sustainable living through a variety of outreach and educational activities. You can follow our Driftless Region activities on our Facebook page.

Why Driftless?

The Driftless Region is an area of southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa, and northwestern Illinois that was untouched by glaciers during the last ice age. This means it was spared from glacial erosion and is free of the glacial drift (sediment deposits) that were left behind to cover much of the rest of the Midwest during the last glacial retreat. This area lays claim to an incredibly diverse topography, bountiful natural resources, unique and important ecosystems, and a high concentration of organic farms. We are excited to build our connections as we extend our outreach in this area of the Midwest!



Programs in the Driftless Region 

Located in Trempealeau:

leaf-artNature Club - First Thursday of the Month - 3:00-4:30pm - HDT Driftless is offering a once a month after-school club in collaboration with the Trempealeau Public Library. We'll learn about plants, animals, and the rest of the environment through a variety of activities, games, STEM challenges, books, crafts, and more! More importantly, kids will also learn how to be good stewards for the natural resources we learn about! 

There are numerous benefits to time spent outdoors and playing in nature. We will try our best to spend part of EVERY class session outside, no matter the weather! Please make sure your child is prepared for the weather! Meet at the Trempealeau Public Library. 

Remaining Dates in the 2018-2019 School Year: April 4, May 2 



Terracycle Drop-off at the Trempealeau Library - During Library Hours 

We are partnering with the library to launch a new collection program for personal care product and cosmetic packaging, as well as empty (and clean) squeeze snack pouches. Items include: any brand of kid's squeeze snack pouches and plastic lids; shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, and soap bottles and lids; hair spray (no cans) and hair gel bottles with lids and spray tops; and empty cosmetic products such as mascara tubes, lipstick tubes, eye pencils, eyeshadow cases, etc. These items will be collected for FREE with permanent bins at the library. Happy Dancing Turtle will periodically empty them & ship off the contents for recycling. 



Located in Winona: 

Programs at the Winona Public Library 

Nature Knowledge with Nora - Great for children ages 6-10 

Water Warriors - Thursday, March 14th, 1:30-2:30

World Water Day is coming up on March 22nd and we're celebrating (a little early) at the library! Join us to learn why water is so important, how our water becomes polluted, and things we can do to become "water warriors" - helping to take care of our water resources on this planet! We'll tell an interactive story about Freddy the Fish as he journeys down river from his home, do a water experiment, and learn just how much water it takes to make some of the items we use every day! 

Sprouting Spring Seeds - Friday, April 19th, 1:30-2:30 

Spring is a time for new growth for plants. But how does a plant start to grow? How does a plant spread its seeds? How come seeds have so many different shapes and sizes? Join us to learn all about seeds and plant growth! Kids' plant knowledge will be challenged as they work through a seed germination puzzle, do a seed sort to match seeds to the plants they came from, and learn about seed dispersal. We'll plant seeds in baggies for kids to take home and watch them sprout, and read a short story about who plants seeds out in nature. 

Bug Bonanza - Friday, May 10th, 3:00 - 4:00 

As spring returns, so do many of our insect friends! Where do bugs go in winter and why are bugs important? Join us to find out! We'll get an up close look at some interesting bugs and find out which ones are helpful, which ones are harmful, and why we need to help some of our bug friends survive! We'll end the class by crafting our own wild bug creation & creating a habitat to take home for some of our special pollinator helpers! 

 Adult Enrichment 

Reducing Plastic in Your Everyday Life - Monday, April 22nd, 4:00-5:30 

Plastic has become engrained in our everyday lives - its uses have become endless. How did we get to this point? Join us to learn a brief history of our plastics use, our current rates of production, and why this is problematic. During this class we'll discover the impacts of plastic pollution on the environment, discuss some of the health concerns with using plastic products, and learn a variety of tips & tricks for reducing plastic in your home & life. 


Programs through WAPS Community Education

Making Bird Feeders with Everyday Recycled Materials (All Ages) - Thursday, March 21st, 6:00-7:00pm, Winona Middle School - Room 260  

Get ready to feed the hungry birds during spring migration! You don't have to buy an expensive feeder to bring birds into your yard. We'll take common, everyday recycling items such as tin cans, cartons, and milk jugs, and turn them into feeders for our feathered friends! Go home with new knowledge about feeding birds. Children 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Price: $8.00. Register online here

Introduction to Geocaching (All Ages) - Saturday, May 11th, 1:00-2:30pm, Meet at the Fireman's Pavilion - Eastside Lake Park in Winona

Geocaching is the modern day treasure hunt that will help your family have fun together in the great outdoors! We'll learn the basics of geocaching and how to use a GPS device to find caches. Then we'll spend the last hour of class searching for hidden treasures at Lake Park in Winona! Please dress appropriate for the weather. $10 per family/group, each group gets 1 GPS unit. Children 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Register online here



Save the Date! Eco Camp is coming to the Driftless! 



We are very excited to announce that we will be partnering with the Winona Family YMCA to offer our Eco Camp program at their Camp Wenonah location this summer!  Nora has been running Eco Camps with Michelle in the Pine River, MN location for the past 5 summers. She is beyond excited to start a second location of camps in Winona, MN! 


Eco camp is a week-long day camp for children ages PreK-6th grade. We believe a passion for stewardship begins with cultivating a love of nature and being outdoors. We'll discuss a variety of environmental topics including plants, animals, renewable energy, water, gardening, composting, recycling, and how to be a responsible caretaker of our planet. Children will be engaged in environmental education through a variety of lessons, activities, games, stories, crafts, garden experiences, outdoor play, healthy snacks, and more! For a full description of the camp, make sure to check out the YMCA's Summer Program Brochure

2019 THEME

This year's camp theme for the Driftless Area is Planet Power Pals, a band of Minnesota woodland creatures who are fighting to save our planet! We'll help your child become a planet superhero by learning all about the earth and what they can do to help take care of it! Each age group will have a Planet Power Pal mascot. Note: Grades are the grade level your child will be entering in Fall of 2019. 


All camps are week long day-camps, running Monday through Friday.  School-aged camps run from 8:30am-4:30pm, and the PreK/K camp runs from 8:30am-12:30pm.*  Campers may be dropped off at the Winona Family YMCA starting at 8:30 and will take a bus out to Camp Wenonah, arriving at 9am. We will leave Camp Wenonah at 4:00pm and have your children back at the Winona Family YMCA for pick-up from 4:15-4:30pm. Registration is not yet open, but will be done through the Winona Family YMCA's registration process

 June 10 to June 14: Bear Brigade (3rd and 4th grade) 

 July 8 - July12: Raccoon Rascals (1st and 2nd grade)

August 5 - August 9: Rabbit Rangers (Pre-K and Kindergarten)*

August 19-23: Bat Battalion (5th and 6th grade) 



  T-Shirt Contest 

Each year, we host a T-shirt Design Contest for students in Grades K-12. Students can submit a design for our camp T-shirts that matches our theme; this year it is the Planet Power Pals (see above). Your designs should include a rabbit, a raccoon, a bat, and a bear to fit our theme! Designs should be a simple black and white line drawing (please, no color or shading) and should be on a design template! Be creative!

Entries are due by Friday, April 26! They can be mailed to the address below or scanned in a high resolution format to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. One winner from each grade bracket will be selected, as well as an overall contest winner.   Please read the full Contest Rules, which includes information about winners and prizes.  Good luck and have fun! 


Happy Dancing Turtle - Driftless Region 
67 West 5th Street
PO BOX 651
Winona, MN 55987

If you're looking for information about our 2019 Secrets of the Garden Eco Camp  at Happy Dancing Turtle's main campus in Pine River, MN, please click here




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