Gathering Waters is Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts and exists to strengthen over 50 land trusts throughout the state through outreach, education and communications. With a mission rooted in helping land trusts, landowners, and communities protect the places that make Wisconsin special, their promotion of Wisconsin Land Trust Days became an integral part of their story. Every year, during the months of August and September, Wisconsin land trusts throughout the state host a variety of interactive, outdoor events, both public and private, known as Wisconsin Land Trust Days.
Tour the beautiful hilltop on the private grounds of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration villa. Hike to the top of the bluff and gaze out on the breathtaking overlook views of the area. Learn about the sustainable horticulture techniques that produce hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables for the Sisters each year. Also get an inside look of the state-of-the-art greenhouse. At the end of the night, grab a blanket and gaze up at the starry night sky as the La Crosse Area Astronomical Society points out constellations and gives you an up-close look via telescopes.
Join the Northwoods Land Trust for a two-mile paddle excursion on the South Bay of Lake Katherine. Paddle around the small islands and watch closely for the thriving wildlife on the banks, in the sky and in the water. Pull your canoe ashore and trek around the 450 acres of land and 4.4 miles of shoreline of the Yawkey Forest Reserve. This land was donated by the great-grandchildren of Cyrus Yawkey and was the largest donation of shoreline in Wisconsin land trust history.
Ride through Lake Country and the rolling farmlands of Waukesha, Washington and Dodge counties during this event, making short stops at local farms along the way. Participating farmers provide bikers with local food and drink, such as cheese from their dairy farm or homegrown vegetables. The event highlights the importance of the Tall Pines Conservancy’s efforts to protect the area's farmland.
Scout the scenic wetlands of Baileys Harbor. Kangaroo Lake Reserve is home to an array of ecosystems, which means the mushrooms you’ll find in warmer, dryer parts of the forest vary from the species you might discover in the cooler, damper areas. Take a moment on the hike to indulge in “forest bathing.” Find a quiet spot along the trail where you can focus on the sounds of nature, breathe in the cool, crisp air around you and soak in the natural surroundings. This area is perfect for mushroom growth because of the variety of ecosystems in a small area. For those who know where to look, the appearance of ephemeral and mysterious fungi can be a spectacle.
Taylor Carruthers is a producer of Discover Wisconsin. Watch the show on Fox Sports Wisconsin every Saturday at 10am or on Roku, Chromecast, Smart TV, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, or on DiscoverWisconsin.com.