Evening Sky Prairie Walk
You're invited to enjoy an evening outdoors for a guided walk to discover the planets, stars, and galaxies of the late summer’s evening sky on the hilltop trail at the Tunnelville Cliffs nature preserve in Vernon County. This easy walk on a relatively flat trail will include observation of night life on the prairie and in the sky. The Evening Sky Prairie Walk is part of the Conservancy’s 2021 “Linked to the Land” series of outdoor learning experiences in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area.
This twilight walk will be led by Susan Cushing, a naturalist and artist who has lived much of her life in the Kickapoo Valley where she has observed and studied the local flora, fauna, and night skies for years. Susan has led numerous night hikes, participated in bat surveys, and has helped develop an astronomy program at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, where she also serves on the board of directors.
Tunnelville Cliffs is a 1,118-acre nature preserve with public access on the Kickapoo River near La Farge. The site includes springs, creeks, over 9,000 feet of frontage on the river, forests, cliffs, prairie, sedge meadow, and open grasslands. The property is surrounded by additional protected lands, providing a vast wildlife refuge of 2,278 contiguous acres on the Kickapoo River. The nature preserve is also part of a proposed Dark Sky Park of the International Dark Skies Association, and an update on that project and information about the value of dark skies will be shared with participants at this walk.
What to bring and wear
Bring curiosity and willingness to explore the quiet and dark of night, red flashlight (if you don’t have one, red film will be provided for use with your regular flashlight), binoculars (optional and some extras will be available), and insect repellent (optional). Long pants and closed-toed shoes are recommended. Masks and social distancing will be required for all attendees.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED by September 22 for this FREE activity. With limited parking space and an ongoing effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, registration will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Details and directions to the meet-up location will be provided to all registrants a few days before the event.
With questions, contact Sarah Bratnober at [email protected] or call 608-784-3606 ext. 8.
Registration for this event has closed.
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Tunnelville Cliffs State Natural Area
Center Access: Intersection of Tunnelville Rd. and Husker Hollow Rd.
From La Crosse: take 14/61 east to Westby, in Westby turn left onto 27 for.5 miles then turn right onto Cty rd P, Follow P until you reach County rd D (take a right onto D) Follow D until you reach 82 and turn right on 82, take your first left onto Husker hollow rd and follow until you reach Tunnelville rd. Access is at the intersection and parking is on the roadside.
From Viroqua or other nearby towns: take Hwy 82 to Husker Hollow Road and then up the hill on Husker Hollow Road to Tunnelville Rd. Park on the side of the road at the intersection.