Celebrate one of the state’s most unique grassland birds at the annual Greater Prairie Chicken Festival, April 16 in Stevens Point. The gathering at Eron’s Event Barn (3471 County Road C) includes presentations, exhibits and an opportunity to observe spring mating behavior, known as booming — a showy display of stomping feet, flapping wings, strange sounds and puffed-out appearances.
The annual festival honors the late naturalists Frederick and Francis Hamerstrom, known for their work with greater prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido). For details and to reserve a spot in the morning observation blind ($25, including breakfast), go to cleangreenaction. org, check facebook.com/ WIPrairieChickenFest or email wisconsinprairiechickenfest@ gmail.com.
BAT SPECIES UPDATE
Facing extinction due to the devastating impacts of whitenose syndrome, the northern long-eared bat has been reclassified as federally endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“This listing is an alarm bell and a call to action,” said USFWS Director Martha Williams, who noted the importance of working with partners to reduce impacts of white-nose syndrome and protect surviving northern long-eared populations.
The northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) is listed as threatened in Wisconsin and is one of eight bat species in the state. Conservation work is ongoing for all Wisconsin bats species, especially through the Wisconsin Bat Program, part of the DNR’s Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation. The program relies heavily on citizen scientists to help collect monitoring data and offers resources such as how to build bat houses. Learn more at wiatri.net/inventory/bats.
OUTWIGO GREEN THIS MAY
Get ready for outdoor fun in the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit this spring with OutWiGo Green, a Wisconsin State Park initiative focused on breaking down barriers to outdoor recreation and providing hands-on outdoor activities.
The event — May 13 in Dousman — will include activities such as guided hikes, paddling, fishing, rock climbing, wilderness safety, campfire cooking, backpacking, mountain biking and more. Food trucks, a kids’ zone, music and vendors will be located at the Ottawa Lake Recreation Area, off Highway ZZ.
This special event is open to participants of all ages, abilities and experience levels. A state park vehicle admission sticker is required for entry, and some activities may include a fee. For more on OutWiGo, check dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/outwigo.
TAKE A FIELD TRIP TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Another season of fantastic field trips will be underway soon from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, with more than 260 options to explore the state’s beautiful outdoors. Expert guides, including many from the DNR, lead the way and educate participants about critical conservation issues. The full schedule of 2023 field trips will be available in late March. Foundation membership is required to sign up, with options to join starting at $25. Additional fees apply for field trips, with opportunities suiting all age levels and a wide variety of outdoor interests.
The nonprofit Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin supports the state’s lands, waters and wildlife with programming and fundraising efforts.
To learn more about the foundation and how to get involved or participate in field trips, check wisconservation.org.
Learn about conservation of the state’s mussel species and other activities on a Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin field trip.