Saturday, June 3rd

6:00 am

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

This field trip is co-sponsored by the Chippewa Valley Nature Festival and the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas .We will spend the morning searching for birds and learning how to identify them. We will also observe the birds’ behavior and document any breeding activity that we see (ie territorial males singing, birds carrying nesting material, courtship, occupied nest, fledglings, etc). Throughout the trip, we will take data on observed behaviors that will be submitted to the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas (WBBA), a large-scale and multi-year citizen-science project that is seeking to document the distribution and abundance of birds nesting in Wisconsin. The field trip will occur in the “Meridean NW” survey block, a “specialty” block selected as a unique area of interest. Leader: Bill Hogseth, DNR Wildlife Biologist – Limit 14 participants

640th St (aka Larrabee Road) in the Dunnville Wildlife Area
Google Map:
GPS Coordinates: 44°44’33.6″N 91°50’18.0″W
From Menomonie: Travel south on 9th Street until it turns into County Road Y as you leave the city limits of Menomonie. Proceed for 10 miles on County Road Y. Turn left (east) on 210th Ave (aka Chippewa Road) and proceed for two miles. Turn right (south) on 640th St and proceed for two miles. Meet at the bottom of the hill at the “Dunnville Wildlife Area” sign. For more information about the Dunnville Wildlife Area, visit the DNR website.

Early Birds 2 (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 openwater 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 with a natural resource professional who will discuss species identification, habitat requirements, research methods, and ecological restoration techniques. Please note: NO bathroom facilities at all on this trip. Please bring: Binoculars, field guides, extra water, snacks and bug repellent. Leader: Bill Hogseth, DNR wildlife biologist – Limit 14 Participants

Directions: Please meet at 6:00AM at the intersection of County Highway Y and 524th Street (aka “Dunnville Road”). From Downsville, travel south on State Highway 25 for 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.

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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 raingear 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.

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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:

Directions:  From Downsville, travel south on State Highway 25 for 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.

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Beginning Birders – Hoffman Hills (meeting at UW-Stout, Memorial Student Center) – 2 Hours
Join Brian Collins, contract ornithologist, nature author/photographer, and high school biology teacher, 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 the Nature Festival at 7:00 AM and will head out to Hoffman Hills. Limit 10 participants.

10:00 am

Exploration of Terrestrial Insects and Sampling Methods (Menomin Park, Menomonie)4 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 in Menomin park. We will begin with a discussion of the orders of insects and their varying habitats and interesting behaviors. We will then walk through the park and collect samples from throughout the park. Where 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 Stout Road (Highway 12 in East Menomonie) turn north onto Red Cedar Street, follow it 1 mile after road curves right (technically it turns into Domain Drive) turn left on dirt road into Menomin park P-lot. If you arrive at 4 way intersection and the Dunn County Airport and Dunn County Demonstration farm you have gone too far.    

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1:00 pm

Plant and Paddling Kayak Eco Tour (Braun’s Bay in Carson Park, Eau Claire) – 2 Hours

Description:  Enjoy an educational tour on the water!   Learn about the medicinal, cultural, wild edible and ecological uses of various native plants and trees from the vantage point of a kayak with naturalist and Gigi Stafne of Wild Earth Eco Tours. Meet at Braun’s Bay on Half Moon Lake in Eau Claire – Limit 12 Participants   ($20 per person if renting a kayak – you can bring your own boat)

Links:  and

Questions on boat landing meet-up, how to dress for paddling and more:  or

Directions:  In Eau Claire, Find the corner of Clairemont Avenue (Highway 12) and Menomonie Street.  Go east on Menomonie Street until you come to Carson Park Drive on your left.  Follow Carson Park Drive until you see a sign for Braun’s Bay on your left.  (This road is not marked).  Follow this dirt road to a parking lot where you will find Gigi.

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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, 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.

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3:30 pm

Nature Photography – Hoffman Hills (Meet at UW-Stout Memorial Student Center) – 2 Hours

Bird Photography at Hoffman Hills — Join Brian Collins, contract ornithologist, nature author/photographer, and high school biology teacher for a field short-course on bird photography.  We will meet at the Nature Festival at 3:30 PM and will head out to Hoffman Hills to find some birds to photograph! We will discuss the ethics of changing a bird’s behavior for photography and ways to create reliable perches that allow some control over compositions with living birds.  We will also explore art composition, focal length, and exposure theory.  The most cooperative subjects on this trip are likely to be on the other side of a soggy meadow, so consider bringing knee-high rubber boots (conditions vary).   Also, please bring long sleeves, long pants, a hat, and durable walking shoes…AND your favorite camera and tripod! Limit – 20 Participants

To see Brian’s work, please visit

Directions:  Meet Brian at the University of Wisconsin – Stout’s Memorial Student Center, Ballroom A

9:00 pm

Astronomy Observing Session (Phelan Park, Menomonie) – 2 Hours

Learn to find your way around the heavens in this hands-on program.  You will learn to “star hop” to find the constellations with the unaided eye, and how to use a Telrad finder and a Dobsonian-mounted reflector telescope with a 10-inch mirror.  We will view Jupiter, the moon, a double star, and various deep-sky objects like star clusters, nebulae, and other galaxies, through the telescope.  You will get the most out of this session if you attend “The Night Sky,” but all are welcome.  This program is weather-dependent.   Limit 20

Presenter Bio:  Heidi Conde is a longtime amateur astronomer and a retired Wisconsin DNR educator and naturalist.  She has taught astronomy for over 15 years, including astronomy mini courses at UW-Madison, and astronomy programs for five State of Wisconsin properties, Hobbs Observatory at Beaver Creek Reserve, LE Phillips Memorial Public Library, Senior Americans Day at UW-Eau Claire, and Chippewa Valley Learning in Retirement.

Directions: Meet Heidi in the parking lot at Phelan Park.  From the Student Memorial Center on the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s campus, go east on 13th Avenue to 9th Street.  Go right (south) on 9th Street to 21rst Avenue East.  Take a left on 21rst and follow the road around the bend to end in the parking lot.

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Sunday, June 4th

7:00 – 11:00 am

Tiffany Bottoms Bird and Plant Tour by Rail, Durand

4 Hours

Steve Betchal, 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 and Steve Betchkal.  Limit 60

(Extra fee: $20 with weekend registration. Sunday only: Early bird $30, Regular $35 per person)

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Directions:  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

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