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Timing is Everything: The Phenology of Plants

  • Madeline Island Museum 226 Colonel Woods Avenue La Pointe, WI, 54850 United States (map)

Wednesday, July 13th
Madeline Island Museum

Free and Open to the Public

Timing is Everything:  The Phenology of Plants 

Speaker: John Bates, Wisconsin’s Northwoods naturalist for 27 years. Author of seven books on natural history of the Northwoods. 

What’s phenology? The dates of arrival and departures, the births, the flourishing, the decays and deaths of wild things, their successions, synchronicities, dependencies, reciprocities, and cycles — the lived life of the earth, according to Jack Turner in his book, The Abstract Wild.

The study of phenology offers a wealth of scientific and educational values, but its ultimate value may be in the personal love one gains by getting to know a place and its inhabitants. The average child today can name 100 advertisements logos but can recognize only a few wildflowers. If we want true stewardship of our land and waters, we need to know the species that live here, their life cycles, their interrelationships, and our relationships to them.

A place is nothing more than a space with a story. What are the Madeline Stories?


John Bates, of Trails North Naturalist Guide Service, is the author of seven books, and a contributor to seven others, all of which focus on the natural history of the Northwoods.

John won the 2006 Ellis/Henderson Outdoor Writing Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers for his book Graced by the Seasons: Spring and Summer in the Northwoods.

John’s poems have also appeared in five different art/science collaborations, several of which have traveled nationally.

He’s worked as a naturalist in Wisconsin’s Northwoods for 26 years, leading an array of trips all designed to help people further understand the remarkable diversity and beauty of nature, and our place within it.

He has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Wisconsin Nature Conservancy and the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and now serves on the Board of the River Alliance of Wisconsin and the Board of the Northwoods Land Trust.

John and his wife Mary live on the Manitowish River in Iron County where they raised two daughters.

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This program is made possible by the generous support of the Apostle Islands Area Community Fund.