The Welty Environmental Center, located in south-central Wisconsin near Beloit, is a year-round non-profit environmental center for children and adults to learn about nature through hands-on activities. During the school year, the center offers a variety of field trip programs for all grade levels from Pre-K to 12th graders. In the summer months, the center maintains a full calendar of events from volunteer days to day camps for families, kids, or adult/corporate team building experiences. The programs strive to stimulate interest in local, regional, and global
Weather plays a huge role at Welty, whether it be outdoor activities, camp programs, or simply planning for the turnout of visitors each day. Events often have to be rescheduled or canceled due to unfavorable or even severe weather conditions without much notice to the visitors and
The center installed an AcuRite Atlas™ with lightning sensor and Access™ for remote environmental monitoring. With real-time weather information reporting from this smart weather station located in a field adjacent to the main building, the camp counselors and center employees can plan or adjust their day based on the current weather information. The added safety feature of the lightning sensor allows the directors to cancel any outdoor activities when lightning is detected, as the sensor warns of any lightning within a 25-mile radius. Additionally, the UV and light intensity sensors help inform the center employees and visitors to stay protected from the sun, year-round.
The AcuRite Access™ device is used to pull the data from the wireless weather station. It is displayed on My AcuRite for weather monitoring tools such as graphing historical data and setting up severe weather alerts. This also allows for sharing the data with Weather Underground for use by the community and on a weather widget that can be placed directly on the Welty Environmental Center website. This way, everyone who is interested in visiting the center also can see the current weather conditions in real-time!
Not only did the station help with safety, the camp counselors and campers soon realized it was fun to be able to check the temperature outside. The data was representative of the real conditions because it measured right outside the main building in an adjacent field! Also, it was so windy one day, they simply glanced at the display and “Wow, it’s windy with 25 mph winds!”
Visitors love checking the data on Weather Underground before heading to the center. It’s a nice bonus that they weren’t expecting. One volunteer was hooked on the data; he bought the same AcuRite Atlas™ setup for his backyard!
While the program director has been busy with summer activities, in the fall, he hopes to plan more events around the weather station and weather data. He hopes to do a weather talk for adults that includes how to access the station data. He also has some ideas on doing a lightning presentation and possibly a program on climate change by presenting current data compared to historical data. The AcuRite Atlas™ at the Welty Environmental Center will help them incorporate more meteorology and climate study into their nature programs for camps and field trips.