Suppose you have a couple of free days between, say, April and October. Suppose you'd like to spend those days doing something a tad more fulfilling than, say, scraping old paint off the soffit or re-seeding that bare patch in the backyard lawn. You'd take those days and maybe learn something new. Perhaps you might step back to consider a problem in a different light, or ponder a question with knowledgeable companions who share your interest and concern. Then again, you might choose to simply revel in nature's beauty and marvel at the wonders of life unfolding all around you.
You can do any or all of these things on one or several of the 42 field trips offered by the Natural Resources Foundation this year. The foundation's goal is to bring you closer to the waters, wildlife and lands under the stewardship of the Department of Natural Resources and to introduce you to the people who manage, protect and preserve those resources.
If you're an early riser, consider joining a pre-dawn viewing of booming prairie chickens at Buena Vista Marsh. Curious about lake ecology? Take a pontoon tour of the Lake Mendota Priority Watershed Project, or a beach walk on the Lake Michigan shore to discuss fluctuating lake levels. Catch the prickly pear cactus in bloom in the dry heat of the Blue River Sand Barrens, or dip your paddle in the cool waters of the Flambeau on a guided river tour. Get tail-to-scale angling tips from someone who's really in the know – a fisheries biologist. Sample wild edibles, return to the site of the 1832 Black Hawk battle, look into the economics of mining and reclamation in Ladysmith...whatever your interest, there's sure to be a field trip to suit you.
Each trip is hosted by DNR staff who work in the field. Our naturalists, biologists, researchers and technicians look forward to sharing the natural world they know so well with you. Bring your questions and ideas – tour leaders will discuss problems, successes, and issues of future concern regarding their areas of expertise. There's a limit on the number of people who can attend each trip to ensure that all participants will have time to talk at length with staff. You'll also meet citizens actively involved in natural resources stewardship, like the Thompsons of Stevens Point, owners of the 1996 Wisconsin Tree Farm of the Year and the Jordans of Dodgeville, 1996 National Tree Farmers of the Year.
You can sign up for as many trips as you like, but all trips will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so please register early. Just fill out the registration form attached in the magazine. For each trip you're interested in taking, we'll need to know the trip number, the date, the number of people in your party, and a contact person with whom we can confirm reservations or forward directions.
If there is a fee listed for a trip, assume that it is a per-person cost. Trip fees can be paid by check, made out to the Natural Resources Foundation. Checks, donations, and reservations for trips with fees, should be mailed to: Field Trips, Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation, P.O. Box 129, Madison WI 53701. Should you have any questions about the trips, contact Barb Barzen, field trip coordinator, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at (608) 266-1430.
1. Prairie Chicken Booming at Buena Vista Marsh Friday evening presentation on prairie chicken behavior/ecology. Saturday pre-dawn observation of prairie chicken mating dance, followed by breakfast and discussion. WHEN: April 25, 7:00 p.m. - April 26, 11:00 a.m. WHERE: Central Wisconsin Environmental Station, Amherst Junction LEADER: Todd Knepfel LIMIT: 20 COST: $45
2. Sharptails, Pine Barrens, and Wetland Mitigation near Lake Superior - Any or All of the Above (a) Watch the pre-dawn dance of the sharptail grouse; (b) tour barrens areas in Douglas and Bayfield counties and discuss uses of state, county, and industrial forests; and/or (c) visit recently created/mitigated wetlands on red clay soils along Lake Superior. WHEN: May 3, (a)4:15 - 7:00 a.m., (b)8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., & (c)5:30 - 8:30 p.m. WHERE: Minong to Brule, Washburn & Douglas Co. LEADERS: Greg Kessler, Rick Weide LIMIT:20 COST: $10 for a and b; $5 for c
3. Tour of the National Tree Farm of the Year Donald & Rachel Jordan have managed 733 acres of hardwood forest for timber, wildlife habitat, research, and recreational uses. They will discuss timber stand improvement, logging, trails, stream water quality, walnuts and oaks, pruning, mapping, and more. WHEN: May 10, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. WHERE: Dodgeville, Iowa Co. LEADERS: Rachel & Donald Jordan, Jim Widder LIMIT: 30
4. Kettle Moraine and Blue Spring Oak Opening State Natural Areas Visit the largest oak opening restoration in Wisconsin, which contains state-threatened plants and scattered prairie remnants. Learn about oak opening ecology and restoration techniques. WHEN: May 17, 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Palmyra, Jefferson Co. LEADERS: Kristin Scheele, Mark Verhagen LIMIT: 25
5. Partners for Wildlife Program - Wetland and Grassland Restoration on Private Lands Bus tour of several farms where owners have restored wetlands and grasslands and seen a marked increase in waterfowl use of these areas. See restorations at various stages. WHEN: May 17, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. WHERE: Luck, Polk Co. LEADER: Mike Johnson LIMIT: 40 COST: $5
6. Tour of the Tommy Thompson State Fish Hatchery See the world's largest musky rearing facility at the height of its most productive time. Tour the egg incubation area and rearing ponds. Discuss general management of northern Wisconsin fisheries. WHEN: May 17, 10:00 a.m. - noon WHERE: Spooner, Washburn Co. LEADER: Jon Peterson LIMIT: 30
7. Spring Wildflowers at Newport State Park Walk a two-mile trail to see wildflowers in rare inland and shoreland habitats. WHEN: May 31, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. WHERE: Newport State Park, Door Co. LEADER: Tom Smith LIMIT: 25
8. Tour the Poynette Game Farm & MacKenzie Environmental Center Learn the history of the game farm and see the pheasant hatchery and rearing pens, the Wisconsin wildlife exhibit, buffalo, prairies, and possibly a late-season prescribed burning demo. WHEN: May 31, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Poynette, Columbia Co. LEADERS: Don Bates, Derek Duane LIMIT: 20
9. Fishing Tips and Habitat Management at Castle Rock Let a fisheries biologist show you how it is done. Learn how to improve your chances for success while fishing. General fish ecology and management plans for the Castle Rock Flowage will also be discussed. WHEN: June 7, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. WHERE: Buckhorn State Park, Juneau Co. LEADER: Scot Ironsides LIMIT: 25
10. Tour of Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area See the richest prairie in Wisconsin, with over 400 plant species identified. The shooting stars should be at their peak. Discuss prairie ecology and management techniques being used on the site. WHEN: June 7, 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Coral Beach, Kenosha Co. LEADERS: Brian Glenzinski, Mark Roycraft LIMIT: 25
11. Canoe the Mink River Estuary Paddle through the Mink River Estuary, a rare, pristine, and fragile habitat which serves as a spawning ground for fish and a stopping point for hundreds of migratory birds. Note: Participants must provide their own canoe. WHEN: June 7, 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. WHERE: Ellison Bay, Door Co. LEADER: Tom Smith LIMIT: 25
12. Oak Savanna & Woodland Restorations of Governor Nelson State Park Learn how to identify savannas versus woodlands. See various stages of the restoration process via slides and a walking tour. Receive information you can use for managing your own land. WHEN: June 8, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Governor Nelson State Park, Dane Co. LEADER: Dan Weidert LIMIT: 30
13. Recreation Management on the Brule River State Forest Visit several popular recreation sites on the Brule River, the State Forest, and Lake Superior to discuss current recreation issues – aesthetics, carrying capacity, resource protection, etc. Visit with forestry, wildlife, and fisheries specialists. WHEN: June 14, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. WHERE: Brule, Douglas Co. LEADERS: Chuck Zosel, Jay Gallagher LIMIT: 20 COST: $7.50
14. Geology & Fossil Hunt Hike at Newport State Park Take a fun tour back in time to search for fragments from the "Silurian Sea," an ancient ocean where coral reefs thrived. Collect material to add to the park's interpretive display. WHEN: June 14, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. WHERE: Newport State Park, Door Co. LEADER: Tom Smith LIMIT: 30
15. Stream Ecology Workshop: Assessing the Health of a Trout Stream Learn about stream health, monitoring and sampling techniques. Visit a Dane County trout stream and use sampling gear to assess water quality, habitat conditions , and aquatic insects and fish populations. WHEN: June 14. 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Madison LEADER: Mike Miller LIMIT 20 COST: $4
16. Mississippi Bluff Prairie and Oak Savanna/Woodland Restoration at Rush Creek State Natural Area See spectacular views of the Mississippi River valley while learning about restoration techniques used to control invasive species and nurture native flora in each of these communities. WHEN: June 21, 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Ferryville, Crawford Co. LEADERS: Jim Buchholz, Ron Lichtie LIMIT: 25
17. Pictographs, Petroglyphs, and Archaeology at Roche-A-Cri State Park Learn the history of the pictographs/petroglyphs at the park, the archaeology of the area, and steps taken to prevent vandalism at significant sites throughout the state. WHEN: June 21, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. WHERE: Roche-A-Cri State Park, Adams Co. LEADER: Bob Birmingham LIMIT: 25
18. Canoe the Flambeau River - Oxbo to State Forest Headquarters See wilderness and wildlife while paddling down a flat stretch of the Flambeau. Very mild rapids will be encountered, so some paddling experience is needed. Learn about the history and management of this famed watershed. WHEN: June 21, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Oxbo, Sawyer Co. LEADER: Dave Olson LIMIT: 30 COST: $9 canoe rental + $6 lunch
19. From Planted to Pristine - Forest and Fish Management at Whitefish Dunes Hike with a forester and fisheries biologist through a red pine plantation and along a woodland stream to discuss the management needs of each resource. Learn the history of each area and plans for their future. WHEN: June 21, 9:30 a.m. - noon WHERE: Whitefish Dunes State Park, Door Co. LEADERS: Bill Ruff, Mike Toneys LIMIT: 30
20. Alien Invasion - Workshop on Controlling Non-natives Loss of habitat and the encroachment of non-native species are serious problems throughout our natural environment. Learn to identify and control invasive plant and animal species in this hands-on workshop. WHEN: June 28, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. WHERE: Bong Recreation Area LEADER: Beth Goeppinger LIMIT: 30
21. Shoreland Development on Northern Wisconsin Lakes Development along our northern lakes is taking place at an alarming rate. Look at the effects this trend is having on natural resources and scenic beauty of the area. Learn what landowners do that have negative and positive impacts on shorelines. Tour from land and boat. WHEN: June 28, 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. WHERE: Hayward, Sawyer Co. LEADERS: Bruce Swanson, John Gozdzialski LIMIT: 25 COST: $4
22. A Primer on Lake Limnology - Lake Mendota Board a pontoon boat to learn about different types of lakes, monitoring equipment, use of data in evaluating lakes, aquatic vegetation management, and the Lake Mendota Priority Watershed Project. WHEN: June 28, (a) 9:00 a.m -Noon OR (b) 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Madison LEADER: Jim Leverance LIMIT: 12 per session COST: $2.50
23. Wisconsin's Desert - Blue River Sand Barrens See the large, showy blossoms of the prickly pear cactus at their peak, along with a host of unusual plants that thrive on the dry, moving sandy soil of this prairie. Learn about the ecology of sand blows, their unusual inhabitants, and steps taken to protect them. Lunch on the Wisconsin River. WHEN: June 29, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Muscoda, Grant Co. LEADER: David Kopitzke LIMIT: 20
24. Wild Edibles at Havenwoods State Forest After an introduction to the unique history of this urban state forest, join the staff for a tasting party with a menu of some of the best wild foods nature has to offer. Best for ages 12 and over. WHEN: July 9, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. WHERE: Havenwoods State Forest, Milwaukee LEADER: Jackie Scharfenberg LIMIT: 40
25. Wisconsin's 1996 Tree Farm of the Year See spruce, red and white pine plantations ranging from one to 47 years of age. Owners will discuss regeneration, disease control, pruning, land and water conservation, recreation, and wildlife uses of a well-managed tree farm. WHEN: July 12, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. WHERE: Stevens Point LEADERS: Dick & Charlotte Thompson, Paul Lochner LIMIT: 30
26. Sea Kayak Tour of the Upper St. Louis River Estuary of Lake Superior Explore the St. Louis River Streambank Protection Area, a new 5,000-acre project managed to protect against erosion and sedimentation in the last high quality riverside wetlands of the river/estuary. Sea kayaks and instruction will be provided by an outfitter (beginners welcome). Through a 10-12 mile paddle, participants will explore steep wooded shores, unique wetlands, and meandering tributary bays in this remote wilderness area. Two tandems available on request, otherwise single kayaks. WHEN: (a) July 19 OR (b) August 16, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Duluth-Superior LEADER: Frank Koshere LIMIT: 15 per session COST: $50 if renting kayak, $35 if providing own kayak and gear.
27. Rehabilitation Spring Ponds for Trout - Elton Springs Learn how spring ponds, which are unique glacial remnants, are rehabilitated to increase native brook trout populations. Get an overview on the importance of spring ponds as headwaters of trout streams, then visit the Elton Springs site. WHEN: July 19, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. WHERE: Antigo LEADERS: Pete Segerson, Jeff Reismann LIMIT: 20 COST: $5
28. Exploring Mississippi River Natural Resources Spend Thursday evening getting briefed on Mississippi River management issues, then head out Friday for a fascinating day boating on the river. Topics of discussion and exploration will include river history, fish, birds, mussels, plants, and habitats. WHEN: July 24, 7:00 p.m. - July 25, 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Merrick State Park, Buffalo County LEADER: Brian Brecka LIMIT: 20
29. Prairie and Oak Savanna Restoration at Greenwood Wildlife Area Tour this 500-acre prairie and oak savanna restoration in central Wisconsin, which is a federal Karner Blue Butterfly recovery site. See several undisturbed original prairie remnants, in addition to plantings. WHEN: July 25, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. WHERE: Hancock, Waushara Co. LEADER: Dave Neu LIMIT: 25
30. Tour of Wisconsin Heights Battle Site Take a walking tour throughout the historic battle site, an oak savanna restoration, a pre-historic mound site, and the hilltop where Black Hawk directed the 1832 battle. WHEN: July 26, (a)9:00 a.m. - noon OR (b)1:00 - 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Mazomanie, Dane Co. LEADER: Wayne Schutte LIMIT: 22
31. Wisconsin's Glacial Habitat Restoration Area Following a brief introduction to the Glacial Habitat Restoration Area, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for site selection, and restoration procedures, visit restored grasslands and wetlands at sites in Fond du Lac County. WHEN: July 26, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. WHERE: Horicon, Dodge Co. LEADER: Ellen Barth LIMIT: 30
32. Tour of Flambeau Mine in Ladysmith: Reclamation, Regulation, and Economics Hear an overview on the mine and reclamation process, then tour the mine to see reclamation in progress. Learn about the permitting process, the area's geologic history, wastewater treatment, and local economic impacts related to the mine. WHEN: August 9, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Ladysmith, Rusk Co. LEADER: Ken Markart, Jana Murphy LIMIT: 40 COST: $3
33. Canoe the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Learn about the management and history of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway while canoeing from Mazomanie to Arena. WHEN: August 9, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. WHERE: Mazomanie, Dane Co. LEADER: Wayne Schutte LIMIT: 30 COST: $10/person, if renting canoe
34. Spread Eagle Barrens State Natural Area Visit the largest barrens in northeast Wisconsin to learn about barrens ecology, management, and restoration. Inspect a recently burned area. WHEN: August 16, 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Florence, Florence Co. LEADER: Stu Boren LIMIT: 25
35. Caves of Potawatomi State Park Enjoy a rare opportunity to hike the steep, rocky hillsides near Sawyer Bay to inspect crevices and inlets in the rock formations. The hike will begin with an overview of the geology of the area. WHEN: August 16, 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. WHERE: Potawatomi State Park, Door Co. LEADER: Wendy Wagner-Kroft LIMIT: 15
36. Tour of Muir Park and Observatory Hill State Natural Area Hike through two of John Muir's boyhood haunts. See a wetland, prairie, savanna, lake, and lunch at a hilltop cedar glade. Natural Areas management will be discussed. WHEN: August 23, 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. WHERE: Montello, Marquette Co. LEADER: Mark Martin LIMIT: 25
37. Lake Michigan Beach Walk: Great Lake Water Levels Enjoy a walk along the beach with a naturalist and learn why water levels on the Great Lakes vary greatly and what can be done about it. WHEN: August 23, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. WHERE: Whitefish Dunes State Park, Door Co. LEADER: Ginny Haen LIMIT: 25
38. Wastewater Treatment Technologies for Small Communities After a brief presentation on wastewater treatment, visits will be made to four small towns to see different techniques being used to treat wastewater. WHEN: September 6, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. WHERE: Dodgeville, Iowa Co. LEADER: Jack Saltes LIMIT: 20
39. Acid Rain & Mercury Studies at Little Rock Lake Learn about the ongoing research being conducted on acid rain and mercury levels at the UW Trout Lake Station. Visit a study site at Little Rock Lake. WHEN: September 13, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. WHERE: Boulder Junction, Vilas Co. LEADER: Carl Watras LIMIT: 30
40. Geology of the Baraboo Hills - Off the Beaten Path After a brief lecture on the geologic history of the Baraboo Hills, hike the east bluff of Devil's Lake, then enjoy a van tour to Natural Bridge State Park, Hemlock Draw, the La Rue quarry, and the Illinois iron mine site. WHEN: September 20, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Devil's Lake State Park, Sauk Co. LEADER: Philip Fauble LIMIT: 30
41. 140 Years of Applied Forestry on the Menominee Indian Reservation See how reservation forests have been managed for diversity in species and size since the 1850s. Tour the reservation by bus to learn how the area's history and forestry practices set it apart from other northern forests. WHEN: September 27, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. WHERE: Keshena, Menominee Co. LEADERS: Marshall Pecore, Randy Williams LIMIT: 40 COST: $2.50
42. Lake Michigan Salmon Fisheries See the peak spawning run of Lake Michigan salmon and get a behind the scenes look at how eggs are collected for distribution to hatcheries. WHEN: October 6, 10:00 a.m. - noon WHERE: Kewaunee LEADER: Paul Peeters LIMIT: 30
43. Ice Age Landforms of the Southern Kettle Moraine Explore (by bus) the variety of geologic features of the Southern Kettle Moraine area – the impressive moraine, deep kettle depressions, large flat outwash plains, gigantic eskers, and vast adjoining drumlin field to the west. WHEN: October 11, 9:00 a.m. - noon WHERE: Eagle, Waukesha Co. LEADER: Ron Kurowski LIMIT: 40 COST: $4