Field trips

These trips are your chance to view and enjoy the natural resources we work to protect, manage, and restore. Pre-registration for field trips is required and will include a $10 nominal fee. Field trip sign up will occur when you register for the conference. Space in each field trip is limited, and sign up is first-come-first-served, so register early to make sure you get into your desired field trip. Note that field trip fees are non-refundable.

**Please note that the field trips will go in almost any weather (with the exception of hazardous conditions). We’ve encountered a wide range of conditions on our February field trips, so please consider this as you decide between indoor and outdoor options, and be prepared to dress warmly if you do register for a field trip.

The Devastating Flood of Pheasant Branch: A Tale of Two Ecosystems

Photo provided by Herb Garn

Thursday, February 21, 2019, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm

Field Trip Leaders: Tom Bernthal, WDNR, and Herb Garn, USGS (retired)

The same 11 inches of rain in 12 hours fell on two different parts of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy, with dramatically different results. This field trip will tell the story of the devastating and costly destruction throughout the main Pheasant Branch Creek Corridor and the relatively minor damage sustained by the Fredericks’ Springs and adjacent wetlands.

Field trip participants will view the damage and hear about why these two areas of the same watershed responded so differently to the storm. You’ll also get an update on what the City of Middleton and Friends of Pheasant Branch are doing to restore the Conservancy.

This is an outdoor field trip.

A Bird Haven in Winter: Goose Pond Sanctuary

Goose Pond Sanctuary in summer.

Photo provided by Goose Pond Sanctuary

Thursday, February 21, 2019, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm

Field Trip Leaders: Mark Martin and Sue Foote-Martin, Goose Pond resident managers, and Graham Steinhauer, Goose Pond Land Steward.

Goose Pond Sanctuary, owned by Madison Audubon Society, is a 660-acre property that includes a prairie pothole, 400 acres of restored tallgrass prairie, and 20 acres of restored wetlands.  The Sanctuary is a haven for birds, rare plants, insects, and more. Goose Pond is a state natural area and a designated Important Bird Area with a bird list of 263 species, including 34 species of waterfowl and 34 species of shorebirds. The Sanctuary hosts a variety of citizen science projects that include butterfly counts, waterfowl surveys, and frog counts. 

We’ll explore some of the wetland restorations and learn how wildlife and water quality benefit from both wetland and prairie restorations.  We will also learn about wetland wildlife and changes at Goose Pond in the past 50 years.

Don’t forget your binoculars—you might catch a glimpse of a rare snowy owl!

This is an outdoor field trip.

Note: We will provide bus transportation to this field trip but also invite attendees who wish to continue traveling homeward after the tour to drive themselves.

Explore Natural History Collections at UW-Madison

Ken Cameron, director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium, examining specimens

Photo by Bryce Richter

Thursday, February 21, 2019, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm

Field Trip Leaders: Laura Monahan, UW Zoological Museum, and Mary Ann Feist and Ken Cameron, Wisconsin State Herbarium

This field trip will tour two of University of Wisconsin-Madison’s natural history collections to learn about the unique collections as well as how you can access and utilize the collections for your own wetland research, continuing wetland education, and conservation efforts. You will also learn how curators catalog and prepare specimens.

The Wisconsin State Herbarium and the University of Wisconsin Zoological Museum. The Wisconsin State Herbarium holds over 1.39 million specimens of algae, fungi, lichens, and plants, making it the 10th largest herbarium in the U.S. and the 3rd largest public university herbarium in the Americas. The Zoological Museum houses nearly 750,000 specimens including bird and mammal skins and mounts; fluid preserved fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and aquatic invertebrates; and skeletons of all vertebrate classes.

This is primarily an indoor field trip, but participants will have a 10-minute walk between buildings on the UW Campus.