Naturalist Corner: Alex and Summer Storms

Thunder and lightning can be scary!  Summer Teaching Naturalist and Outpost Naturalist Alex reassures us on how Upham staff manages unexpected Summer Storms:

Ever since I was young, I’ve always had the mentality that the summer camp experience is never fully satisfied until you have a storm come through: hearing the rain drops pound on the cabin roofs or seeing what wild shadows the lightning can make. But what happens when the weather makes it dangerous to be outside?

Here at Upham Woods, we always look at weather first thing in the morning (with a cup of coffee) and it’s one of the last things we look at before we go to sleep. Of course a little bit of liquid sunshine won’t stop our programming and adventures, but if a storm cell looks pretty strong, we have an action plan that keeps everyone onsite safe and calm. When we want to know if a storm headed our way is severe, a great resource for us is the Juneau County Sheriff’s office or the Wisconsin Dells Police Department; they will contact us to let us know if our area is under a weather alert. The most common weather in the summer months is lightning storms. If we hear any trace of thunder or see lightning rolling in the distance, we stop all activities for 30 mins from the last thunder clap was heard and bring everyone indoors to the Lodge.

As an Outpost Naturalist who takes groups of youth and adults to different state parks, dealing with severe weather is a bit of a different story.  and the naturalist with the group is in full connection with Upham Woods to check radar. All of the state parks that we camp at have shelters in place for severe storms, but if a storm cell looks like it will be too severe to just hunker down, we bring our outpost group back to Upham Woods and stay safe in our dormitory.

If you’re ever wondering what the weather is like here at camp, feel free to check out the radar for Wisconsin Dells at  But not to worry, Upham Woods staff takes weather very seriously!