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2020 WSO Convention has some interesting new wrinkles

By Tim Hahn
WSO Convention Committee

Get ready for Great Birding on a Great Lake! Two Rivers, located on the breezy shores of Lake Michigan, will be hosting the 81st annual WSO convention on May 14-17.  Attendees will enjoy a wonderful weekend full of field trips, social events, and educational presentations.

Thursday, May 14
Check-in begins in Two Rivers Central Park where we’ll host a Member Appreciation Picnic followed by a performance from the Oneida Nation Smoke Dancers. Our annual awards banquet will take place in the Two Rivers Community Center afterwards. Lastly, there will be an optional night hike at Point Beach State Forest where we’ll search for Eastern Whip-poor-wills and other nocturnal creatures.

Friday, May 15
Friday is all about the birding field trips! All day field trips will start before dawn with carpool and coach bus options available (extra fee).  Shorter field trips also will be offered to Collins Marsh in the morning and along the lakeshore/Two Rivers area in the afternoon.

Check-in continues at the Lighthouse Inn, which will serve as convention headquarters the rest of the weekend. Beginning-birder workshops will take place at Woodland Dunes Nature Center, and a Big Sit will take place at the Manitowoc Containment on Lake Michigan where birders will have the opportunity to learn shorebird and gull ID with Chuck Sontag and gull expert Amar Ayyash.

To close the evening, birders can recount their day’s highlights at a Birds N Beers at The Waverly Inn.

Saturday, May 16
New this year is the opportunity for guided field trips by kayak or bicycle. What better way to experience the birds than by “green birding?” Both are dependent on weather and water conditions.

Members of the local Bird Brunch Bunch will guide nearby hotspots.

Woodland Dunes will host a community-wide Bird Breakfast for casual birders who wish to forgo the field trips. The ham and pancake breakfast (nominal fee) is open to the public, and there will be activities for children, as well as guided bird hikes and a live raptor presentation.

Lunch at the Lighthouse Inn will be served at 11 a.m. and is included in convention registration. WSO’s annual meeting will follow, along with an educational segment on topics including gull identification, invasives in the lakes, aerial insectivores, water quality, and scientific illustration by convention t-shirt designer Becca Jabs. A research poster discussion will feature some of Wisconsin’s brightest biology students from universities around the state.

Saturday evening festivities begin with a social hour cash bar at 5:30, with our banquet at 6:30. Then we’ll turn our focus to the highlight of the convention, keynote speaker Dr. Ben Zuckerberg, who will present “Climate Change: How Birds are Dealing With It and What Atlas Findings Prompt Us to Do.”

Sunday, May 17
All-day field trips resume on Sunday. Destinations will allow for “going home” trips so birders can limit their driving time after a long weekend. Woodland Dunes will again have its hiking trails open from sunrise to sunset, and a beginner birding workshop will be available in the morning.

Lodging options; mention WSO for group rates:

Lighthouse Inn on Lake Michigan
Address: 1515 Memorial Dr, Two Rivers, WI 54241
Phone: (920) 793-4524
40 rooms are blocked at poolside rate of $82/2 people per night. Lakeside is $97/2 people per night.
Free beverage ticket for bar at check-in

Village Inn On the Lake
Address: 3310 Memorial Dr, Two Rivers, WI 54241
Phone: (920) 794-8818
26 standard rooms at rate of $90 per night
6 Woodside suites - $149 per night
RV sites available for $38-$50/night
Limited pet-friendly rooms upon request
Free beverage ticket for bar at check-in


-- This is one of several timely articles in this month's Badger Birder newsletter; don't miss out on the latest birding and conservation news. Become a WSO member today! --