2018 Annual Conference & Membership Meeting

We regret to inform you that our Conference Registration is at capacity and is now closed. We look forward to seeing you at an Ice Age Trail  event soon.

Welcome Trail Friends!

You’re invited to our Annual Conference and Membership Meeting beginning Thursday, April 12th through Sunday, April 15th. 

We’ll be celebrating you – the hikers, volunteers, members, and donors – and all you do to make the Ice Age National Scenic Trail the treasure that it is.

Lodging & Reservations

We’ll be hosted by the beautiful Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, WI.

Please make lodging arrangements by calling the Reservations Department at 1-866-701-2583. Please identify yourselves as members of the IAT Group with Reservation #7AS47K for special conference rate ($84.00/Single; $104/Double occupancy).  Deadline for conference rate ends March 12, 2018. You may also register online and enter the reservation code #7AS47K.

Registration & Meals

There are a variety of conference packages to choose based on the number of days you’ll be participating. All packages include meals. Please register for the hikes or other outings listed in under the Choose Your Own Adventure options. This helps us accurately plan transportation.

We THANK our generous sponsors who’ve helped keep this beautifully located conference affordable.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, April 12, 2018

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration/Coffee

7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. Breakfast Buffet

8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE (details)

HIKE: Parnell Segment. Two hike options, 8.8-mile hike or 4.2-mile hike. Traverse the note-worthy Parnell Esker and view a world-famous collection of kames.

Explore Sheboygan – Tour of Wigwam Mills (limit 25 – registration required, use the link above). Go on a one-of-a-kind, behind-the-scenes tour of Wigwam’s production facility and see how socks proudly “Made-in-America” are actually produced.

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch Buffet for those at Blue Harbor (Sack lunch provided for hikers.)

2:00 p.m. Hikers arrive back at Blue Harbor

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Snack

3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. CONCURRENT SESSIONS (listing)

Walking Home Ground: Join author and Waukesha/Milwaukee Chapter member Robert Root as he shares his book, Walking Home Ground. It’s a lyrical mix of memoir, travel writing, and environmental history.

Bookworm Gardens – Explore Sheboygan: Bookworm Gardens is a whimsical, wonderful spot in Sheboygan for the young and young at heart where nature, literature and the imagination all come to light. Come learn about this intriguing place and the programs designed for kids of all ages. (This is NOT a tour. Bookwork Gardens in not open in April.)

What’s on Tap: The 2018 Trailbuilding Season. Whether it’s crafting boardwalks and bridges, learning and sharing new skills, or meeting new people and seeing new places, the trailbuilding season ahead is representative of our steadfast commitment to creating, supporting, and protecting the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Join Tim Malzhan and learn what’s on tap for new and existing Trail segments in 2018.

4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Social Hour

5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Buffet Dinner

7:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. TRAIL MIX CONCURRENT SESSIONS (listing)

Thousand-Miler Adventures. One-of-a-kind stories abound as recent Thousand-Milers relive their days on the IAT. Immerse yourself in the tales of amazing kindnesses of Trail Angels and the nitty-gritty details of a life-altering journey.

Geology of the Ice Age Trail in Eastern Wisconsin. The Ice Age history of eastern Wisconsin will be brought to life by David Mickelson, Professor Emeritus, U.W. – Madison Department of Geoscience.

Journey to the top of North America. Gaining Thousand-Miler status takes effort, fortitude, and commitment. You’ll appreciate the ambition, courage, and big-hearted purpose of Debbie Posewitz, a Sheboygan native. She’ll answer the question: “How does a girl from Wisconsin, where there are no mountains, train to climb Denali?”

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Friday, April 13, 2018

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration/Coffee

7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. Breakfast Buffet

8:00 a.m. – Noon: CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE (details)

LaBudde Creek Segment Hike: This segment features a wetland complex, undulating grassland and forested upland. A 3.5-mile hike. Expect a 45-minute drive.

Board of Director’s Quarterly Meeting (8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)

Chapter Leadership Summit (8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.): A Year in the Life of a Chapter. A discussion of the activities and events chapter leadership must consider as they create a robust, well-run organization that serves its membership and the Trail at large. See Sessions listing for more details.

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Buffet Lunch

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Free Time – Walk – Nap – Refresh

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Snacks

2:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Annual Membership Meeting and Board of Director Elections

This is a wonderful opportunity to come together as members under the big Ice Age Trail Alliance tent. Alliance leadership will impart crucial information relating to organizational finances, strategic plan, and mission and vision. Board of Director elections will also take place.  Board of Directors Nominee Bios available here [PDF]

4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Board of Director’s Meeting

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Social Hour

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Buffet Dinner

8:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. Keynote: That Tree-An Unintended Adventure

Mark Hirsch, an inspiring speaker, photographer and artist, likes to tell the story of how he, while recovering from a near fatal car accident in January of 2013, was encouraged by a friend to use his iPhone like a camera. This inspired him to embark on a unique adventure of making a photo-a-day of a lone bur oak tree in a Wisconsin cornfield. Mark’s time in the valley with That Tree provided him with a transformative and therapeutic adventure of self-discovery, inspiration and enlightenment.

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Saturday, April 14th, 2018

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration/Coffee

7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. Buffet Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – Noon:  CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE (details)

Walla Hi Segment Hike: The burgeoning Walla Hi Segment – 1.4 miles of what is anticipated to grow to 2-miles in 2018 and, eventually, more than 8-miles in length. Join Tim Malzhan and special guests for an Ice Age Amble that explores what makes “Walla Hi” special: the high-hummocky terrain, the unparalleled landscape, and the highest trail design and construction standards wrapped with a colorful bow by collaborative land and trail protection strategies.

The “Un-Hike” Experience: We’re offering a new way to enjoy the outdoors during the conference. Alliance staff member Eric Sherman will lead a small-group “un-hike” on the Greenbush Segment. We’ll walk in a short distance, spread out, and sit still for a good while to listen to what the forest has to offer. This will be an off-trail hike with some challenging terrain. Because we won’t be generating much of our own heat, participants should wear warm layers and bring something dry and water-resistant to sit on. (Limit 12 people – register at above link).

Trail Community Hike: A family-friendly hike for the young and young at heart. Explore a premier Trail Community, City of Two Rivers, including a stop at the Washington House, home of the Ice Cream Sundae, for an ice cream treat. (approx. 2 -miles). Expect a 45-minute drive.

JMK Art Center & Walking Tour – Explore Sheboygan: Engage your artistic side with a visit to the John Michael Kohler Art Center (JMKAC) and engage with street-art as you take a self-guided tour via The Sheboygan Project. Download TSP Map [PDF].

 10:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. BACKPACKING TRACK (details)

Deepen your backpacking know-how with plenty of advice from backpacking experts. If you’re considering a thru-hike as your next big adventure, you won’t want to miss this series! 

Note: There is special pricing – $50.00 – if you choose to attend only the Backpacking Track sessions, includes lunch buffet. Register at the above link.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Session 1: Trip Planning, Logistics, and Navigation.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Session 2: Gear and Packing (including a pack shakedown).

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Buffet Lunch

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Session 3: Meal Planning and Leave No Trace Principles.

3:00 – 4:15 p.m. Session 4: Hikers’ Forum-Wisdom From the Trail

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Buffet Lunch

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. CONCURRENT SESSIONS (listing)

Native Landscaping for Beautiful Gardens. Joanne Ellarson, IATA staff, and gardener extraordinaire will reveal her secrets for creating and maintaining stunning garden tableaus.

A Conservation Ethic for the 21st Century. Join Kevin Thusius, Director of Land Conservation for insight into methods and partnership models designed to protect the Ice Age Trail for the next generation and beyond.

What’s on Tap: The 2018 Trailbuilding Season. Whether it’s crafting boardwalks and bridges, learning and sharing new skills, or meeting new people and seeing new places, the trailbuilding season ahead is representative of our steadfast commitment to creating, supporting, and protecting the Ice age National Scenic Trail. Join Tim Malzhan and learn what’s on tap for new and existing Trail segments in 2018.

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Snack Break

3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. CONCURRENT SESSIONS (listing)

Collaborative Fundraising. Join Luke Kloberdanz, IATA Director of Philanthropy, and Bob Lange, IATA Philanthropic Advisor, for a discussion about creating impactful fundraising for Chapters and state-wide initiatives.

Cold Caching: Bring a New Dimension to Your Hike. Gwyn and Richard (Dick) Calvetti will regale you with tales of their cold caching experience along the Ice Age Trail. They’re huge fans of adding this dimension to hiking.

Walking on Home Ground. Author and Waukesha/Milwaukee Chapter member, Robert Root, will share from his book, Walking Home Ground. It’s a lyrical mix of memoir, travel writing, and environmental history.

Hikers’ Forum – Wisdom from the Trail. Be inspired, be informed, be entertained by the stories and fresh perspective of those who most recently completed their Thousand-Mile journey.

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Social Hour

5:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Awards Banquet and Celebration

  • 5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Dinner
  • 6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. NPS Awards
  • 7:15 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Entertainment/Pictures
  • 7:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. Mammoth Achievement Awards

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Sunday, April 15th, 2018

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration/Coffee

7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. Buffet Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – Noon:  CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE (details)

Walla Hi Segment Tyke Hike: A family-friendly hike for the young and young at heart. Led by Luke Kloberdanz, IATA Director of Philanthropy, kids of all ages can explore an outstanding segment featuring a wealth of glacial landscape forms.

IATA Brownrigg-Heier Preserve: Gain a new understanding of the land conservation practices as you hike with Kevin Thusius, IATA Director of Land Conservation. Be prepared for a rugged, off-trail hike across challenging, ungroomed terrain. Limit 30 people.