STEVENS POINT – From family nature programs to the fall Candlelight Hike Festival, learn and explore at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Schmeeckle Reserve this October. Additionally, you can share creations inspired by the reserve in the ninth annual Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve Writing, Art and Photo Contest.
The Candlelight Hike Festival, Lights of the Night, will be held Oct. 28, from 6-9 p.m., at the reserve, 2419 North Point Drive, Stevens Point. It will feature torch and jack-o’-lantern lit trails, children’s programs at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., passport stations with hands-on activities, live raptors on display, craft stations and s’mores and snacks for sale. The event has a suggested donation of $2 per person or $5 per family.
The Writing, Art and Photo Contest has a deadline of Dec. 9. All ages are welcome to participate. Submissions must be accompanied by a 75- to 100-word statement describing how the entry was inspired by time spent in Schmeeckle Reserve. A reception to honor the winners and participants will be held Jan. 20, 2023, and all entries will be displayed on the Friends website. For more information and a submission form, go to www.FriendsofSchmeeckle.org/arts-contest.
Nature programs, led by UW-Stevens Point students, are held outside, so dress for the weather. Meet at the Menzel Pavilion unless otherwise noted.
The following programs will be offered in October:
· “A Look into Wisconsin Symbols,” Oct. 12, 6-7 p.m. Learn what animals, minerals, plants and foods represent the dairy state during a fireside chat.
· “The Versatile Vulture,” Oct. 13, 6-7 p.m. Vultures’ dining habits keep humans safe and healthy. How can you help them?
· “Backyard Birding Basics,” Oct. 15, 10-11 a.m. Practice using binoculars and new-school birding apps, then discuss how you can contribute to science.
· “Nature: The Masterpiece,” Oct. 16, 3-4 p.m. Fall in love with nature and the beauty hidden in Schmeeckle, then create your own masterpiece.
· “Diagnose the Invaders of Schmeeckle!” Oct. 19, 5-6 p.m. The reserve has been invaded by exotic plants – find them and find out how you can prevent the spread.
· “Schmeeckle Insect Superheroes,” Oct. 21, 6-7 p.m. Join Ant Man and shrink down to discover insect superheroes and explore their habitats and adaptations.
· “Positive Pollinators,” Oct. 22, noon-1 p.m., Pop into the pollinators world and find out how you can make the world safer for them.
· “Searching in the Oak Savanna,” Oct. 22, 3-4 p.m. Join a guided hike through the oak savanna, learn about its animals and what makes it so special.
· “Trees of Wisconsin,” Oct. 23, 3-4 p.m. Take a short hike to learn about trees in Schmeeckle and what they provide for wildlife and people.
· “Beneficial Bats,” Oct. 30, 3-4 p.m. Are bats monsters or helpful heroes? Learn how bats benefit people and our ecosystem.
Participants must register ahead by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 715-346-4992 or in person at the Visitor Center. Include the programs you want to attend, total in your group, your email address and phone number. Confirmations, cancellations or rain rescheduling information will be sent via email. Reasonable accommodations for special needs will be made with advance notice.
Learn more about Schmeeckle at www.uwsp.edu/schmeeckle.