Join us for the July 8-12, 2013 Cultural Tour
Join scholars, cultural and natural resource specialists, guest presenters and other K-12 teachers from throughout the state on this beautiful and culturally rich tour in the Kickapoo Valley. This multi-disciplinary tour explores land, water and human issues in the heart of the rural driftless region.
A Kickapoo Valley Experience is based on the idea that resources and content for teaching exist all around us – in the local environment and landscapes, in family stories, in local artistic expressions, in community history and contemporary social issues.
The Kickapoo Valley Reserve, located in Vernon County, is comprised of 8,600 acres of varied terrain, unique with environmental aspects and rich in culture. The stories of the many people who live and have lived in the area speak to the region’s serene beauty, lifeways based in natural resources, persistence and change in communities, and the far reaching effects of outside forces on a local area’s land and people.
Take this opportunity to explore southwestern Wisconsin while earning graduate credits or meeting the content requirements of your Professional Development Plan.
A Kickapoo Valley Experience seeks to promote understanding of Wisconsin’s local cultures and natural resources through a deeper awareness of how people connect with the land around them. Topics addressed during the tour will include environmental studies, geology, forestry, folklore and folklife, history, cultural geography, agriculture, art, music, biology and rural sociology.
What You Can Learn
Experience the Landscape: On guided walks and hikes, participants will gain knowledge of the area’s distinctive geology and the land’s topography and vegetation. Talks with local farmers and a farm tour will highlight the area’s unique agricultural heritage. The tour will also include canoeing the Kickapoo River, observing its course, learning about surrounding landforms, and doing water quality testing.
Meet Local Residents: The tour will look at how a variety of residents think about and respond to issues involving their homes in the Kickapoo Valley watershed. Those residents will include, among others, tribal members and descendants of European settlers, farmers and conservation workers, artists and homemakers, those whose families have lived in the area for generations and others who are relative newcomers. In different settings and in different ways these people will present tour participants with aspects of their own connections to the land, their insights and beliefs, and resulting cultural expressions.
What You Can Use
The Kickapoo Valley Experience tour will offer teachers a chance to directly experience the area’s natural resources and learn how Wisconsin citizens relate to the land and water around them through guided tours, interaction with local residents and community-based presentations. The tour itineraries are especially designed for the needs of teachers and will include “inside the community” experiences not usually available to tourists or independent travelers.
K-12 teachers will be able to use the information generated through this experience to meet state curriculum standards for such topics as:
In addition to providing content and first-hand experiences, the tour will also address two specific needs identified by teachers:
Kickapoo Valley Tour – July 8-12, 2013
Tour Details: Teachers will spend the week exploring the Kickapoo Valley Reserve and nearby valleys by walking, hiking, canoeing and touring by bus. Accommodations for overnights for Monday – Thursday will be provided at The Kickapoo Valley Ranch (optional).
The Land and Water: The Kickapoo Valley has long been recognized for its quiet and distinctive beauty. Created by ancient hills and a meandering river that some geologists identify as one of the oldest in the world, the area’s landscape is believed to represent the topography of a pre-glacial Wisconsin. The beautiful sandstone outcroppings with their unique microhabitats contribute to the locale’s designation as the Kickapoo River Natural Area by the National Park Service.
The People: This area of deep beauty has provided habitation for people for thousands of years. The Ho-Chunk found abundance of wildlife and rock shelters along the river. Forced removal in the 1830s brought an abrupt interruption of their connection to the land. That connection was reestablished in following years by individuals and families determined to come back and more recently by the return of portions of the land in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in trust to the Ho-Chunk Nation.
The arrival of 19th-century Euro-American and African American settlers brought changes from logging to farming. The tight valleys and ridges encouraged modest sized farms supplemented by additional resource-based pursuits from trapping to bee keeping. The 1970s brought young urban dwellers who sought a new life in closer relationship with the land. Recent arrivals include, among others, members of Amish communities drawn to the area for the quality of the land and its relative seclusion.
The people who have lived in the Kickapoo Valley have long recognized it as a special place. A sense of individualism exists alongside a history of cooperative undertakings from the organization of the local tobacco pool to barn raisings to the nationally known Organic Valley Cooperative. Artisans and musicians have drawn inspiration from the area’s beauty and responded with creations that express their connections to the land.
Cultural Issues: Like many places in Wisconsin, this deeply rural area is facing issues that involve water quality as well as land use, land values, and land ownership. The Kickapoo River has a history of flooding, flooding that led to an Army Corps of Engineers development project that claimed area farms for a dam that was never completed. The project that displaced long-time farm families eventually resulted in the creation of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve on land now owned by the State of Wisconsin and the Ho-Chunk Nation.
Examples of stops on the Kickapoo Valley Cultural Tour where you can …
The cost for the Kickapoo Valley Experience tour is $185 per person. This fee includes tour transportation (bus and canoe), and meals.
Additionally, if you desire lodging during the tour, we have partnered with The Kickapoo Valley Ranch to offer a great lodging opportunity at a hard-to-beat price of $140 for four nights (Monday-Thursday). This lodging choice is optional; paticipants may also opt to procure their own lodging.
UW-La Crosse Course Credit
This tour may be taken by teachers for three University of Wisconsin – La Crosse graduate credits. Those interested in acquiring UW-La Crosse graduate credit should contact Jonel Kiesau at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The cost of UW-La Crosse tuition is not included in the $185 tour fee.
Participation in this tour may be used to meet some of the content requirements of a teacher’s Professional Development Plan. The tours will address the following Wisconsin standards:
1. Teachers know the subjects they are teaching.
6. Teachers communicate well.
7. Teachers are able to plan different kinds of lessons.
10. Teachers are connected to other teachers and the community.
Teachers and Education Staff
There are 20 seats on the tour available to K-12 Wisconsin teachers and staff. The seats will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. If more people apply than seats are available, a waiting list will be created. In that case, applicants will be notified to see if they wish to be placed on the waiting list. Priority is given to first-time Kickapoo Valley Cultural Tour participants.
The deadline for registration is June 1, 2013.
Interested teachers and staff should print out and complete the registration form (pdf) and mail it with a check or money order to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. A check or money order for registration and lodging (if desired) must accompany the registration form in order to secure a seat. Purchase orders will not be accepted.
Your registration is secure when you receive confirmation via email or standard mail.
For more information about A Kickapoo Valley Experience: Cultural Tour for Educators contact Jonel Kiesau by phone at (608) 625-2965 or by email at email@example.com.
For more information about the Kickapoo Valley and southwestern Wisconsin:
Kickapoo Valley Reserve
S3661 State Highway 131
La Farge, Wisconsin 54639
Phone: 608-625-2960 FAX: 608-625-2962
The preferred browser for the Kickapoo Valley Reserve Internet is Internet Explorer 4.x or higher.