Schmeeckle Reserve. Photo courtesy University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

STEVENS POINT – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Schmeeckle Reserve will resume its free family nature programs this fall – safely held outdoors with a few new procedures in place.

Programs led by UW-Stevens Point students will be offered in October and November. Dress for the weather. All programs will begin at the Pankowski Friends Amphitheater near the Visitor Center unless otherwise noted. The center is not open to the public. Portable toilets will be available in the parking lot.

Participants will be required to register ahead by emailing schmeeckle@uwsp.edu. Include the programs you want to attend, total number of people in your group, your email address and phone number. Confirmations, cancellations or rain reschedule information will be sent via email. Each program is limited to 25 attendees, and no walk-ins will be allowed.

Participants and presenters will be required to wear face coverings during the program and practice physical distancing, remaining 6 feet away from other groups.

The following programs will be offered in October:

“Birds Fly South: See Them Before They’re Gone,” Tuesday, Oct. 6, 5-6 p.m. (rain date: Wednesday, Oct. 7, 5-6 p.m.)
Join an evening of birdwatching and games. Use your binoculars or borrow ours and discover how we can help birds before they move south for winter.

“Cicadas: Captivating Tree-Crickets,” Thursday, Oct. 8, 5-6 p.m. (rain date: Friday, Oct. 9, 5-6 p.m.)
Cicadas can be heard in the summer but stay all year long. Explore their lives and find out what we have in common.

“Schmeeckle Oddities,” Tuesday, Oct. 13, 5-6 p.m. (rain date: Wednesday, Oct. 14, 5-6 p.m.)
Have you seen things at Schmeeckle that you could not explain? Join a guided walk to uncover some of the reserve’s mysteries.

“What if Wildlife Used Social Media?” Thursday, Oct. 15, 5-6 p.m. (rain date: Friday, Oct. 16, 5-6 p.m.)
“Follow” some of the reserve’s wildlife, learn their lingo and how they communicate with each other.

“Finding Fungi with this Fun-guy,” Wednesday, Oct. 21, 5-6 p.m. (rain date: Thursday, Oct. 22, 5-6 p.m.)
Find a variety of fungi at the reserve, from Fragile Grilled to coral-like shapes.

“Underwater Wonders,” Saturday, Oct. 24, 3-4 p.m. (rain date: Sunday, Oct. 25, 3-4 p.m.)
Meet at the John Joanis Memorial near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Maria Drive. Get your hands wet exploring aquatic invertebrates and why they are important to the ecosystem.

“Into the Arachnid-Verse,” Wednesday, Oct. 28, 5-6 p.m. (rain date: Thursday, Oct. 29 5-6 p.m.)
Many are afraid of spiders, but are they friend or foe? Look for them inside the reserve.

“The Competitive Hunter Game Show,” Saturday, Oct. 31, 4-5 p.m. (rain date: Sunday, Nov. 1, 4-5 p,m.)
Which is the strongest raptor – the owl or the hawk? Compare their eyesight, hearing, stealth and speed to put them to the test. Halloween costumes are encouraged.

In addition, outdoor equipment such as canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, tents, backpacks, snowshoes and cross-country skis are available for rent through the reserve. COVID-19 procedures apply. For information, go to www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/schmeeckle/Pages/shop/outdoor_rentals.aspx.

Learn more at www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/schmeeckle.