Racine Community Foundation



The REC Center


The Root River Environmental Education Community Center (REC) was founded in 2008 as a partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the City of Racine.

Serving local residents, families, students, and youth groups, the REC seeks to promote appreciation, positive interaction, and responsible stewardship of the Root River and surrounding land (watershed) by providing residents and visitors with educational and recreational opportunities.

In addition to offering kayak and canoe rentals during the summer season, the REC also hosts environmental education workshops for families, private events, and school field trips.


The REC is opened seasonally beginning the first week after Memorial day and ending the last week of September. We schedule private bookings on weekdays and evenings.  Events and equipment rental are weather permitting.

Regular hours:  Saturday + Sunday  |  10am - 4pm


Laura Schulz
Environmental Education Manager

262-595-2912  |  262-818-4200*  |
*Call during regular hours only

Rates + Hours

Individual Pass:    $50
Family Pass:    $90 (4 members)

Education center:     $25 per hour
Center + equipment:    $75 per hour

Kayak and canoe pricing


Seasonal Activities

The Root River Voyagers
Held on Saturday mornings during the summer from 10-11:30am, this environmental program is designed for community members ages 9 and up. Sessions cover the basics of kayaking, canoeing, and  environmental education topics including rain gardens, and water chemistry.

Environmental Explorers
Middle school age scientists delve into concepts such as wildlife research, dissection, geology, and microscope discovery in this hands-on week-long camp. This program is run in collaboration with Parkside faculty and staff. Information + Registration

In the beginning of each school year, the REC, in partnership with Hawthorne Hollow, hosts and educates over 1,500 4th-grade Racine Unified School District students about the Root River watershed.

Make-a-Difference Day
The REC is a site for annual Make-a-Difference Day activities in late October. Participants assist with trash removal from the Root River and surrounding land, yard maintenance, and winterizing the REC facility. 

Root River Voyagers 2019
Root River Voyagers 2019
Environmental Education Program Series

Ages:  9 yrs and up  
When:  Saturday 10 - 11:30am  |  June 1-August 24
Cost:  One-time $10 registration fee
Registration:  Sign up at the REC during operating hours (Sat & Sun 10-4)
or email
Attendance:  It is not required for every workshop.

June Voyage: Gardening and Boating

June 1: Gardening and Registration – learn how to till a
garden bed, plant various vegetables, and how rain barrels
can be used to collect enough water to sustain a garden.
June 8: Watercraft Safety - learn the basics of watercraft safety,
including how to wear a personal floatation device (PFD), how to enter
and exit a boat, and how to handle various scenarios in the water.
June 15: Canoeing basics - learn basic strokes and steering. Canoe trip included.
June 22: Kayaking basics - learn basic strokes and steering. Kayak trip included. 

July Voyage: Plants, Dirt, and Bugs!

July 6: Invasive species - learn about invasive plant species
at the REC and remove them from the rain garden.
July 13: Entomology - learn and search for various bugs that
live around the REC and within the Root River.
July 20: Soil science - explore the basics of soil science and learn
about the importance of soil texture, color, and structure.
July 27: River biota - learn about river macroinvertebrates,
collect biota from the Root River, and view biota under a microscope. 

August Voyage: Water Quality and River Animals

August 3: Turtles - learn about turtles that inhabit the Root River through
an interactive presentation Elders in Armor. A tentative canoe
trip to search for turtles is included.
August 10: Birds – learn about bird life on the Root River through
an interactive presentation Our Feathered Friends at the REC.
A tentative canoe trip to search for birds is included.
August 17: Water pollution - learn about water pollution, identify pollution
sources surrounding the REC, use simple chemistry kits to
measure water pollution, and discuss methods to prevent it.
August 24: End of season canoe/kayak trip - celebrate the completion
of the summer voyagers program with a canoe/kayak trip.

Certificates will be awarded to participants!

Events + Adventure

Customize an event for your specific groups needs and interests. Some of the activities you can select are listed below:

  • Kayak and canoe tours
  • Invasive species education + removal
  • Volunteer activities
  • Watershed education
  • River animals programs
  • Raingarden workshops

Types of events community members have hosted at the REC:

  • Birthday parties
  • School field trips
  • Scouts badge workshops
  • Family outings
  • Summer camps
  • Youth programs
  • Corporate volunteer projects

If you are interested in planning a special event, please email or call to discuss specific needs, budgets, and reserve dates.


The mission of the REC is to provide community members with opportunities to explore the Great Lakes and connected ecosystems through recreation, education, demonstration, and research. 

City of Racine Logo

REC Environmental Center
1301 W 6th St 
Racine, Wisconsin
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