It’s showtime!

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Thanks for sending this, Michael! The next few weeks should be spectacular.

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Acoustic bat monitoring

Bat map 2017.6.2As part of a program offered by the North Lakeland Discovery Center, Michael and I have become volunteer bat monitors for the Wisconsin Bat Program. On the night of June 2 we took a slow ride around the perimeter of the lake while using a handheld bat detector. Each species of bat has a different high-frequency call which can be heard by the detector. By looking at the frequency, shape and other characteristics of calls, the software in the detector can identify the species of bat that was recorded.

Yesterday we received the mapped results of our survey, and here is what we found! Even though we didn’t see or hear any bats as we trolled along the shore, it turns out that there were quite a few around.

Bats are fascinating animals that are vital to the environment. They eat tons of insects nightly, saving farmers billions of dollars in pest control every year. They benefit our forests by pollinating a variety of flowering plants and spreading seeds that grow new trees. It’s good to know that Lake of the Falls supports a small population of bats, including Little Brown Bats, which are now on the Threatened list due to white-nose syndrome.

Kiosk

Our new informational kiosk, donated by the Lake of the Falls Association and built by thumbnailLOFA member Elmer Gosh, was approved at the Mercer Town Board meeting on Thursday, September 1 and installed next to the public landing on Moose Creek Lane by an enthusiastic group of volunteers on the morning of September 2. We’re grateful to Elmer for his efforts. It looks terrific! The board has designated a committee to take responsibility for the materials posted inside. After years of discussion about this, it’s great to see it in place.

Thanks to Jack S., Mike M., and Tom T. for contributing these photos.To enlarge them for a slideshow, just click on the first one.

In case you missed it

We’re very grateful to Wendy Thiede for recording Zach Wilson’s excellent presentation about shoreline buffer zones at The Pines last Wednesday night. In case you weren’t able to attend,  you can watch it here.

 

Two things to do this week

Thing one: Buffer zones and the critters that inhabit them with Zach Wilson at The Pines
Iron County Lakes and Rivers Alliance (ICLRA) will present their next educational program on Wednesday, August 31st at 6:00 PM at The Pines Beer Garden in Mercer. Our own Iron County Conservation Specialist, Zach Wilson, will speak to the group.

Leopard frogZach’s program will be on buffer zones and the lesser-known critters that live in and around them. Riparian owners are required to leave buffer zones along the lake shore, but what is a buffer zone and why is it important for habitat? In discussions of the health of our lakes, we often talk about fish and large mammals, but turtles, frogs, dragon flies and other inhabitants also influence the delicate balance in our watersheds. These will be the focus of Zach’s presentation.

Thing two: Fill out this quick survey from the Wisconsin DNR, and tell them what you think!

Are you interested in outdoor recreation in Wisconsin? Do you have thoughts about what is currently available and what’s most needed?  Complete a recently released survey on outdoor recreation in Wisconsin.

Information generated from the survey will be used to develop the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).  SCORPs are intended to evaluate outdoor recreation trends and issues and set forth ideas about recreation’s future role in the state. Put simply, they are the blueprint for outdoor recreation in the state and provide broad guidance to governments at all levels, communities, businesses and organizations on recreation needs and opportunities.