“Paddle the Pearls” On-the-Water Programs

Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and guidelines from Wisconsin Department of Health Services and UW-Madison, the programs listed in this website has been postponed until further notice. We will update these program offerings as the situation evolves. Thank you for your understanding.


We offer customized on-the-water educational programs for youth and adults within Lake Superior’s sheltered Fish Creek Estuary or other northern Wisconsin waters upon request and depending on staff availability.

Want an indoor experience?  Paddle down to the indoor estuary ed-venture below.

Paddle the Pearls: Fish Creek Estuary Ed-Venture

Take a leisurely paddle in a safe, stable double-seater kayak with a UW-Extension environmental educator to explore the sheltered Fish Creek Estuary located approximately 1/4 mile east of the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI.

Discover the history and ecology of these unique coastal wetlands and why they are called “freshwater estuaries.”  Learn about how issues, such as climate change, are affecting these wetlands and the cultures and communities that rely on them.  Explore what you can do to improve the stewardship of these resources.  No experience necessary!

Trips can be customized to meet special interests such as history/culture, birding, water science, and botany. A side trip to the Whittlesey Creek Estuary and National Wildlife Refuge is optional depending on wind and water conditions.

Consult the Paddle the Pearls Program Pre-Trip Fact Sheet for more details. A full trip planning packet will be sent upon program registration. Contact Cathy Techtmann-UW Extension Environmental Outreach Specialist at 715.561.2695 or cathy.techtmann@wisc.edu for more information and reservations.

Duration: 2.5  hours.  Cost: $10.00 person. For ages 12 years and above. Double seater kayaks, pdf’s, paddles, and instruction provided. No experience needed. Minimum group size= 6 people. Maximum group size= 18 people. Available June-September. Limited availability.
Interested in using our Fish Creek Estuary ed-venture curriculum? We are happy to share. Just click here to find it in our environmental education curriculum toolbox.


This indoor estuary ed-venture program is offered at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center and shown to your group in the Center’s theater. The video tells the story of Wisconsin’s Lake Superior freshwater estuaries from the perspectives of the people who cherish them.  Cost: FREE and available ‘year round or watch now using the video viewer below.   


Video produced by Cathy Techtmann, directed by Tom Notten and Brent Nottbaum – UW-Superior, and features Native American flute music by Frank Montano.