STEVENS POINT – Explore the natural world at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s Schmeeckle Reserve this fall, with the annual candlelight hike and family nature programs offered free and open to the public.

The annual Fall Candlelight Hike will be held at the reserve, 2419 North Point Drive, Stevens Point, from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 27. Themed Totally Terrific Turtles, this family friendly event offers torch-lit trails, character programs at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., snacks and crafts. A donation of $4 per person or $10 per family is suggested to support future events, programs and projects of the Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve.

Parking is offered in the reserve’s overflow lot and on North Point Drive, Michigan Avenue and Maria Drive. The paved Visitor Center lot is reserved for those with disabilities or other special needs.

Family nature programs, led by UW-Stevens Point natural resources students, will be offered in November and December. Registration is required to attend, by email at, phone at 715-346-4992 or in person at the Visitor Center. Reasonable accommodation for special needs will be made with advanced notice. Dress for the weather and meet at the Menzel Pavilion.

Fall programs include:

·         Loons on the Lake, Nov. 4, 11 a.m.-noon, Loons make a rest stop at Lake Joanis as they migrate south. Learn about these amazing water birds.

·         Sneaky, Sneaky Bats of Schmeeckle, Nov. 17, 10-11 a.m., Discover these flying mammals and why they are the stealthies “spies” of the reserve.

·         The Mysteries of Schmeeckle, Nov. 18, 11 a.m.-noon, Get a behind-the-scenes look at student research at the reserve, including deer telemetry and tagging.

·         Watchers in the Night: Schmeeckle’s Owls, Dec. 2, 7-8 p.m., Join us to look and listen for owls and learn what makes them elusive predators.

·         Frozen Beans: Lives and Times of the Real Paul Bunyans, Dec. 9, 4-5 p.m., What was it like to be a lumberjack in Wisconsin? Learn around the campfire.

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