Custom Tours

If you would prefer a custom tour at a time and site that fits your schedule and group, please call.

Cost varies according to duration and location of trip. All tours are led by John Bates.


If you own land and wish to know more about the flora and fauna with which you share your property, call to set up a consultation. The consulting process usually entails simply slowly walking your land or paddling your shoreline, and discussing the species that are present, their general "value" in the ecosystem, and your options for management.

Programs & Presentations

John presents a variety of slide shows and talks on Northwoods topics, from spring wildflowers to Northwoods birds to winter ecology - call to discuss your group's interests, costs, and/or to schedule a program.


  • A Spirit of Place
  • Aquatic Birds
  • Bird Migration
  • Birding by Habitat
  • Celebrating the Beauty of the Northwoods
  • Compassion: Teaching the Sixth Sense
  • Cultural and Natural History of Rivers in Northern WI
  • Emblem Birds
  • Emblem Plants
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Hiking in the Northwoods: State Natural Areas
  • Historical Eras - American Indians, Voyageurs, Logging
  • Old Growth Forests: History, Ecology and Where to Find Them
  • Paddling in the Northwoods: Wild and Wilderness Lakes and Rivers
  • Seasonal Guide to the Natural Year for the Upper Midwest
  • Seasonal Talks - overview of what's going on in any given season
  • Spring Wildflowers
  • The Far Side of Wildlife Ecology
  • The Four Essential Questions: What Writers Must Address about the Natural World
  • Trailside Botany - favorite trees, shrubs, and wildflowers
  • Wildlife Landscaping
  • Winter Birds
  • Winter Ecology
  • Writing as a Conservation Tool

Organizations John has presented to

  • Aldo Leopold Society
  • American Association of University Women
  • Beaver Creek Preserve
  • Bell Natural History Museum
  • Birds in Art
  • Cable Natural History Museum
  • Camp Jorn
  • Camp Manitowish
  • Canoecopia
  • Chequamegon Bird Festival
  • Clearwater Camp
  • Community Organizations (Lions Clubs, Rotaries, etc.)
  • Conserve School
  • Dairyman’s
  • Department of Public Instruction
  • Elderhostel
  • Friends of Chippewa River
  • Friends of Flambeau River
  • Garden Clubs
  • International Wolf Center
  • Kemp Natural Resources Station
  • Lake Associations (Carlin, Diamond, Lake Tomahawk, Van Vliet, etc.)
  • Land Stewardship Conference
  • Land O' Lakes Fish and Game Club
  • Libraries (Boulder Junction, Minocqua, Mercer, Stevens Point, Merrill, Rhinelander, etc.)
  • Medford Birding Club
  • Midwest Environmental Education Conferences
  • Mosquito Hill Nature Center
  • North Lakeland Discovery Center
  • Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
  • Northland College
  • Northland Historical Society
  • Outdoor Wisconsin Public Television
  • Porcupine Mountains State Park
  • Price County
  • Rhinelander Logging Museum
  • Rural Leadership Training
  • Sierra Club
  • Sigurd Olson Institute
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Timber Wolf Alliance
  • Treehaven
  • Trees for Tomorrow
  • Unitarian Churches of Minocqua and Stevens Point
  • UW Extension
  • WDNR Northern Highlands State Forest
  • Wildlife Society
  • Wisconsin Association of Environmental Education
  • Wisconsin Association of Lakes Conferences
  • Wisconsin Association Press Editors
  • Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative
  • Wisconsin Public Radio
  • Wisconsin Public Television
  • Wisconsin State Land Commission Conference
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Wisconsin Voyageurs
  • Wordscapes

Contact Us

Trails North
4245 N. Highway 47
Mercer, WI 54547
Phone: 715 476 2828
Fax: 715 476 2818