Valley Stewardship Network (VSN) is ready to host its second season of Conservation on Tap. This fun, casual and informative program series will be a five-part, monthly series of talks and discussions on local conservation topics given by regional experts. This event will be an opportunity for folks to hear engaging presentations about regional conservation topics in a relaxed setting, while also getting to sample local brews and beverages.
Following each of the speakers’ presentation, the audience will be able to bring up questions and contribute to a broader discussion of the night’s conservation topic.
VSN’s second series will kick off on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Rooted Spoon in Viroqua with Kirk Olson presenting “Trout in the Driftless: It’s Not Just About Fishing.” Many of us are aware of the effect the presence of prolific trout populations have on our local economy, but are you also aware that the presence of healthy trout populations are an indicator of ecosystem health?
Trout are an aquatic “canary in the coal mine” here in the Driftless Region, and their presence can tell us much about both our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Spend an evening with Wisconsin DNR fisheries biologist Kirk Olson as he helps us to understand the deeper connections between trout and water and ecosystem quality.
Olson, a native of Winter, Wisconsin, earned his BS from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in fisheries in 2009. He worked as a fisheries technician in northern Wisconsin with the Wisconsin DNR and later for the Yakima Nation Tribe in Peshastin, Washington.
In 2014, he earned his master’s from the University of Minnesota Duluth, studying threatened trout species in northern Mongolia. Olson finished grad school and returned to work with the Wisconsin DNR as a fisheries technician and biologist, first on Lake Superior and its tributaries and, beginning in 2017, on trout streams in the La Crosse area.
He has a passion for trout conservation, research and fishing. Over the past two years, he’s spent much of his free time on area trout streams with a fishing rod or, on warmer days, with wetsuit and snorkel.
The other topics in the series are: Jan. 8: “Savanna Pastures—Regenerating Earth’s Ultimate Ecosystems” by Peter Allen, Mastodon Valley Farm; Feb. 12: “Changing Landscapes and pre-European Native Americans in the Driftless Area: A Brief Overview” with Dr. James Theler, professor emeritus, UW-La Crosse at the Mississippi Valley Archeology Center; March 11: “driftless Prairie, Savanna, and Woodlands — A Journey of Discovery” by Armund D. Bartz, Driftless Area ecologist-natural geritage conservation, WI-DNR; concluding April 8: “Taking Stock of Tweety – the State of our Birds” by Craig Thompson, WI-DNR.
With the exception of December, this series will be held the second Wednesday of day of each month, January to April at the Rooted Spoon, 219 S. Main St. n Viroqua beginning at 7 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $5 and a cash bar will be available.