Upham Woods celebrates 75th anniversary

Wisconsin State Farmer
Campers paddle down the placid waters of the Wisconsin River near Upham Woods Youth Learning Center.


Since 1941, generations of Wisconsin 4-H youth have created memories and enjoyed life-enriching experiences at Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center, operated by the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

The legacy continues, as friends and supporters of Upham Woods gather at the Center on September 18th for its 75th Anniversary Celebration and Open House.

According to Upham Executive Director Justin Hougham, the event includes tours, lunch and activities, as well as an opportunity to learn more about the Center’s programming. Cost of the event, which includes lunch, is $5 per person.  The event offers a nostalgic review of yesteryear as well as a glimpse of what the facility will offer future generations. Upham Woods supporters can be assured that thousands of young people will enjoy its treasures in the future.

A 4-H member uses technology to learn about the environment.

The event is the culmination of a year-long celebration of the Upham family’s contribution 75 years ago of this rich resource for youth development. More than half a million children and adults have benefitted from experiences at Upham Woods. The center serves as natural laboratory, a fresh air classroom and a place of discovery and curiosity.

It all began in 1941 when sisters Elizabeth and Caroline Upham donated 310 acres of wooded beauty, including undisturbed Blackhawk Island, to the University of Wisconsin to develop the Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center. The Upham’s vision for this corner of the natural world seems to mirror William Shakespeare’s sentiment, Upham Woods serving as a learning place where youth can find “tongues in trees, books in the running brooks.”

To mark Upham Woods’ 75th Anniversary this year, the Upham family has continued its legacy of generosity by issuing a matching funds challenge.  The family recently made a $60,000 donation to match funds already raised in honor of the 75th anniversary.

Upham alumni and other outdoor education enthusiasts who are unable to attend the open house, but would still like to make a contribution to support Upham Woods, contact the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation at 608-262-1597.

To attend the open house celebrating 75 years of 4-H camp, make your reservation by September 10 to, or call 608-254-6461 for more information.