Natural Resources Education Center


Storm drain marking with youth 2015

Youth Storm Drain Marking

The Dane County Natural Resources Education Center(NREC) provides resources, equipment, expertise and training to area residents concerning many natural resource issues including water quality and quantity, land management, pollinators, and composting.  The Center is a network of local organizations coordinated by the Dane County Extension Office.  Training on water topics is provided by all sponsoring organizations.

Equipment Location and Access:

Currently following Wisconsin Department of Health Services, UW-Madison, and federal guidelines due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. The Extension Office is closed and equipment cannot be borrowed.  When the NREC resumes its operation, it will be noted on this site.

The Dane County NREC equipment and resources are housed at the Dane County Extension Office, 5201 Fen Oak Drive, Madison, WI 53718.


Users may pick up equipment at the equipment at the Dane County UW-Extension Office (part of the Lyman F. Anderson Agriculture & Conservation Center) by appointment.  NREC Brochure outlines the equipment and check out procedures.

Please reserve equipment at least two weeks in advance.


Equipment Available:       

*  Denotes training is needed prior to being able to use this equipment, contact Mindy Habecker for this.

Please read the following safety information before using any equipment.    NREC Safety Info Form

Additional information and resources can be found on citizen water monitoring at   Water Action Volunteer WAV monitoring

Chemical/Physical Testing Equipment

Dissolved oxygen*    Dissolved Oxygen Kit Care and Handling

pH*     pH Color Comparator Kit Care and Handling   

Nitrate (for both drinking water and surface water)*     Nitrate Test Kit Care and Handling

Water ecology test kits* (these measure the following: Free acidity, Alkalinity, Carbon Dioxide, Total Hardness,       Dissolved Oxygen, and  pH)

Phosphate Test Kit*    Phosphate Test Kit Care and Handling

turbidity measurement with hands

Measuring level of Transparency (Turbidity) Tube

Water transparency (turbidity) testing tubes (measures water clarity in streams)

Secchi disk  (measures water clarity in lakes and ponds)

Water sampling bottles

Bottom dredge

Biotic Monitoring Equipment

Aquatic nets (d-frame)

Plankton net

Collection basins (for aquatic macroinvertebrates)

Magnifying glasses

Seine net


Measuring stream flow

Soil Equipment

Soil sampling probes*     Soil Probe care and handling procedure 2016

Soil test kits for pH*

Soil sieves

Land Management Tools

biotic index kids ID bugs

Youth studying stream biodiversity

Parsnip remover (tool for removing wild parsnip tap root)



Handsaws and Shovels

Other Equipment, Models and Displays

Storm drain marking equipment    Storm drain marking instructions 2016

Hip boots (Hipboot care and handling procedure 2014)

Groundwater Flow Model*    GroundWater Model care and handling procedures

Carry Creek (stream model)*    Carry Creek Manual    Carry Creek care and handling procedure 2016 (revised)

Enviroscape (surface water flow model)*  Enviroscape care and handling procedure

Safety goggles

Home Composting Display      Home Composting Display Care and Handling Procedures 

Pollinator Protection Display    Pollinator Display Care and Handling Procedures