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Program uses songs, puppets and humor to teach kids about conservation

One of my favorite memories from grade school: taking a break from our regular day of learning to gather in the gym and check out a fun presentation. I found out it's still pretty fun all these years later during my visit to a Kohl's Wild Theater production at the Frederick J. Gaenslen School in Riverwest.


Kohl's Wild Theater (KWT) puts on conservation-themed theater performances in schools, festivals and community events, free of charge thanks to a partnership between Kohl's Cares, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Through the use of music and song, puppets, fun storytelling and audience participation, KWT is spreading the message of conservation to the community during Milwaukee's colder months when traffic at the Zoo slows down.


For children with special needs, field trips outside of school can be difficult. "Some of our children have significant disabilities," says Joan Gozdziewski, Special Education Teacher at Gaenslen Elementary. "Now those children can enjoy a program that can come to us, because we can't always go out."

Joan says a conservation program like this is great. "They talked a lot about gardening and composting, I think that will teach our kids a lot. We have a student-garden in the back." Dave McLellan, the Theater Coordinator for KWT says shows are meant to be fun and participatory. "We have programs for younger audiences and middle school students," says McLellan. "It's fun to teach an important message about conservation."

Headed to the Zoo this summer? KWT performs shows 4 times a day, free with Zoo admission, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee