Applying Thoreau to Life TodayFree!
Thursday, June 14
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Valley Stewardship Network and Thoreau College are partnering for an evening of discussion and contemplation of the life and work of Henry David Thoreau. We will begin by watching Walden, a short documentary film by Ken Burns, on the life and work of Thoreau and conclude by sharing and hearing stories about how to become stewards of the land. Join us for this family friendly event to think about how we might learn from Thoreau’s example.
Instructors: Bryan Heystak and Jacob Hundt of Thoreau College
Location: Valley Stewardship Network Office
Landscaping with Native Plants to Attract Birds, Bees, and ButterfliesFree!
Saturday, August 25
This workshop will teach you how to attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your yard, business, or rural home with native plants. We’ll discuss how native plant species benefit both wildlife and the gardener. Other topics include garden design, planting, weeding, and maintaining your sites. Did you know that homeowners use about 10 times more herbicides per acre than farmers? About one-third of our food comes from plants that require pollinators, yet pollinators are at risk. Homeowners can reduce their water and herbicide use, beautify their homes, and support native birds, bees, and butterflies by planting natives. Dr. Melinda Knutson, owner of Trillium Consulting, LLC, will lead the workshop. Dr. Knutson has more than 20 years of experience practicing ecology and gardening. She has studied birds, frogs, and their habitats. She also enjoys incorporating native plants into her own yard.
Instructors: Melinda Knutson, Trillium Consulting
Location: McIntosh Memorial Library, Viroqua
Oak Ecology & Bird Habitat Workshop$10.00
Saturday, May 12
May 12 will be a special day in Crawford County, of exploring forest management, especially oak regeneration, and seeing and hearing forest birds. The arrival of long distance migrants will be in full swing. We will have bird and forest experts including Randy Hoffman, retired DNR Natural Areas specialist, Mike Mossman retired DNR Biologist, Lisa Hartman, retired DNR Biologist, Barbara Duerksen, ornithologist, who leads bird field trips, conducts bird surveys and counts. Mississippi Valley Conservancy Executive Director Carol Abrahamzon and Conservation Director Abbie Church will be with us to discuss Conservation Easements.
We will also have a very special guest, Rob Nurre, an historian who studies the first land surveyors written notes, observations and documentation of the landscape. These surveyors trekked for miles prior to and during European settlement. Rob will personify Mr. Wittse, who walked through Scott Township in the early 1800s, and talk to us about what he saw and how he accomplished his documentation of the land in those early days. This will be an eye opening experience to broaden our understanding of what might be done to restore the land to a healthier more biodiverse environment.
The day will begin with an optional early morning bird walk. If you are interested, please meet at the property at 7:30 am. After, we will join with the full group at 9 am for programming and additional forest and bird walk. We will conclude the day with a pizza lunch from a wood-fired pizza oven. The cost of the workshop is $10.
Instructors: Maggie Jones & David Linton, landowners/conservationists; Randy Hoffman, retired DNR Natural Areas specialist; Mike Mossman, retired DNR forest ecologist; Lisa Hartman, retired DNR biologist, Barbara Duerksen, Ornithologist, and Rob Nurre, Historian.
Location: 41425 Spring Valley Lane, Blue River, WI (Crawford County)
Directions: This property is off of Cty S between Hwy 61 and Cty F. A map will be provided to each participant upon registration.
Pasture Walk at Lars Bergan’sFree!
Saturday, August 11
Participants will discuss management of existing versus newly seeded pastures, look at a Shade Haven structure, discuss strategies for determining how much hay to cut from a pasture, and identify some common pasture plants and weeds.
Instructors: Lars Bergan, Host and John Zinn, Pasture Project
Location: E9986 Nelson Rd, Westby, WI 54667
Planting Prairie for Pollinators & Other Wildlife$45.00
Saturday, August 11
9:00 – 1:00 pm
In this class we will cover the issues concerning our native pollinators and how we can integrate tallgrass prairie into our landscape to provide resources for pollinators and habitat for other wildlife like grassland birds. You will take home the skills necessary to establish a tallgrass prairie in your backyard or on your farm or rural land. We will also construct native bee houses for you to take home.
Instructor: Dr. John Delaney, VSN Agroecologist
Location: Driftless Folk School Campus
Prairie STRIPS and Conservation EasementsFree!
Friday, August 17
10:00-12:00 pm (with lunch to follow)
Planting native tallgrass prairie as a buffer at the edge of crop fields can provide multiple services from improving water quality and soil health to providing resources for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. Research from Iowa State University’s prairie STRIPS project has demonstrated that prairie buffers can significantly reduce sediment and nutrient export as well as improving water infiltration. We’ll tour a recently installed prairie strip on a property just outside of Viroqua, Wisconsin. The landowner, Dr. John Van Dyke, and John Delaney, agroecologist at Valley Stewardship Network, will share information and show the new conservation practice called Prairie STRIPS.
The second conservation practice to be presented will be conservation easements. Megen D. Kabele, conservation specialist at Mississippi Valley Conservancy, will provide information about creating a conservation easement to conserve your land in perpetuity, as well as ensuring long-term maintenance of conservation practices like prairie STRIPS. Come learn about the new conservation practice of prairie STRIPS and about opportunities for conservation easements.
Instructors: John Delaney, VSN; Megen Kabele, Mississippi Valley Conservancy
Location: Van Dyke Farm (directions provided upon registration)
Tainter Creek Farmer Council’s Stream & Farms Field DayFree!
Saturday, June 2
9:00 – 2:00 pm
Bring the whole family for a wonderful day on Tainter Creek! Hosted by the Tainter Creek Farmer-led Watershed Council, experts from around the region will be on hand to discuss efforts to conserve, restore, and protect coldwater watersheds, including plans for restoration in Tainter Creek. Participants will learn about Tainter Creek’s fish, insects, and water quality and view rainwater simulations demonstrating how land use practices affect runoff and soil loss. Learn how farming practices can be used to protect soil and water in the watershed. Fly and spin rods will be available for lessons (from no other than Jay Thurston) as well as casting games and fly-tying activities for kids are planned.
Instructors: Trout Unlimited, Bruce Ristow, and Tainter Creek Farmer-led Watershed Council Members, and other regional experts.
Location: 50324 County Rd B, Soldiers Grove, WI
Utilizing Tallgrass Prairie and Savanna to Expand Your Grazing OptionsFree!
Saturday, August 4
Prehistorically, grazing was an important component of our natural landscapes and the process of grazing helped to maintain our native ecosystems and promote biodiversity. Today, there are multiple opportunities to help conserve and promote biodiversity in our agricultural systems by utilizing managed grazing techniques and bringing grazing back to our natural systems. Native tallgrass prairie plantings can provide alternative sources of forage and when placed as a buffer strip can help to improve water quality. Oak Savanna restorations utilizing silvopasture techniques can increase the amount of land in grazing production, provide shade and shelter for livestock, and increase biodiversity. Come see both of these practices in place on a working farm.
Instructors: Keefe Keeley (Savanna Institute), John Delaney (Valley Stewardship Network), & Rod Ofte (Pasture Project)
Location: E5930 Spring Coulee Rd, Coon Valley, WI 54623
Water Action Volunteers: Level I Training- AFree!
Saturday, April 28
Landowners and community members are encouraged to come and learn about this unique citizen science opportunity. Volunteering only requires 6 days a year, an hour each month from May to October! Topics covered in this training include: stream ecology, water quality measurements, stream-side habitat assessment, macroinvertebrate diversity, and data submission. Monitoring equipment will be loaned to interested volunteers. Please bring hip boots/waders if you have them, a pencil, and clipboard. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.
Instructors: John Delaney, VSN; Meg Wise, CSP; WAV Volunteers
Location: West Fork Sportsmans Club, 3574 County Road S, La Farge
Water Action Volunteers: Level I Training- BFree!
Saturday, May 5
These workshops will equip you to become a part of Valley Stewardship Network’s water quality team as part of the Wisconsin Water Action Volunteers program. We encourage landowners and community members to learn more about the water in our unique cold water spring, stream and river ecosystems that support trout and other fish and wildlife. You’ll receive training and all the equipment you’ll need free of charge. Water and habitat quality assessments only take about an hour each month – on your own schedule – and your citizen-based data becomes a key tool in our work to protect our area watersheds. Participants can attend one session to complete the training.
Instructors: John Delaney, VSN; Meg Wise, CSP; WAV Volunteers
Location: Mother Earth Green Center, Steuben