Events

“The Call of the Frog” 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024, 3:45 pm – 5:00 pm

The Call of the Frog presentation will be at the McIntosh Memorial Library on March 19th at 3:45 pm. Families and children are welcome.

Join us Tuesday, March 19th, at 3:45 pm at McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua, WI.  Ben Johnston, our Habitat Specialist, will lead the presentation.  Learn how to identify the 12 Wisconsin frog calls.  Expect to practice the frog calls as a group!  All ages are welcome.  Great for families, and children are encouraged to attend.

Ben is a Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey volunteer.  He has been a promoter of Citizen Science since 2008.  Information about how to be a Citizen Scientist for the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey will be shared.  

For additional information about the presentation, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call us at 608-637-3615.

March Conservation on Tap 

Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 7:00 pm

A How-To Guide to Better Outdoor Lighting

Poorly executed and excess outdoor lighting is rapidly degrading the night for all of us with glare and loss of true darkness even many miles from small cities. It has extraordinary negative impacts on other species with whom we share the planet.

Recognizing there are legitimate needs for outdoor lighting, come and learn how to do it right and help preserve the night sky, enhance safety, save energy, and protect other species from harm.

Scott Lind is a retired, licensed professional electrical engineer who worked for 31 years in a variety of power and lighting design roles as a consultant. His work ranged from utility substations and waterparks to hospitals, large food plants, and military bases. He also holds a Wisconsin master electrician license.

Join us Tuesday, March 5th, at 7:00 pm at The Historic Fortney located at 100 N. Main St., in Viroqua, WI. Conservation on Tap is a FREE presentation series by experts on various aspects of Driftless area ecology and conservation. The goal of the series is to increase knowledge, connection to, and awareness of current conservation efforts and research.

For more information email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call us at 608-637-3615.

“Counting Winter Birds:  Turning Your Backyard into an Ornithological Observatory”

Tuesday, February 13, 2024, 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

Library Bird Count Program February 13, 2024, at the McIntosh Memorial Library Lobby

Ben Johnston, our GIS and Habitat Specialist, is presenting “Counting Winter Birds:  Turning Your Backyard into an Ornithological Observatory” on Tuesday, February 13th, in the lobby of the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua from 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm.  The presentation is great for children and families.  People of all ages are welcome.  No registration is necessary.  This is the first in our yearly series of programs in collaboration with the library.

The presentation will cover how to identify and count birds at your backyard birdfeeder.  Ways to improve backyard birdfeeding stations will be discussed.  Participants will be educated about how to participate in the worldwide initiative:  The Great Backyard Bird Count that takes place  February 16th – 19th.

For additional information about the bird count, visit birdcount.org.

For additional information about the presentation, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call us at 608-637-3615.

 

February Conservation on Tap 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 7:00 pm

Conservation on Tap, February 6, 7:00 pm, The Historic Fortney

Unveiling the Skies: Drones for Ecological Monitoring and Conservation in the Driftless Area

Drone mapping has emerged as a game-changer revolutionizing ecological monitoring and conservation by providing a bird’s-eye view of ecosystems. Drones enhance efficiency in monitoring vast areas, facilitate rapid response to environmental threats, and contribute valuable data for informed decision-making.  Using examples from drone imagery based ecological research in the Driftless area (detecting invasive aquatic plants; mapping cold water habitats, geomorphic properties of driftless streams, and prairie vegetation phenology) this talk will discuss the potentials and challenges of using drones for ecological applications in the Driftless.

Join us Tuesday, February 6th, at 7:00 pm at The Historic Fortney located at 100 N. Main St., in Viroqua, WI. Conservation on Tap is a FREE presentation series by experts on various aspects of Driftless area ecology and conservation. The goal of the series is to increase knowledge, connection to, and awareness of current conservation efforts and research.

For more information email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call us at 608-637-3615.

January Conservation on Tap 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 7:00 pm

Conservation on Tap, January 9, 2024 (2nd Tue!!), 7:00 pm, The Historic Fortney - logo Valley Stewardship Network

Conserving Land from Beyond the Grave

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 – 7:00 pm (note this is the 2nd Tuesday)

Landowners who devote a lifetime to caring for their wildlife habitat or improving their soils and farmland may wonder how to ensure their efforts can extend beyond their lifetime. Join Abbie Church to learn about permanent protection through conservation easements with local land trust Mississippi Valley Conservancy. We will cover the fact and fiction around easement requirements; touch on local land-use trends; hear about conservation easement benefits to wildlife, water quality, and soil conservation; learn what the easement enrollment process entails; and more. Attendees will have an opportunity to hear from local landowner, Tom Lukens, about his personal experience working with the Conservancy to protect his land along the West Fork of the Kickapoo River.

Join us Tuesday, January 9th, at 7:00 pm at The Historic Fortney located at 100 N. Main St., in Viroqua, WI. Conservation on Tap is a FREE presentation series by experts on various aspects of Driftless area ecology and conservation. The goal of the series is to increase knowledge, connection to, and awareness of current conservation efforts and research.

For more information email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call us at 608-637-3615.

December Conservation on Tap 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023, 7:00 pm

Conservation on Tap, December 5, 7:00 pm, The Historic Fortney. Shows hand holding glass to be filled at a tap with

“Historic Changes to River Systems in the Driftless Area”
Tuesday, December 5, 2023 – 7:00 pm

Driftless Area streams have experienced a tremendous amount of change due to human activities over the past two centuries. This talk by Dr. Colin Belby will provide an overview of how European-American settlement and associated landcover change in the mid-19th century disrupted rainfall-runoff processes on the landscape, resulting in more frequent floods and altered stream channels. Despite the positive impacts of the soil conservation movement that had its origins in the Driftless Area in the 1920s, the legacy of past land management practices combined with an increased frequency of high intensity rainfall continues to affect present-day stream processes. 

Join us Tuesday, December 5th at 7:00 pm at The Historic Fortney located at 100 N. Main St., in Viroqua, WI. Conservation on Tap is a FREE presentation series by experts on various aspects of Driftless area ecology and conservation. The goal of the series is to increase knowledge, connection to, and awareness of current conservation efforts and research.

For more information email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call us at 608-637-3615.

Annual Member Meeting

Thursday, November 9, 2023, 5:30 pm

We welcome members to attend our Annual Meeting, which will feature a buffet dinner, silent auction fundraiser, and presentations from staff and Board members about what we’ve accomplished during the past year and plans for the future. Members will also get to weigh in on the new Board members.
The meeting will be on Thursday, November 9th, at the Viroqua VFW at 751 S. Washington Ave. in Viroqua. Doors open at 5:30 pm, with dinner and meeting at 6:00 pm.
If you’re not yet a member but would like to become one, you can sign up on our website (Membership) or come and join the night of the meeting!
Registration by November 2nd for this event is required! Please email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org with the names of people planning to attend.
For more information, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call 608-637-3615.

November Conservation on Tap 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023, 7:00 pm

“Geology and Groundwater in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area”
Tuesday, November 7, 2023 – 7:00 pm

The basic geology of the region, groundwater and aquifers, water quality issues, and recent and ongoing research will be presented by Dr. Ken Bradbury who recently retired from his position as Wisconsin’s State Geologist and Director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, UW-Madison Division of Extension.

Join us Tuesday, November 7th at 7:00 pm at The Historic Fortney located at 100 N. Main St., in Viroqua, WI. Conservation on Tap is a FREE presentation series by experts on various aspects of Driftless area ecology and conservation. The goal of the series is to increase knowledge, connection to, and awareness of current conservation efforts and research.

For more information email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call us at 608-637-3615.

October Adult Program with McIntosh Memorial Library

Thursday, October 26, 2023, 6:00 pm

October 26, 2023, Enviroscape demo at McIntosh Memorial Library at 6:00 pm.  Photo shows model of plastic landscape used in demo.

Our adult program is at 6:00 pm on the 26th of October at the McIntosh Memorial Library.  We’ll use the EnviroScape Ecological Restoration model to communicate how water interacts with our local landscape with a splash!  Participants will make it rain on the model and observe how water moves throughout the watershed.  Then, they will construct solutions to problems and make it rain again to see how we can help safeguard our environment.

For more information about these programs visit the McIntosh Memoria Library at mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call us at 608-637-3615.

October Conservation on Tap

Tuesday, October 3, 2023, 7:00 pm

The Conservation on Tap environmental presentation program is back! Join us Tuesday, October 3rd, at 7:00 pm at The Historic Fortney located at 100 N. Main St., in Viroqua, WI. Conservation on Tap is a FREE presentation series by experts on various aspects of Driftless area ecology and conservation. The goal of the series is to increase knowledge, connection to, and awareness of current conservation efforts and research.
Dr. Michael Tiboris, River Alliance’s Clear Water Farms Director, will present
“A Wisconsin Agriculture Agenda: Policy Directions from a Broken Food System.”
He will discuss how the food system we have largely fails to do what we want it to. It produces lots of cheap food but not enough healthy food. It results in high amounts of waste, carbon emissions, and poor water quality.

For more information about these programs visit the McIntosh Memoria Library at mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call us at 608-637-3615.

August Programs with McIntosh Memorial Library

Youth Program, Wednesday, August 2, 2023, 1:00 pm

Adult Program, Tuesday, August 22, 2023, 6:00 pm

We will be coordinating with the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua throughout the summer to bring a variety of adult and youth programs to the community.  

In August, our youth program Mapping our Town will be at 1:00 pm on the 2nd.  Meet in Eckhardt Park!  Our GIS and Habitat Specialist Ben Johnston will lead the children through a mapping exercise in the park to explore the relationship between mapping and landmarks and their conection to their surroundings.  A scavenger hunt will follow.

For our adult program at 6:00 pm on the 22nd Heidi Keuler, Fish Habitat Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, use a stream table to lead hands-on learning about how rivers work and how we in our communities can impact them both positively and negatively. Participants will learn basic stream terminology, how they function in the watershed by interacting with groundwater, and what we can do to protect them and the fish and wildlife that live there. 

For more information about these programs visit the McIntosh Memoria Library at mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org or us at valleystewardshipnetwork.org, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call us at 608-637-3615.

July Programs with McIntosh Memorial Library

Youth Program, Wednesday, July 19, 2023, 1:00 pm

Adult Program, Thursday, July 20, 2023, 6:00 pm

Graphic listing dates and times for events described below

We will be coordinating with the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua throughout the summer to bring a variety of adult and youth programs to the community.  

In July, our youth program Creeping Critters will be at 1:00 pm on the 19th.  Our staff member Frank Spilker will lead the children into an investigation of the fascinating insects that inhabit local streams and ponds.  He will discuss life cycles and bring critters for children to identify and study.

For our adult program at 6:00 pm on the 20th, we’ll use the EnviroScape Ecological Restoration model to communicate how water interacts with our local landscape with a splash!  Participants will make it rain on the model and observe how water moves throughout the watershed.  Then, they will construct solutions to problems and make it rain again to see how we can help safeguard our environment.

For more information about these programs visit the McIntosh Memoria Library at mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org or us at valleystewardshipnetwork.org, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call us at 608-637-3615.

June Programs with McIntosh Memorial Library

June 2023

Youth Program, Thursday, June 29, 2023, 3:45 pm

Adult Program, Thursday, June 29, 2023, 6:00 pm

Program information for VSN and McIntosh Memorial Libe collabs on June 29th. Picture of EnviroScape demo model shows landscape with town, rivers, lakes, cars, and roads. Program is at 3:45 pm. Adult program shows cover of book for book study. Older book cover. Green. Showing woman and bird outside. Program is at 6:00 pm. Book is My Double Life about a woman naturalist.

We will be coordinating with the McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua throughout the summer to bring a variety of adult and youth programs to the community.  Our first programs are both on June 29th.  

Our youth program will be at 3:45 pm.  We’ll use the EnviroScape Ecological Restoration model to communicate how water interacts with our local landscape with a splash!  Participants will make it rain on the model and observe how water moves throughout the watershed.  Then, they will construct solutions to problems and make it rain again to see how we can help safeguard our environment.

For our adult program at 6:00 pm, we will discuss “My Double Life: Memoirs of a Naturalist” by Frances Hamerstrom.  Contact the library to obtain a copy.  After a childhood traveling the world with a wealthy family, Frances moves to central Wisconsin in the 1930s and goes on to lead an entire generation of conservationists.  She became the only woman ever to receive a graduate degree from famed ecologist Aldo Leopold.  Come join the conversation!

For more information about these programs visit the McIntosh Memoria Library at mcintoshmemoriallibrary.org or us at valleystewardshipnetwork.org, email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org, or call us at 608-637-3615.

Water Action Volunteer (WAV) Training

2 Dates

Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 6:00 pm

Sunday, May 7, 2023 – 11:00 am

A stream bank on a sunny day with some people on the bank watching people in the stream taking water quality measurements

Learn more about your local stream and watershed! Contribute to understanding the water quality in local watersheds and the state of WI. Join the Water Action Volunteer (WAV) program!

Water quality has been at the heart of Valley Stewardship Network’s (VSN’s) mission to protect our land and waters through research, education, and community empowerment. Through the assistance of members of the community volunteering their time through the WAV program, we’ve been able to put together many years of stream quality data that give us a baseline for comparison of future water sampling in the area. All this information is coordinated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources throughout Wisconsin.

NEW TRAINING ADDED:  Wednesday, May 3rd, at 6:00 pm, at Sidie Hollow, Viroqua.  Meet at the parking area at the end of CTH XX.

Our second training session is Sunday, May 7th, at 11:00 am, at 803 Water St., Wilton, WI.

Please contact our WAV Coordinator Ben Johnston at ben@valleystewardshipnetwork.org if you plan on attending. We will provide you with a full set of sampling equipment.  Ben’s cell phone number is:  608-435-6114.

Please dress appropriately for being out of doors for the training.

If you would have any questions, please email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call 608-637-3615.

Coon Creek Conservation Day

Saturday, May 6, 2023 – 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Make Running Water Walk

An outdoor gathering with people sitting at tables or outdoor chairs listening to a presenter.

Coon Creek Community Watershed Council presents a day of  Conservation, Farming, and Fishing at Coon Valley Veterans Memorial Park, Roosevelt Street, Coon Valley, WI.  There will be food, entertainment, events, and kids’ activities focused on the Coon Creek watershed and the conservation ideas, practices, and actions taking place in the watershed.

Ben Johnston, Valley Stewardship Network’s new Water Action Volunteer (WAV) Coordinator, will be at the event if you would like to learn more about volunteering to help monitor water quality in area rivers and streams.

EVENTS

  • Hog roast and baked potatoes
  • Fishers & Farmers rain simulator
  • Sand tables
  • Kids’ fishing poles
  • Coon Creek Watershed History
  • Booths
  • Spunky Bumpkins – LIVE!

ORGANIZATIONS

  • Wisconsin Land and Water
  • Savanna Institute
  • Greener Pastures and Grassland 2.0 UW-Madison
  • B & E’s Trees
  • Seed Savers
  • Valley Stewardship Network

Find a list of all participating organizations and vendors at cooncreekwatershed.org.

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

Ridges and Rivers Festival

Book Garden

Saturday, April 29, 2023 – 9:30 am – 10:30 am

Interior shot of a Black woman holding up a book and reading from it.

Ridges & Rivers Book Festival’s Book Garden
On Saturday, April 29th, 2023, as part of the first-ever Ridges & Rivers Book Festival, Valley Stewardship Network will host a Book Garden at its office at 110 S. Main St., Viroqua, for an hour-long reading featuring six regional writers reading for 10 minutes each. Readers will share from their own work in a variety of genres around a loose theme of Sense of Place.  Stop in to listen to the wonderful works of driftless writers while enjoying food & drink and afterward perusing the offerings of Main Street shops. 
For additional Festival info, visit Ridges and Rivers Book Festival. 

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

The Hill Country Watershed Alliance hosts:

Spring Cover Crop Bingo!

Tour the Countryside and Win Prizes

Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, 2023

Sprouting green winter rye field with blue sky in the background

Here’s How it Works

The attached map shows where each cover crop field is located in one of our local watersheds.  You travel to each map location and write the number of the field location on your map (the field number is indicated on a sign at each field).  The bingo sheet description will explain what is in that field and how it was planted.

Once you have your map completed, you can return your map at the following locations or submit it electronically:
Drop-off locations:

  1. Chaseburg Co-Op, 113 Cactus Dr, Chaseburg
  2. Vernon County Land & Water Conservation Dept. (LWCD), 220 Airport Road, Viroqua
  3. Wehling Farms Country Store, S764 Jore Road, Westby

Electronic submission:
Info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org

All submissions are due by Friday, April 28th.

 

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

Conservation on Tap Presentation Series 2022-2023

First Tuesday of Every Month, November – April, 7:00 p.m.

NOTE:  The April 4 presentation will be at Tangled Hickory in Viroqua

 

November 1, 2022, Jason Freund, “Climate Change, Flooding, and Stream Manipulation In the Driftless Area” – Jason will talk a bit about what we have seen from climate change in the Driftless Area and about flood events, particularly the damage from the August 2018 flood event. He’ll also discuss our native plant communities, the history of human disturbances, and how we can reconnect streams and their floodplains to minimize the effects of flooding.  Link to video

December 6, 2022, Peter Allen, “Becoming Keystone: Reintegrate to Regenerate” – Indigenous cultures worldwide have embraced their role as keystone species, creating healthy ecosystems as the basis for their sustenance and livelihoods. In our times, it is critical that we remember how to take responsibility for our role as keystone, reintegrating into Nature to restore biologically diverse, ecologically functional, and agriculturally productive ecosystems. Becoming keystone requires both engaging in specific activities that impact the land and an entire paradigm shift on how we think about and understand ourselves and our relations.

January 31, 2023, RESCHEDULED! Nancy Wedwick and Bob Micheel plan to offer background information on watershed councils, their work in particular and also that in collaboration with their sister watershed councils, within the context of the historical legacy of conservation leadership in the Coon Creek Watershed.  Link to video

February 7, 2023, Teri Allendorf, “Community Conservation:  From Wisconsin to the World” – Teri Allendorf will describe Community Conservation‘s projects around the world with local communities to protect biodiversity, including endangered species such as yellow-tailed woolly monkeys in Peru, orangutans in Malaysia, chimpanzees in Cameroon, and tigers in Nepal, among many others.  Link to video

March 7, 2023, David Bruce and Erik Hagen, “Agroforestry and Perennial Cropping Systems: Catalyzing widespread adoption through Demonstration, Research and Education” – Through research, demonstration, and education, we at the Savanna Institute work to create a community of practice and help farmers and landowners learn about and adopt the practices into their current farming practices. With the USDA’s new Climate Smart program, we have several exciting new projects in the works. And you’ll be especially interested to hear about what we are doing here in Vernon County, as well as at our cluster of demonstration farms in the Spring Green area. 

April 4, 2023, Craig Thompson, “From Catbirds to Cuckoos – The Importance of North America’s Driftless Area for Global Bird Conservation” – The Driftless Area harbors the largest expanse of forest between the Ozarks and Canada’s vast boreal biome. The region’s oak woodlands support an important population of migratory birds, many considered conservation priorities. The Driftless also provides critically important stopover habitat for millions of birds during spring and fall migration.  This presentation will examine features that contribute to the region’s importance for birds, provide a glimpse into ongoing bird conservation efforts, and highlight actions Driftless residents can take to lend our feathered friends a helping hand.

For additional information, please call Valley Stewardship Network at 608-637-3615 or email info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org.

Annual Meeting – January 17, 2023, 7:00 pm

To be held at The Historic Fortney, 100 N. Main St., Viroqua

Winter scene in countryside with Save the Date for January 17 annual meeting written on top of it

 

This year we are returning to an in-person Annual Meeting but are including a Zoom portion as well so we can include people who may not want to make the trip.  As an enticement for those who do choose to join us in-person, we are offering tasty appetizers and drinks. Join us Tuesday, January 17, at 7:00 pm, at The Historic Fortney, 100 N. Main St., Viroqua.  We’ll share our successes from 2022 and talk about our plans for 2023!

The doors open for socializing at 6:30 pm.  The presentation starts at 7:30 pm.  

Please email us at info@valleystewardshipnetwork.org or call 608-637-3615 to register for event and/or ask for Zoom link.

Become a member.

Now is a great time to join Valley Stewardship Network. We’d love to learn about your conservation interests and see how we might be able to help. You can join today or at this event, our annual meeting.