Schmeeckle Reserve: The nature home


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By JUSTICE CHUKWUEMEKA

The Mirror staff

The Schmeeckle Visitor Center is universally accessible and it is the gateway for exploring Schmeeckle reserve and the Green Circle Trail. Student staffs from University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point (UW-SP) work in the Visitor Center and are ready to provide assistance and answer questions that visitors may have about Schmeeckle, the university and central Wisconsin.

In the Visitor Center, visitors can browse gift shops, explore hands-on exhibits, watch wildlife at the bird viewing windows, have a picnic, and experience the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.

The center is open seven days per week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is ideal to call ahead for holiday hours.

The gift shops are one of the ways that Schmeeckle Reserve bring in revenue.

“All the money that comes in from purchasing things in the gift shops…helps us to maintain our trails…,” said Jim Buchholz, director of Schmeeckle Reserve.

Not all the revenue comes from the gift shops. About 10 percent of it does. UW-SP provides some funding too.

Commodities include nature-related books, bird id guides, wildflower identification guides, mushrooms, rocks and shirts.

According to Buchholz, shirts are selling really well this season. “The most popular shirt we have right now is the saying that says, ‘I pee outside’.”

Schmeeckle Reserve has an interesting way of controlling the nature reserve. They have a trail recreation intern and infrared trail counters to get an estimate of how many people are using the trail.

The friends’ organization of Schmeeckle Reserve helps to support Schmeeckle and organize programs that would otherwise prove to be almost impossible with just their operational budget alone.

“One of the things they work on is the art contest. They invite people to submit their photography, painting, sculptures and other writings,” said Buchholz.

The Schmeeckle Visitor Center is home to the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame (WCHF). The Hall of Fame was established to honor people who have contributed significantly to the environmental legacy of Wisconsin.

After Schmeeckle Reserve partnered with the WCHF, a large addition was added to the visitor center. The addition has conservation history exhibits, a formal hall of fame gallery, meeting room, and cedar sign shop. These signs are really unique because they are done by hand and not laser designed.

To learn more about the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame visit www.wchf.org

The visitor center offers free parking, information, maps, and the trail souvenirs

To learn more about the Green Circle Trail, check trail conditions or download maps, visit www.greencircletrail.org