Photo by: Justin Helmkamp

Annual Conference & Membership Meeting 2021

Thursday, April 15 – Saturday, April 17, 2021

Please Join Our Virtual Gathering...
Thursday, April 15 - Saturday, April 17!

This virtual, professionally hosted, three-day event offers a heart-warming opportunity to mingle with the folks who are at the center of the Ice Age Trail Alliance family. It gives new and seasoned members an opportunity to enjoy the always popular Hikers’ Forum, the annual Membership Meeting on Friday afternoon, our Mammoth Awards Ceremony on Friday evening, and a full slate of speakers and workshops Thursday and Saturday. It’s a wonderful way to ask questions, share wisdom, and deepen your Trail knowledge.

Schedule of Events

9:00 a.m. Welcome: Ice Age Trail Alliance staff open the conference with a warm welcome!

9:15 a.m. Wake Up Session: Join us with coffee (or beverage of choice) in hand and be inspired by the first speaker of the day!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mark Hirsch, That Tree, Wake Up Speaker, Annual Conference 2021 Life Lessons Explored Through ‘That Tree’: A Story of Love, Loss, and Legacy

In January of 2012 while recovering from a near fatal car accident, Mark Hirsch, took his first photograph of ‘That Tree’. He had driven past and admired That Tree every day for nineteen years without ever taking a picture of it. Suddenly, he was inspired to embark on a unique adventure of making a photo-a-day of this lone bur oak tree in a Wisconsin cornfield. The year-long project was completed on March 23, 2013. The images became a coffee table book, and soon, That Tree had her own Facebook page, and had appeared on the marquee in Times Square. Then heartbreak. That Tree was brutalized and blown down, in August 2020, by the winds of a derecho. Mark will share how with her simple beauty, she eased his heart and inspired his soul. In silence, she taught him lessons he’ll carry forward, including her legacy in the acorns she dropped in 2017, which are now being planted across the country.

Chapter Leadership Summit

For new chapter members and seasoned chapter leaders!

Leaders of the Rock County Chapter are hosting this year’s Chapter Leadership Summit. Ashley Wille will highlight the benefits and pitfalls of writing a letter to the editor about issues impacting the Ice Age Trail in your area. Dennis James and Ed Madere will highlight their chapter’s successes in partnering with businesses and organizations for Trail Improvement events. Engaging corporate volunteers connects busy, young professionals to the Ice Age Trail in easy, manageable chunks of time. Jane Wester, member of the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter, will offer gentle reminders about the benefits of using common lingo and employing consistency in our various forms for communication.

There will be time for questions after each presentation and the opportunity to share successes.

Leave No Trace Introduction


Leave No Trace is a set of outdoor ethics created by the Leave No Trace Center of Outdoor Ethics promoting conservation in the outdoors. Join Monika Baumgart and David LeMay to learn how to incorporate the Seven Leave No Trace Principles while hiking and being outdoors. Baumgart and LeMay have led hundreds of Leave No Trace workshops and trainings for adults and children of all ages and backgrounds across the country during the last two years while working, living, and camping on the road, and now virtually as well.

Geology of the Ice Age Trail: Ice Lobes that Came from the North—The Langlade, Wisconsin Valley, Chippewa, and Superior Lobes

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Annual Conference, Geology workshop

Join David M. Mickelson, Emeritus Professor of Geoscience, Geological Engineering, and Water Resources Management at UW-Madison, for an overview of glacial landforms seen along the Ice Age Trail. Northern moraines have much higher relief hummocky topography than those farther south in the Green Bay Lobe. Ice-walled lake plains in this region are also more extensive and more abundant. Why is that?

Digital Hiker Resources: Trip Planning, Logistics, and Navigation

A wealth of resources exists to help you plan your 1,000-mile journey, and the IATA staff is eager to demystify them. Learn the ins and outs of the interactive hiker resource map, including Trail Alerts, and how to submit new Alerts for the trail conditions you encounter. Discover helpful details embedded in the Guthooks Guides Ice Age Trail mobile app, and receive a tour of the StriveOn app, too. Get the inside scoop on how to connect with chapter leaders or arrange shuttles.

Ticks and Tick-Borne Disease in Wisconsin

Dr. Susan Paskewitz will discuss recent trends in the prevalence of tick-borne diseases in Wisconsin, including Lyme disease and other less well-known conditions. Paskewitz will also talk about our state’s tick monitoring results, the changes in distribution and abundance. She’ll present the Tick App as a tool for disease prevention and other proven methods that can help protect you from exposure, whether hiking the Ice Age Trail or in your backyard.

Geology of the Ice Age Trail: The Western Green Bay Lobe

Join Luke Zoet, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on a journey back in time to the last Ice Age. Learn how continental glaciation shaped the Wisconsin landscape as Zoet discusses the Western Green Bay Lobe’s glacial deposits.

New Member Welcome

Deepen your connection to the Ice Age Trail Community and join us for a membership orientation. Amy Lord, Outreach and Education Manager, and special guests, will introduce you to Alliance programs and their directors and the organizations we partner with to accomplish our goals. We’ll introduce you to our chapters and the ways you can connect with this vibrant volunteer community. We’ll highlight resources you can use to plan your next adventure and spend some time answering your questions.

Beyond 2020 – Silver Linings and New Tomorrows

Join Alliance staff Mike Wollmer, Executive Director, and Luke Kloberdanz, Director of Philanthropy, as they look at trends in membership, Trail use, and volunteerism. They will discuss how these new users and techniques for implementing projects can benefit the Alliance beyond 2020.

Mike Wollmer, CEO

Luke Kloberdanz, Director of Philanthropy

Geology of the Driftless Area of Southwest Wisconsin and Surrounding Glacial Deposits

Join Eric Carson, geologist at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to learn more about the Driftless area. The southwestern region of Wisconsin has never been glaciated. Because of this, it contains a unique suite of landforms compared to the rest of the state, which makes a striking contrast to the glaciated landscape adjacent to it.

What's on Tap: 2021 Reconnect Trailbuilding and Stewardship Season

Whether it’s shaping tread, building boardwalks and bridges, or weeding prairies and removing invasive brush, the season ahead is representative of our steadfast commitment to creating, supporting, and protecting the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Join Dave Caliebe, Trail Manager, Patrick Gleissner, Field Operations Coordinator, and Eva Ballering, Land Steward as they discuss upcoming Reconnect events.

Ice Cream Social

You bring the ice cream (and adult beverage of your choice), we bring the entertainment. Alliance staff, Dave Caliebe, Trail Program Manager and Patrick Gleissner, Field Operations Coordinator are ready to test your Ice Age Trail knowledge in a series of games and quizzes.

9:00 a.m. Welcome: Ice Age Trail Alliance staff open the conference with a warm welcome!

9:15 a.m. Wake Up Session: Join us with coffee (or beverage of choice) in hand and be inspired by the first speaker of the day!

NOTE: This session will NOT be recorded. It will be a live-only event.

How to Create a Deeper, More Peaceful Hiking Experience
Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Annual Conference, Wake Up Speaker Start the day with inspiring thoughts from Dave Caliebe, Trail Program Manager and raconteur, on how to create a deeper, more peaceful hiking experience. As a long-time outdoor enthusiast, Dave’s musings stem from a childhood spent outdoors, solo hikes in some of the United States most wild places, and his years spent building and photographing the Ice Age Trail.
Special guest, William Drew, simply known as “Drew,” is the founding owner of Mindful i Consulting LLC, a mindfulness-based consultancy and Healing House Yoga LLC, a registered yoga school. He’ll lead attendees in a mindfulness practice they can take with them on the Ice Age Trail.

With IATA staff gathered in one virtual space, you’ll have access to a useful amount of knowledge. Staff will highlight tips and tricks, events, or interesting fun facts about their area of expertise. Bring your questions. You’ll be able to take a deeper dive during the question/answer session in the breakout rooms.

10:00 a.m.: Welcome & Overview of Session

  1. Hiker Resources 10:05 – 10:15
  2. Membership & Volunteering 10:15 – 10:25
  3. Communication 10:25 – 10:35
  4. Trail 10:35 – 10:45
  5. Lands 10:45 – 10:55
  6. Outreach & Education 10:55 – 11:05

Breakout rooms: 11:05 – 11:30 a.m.

  • Trail – Dave & Patrick
  • Outreach & Education – Amy
  • Communications – Lysianne & Elena
  • Lands – Eva
  • Membership – Eric
  • Hiker Resources & Maps – Tiffany & Brad

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. This Annual Membership Meeting is free and open to all members.

Official Meeting Notice and Proxy Form

Meeting Resource: Board of Director Bios 

A convening of the newly elected Board of Directors.

Wonder what your chances are of meeting a bear? What cowboy camping entails? Or, how people survive heat and ticks on their way to the coveted Thousand-Miler status? This session is your chance to hear Ice Age Trail adventures of those who most recently completed their Thousand-Mile journey. Be inspired, informed, and entertained by the stories!

Session moderated by dedicated and long-time IATA volunteers, Sharon Dziengel and Dan Rambo.

Kick back and enjoy a live music session before the Awards Ceremony. Danny Frank’s classic Americana sound is reflective of his many musical influences, and weaves together rich vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica, with vivid stories of the people and places he holds dear.

Danny Frank, Singer-Songwriter

Frank is a singer-songwriter based in Duluth, MN. He began his musical journey as a child of the 70s, listening to his parents’ classic rock and folk records, and singing the local youth choir. Danny found his way to a guitar at the age of 13 and began writing songs in his early 20s. The time in between is a bit hazy, but the soundtrack of those years included an eclectic range of hip-hop, funk, jazz, rock, folk, and bluegrass, with the occasional Broadway musical thrown in for good measure. Today, Frank’s classic Americana sound is reflective of his many musical influences, and weaves together rich vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica, with vivid stories of the people and places he holds dear.

We’re rolling out the (virtual) red carpet! It’ll be a big night as we celebrate the accomplishments of our tremendously generous volunteers during a year like no other!

6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – National Park Service Awards: The Volunteers in the Park (VIP) Awards honor and highlight volunteers’ efforts in supporting the Ice Age Trail. Find out who gets a National Park Service vest or jacket. Each volunteer hour you’ve reported since 2007 makes some impressive cumulative numbers: 100, 250, 500, 1,000, and beyond!

BREAK – 15 minutes

7:15 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Mammoth Achievement Awards: Discover who’ll be the next caretaker of the Spirit Stick, a most cherished and distinguished award. Special recognitions will highlight key areas of achievement: Years of Service, In the Mud, and recent Thousand-Milers. We’ll also recognize our Ray Zillmer and Henry S. Ruess Award winners from 2019, along with the 2020 Trail Steward of the Year, Public Partner, and Friend of the Ice Age Trail award winners.

9:00 a.m. Welcome: Ice Age Trail Alliance staff open the conference with a warm welcome!

9:15 a.m. Wake Up Session: Join us with coffee (or beverage of choice) in hand and be inspired by the first speaker of the day!

How a Thousand-Mile Trail Connects Us

Join Liz Thomas, a professional hiker, speaker, and writer who held the women’s self-supported speed record on the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail from 2011-2015, for her inspiring thoughts about what makes a long trail like the Ice Age National Scenic Trail so special.

Long trails connect us no matter what distance we hike. The value of knowing a path exists, and daydreaming of what it may be like to be somewhere else, is one of the hard-to-quantify benefits of a long trail. During a pandemic, when long-distance hiking options were limited or traveling wasn’t possible, walking a mile on a trail that goes for hundreds of miles and knowing there’s someone else 500 miles away also walking a mile is energizing. In essence, we’re able to teleport to another place on the trail and know that when we get there, there will be others who are out doing the same thing. This is what connects us, the long trail community.

Called a “thru-hiking legend” and the “Queen of Urban Hiking” by Outside Magazine for her innovative backpacking routes through cities, Liz has also hiked 20+ long distance trails including the Triple Crown of Hiking (AT, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail) and first known traverses of the Wasatch Range and Chinook Trail. She’s the current Editor-in-Chief at the outdoor webmagazine Treeline Review and is the author of Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike, which received the 2017 National Outdoor Book Award for Best Instruction book.


1:00 – 2:30 p.m. From Conservation to Co-stewardship. The Descendant’s Project and Montpelier National Park

Join James French, member of Montpelier Foundation Board of Directors to learn more about the Montpelier’s African American Descendants’ Project. This organization seeks to identify and create bridges to living descendants of the African American women and men who were enslaved at Montpelier and elsewhere in Orange County, Virginia. Beyond this, Montpelier researchers and scholars wish to expand the local, regional, and national African American community whose members identify and connect with the history of James Madison’s Montpelier. Mr. French will discuss how organizations can become co-stewards with all people who care for the places we protect. Learn more about Mr. French and his passion for the Structural Parity Model.

Join us for a slate of workshops geared towards those college-aged or younger. We’ll focus on topics like nature’s positive influence on health and wellness and the impact of climate change on habitat and trail conditions.

10:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m. Climate Change and the Ice Age Trail

The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) is a statewide collaboration of scientists and stakeholders formed through a partnership between UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the WI Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Immerse yourself in cutting edge climate change research from three WICCI researchers, who will offer presentations on climate change impacts to Wisconsin’s climate, plant communities, and outdoor recreation. Presentations will be followed by a Q+A session with the audience.

Darcy Kind serves on the Ice Age Trail Alliance Land Conservation Committee and works as a conservation biologist in the Driftless Area through the DNR’s Landowner Incentive Program. Darcy will be moderating the climate change session and offering insight on the connection between the Ice Age Trail and climate change.
Dr. Michael Notaro is a Senior Scientist and Associate Director of the UW-Madison Center for Climatic Research and a researcher in the WICCI Climate Working Group. He is expert on climate change impacts on vegetation, vegetation-climate interactions, and climate modeling. Dr. Notaro will be offering an introduction to WICCI and an overview of projected climate change impacts on Wisconsin’s climate.
Amy Staffen is a Conservation Biologist with the WI Department of Natural Resources and a researcher in WICCI’s Plants and Natural Communities Working Group. Amy will be presenting on the effect of climate change on plants and their natural communities, ecological functions, and processes, and she will share how natural area managers can consider their current management practices through a climate change lens.
Dr. Natalie Chin is the Climate and Tourism Outreach Specialist with Wisconsin Sea Grant and co-chair of the WICCI Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Working Group. Her presentation will examine research on how climate change will impact tourism and outdoor recreation activities across Wisconsin and what initiatives will help the tourism and outdoor recreation sector mitigate and adapt to climate change.

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. From Passion to Profession and Purpose

Join us to hear from a panel of young professionals who are making their careers with their outdoor passions. You’ll learn about their career paths and what they find most rewarding about what they are doing now.

Moderator: Nancy Lazzaroni, Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter Leader


Eva Ballering, Land Steward with the Ice Age Trail Alliance

As Land Steward, Eva is responsible for the stewardship, management, ecological enhancement, and maintenance of Ice Age Trail Alliance-held property interests including owned and eased lands. Eva’s background includes a mix of working with community focused non-profits and environmentally focused projects.

Tony Richardson, Program Director with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)

Tony is responsible for building and managing NEEF’s portfolio of public lands engagement programs, including National Public Lands Day. Tony is passionate about connecting people to nature, particularly communities that are often underrepresented in outdoor spaces.  His accomplishments in the environmental field led to him receiving the prestigious ‘30 under 30’ award from the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

Olivia Raasch, Green Careers Program Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator, Urban Ecology Center (UEC)

Olivia is the Green Career Pathway Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She loves connecting people to nature and getting folks in the city outside and exploring Milwaukee through a new lens! The core of Olivia’s work centers around helping youth learn more about Green Careers and get experience working in the environmental field.

Tim and Carrie Highman are documentary filmmakers with a passion for creating films that inspire

They’ve produced work for a range of clients and platforms featuring elite trail runners, former military special ops, big wave surfers and more. Their work ranges from short form documentaries for media outlets like Outside TV, to brand storytelling for companies and nonprofits like Stetson, TrainingPeaks, and the Ice Age Trail Alliance. They launched their film company, Dream Lens Media, after Carrie’s stint as a broadcast reporter, producer and anchor at an award-winning television station and bring that journalistic approach to every project they work on. Now they travel the country together as a husband and wife creative team, living their passion of powerful storytelling through film.

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Tales from the Trail: Three Ways to Find Adventure

Join Jennifer Mans who backpacked Lakeshore Chapter segments in a weekend, Haleigh Ehmsen who ran 26 miles along Kettle Moraine segments on her 26th birthday as a fundraiser, and Tim (Pio) Piotrowski who is a long-distance, AT thru-hiker, Delta Beer Lab owner (Alliance business member), to learn how they’ve embraced trails locally and beyond as they seek adventure.

Discussion moderated by Elena Mederas, Communications Support Specialist for the Ice Age Trail Alliance (AmeriCorps VISTA Member).

Jennifer Mans

Haleigh Ehmsen

Tim (Pio) Piotrowski

Join us for a line-up of workshops geared towards hiking with kids. Learn how to keep your outings fun and imbue them with natural teaching moments.

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Parenting is an Adventure: Take it outside with Hike It Baby.

Hike it Baby has a mission to create opportunities and remove barriers to access so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside. They believe all families have the right to connect with nature, benefit from spending time outdoors, and be inspired to a lifelong love of nature.

Join Hike It Baby Ambassadors at this fun and engaging presentation to learn more about how your family can get outside in nature. Parents will share their hints, tips, and lessons learned on how to plan hikes, set expectations for your hikes, get ideas to keep kids (and parents) motivated to keep hiking, and what to bring on your hikes for you and your little ones.

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Teaching Off Trail


Peter Dargatz, a kindergarten teacher, will provide tips and tricks about hiking with kids, inspired by his family’s hikes on the Ice Age Trail. You’ll learn about the nature-infused, play-based program and curriculum he developed. Dargatz is excited to share the ways in which it exceeds curriculum standards while encouraging schools and families to utilize outdoor spaces available to them. He’ll detail his 4-P philosophy, cemented in nature play, citizen science, service learning, and community collaborations.

3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tales from the Trail: The Thousand-Mile Journey of the Magic Woolies

How do you convince young kids to complete a 1,200-mile hike? You call it a quest. You let them dress up like fairies and princesses and choose their own hiking shoes. You orchestrate an Easter Egg hunt along the way. You give them the GoPro camera to record whatever they want. You plan extra time to visit a circus and zoos along the route.

Join the Nowicki family as they share their Thousand-Mile journey of completing the Ice Age Trail as a family in 2019. At the start of their family thru-hike, Piper and Bristol, were 4 and 6 years old respectively. They will share gear recommendations, and ideas for motivating all members of a family, and other lessons they learned from their adventure.

If you are new to hiking as a family, or if you are looking for hints and tips to get your kids outside, then this session is for you!

James (Jim) Staudacher was a 20-year-old Marquette University student when he became the first person to hike the entire route of the Ice Age Trail in 1979. The inspiration for the journey of a lifetime came from the book, On the Trail of the Ice Age, written by Congressman Henry Reuss and published by the Milwaukee Journal in 1976. Two years later, he took a summer backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park and decided that he wanted to be the first person to walk the entire Ice Age Trail route, and so he did.

He now grows organic vegetables with his wife on their farm in Viroqua, Wisconsin in the summer and on the Windmill Farm in the high desert of Patagonia, Arizona in the winter.

In this article, he looks back on the 40th anniversary of this trailblazing event, read more here…

Incoming Board President, Patty Dreier, brings the conference to a close with words of encouragement for the year ahead.

In the meantime, you may find yourself moved by Ever Golden, a poem Patty wrote inspired by a hike along the Plover River Segment. Enjoy!

Silent Auction Details

Bidding begins on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

  • Win a Wisco get-away complete with a cabin and a lake view!
  • Add a new set of cookware to your camping gear.
  • Snuggle up under an Ice Age Trail themed quilt.

Silent Auction: Bidding as Easy as 1, 2, 3.
1. Now: Visit and set up an account
2. April 1: Begin viewing auction items at
3. April 8: Bidding begins at 8:00 a.m. – place a bid on your favorites!

32auctions will send you email notices when you bid or are outbid (unless of course you select the buy now option). Winners will receive an email indicating which items they won and payment instructions. They will also be able to select shipment options or pick up location.

Questions? Ask Luke Kloberdanz ([email protected]).

Remember: The Auction CLOSES at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 17

Conference Resources

We’re happy to provide you with these downloadable offerings.

Conference Sponsors

We thank the following Ice Age Trail Alliance Chapters for their generous financial support of the 2021 Annual Conference and Membership Meeting:

High Point Chapter

Lodi Valley Chapter

Central Moraines Chapter

Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter

Washington/Ozaukee County Chapter

Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter

Portage/Waupaca County Chapter

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Corporate Friends, Godfrey and Kahn

Conference Registration

A bonus of a virtual event is its affordability!

Fee: $75.00 per household; $25.00 for students (ages 25 and younger).

You may choose to attend ONLY the general Membership Meeting and/or the Awards Ceremony – these two events are FREE.

  • General Membership Meeting ONLY (Friday, April 16 at 1:00 pm) – FREE
  • Awards Ceremony ONLY (Friday, April 16 at 6:30 pm) – FREE

Cancellation Policy: The 2021 virtual Annual Conference and Membership Meeting will be recorded and made available after the event to all paid registrants. If you are registered, but unable to attend during the noted times, you will have access to all the sessions that take place. For this reason, we are not offering any refunds.

Please Note: 

  • You will need to complete a registration form even if you only attending the FREE events. The UW-Madison Continuing Education Program needs your registration information in order to email you the links for the virtual presentations you wish to attend.
  • Your Ice Age Trail Alliance member username and password will not work for this registration. When completing the online form, you will be asked to create a password specific to this online registration site as a NEW USER.

Please Note:

  • You will need to complete a registration form and mail it in, even if the only events you are attending are the FREE events. The UW- Madison Continuing Education Program needs your registration information in order to email you the links for the virtual presentations you wish to attend.
  • If you choose the mail-in registration form option, the UW-Madison Continuing Education Program, handling the conference registration this year, must have your form in hand by April 2, 2021.