By Lisa Charron, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin

Kids can get to know Wisconsin wildlife up close and personal during the Wisconsin Science Festival. (Photo by V’ron via Flickr Creative Commons.)

Each year, the Wisconsin Science Festival engages Wisconsin residents in the wonder and power of sciences, arts and more, bringing together organizations from around the state to put on events over four exciting and enriching days. This year, the festival runs Thursday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct.25. Events are happening right now, and many will celebrate wildlife, landscape and conservation. For those of us interested in such topics, we have pulled together a list of those events that are sure to celebrate, educate and inspire us to care for Wisconsin’s rich natural resources. For more information about the science festival and the events, please visit the festival’s program guide or follow the links for each affiliated organization.

Birds in Art 2015 Exhibition

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

Wausau, WI

Friday, Oct. 24

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 25 and Sunday, Oct. 26

12 p.m. -5 p.m.

Celebrate the majesty and fragility of the world’s bird at the 40th anniversary of this internationally renowned exhibit. The exhibit includes stunning original paintings, sculptures and graphics created in the last three years.

 

Great Lakes Avian Ecology

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

Wausau, WI

Friday, Oct. 23

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Three experts from UW-Stevens Point—ecologist Alan Haney, Museum of Natural History director Ray Reser and conservation biologist Eric Anderson—engage a panel discussion about how changes to the regional landscape affect bird populations.

Park after Dark- Exploring Riverside Park’s Nocturnal World

Urban Ecology Center- Riverside Park Branch

Milwaukee, WI

Friday, Oct. 23

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Families and individuals alike are invited to head out on a guided night hike through Riverside Park. Prowl for owls, play nocturnal-themed games and learn about the nocturnal animals that live in the park. Close the evening with s’mores around a campfire at the wooded amphitheater.  Admission fees apply.

Animal Tracker

Urban Ecology Center- Menomonee Valley Branch

Milwaukee, WI

Saturday, October 24

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Learn to identify the bird species that live in the Menomonee River Valley using binoculars and field guides. Explore their unique qualities by tracking them through the woods around the river. Admission fees apply.

 

International Crane Foundation Guided Tours

International Crane Foundation

Baraboo, WI

Saturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 25

10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

Cranes are one of the world’s oldest living and most endangered bird families. Learn about crane biology and conservation in the only place where you can see all 15 crane species. Admission fees apply.

Photo credit Joshua Mayer.

Tour of Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm

Leopold Legacy Center

Baraboo, WI

Saturday, Oct. 24

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

The land around the Leopold Shack inspired Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, and reminds us of his land restoration legacy. Visit the inside of the shack and tour the surrounding prairie, woods and river trails with a knowledgeable guide.  Admission fees apply.

Autumn Celebration

Urban Ecology Center- Washington Park Branch

Milwaukee, WI

Saturday, Oct. 24

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Fall food and drinks, pumpkin carving and science learning in Washington Park.

Meet Wisconsin Wildlife

Pewaukee Public Library

Pewaukee, WI

Saturday, Oct. 24

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Learn about wild animals—where they live, what they eat and how we can help them—in an engaging, educational and enjoyable presentation. Best for families with school-age children.

Caves, Karst & Wisconsin’s Driftless Area: Guided Walk-n-Talk on the Karst View Trail

Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark

Blue Mounds, WI

Saturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 25

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

On this easy half-hour walk on the Karst View Trail, you will explore sinkholes, take in spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, and learn from a knowledgeable guide about the history and ecology of the driftless area.

Fall Colors: Made in Wisconsin

UW-Madison Arboretum

Madison, WI

Sunday, Oct. 25

12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Explore and experiment with all the different colors leaves turn in the fall and enjoy leaf-pile activities.

Photo credit Joshua Mayer.

Meet your Native Neighbors- Get to Know the Animals of Wisconsin

Urban Ecology Center- Riverside Park Branch

Milwaukee, WI

Sunday, Oct. 25

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Ecology center staff lead hands-on demonstrations with some of the animal species that live in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin. Afterwards, head out on a guided hike through Riverside Park to learn about its wildlife or learn at the self-exploration stations in the building. Admission fees apply.