Things you can do at the nature preserves

Please be aware that hiking on muddy trails causes permanent damage to sensitive habitats. If you come upon a muddy trail, go back – don’t go around.


Hiking responsibly during the COVID-19 Pandemic

#1 RULE: Always, always practice physical distancing and follow the guidelines of your local government or the federal Centers for Disease Control CDC, whichever are more restrictive. These guidelines provided by the American Hiking Society provide some important considerations for planning outdoor activities and visiting parks and preserves.

When planning to visit a nature preserve, consider a back-up plan in the event that you would arrive at your destination to find a crowded parking lot – an indication that might suggest a problem with social distancing. Hiking at non-peak hours is also a consideration for social distancing.

Become a trail steward

We’d love to have more eyes and ears on the trails throughout the year so we can inform people about trail conditions, both good and bad. Send us photos and reports of trail conditions you observe when visiting the nature preserves. Be sure to include location. Send to [email protected]


Become a clean-up champion

Take a trash bag and sanitary gloves to collect litter when you visit the nature preserves. Send a picture of you by a nature preserve or park sign with the litter you’ve collected on a single day before June 1, and we’ll give a copy of our “Mysteries of the Driftless” DVD to the person or family with the biggest haul. Send to [email protected]


Submit bird sightings

eBird transforms your bird sightings into science and conservation. Plan trips, find birds, track your lists, explore range maps and bird migration—all free. Details at


Forage for mushrooms

Learn about the role of mushrooms in ecology and how to identify the many varieties. You can find many different kinds of mushrooms in the nature preserves at different times of year. Some are edible and some are deadly poisonous, so it's essential to have a reliable reference and even an expert guide before you choose a mushroom to consume. At a recent virtual mushroom foraging event, one of our local experts share this introduction to mushroom foraging.