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The Phenology of Mammals, Birds and other Creatures of the North Country

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

Wednesday, August 24th
Madeline Island Museum

Free and Open to the Public

The Phenology of Mammals, Birds and other Creatures of the North Country

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

Phenology is the gate through which nature becomes personal. It’s often a list of firsts — the first spring peeper to sing in the spring, the first robin to return, the first walleye to spawn, the first fawn to be born, the first monarch butterfly to return, the first mosquito to hatch. But it’s also a list of other timings — the first and last frosts, the peak of fall color, the first and last days of ice cover on a lake. These connections to the timing of physical events offer insights into how the natural world works — the whens and whys. Perhaps more importantly, being mindful of the unfolding of natural events often evolves into a soulful perspective of where one lives, which may be the best reason for paying attention at all.


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.

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