A morning with Wisconsin author John Bates

John Bates is the author of nine books on the Northwoods and Upper Midwest, and a contributor to seven others. John has been featured on Wisconsin Public Television several times and has been a frequent guest on Wisconsin Pubic Radio. He has worked as a state forest naturalist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and owns Trails North, a naturalist guide service. He also conducts outdoor classes for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, Nicolet College, the North Lakeland Discovery Center, and many others. For twenty-eight years he has written a biweekly column, "A Northwoods Almanac," for the Lakeland Times in Minocqua, Wisconsin.

Old-growth trees dominated Wisconsin’s forests prior to European settlement. Ecologists estimate that between two-thirds and three-fourths of Wisconsin’s forests lived into their old age. What we see 150 years later is a far cry from what our forests once looked like, but some remnants still flourish. How and why did this happen, what are the values of current old-growth, and what could be a future vision for old-growth forests in this area? Author and naturalist John Bates will answer these questions for us and copies of his new book Our Living Ancestors: the History and Ecology of Old-growth Forests in Wisconsin and Where to Find Them will be available for purchase after the talk. 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Cable Natural HistoryMuseum. 

Old-growth forests touch the soul of many people. Some hear the echoes of Native Americans or the first settlers. Some feel the great age of the trees and revere them, while others feel they are in the presence of an overwhelmingly rare beauty. Still others understand the profound scientific value of old-growth forests as reference systems for what forests can be.

Despite the remarkable emotional appeal and scientific value of old-growth forests, they are rare in Wisconsin. Only 0.3% ofWisconsin’s old-growth forests remain, but these scattered, small parcels still retain their ability to amaze hikers with their size, beauty, and elegance.

Where are they? This book directs visitors to the 50 best old-growth sites left in Wisconsin. Each site has clear directions, a listing of ownership, size, and age, and a description of its ecological features, with perhaps a story of why it was saved. A map and photo(s) illustrates each site. An additional shorter chapter includes the “50 Best-of- the-Rest.”

The book is for a general audience, but its wealth of rigorously-researched and profusely-illustrated data may also serve as a general reference for professional ecologists and conservationists.


Event address: 
Cable Natural History Museum
13470 County Hwy M
Cable, WI 54821
Event date: 
Saturday, July 20, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30am