Printable Field Trip Descriptions

Saturday, June 2, 2018

6:00am

 Early Birds (Dunnville Bottoms, Downsville) – 3 ½ hours

The floodplain terraces of the Lower Chippewa River contain a mosaic of dynamic ecosystems shaped by periodic fire and flooding. Habitats in the Dunnville Wildlife Area range from bottomland forests, oak savannas, prairies, brushlands, wet swales and open water sloughs. This mixture of natural communities hosts a unique array of bird species including Lark Sparrow, Bell’s Vireo, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Black-billed Cuckoo. This trip will allow you to visit these habitats and view these species and discuss species identification and habitat requirements.  Please note: NO bathroom facilities at all on this trip.  Please bring: Binoculars, field guides, extra water, snacks and bug repellent.  Leader: Steve Betchkal – Limit 14 Participants

Directions: Please meet at 6:00AM at the intersection of County Highway Y and 524th Street (aka “Dunnville Road”). From Menomonie, travel south on State Highway 25 (go past Downsville) and travel on for more 4 miles. Turn east on County Highway Y. Travel for 3 miles, descending into the Red Cedar River Valley. Cross a bridge over the Red Cedar River, immediately after which is 524th Street.

Link to map: http://g.co/maps/t577r

Other related Links: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/wildlife_areas/dunnville.htm

7:00 am

Canoeing the Red Cedar and Chippewa Rivers (Dunnville to Durand) – 4 hours

Travel on two different rivers as we paddle through the heart of the Lower Chippewa River Important Bird Area. We’ll start on the Red Cedar River adjacent to Dunnville State Wildlife Area and continue down the Chippewa River, taking out across from Nine Mile Island State Natural Area. Expect mostly flat water with a few riffles and bald eagles soaring overhead.

Bring shoes that can get wet, sunscreen and/or protective wear, sunglasses, (or rain-gear if that’s in the forecast), bug repellent (just in case), water bottle and snacks, a secure dry bag for anything you don’t want to get wet, a change of clothes if you feel that’s a possibility, and your sense of fun and adventure!

Leader: Anne Geraghty – Limit 14 Participants

Start time:

7:00 am if you’d like to bird in the launch area on foot first. Bring binoculars!

8:00 am if you have your own boat and would like to shuttle your car down to Durand after unloading.

8:45-ish if you will already have a car in Durand.

Link to parking in Durand: https://goo.gl/maps/ox5GaTj97bU2

Bring your own boat (canoe or kayak)

If you do not have your own boat, rentals should be arranged in advance through the Corral Bar in Durand.   (715) 672-8819

Questions/assistance email: naturefest@outlook.com

Directions:From Menomonie, travel south on State Highway 25 – stay on Hwy 25 past Downsville for another 4 miles. Turn east on County Highway Y. Travel for 3 miles, descending into the Red Cedar River Valley.  Meet at the boat landing on the southwest side of the bridge that crosses the Red Cedar River.  There is plenty of parking.

Link to map: http://g.co/maps/t577r

10:00 am

Beginning Birders (Hoffman Hills) – 2 Hours

Join Robin Maercklein, biologist, ornithologist and lifelong birder, as we explore the basics of birding. This field trip will help you to understand the basics of field identification and the use of field guides in successful identification of birds. Our emphasis will be on field observation and the types of clues to identification given by a bird’s shape, posture, behavior, voice, and pattern. We will sharpen our skills on just a few of the more common bird species, so this trip is truly geared for beginners. While they may be common, they are still beautiful! If you have a favorite field guide or a favorite birding app, be sure to bring it along! Also, please bring binoculars, long sleeves, long pants, a hat, and durable walking shoes. We will meet at 10:00 AM at Hoffman Hills. Limit 10 participants.

Directions: From Menomonie

East on I-94 to County Highway B at the eastern border of Menomonie.

North on Cty Hwy B approximately 3/4 mile and turn right (east) on County Road E.

East on Cty Hwy E approximately 4 miles, turning left (north) on 740th Street.

North on 740th St. approximately 1.2 miles to Hoffman Hills entrance.

East (right) on 720th Ave. approximately 0.2 mile to main parking lot.

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/JWaPKmr3MJU2

Plants of the Prairie (Dunnville State Wildlife Area, Downsville) – 2 Hours

We will walk among the plants of a remnant prairie. Expect to find, identify and learn about plants of this unique habitat. It may be wet, so come prepared with rain-pants. Bring plenty of water, binoculars, insect repellant and a plant field guide to help you learn to identify the the plants. Time- wise, this field trip is open-ended. Come and search as long as you like!

Leader: Kathy Ruggles: The Prairie Enthusiasts – Limit 20 Participants

Directions: Meet at Simply Dunn in Downsville, E4606 County Road C. From I94 in Menomonie, take exit 41/State Hwy 25 South to downtown Menomonie. Follow Broadway St N/State Hwy 25 through Menomonie. Travel South on State Hwy 25 about 6 miles to the town sign in Downsville, Wisconsin. Turn Left on Creaser (460th) Street. Go two blocks to the stop sign at County Road C. Look both ways and cross into parking at the pottery. From there we will caravan to Larabee Road adjacent to the Dunnville State Wildlife Area.

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/QCoNcPYc4v12

Karner Blue Butterflies (Coon Fork Barrens State Natural Area, Augusta) – 1½ hrs.

We will begin the field trip with a brief discussion of the ecology of Karner blue butterflies and the barrens habitat they call home.  We will then wander through the Coon Fork Barrens State Natural Area.  While we search for the Karners, we will have the chance to find other Karner look-alike butterflies including hairstreaks and blues.

Leader: Beverly Paulan, DNR – Limit 12 Participants

Directions: From Eau Claire and I-94E take exit 70 Hwy 53 north.  Continue north to exit 87/US Hwy 12 and turn right going east.  Continue for 21 miles to County Hwy CF and turn left.  Continue for 4.2 miles to Horse Creek Rd.  Park in the lot at CF and Horse Creek.

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/tFZfzjg9nqo

1:00 pm

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Wisconsin (Hoffman Hills Recreation Area) 2 hours

Join the President of the Wisconsin Dragonfly Society on the ponds looking for insects of the genus Odonata.

We will find the acrobatic flying adults, and also search for the mysterious and fascinating nymphs in the ponds.  We will learn about what makes this group special among its insect cousins.  We will discuss the different survival strategies, habitat requirements, and what these remarkable insects can tell us about the health of our ecosystems.

Dress for the weather, and keep in mind that your feet may get wet if you are near the ponds or would like to try and find some nymphs.  If you have an aerial insect or aquatic sampling net, please bring it!

Leader: Ryan Chrouser – Limit 20 Participants

Directions: From Menomonie, East on I-94 to County Highway B at the eastern border of Menomonie.

North on Cty Hwy B approximately 3/4 mile and turn right (east) on County Road E.

East on Cty Hwy E approximately 4 miles, turning left (north) on 740th Street.

North on 740th St. approximately 1.2 miles to Hoffman Hills entrance.

East (right) on 720th Ave. approximately 0.2 mile.  Go to the “Overflow” parking lot, at the mail lot, turn left for another 0.1 miles.

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/KuYV69g7Hiq

Bluebird Monitoring (Hickory Hills Golf Course, Eau Claire)

Bird lovers will enjoy touring the Bluebird Trail of Hickory Hills Golf Course on Highway 93 in Eau Claire. There are 30 nest boxes on the perimeter of the golf course.  You will see Tree Swallows, Chickadees, Wrens and of course Bluebirds in different nesting stages.

As we are monitoring the trail you will learn who, what, where, when, how, and the history of the Bluebird Trail.

Leader: Phyllis LaPIne – Limit 10 Participants

Directions: From I-94 in Eau Claire, take Exit 68.  Go south on Highway 93 to Hickory Road.  Go east (left) on Hickory Road.  The golf course will be on your left.

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/4F5S1NAocHu

Nature Photography – Evergreen Cemetery (Menomonie)

Mike Kolstad has taught photography for 25 years and has worked with many photographers. He is proud of his former students who have careers in photography, and posts many of his personal images on face book.

We will explore Evergreen Cemetery on Lake Menomin. Mike will present the “numbers” that the camera uses: shutter speed, f-stop and flash. The camera should be the tool to capture the image you want.  We will examine landscape photography, close up images, and fill flash in day light. He uses traditional techniques to achieve the picture that his mind “sees”.

Bring your camera, and comfortable shoes. Of course extra lenses, a tripod, and/or filters are great, but you can get along without them.

Leader: Mike Kolstad – Limit 12 participants

Directions

From downtown Menomonie, take Highway 12/29 going East (also Stout Road)

From Highway 12/29 turn left onto 13th Street.  Follow 13th Street to the end of the road where it turns into Evergreen Cemetery Road.

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/N4hvxSP3d5z

3:30 pm

Exploration of Terrestrial Insects and Sampling Methods (Hoffman Hills) – 2 hours

 Insects are all around us and many people only really notice butterflies and mosquitoes.  We will explore some of the other species of insects that can be found in several of the ecosystems present at Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area.

We will begin with a discussion of the orders of insects and their varying habitats and interesting behaviors.  We will then walk through the prairie and around the ponds to collect samples. We will discuss the need for sampling in entomology, different methods of sampling and the limitations and opportunities that insects offer for understanding ecosystems.  Insect nets and ID books will be provided, Please bring: extra water, snacks and bug repellent

Leader: Arthur Kneeland, UW-Stout Entomologist. Limit 15 Participants

Directions: From Menomonie

East on I-94 to County Highway B at the eastern border of Menomonie.

North on Cty Hwy B approximately 3/4 mile and turn right (east) on County Road E.

East on Cty Hwy E approximately 4 miles, turning left (north) on 740th Street.

North on 740th St. approximately 1.2 miles to Hoffman Hills entrance.

East (right) on 720th Ave. approximately 0.4 miles to “Overflow Parking Lot”, turn left at the mail parking lot and go another 0.1 miles.

Link to map:  https://goo.gl/maps/KuYV69g7Hiq

 James Newman Clark Bird Museum Tour (UW-Eau Claire’s Phillips Hall) 1 1/2 hours

 The James Newman Clark Bird Museum is a circular collection housed in the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire’s Phillips Science Hall.  It features the mounted skins of hundreds of bird species collected by Clark in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, including 3 Passenger Pigeons.

In 2010, the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire decided to “freshen” the exhibits.

Steve Betchkal, who helped plan the changes will lead the tour. Limit 15 participants

Directions:101 Roosevelt, Eau Claire

Eau Claire and I-94 from the west:

Exit Interstate 94 at Hwy. 37 (exit #65) and turn right. Continue until you reach Clairemont Ave.  (Hwy. 12) and turn right onto Clairemont. Turn right on Patton Street.  Take a quick right onto Lexington Blvd. Turn right on State Street (down hill).Turn left on Roosevelt Ave. (at bottom of hill). Go one block and the Visitor Center will be on your left. Phillips Hall will be beyond the Visitor Center, just around the bend on the right.  Find Steve at the front of the Phillips Science Hall on the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Campus.

Eau Claire and I-94 from the east:

Exits Interstate 94 at Hwy. 53 (exit #70) and follow Hwy. 53 north. Take exit #87 off off Why 53 onto Clairemont Ave. (Hwy. 13) and turn left (to head west). Turn left on Patton Street. Take a quick right onto Lexington Blvd. Turn right on State Street (down hill).  Turn left on Roosevelt Ave. (at bottom of hill). Go one block and the Visitor Center will be on your left.  Phillips Hall will be beyond the Visitor Center, just around the bend on the right.  Find Steve at the front of the Phillips Science Hall on the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Campus.

Link go map: https://goo.gl/maps/VWJzZDrTfJH2

Crystal Cave Bat Program and Guided Cave Tour (Spring Valley, WI) 2 hours + Travel Time

Discover the wonders of Crystal Cave during this two-hour special event. We will explore the passages more than 70 feet below ground and learn about the history, geology, and bats of Wisconsin’s longest cave! First, we will kick-off the event with a Bat program, put on by the naturalists of Crystal Cave.

The program will include information about the 4 species of bat that hibernate in the cave, there will be time for questions at the end. Afterwards, we will embark on our cave adventure. For the one-hour guided tour underground, we recommend you wear long pants, sturdy shoes, and a sweater or light jacket in the cave but you can still enjoy the cave without a jacket or sweater, however it is 50°F in the cave, so plan accordingly.

Leaders: Eric McMaster and Hannah Lieffring

If you’d like to arrive early, there is the Sinkhole Nature Trail free to the public that encompasses a ½ mile hike through our secondary growth forest. Be sure to be back in time for the Bat Program that will begin at 3!

Limit: No limit in participants. If there are over 20 participants, the group will be split up into smaller groups for the underground portion of the program.

Crystal Cave
W965 State Rd 29
Spring Valley WI 54767 www.acoolcave.org

Directions:  From Eau Claire or Menomonie to Spring Valley

Take Interstate 94 (I94) west to Exit 28 (Spring Valley). Turn south (left) onto Highway 128. Go five miles south to Highway 29. Turn right on Highway 29, following the signs to Spring Valley. Continue west on Highway 29 past Spring Valley for one more mile. Crystal Cave is on the left side of the highway.

 6:00pm

BIRD BOWL with host, Steve Betchkal 

(DUKE and DAGGER – 120 6th Avenue West, Menomonie)

Did you enjoy the active field trips? By now, you’ve discovered that birds are fascinating — there’s so much to learn and love about them! To round out your outdoor experiences, we are inviting you back indoors where Steve Betchkal will host “BIRD BOWL” a friendly yet competitive game of bird trivia.

Participants are welcome to form teams, or go it alone in learning about birds. Enjoy food and beverages (available for purchase), more games, and socializing. Oh! And there will be prizes!

Link for map:  https://goo.gl/maps/57RNraLZ6262

 Sunday, June 3, 2018

7:00 – 11:00 am

Tiffany Bottoms Bird and Plant Tour by Rail, Durand 4 Hours

Steve Betchkal, Kathy Ruggles and Dave Linderud

The Tiffany Bottoms — just 25 minutes south of Menomonie — is a forested and wild place. There are three ways to get to know it intimately: by foot, by boat, or via the Chippewa Valley Motor Car Association.

We are offering “first class” seating as we explore the Lower Chippewa Important Bird Area by rail. Guided by wildlife biologist Dave Linderud and ornithologist (AKA bird expert) Steve Betchkal, the trip will explore the natural habitat of the Bald Eagle, Blandings Turtle, Massassaga Rattlesnake, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Prothonotary Warbler. There may also be spring wildflowers!

The Tiffany Wildlife Area is a must see enjoying the wilderness of Western Wisconsin in all its spring splendor.

Remember to bring along water, snacks, insect repellent, sunscreen, binocular, and field guides — and wear appropriate footwear and field clothing.

Leaders: Dave Linderud, Steve Betchkal, and Kathy Ruggles  Limit 60

(Extra fee: $20 with weekend registration, children free. Registering for Sunday only: Early bird (before May 15) $30, children $5.00, Regular (after May 30) $35 per person, children $5.00

Video available: http://video.wpt.org/video/1543174519/

Directions: From Menomonie, travel south on Highway 25. Go all the way through Durand following Highway 25. Look for the parking area is on State Hwy. 25 about 4 miles south of Durand. Parking will be on the right (west side) across from Thibodeau Road. There will be yellow signs about 200 yards from the parking area along the right of way stating “CAUTION AHEAD – CARS TURNING”. Crossing guards on the shoulder of the road will help guide cars into the parking lot. Drive into the lot, go down a small hill and turn right. Some cars will park in the lot and others may have to go through the gate and up the road into the field. Park on the left side of the road in the mowed area of the field. Day of the trip ONLY– if you are lost, the trip leader can be reached at:  715-495-1104

Link to map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zfe31R4TuqmU.kEIudaW-UPoo&usp=sharing