From Sept. 24 to Oct. 2, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest Exhibit will be at the Flyways Waterfowl Museum adjacent the north shore entrance of Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wis.
- The Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast secluded in the Baraboo Bluffs with a panoramic view of the Lake Wisconsin valley adorned in fall color is five minutes west of the museum.
The traveling exhibit features the 2016 adult finalists’ and winning juniors’ original, miniature artwork depicting five or fewer waterfowl species and habitat. There are about 20 adult Federal Duck Stamp pieces each 9.5 inches by 12 inches, and 54 Junior Duck Stamp paintings each 11.5 inches by 14 inches created through the youths’ participation in a wetlands-and-wildlife-conservation education program. This is the only juried art competition the federal government sponsors.
- The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is a prestigious honor among wildlife artists, akin to the Oscars and the Grammys. Winners do not receive prize money but are able to sell prints of their original paintings.
Three Brothers Sweep The Contest
The 2016 winning adult piece, selected from 157 entries, features trumpeter swans in flight by Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minn., who has won the competition five times.
Joseph’s brothers Bob and Jim are also wildlife artists and received second and third place, respectively. This is a historical record for this strictly regulated competition where the five judges are unaware of the artists when judging the pieces.
- All three pieces will be available to view in the traveling exhibit in Baraboo.
The Federal Duck Stamp began in 1934 as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act to generate funds to ease the sharp decline of wetlands around the country at the time, a challenge that continues today. Besides duck hunters who are required to purchase the $25 stamp to place on their hunting licenses, conservation supporters, stamp collectors and those who enjoy wildlife art also buy the stamp. The stamp is also an annual pass to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee. The Program has raised more than $850 million to help the National Wildlife Refuge System own or lease and conserve six million acres of wetlands and associated habitat.
- 98 percent of each stamp purchase goes directly to waterfowl habitat conservation.
The Flyways Waterfowl Museum, which opened in 2013, welcomes the annual exhibit to temporarily augment its art collections and more than 80 bird mounts of 43 species that migrate through the Mississippi River flyway. The sportsman-and-conservationist duo Craig and Nichol Swenson operate the nonprofit museum. Craig has harvested most of the mounts displayed.
- Annually the museum offers a new exhibit and this year it is the Amazing Sea Ducks.
This modern, natural-science museum also has world-class exhibits and accompanying audio recordings about North American waterfowl and their habitats, historical exhibits, short videos in the Duck Blind Theater, laser arcade games and a gift shop. Admission is $7.00.
- June 13–Sept. 4: Mon. and Thur.–Sat., 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Sept. 5–Oct. 30: Saturday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and weekdays by appointment by calling Nichol Swenson at 608-225-7732.
Conservation Conversations Begin Oct. 1 At The Museum
Every Saturday and Sunday in October, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m., join a discussion about the weekly conservation message posted on the museum’s Facebook page while enjoying free coffee and cookies. Participants receive $1.00 off museum admission.
Book a fall-color getaway HERE or call us at 608-355-9899.
Monitor the changing fall colors in the Baraboo Bluffs by visiting the Inn’s Live Web Cam at the bottom of our home page at www.bestviewinwisconsin.com.
Where To See Waterfowl Around Baraboo
- Visit at dawn and dusk, and sit quietly for the best viewing opportunities.
- Grassland birds like the bobolink and raptors like the northern harrier, a marsh hawk, also inhabit or hunt in and around wetlands.
During migration various waterfowl, shorebirds and wading species stop at Devil’s Lake State Park besides those indigenous there, especially along the south shore by the boat landing where Messenger Creek and small wetland join the lake. Learn more and see photos at www.devilslakewisconsin.com
Near Merrimac, Wis., about 8 minutes southwest of the Inn: drive south on State Hwy 113 to the southwest corner of the Riverland Conservancy’s Merrimac Preserve where it joins Gallus’ Slough adjacent Lake Wisconsin. There are several trailheads to the preserve on Hwy 113 and one includes a lookout tower.
East of Baraboo from State Hwy 113 follow the Baraboo River along County Road W and watch the farm fields as you look north from the road. Continue to County Road X, cross the river and turn left, west, on State Hwy 33 to get to the Fairfield Marsh. Watch for the short driveway on the south side of the highway at the base of a hill. If you’re driving east from Baraboo you’ll see the kiosk at the trailhead.
- The Fairfield Marsh is a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Waterfowl Production Area of 5,000 acres of small sections encompassing sedge meadows, marshes and tamarack swamps on muck soil along and near the Baraboo River. It’s part of the massive Leopold Wetland Management District. Private landowners and federal conservationists through the Farming And Conservation Together (FACT) program are restoring critical habitat for migratory birds and other wetland species while conserving the working agricultural land. See the map of the 238-acre section along State Hwy 33 east of Baraboo here. Observe from the kiosk in the small parking area and access a short trail. Call the FWS district office between Baraboo and Portage at 608-742-7100 with questions and more details about viewing locations and trails. Learn more about this federally managed property here.
- The Federal Duck Stamp program funds Waterfowl Production Areas.
The Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area includes 16,000 acres along the Wisconsin River, across the road from the Aldo Leopold Center where you’ll find excellent birding along the 11 miles of Rustic Road 49, Levee Road, nine miles northeast of Baraboo, 20 minutes from the Inn. Here 117 breeding species and at least 40 migrating bird species have been seen. Much of the land is privately owned but there is some public land to explore. Learn more about this IBA here.
Some Area Events During The Exhibit’s Visit
Sept. 21–Oct. 23: Blues Brothers Revival Dinner Theatre, The Palace Theatre, Wisconsin Dells, 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. Jake and Elwood Blues fans, come revel in the Saturday Night Live-inspired band, The Blues Brothers Revival, onstage. The show interpolates songs from the 1980 film The Blues Brothers with Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi and their subsequent albums. Tickets vary per show $29.95–$49.95 and include a three-course dinner but not gratuity, taxes or service fee. Show-only tickets are available and you may order appetizers, desserts and specialty drinks. Purchase by calling 608-253-4000 or at www.dellspalace.com where you can learn more about this performance.
Sept. 23–25: Prairie du Sac Hydroelectric Dam Tours, Prairie du Sac. A 90-minute public tour by retired and current dam employees that begins and ends at the Tripp Heritage Museum in downtown Prairie du Sac. Various departure times Sept. 23: 3:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m., and Sept. 24–25: 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Each tour capacity is limited, filled first-come, first-served. Tickets $6.17, include bus transport. While you wait at the Museum see River–Dam–Lake: 100 Years Of Transformation exhibit about the history of this working river. Learn more and purchase tickets here. Contact the Museum at 608-644-8444 with questions and visit www.saukprairiehistory.org.
Sept. 23: Public Reception: Impressions Of Hamilton at the River Arts Center in the Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wis., was founded in 2000 and houses the largest collection of wood type in the world, more than 1.5 million pieces in more than 1,000 styles of wood type. This exhibit features several different styles of wood type blocks, specimen posters, antique and vintage poster and advertising blocks, unpublished proofs and more. Also featured are history from Giegerich’s Sons, a generational print shop in Prairie du Sac, Wis., prints from Madison College’s graphic-design program and Sauk Prairie student artwork. At 6:00 p.m. the museum’s director, Jim Moran, discusses the museum’s history and accomplishments. Admission is free. Details at www.riverartsinc.org.
Sept. 24 and Oct. 1: Kayak Tour Of Mirror Lake at Mirror Lake State Park, Lake Delton, 25 minutes north of the Inn, 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Learn park geology, history and points of interest, paddling from the boat landing to the dam. Rentals are available at the landing, first-come, first-served, so please arrive early if renting. Call 608-254-2333 or e-mail Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Make it a day: hike, bike and paddle this 2,200-acre park, various rentals available at www.mirrorlakeboatrentals.com.
Sept. 24: Ninth-annual Lodi & Lake Wisconsin Brew-B-Que Block Party, downtown Lodi, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. A fall festival with the area’s best barbecue teams smoking their special ribs in an exciting, open competition, plus a chili cook-off, and homemade salsa and home-brew competitions. Sample chili and salsa, grab a brew and taste some great barbecue and listening to live music. Learn more at www.lodilakewisconsin.org.
Sept. 24 & Oct. 1: A Hike Back In Time With Ken Lange at Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Join the delightful retired 30-year Park naturalist, author and Baraboo Range geology expert Ken Lange for a 3.5-mile geology hike through the Park. After orientation you’ll hike across the road onto the end moraine of the Wisconsin glacier and talk about rocks transported by the glacier. Follow the trail onto the top of the south end of the east bluff where you’ll see rocks transported by glaciers, potholes, Devil’s Doorway, an Indian marker tree, a 200-year-old red cedar, a quartzite glade and pygmy forest unique to Wisconsin. Some sections of the trail are steep. Call 608-356-8301 ext. 140 or e-mail SusanA.Johansen@wisconsin.gov with questions.
Sept. 24: Guided Prairie Hike, Spring Green, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., 50 minutes from the Inn. Explore the Foxglove Savanna, a 10-acre property overlooking the Wisconsin River Valley, owned by and the hike hosted by The Prairie Enthusiasts. In the driftless region this land includes some steep, rocky hills that offer rewarding views. You’ll see a gradient from full prairie through savanna to open woods with diverse rock forms, a small stream, and a variety plants in bloom and fall splendor. Warblers should still be migrating and may be spotting during the hike. Barb and Jeb Barzen, who have been restoring this property for 28 years, will lead the hike; contact them with questions at 608-370-3122.
Sept. 24: Yesterday, The Beatles: Live From Las Vegas! at the Al. Ringling Theatre, 136 Fourth Ave., in the Downtown Baraboo Historic District, Baraboo, 7:30 p.m. Yesterday’s flawless performance showcases the Beatles’ entire career from the early days of the Cavern Club through the music of the ground breaking Sgt. Pepper’s album and beyond with drainpipe trousers, authentic costumes, musical instruments, and songs sung in their original key. Yesterday has been performing the Beatles nationally and internationally since 1986. Part of the 2016–2017 Live Performance Series. Come enjoy a performance in the newly restored 100-year-old America’s Prettiest Playhouse. Tickets $30.00 at www.alringling.com or by calling 608-356-8864.
Sept. 25: Music In The Park at Devil’s Lake Sate Park, Baraboo, 5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. A free concert along the north shore sponsored by the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park. If it rains the concert will be in the Chateau. Performing: Delight Quartet, sharing the gift of a capella music in Wisconsin.
Oct. 1: Geology And Nature Hike at Mirror Lake State Park, between Baraboo and Lake Delton, 25 minutes north of the Inn, 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Hike the Echo Rock trail to see different rock formations and the geologic history of the Mirror Lake area, while learning about plants trees and wildlife along the way. Call 608-254-2333 or e-mail Rebecca.email@example.com with questions.
Oct. 1: Beer Train at Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, 25 minutes from the Inn, 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Enjoy the brilliant hues of the Baraboo River valley and hills during the same great 55-minute ride from restored vintage passenger cars along the former Chicago & North Western rail line while sampling Wisconsin’s crisp, cool brews with snacks. Reservations are required for the beer, and tickets are $40.00 at here. Available today are coach, first-class and dining service (see Elegant Dinner Train below). Museum grounds open 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. to browse indoor and outdoor restored, vintage railway equipment displays, and ride the train. More at www.midcontinent.org.
Oct. 1: Elegant Dinner Train at Mid-Continent Railway Museum, 5:30 p.m. First-class service and fine dining with a five-course meal and beverage choice by Elite Catering of Baraboo. Reservations required, tickets $75.00 and $85.00. Arrive 25 minutes before departure. The trip lasts about 2.5 hours. Reservations and details at www.midcontinent.org.
Oct. 2: Behind-the-scenes Cranes Care Talk, International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, 20 minutes north of the Inn, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Learn from the aviculture staff how they care for the world’s 15 crane species that reside here. Open daily 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. through Oct. 31, 2016. During a guided tour with a naturalist learn about cranes and the organization’s global conservation programs at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, weekends in September and October. Also hike and bird through the Foundation’s restored prairie, wetland, and oak savanna ecosystems; and browse the gift shop. More at www.savingcranes.org.