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
  • trumpeter swan photo by Bev Engstrom

Organizations John has presented to

  • Aldo Leopold Society
  • American Association of University Women
  • Appleton Bird City Weekend
  • Arts on Tap, Eagle River, WI
  • Baird Creek Preservation Foundation
  • Beaver Creek Preserve
  • Bell Natural History Museum
  • Birds in Art
  • Cable Natural History Museum
  • Camp Jorn
  • Camp Manitowish
  • Canoecopia
  • Center for Conservation Leadership, Chicago, IL
  • Chequamegon Audubon, Ashland/Bayfield, WI
  • Chequamegon Bird Club, Medford, WI
  • Chequamegon Bird Festival
  • Clearwater Camp
  • Community Organizations (Lions Clubs, Rotaries, Sons of Norway, etc.)
  • Conserve School
  • Dairyman’s
  • Department of Public Instruction
  • Elderhostel
  • Fe University
  • Forest Lodge, Northland College
  • Friends of Chippewa River
  • Friends of Flambeau River
  • Garden Clubs
  • Green Bay Book Festival
  • Hear the Currents Conference, Hayward, WI
  • Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts
  • International Wolf Center
  • Kemp Natural Resources Station
  • Lake Associations (Carlin, Diamond, Lake Tomahawk, Van Vliet, High, Crawling Stone, Birch, Pike, Moon, and others)
  • Lake Tomahawk Historical Society
  • Land O’ Lakes Arts
  • Land O' Lakes Fish and Game Club
  • Land Stewardship Conference
  • Libraries (Boulder Junction, Minocqua, Mercer, Stevens Point, Merrill, Rhinelander, Eagle River, Sayner/Plum, Three Lakes, Appleton, Janesville, Marathon County, etc.)
  • Madeline Island Wilderness Preserve
  • Marinette Chapter of the Audubon Society
  • Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center
  • Master Gardeners, Ironwood, MI
  • Medford Birding Club
  • Midwest Environmental Education Conferences
  • Moon BeachCamp
  • Mosquito Hill Nature Center
  • Nicolet College
  • North Lakeland Discovery Center
  • Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
  • North Lakeland Adult Education
  • Northland College
  • Northland Historical Society
  • Northwoods Land Trust
  • Northwoods Wildlife Society
  • Ottawa National Forest
  • Outdoor Wisconsin Public Television
  • Porcupine Mountains State Park
  • Price County
  • Rhinelander Logging Museum
  • River Alliance of Wisconsin
  • Rural Leadership Training
  • Science on Tap – UW Trout Lake Limnology
  • Sierra Club
  • Sigurd Olson Institute
  • St. Germain Wildlife Club
  • The Loft Bookstore, Green Bay, WI
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Timber Wolf Alliance
  • Treehaven
  • Trees for Tomorrow
  • Unitarian Churches of Minocqua, Stevens Point, Ashland
  • Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition
  • UW Extension
  • UW Madison Biohouse students
  • UW Madison Greenhouse students
  • UW Marathon County
  • Voyageurs, Madison, WI
  • WDNR Northern Highlands State Forest
  • Wildlife Society
  • Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries
  • Wisconsin Association of Environmental Education
  • Wisconsin Association of Lakes Conferences
  • Wisconsin Association of Resource Conservation
  • Wisconsin Birds Conservation Initiative
  • Wisconsin Land Stewardship Conference
  • Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation
  • Wisconsin Society for Ornithology
  • WXPR Radio

Contact Us

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