Upcoming events

    • June 15, 2022
    • Baraboo
    • 3

    Field Trips are Back!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2022

    In the morning we will have a 2-hour guided tour of the International Crane Foundation headquarters followed in the afternoon with a  2-hour guided tour and walk at the Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm.  Lunch will be on your own in downtown Wisconsin Dells.

    PLATO's COVID Protocol



    1. Masks are not required while on this field trip.  Neither ICF nor the Leopold Cabin require masks. 

    2. However, persons wishing to wear a mask are encouraged to do so.

    3. Health  protocols are subject to change as conditions change; PLATO reserves the right to   change the protocols for this trip accordingly.

    4. You are asked to stay home if you are not feeling well. Please contact the trip organizer to inform them of your decision.


    International Crane Foundation

    4/28 Update - Four species  (Sandhill, Wattled, Siberian and Whooping Cranes) are currently off exhibit due to the threat of avian flu.  The ICF responded to our query  regarding our June 15 tour:  "If the four species will be off exhibit, you will still have the opportunity to see the 11 other species of crane and will still hear about the crane species that are off exhibit.   We are hoping that these species will be back on exhibit by the time you get here, but the situation with Avian Influenza is unstable at best so we won't know until it gets closer."

    The International Crane Foundation (ICF)  works worldwide to conserve cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend. They are committed to a future where all 15 of the world’s crane species are secure.

    At the ICF headquarters near Baraboo, we will have a two hour guided tour where we will

    • Observe the world’s 15 crane species.
    • Learn about crane biology.
    • Investigate the current threats to crane survival.
    • Discover methods used to conserve endangered species.
    • Learn about our international work and initiatives.

    The ICF reopened last year after undergoing a $10 million renovation.  The new Cranes of the World exhibition space features the cranes in expanded habitats with natural ponds, new paved pathways to see them, and new fence-free viewing areas for photographers.

                              Viewing the Cranes from inside the new George Archibald Welcome Center     

    The International Crane Foundation is the only place in the world to see all fifteen species of cranes.


    Aldo Leopold Shack Tour

    After lunch we will follow Wisconsin's Rustic Road #49 to the Leopold Center where we begin a 1 1/2 - 2 hour guided tour of the shack and land that served as inspiration for Aldo Leopold's  A Sand County Almanac.  The Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places  in 1978 and was designated a National Historic Landmark  in 2009.

    Considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology and the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. Among his best known ideas is the “land ethic” which calls for an ethical, caring relationship between people and nature.

    In 1935 Aldo Leopold purchased 80 acres in the sand country of central Wisconsin. The once-forested region had been logged, swept by repeated fires, overgrazed by dairy cows, and left barren.  He and his family began their own ecological restoration on the land.  During weekends at the Shack the family planted thousands of pine trees and restored prairies.  Documenting the ensuing changes in the flora and fauna further informed and inspired Leopold.

    The tour is almost completely outdoors and covers slightly under a mile of trails.  There is quite a bit of stopping at various points of interest among the trails.  The trails range from hard packed to sandy, so sturdy shoes are recommended.  Photos from the Leopold archive will be used throughout the tour to demonstrate the many stories of this historic landscape.


    Lunch in Wisconsin Dells

    Lunch will be on your own in downtown Wisconsin Dells from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM.  The cost of lunch is separate and is not included in your registration fee.  The bus will drop us off at a central location and all of the restaurants below are within a three block radius of the drop off point.  The underlined blue links on the restaurants listed below work if you want to find out more about the restaurants.  A printed map of downtown Wisconsin Dells will be handed out on the bus the day of the tour.

    MACS - Macaroni and Cheese Shop - 208 Broadway - Fast casual restaurant in downtown Wisconsin Dells featuring a variety of specialty macaroni and cheese dishes, sandwiches, and desserts.

    Monk's Bar & Grill - 220 Broadway - Family-friendly sports bar & grill serving burgers, cheese curds & other American fare since 1947.

    Dells Bistro - 126 Broadway - Laid-back establishment serving breakfast, sandwiches & pizzas, plus bubble waffles.

    San Antonio Mexican Restaurant - 742 Eddy - Snug, down-to-earth eatery offering familiar Mexican platters, plus margaritas & beer.

    High Rock Cafe - 232 Broadway - Casual, bi-level restaurant & bar with clever takes on American classics, plus seasonal draft beer.

    The Keg & the Patio - 732 Oak - Lively, family-friendly sports bar offering breakfast, American pub grub & outdoor seating.

    River Walk Pub - 911 River Road - Rustic decor and riverside timber decks set the scene for familiar American cooking & cocktails.

    Dells Distillery - 206 Broadway - Working distillery with a 1920s Western theme, gourmet burgers & specialty tater tots.

    Dairy Queen - 109 Broadway

    Cheesecake Heaven  - 231 Broadway - Deli, cafe, breakfast spot, and bakery that specializes in cheesecakes.



    Registration Fee:  The registration fee for members is $61 which includes the bus and driver's tip and admission fees/tours of the ICF and the Leopold shack.   Lunch is not included in the registration fee.   Non-member guests pay an additional $13 registration fee.

    Registration Policy:  No refunds will be issued after the registration deadline of June 1 unless there are extenuating circumstances.  We encourage you to register early so we know if we have enough people to make the trip financially feasible.

    Dress Appropriately:  Tours for both the ICF and the Shack are approximately 1.5 to 2 hours in length and will occur rain or shine. Everyone should be prepared to spend the entire tour outdoors. You should dress appropriately for the weather (i.e., comfortable, closed-toed shoes, umbrellas, raincoats, jackets, hats and gloves).

    Accessibility Policy:   On the bus, you must be able to climb steps to board and exit the bus.  If you need assistance, we require that you bring a friend to give you a hand.  At the International Crane Foundation there are several wheelchairs and individual motorized scooters available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

    Non-Member Policy:   Members must register their guests. Each PLATO member is entitled to bring one non-member guest per bus trip. Members may bring more than one guest near the registration deadline date if seats are available. Check with trip organizer.  Non-member guests pay an additional $13.00 registration fee.

    PLATO Membership:  PLATO membership is $60.00/year and all memberships renew on July 1.  If you join between April 1 and November 30 you will pay the full membership fee of $60.  If you join between December 1 and March 31 you pay half the membership fee - $30.

    Mail-In Registration Form:  Print, Fill-in and Mail this Form for those who wish to register off-line and by check.


    Bus and Travel Details

    Please arrive early at your boarding stop so you don’t miss the bus.  When everyone is aboard and seated, we leave.  Arrive early and we will all arrive at our destination on time to begin our adventure.

    – Don’t be late.  We can wait just 5 minutes at any one location.

    Our Able Trek Tours Bus is equipped with WiFi and toilet facilities. 

    - Social Distancing will not be available on the bus.

    Leaving Madison

    7:30 AM   Westside: Bus arrives for boarding at Oakwood University Woods

    7:45 AM   Westside: Bus departs from Oakwood University Woods

    8:05 AM   Central: Bus departs from Capitol Lakes

    8:30 AM   Eastside: Bus departs East Towne Sears (across from Culvers)

    International Crane Foundation

    9:30 AM   Arrive at the International Crane Foundation 

    11:45 AM   Depart International Crane Foundation for lunch in downtown Wisconsin Dells

    Lunch in Wisconsin Dells

    12:00 PM   Arrive downtown Wisconsin Dells

    1:30 PM   Depart downtown Wisconsin Dells

    Leopold Center

    2:00 PM   Arrive  Leopold Center

    4:00 PM   Depart Leopold Center for Madison

    Arrive Madison (Estimated)

    4:45 PM   Bus returns to East Towne Sears

    5:05 PM  Bus returns to Capitol Lakes

    5:30 PM   Bus returns to Oakwood University Woods

    For further information, contact ICF/Leopold Shack trip organizers:

    Bob Shaw, robert.e.shaw@gmail.com or 608-255-3486 

    Janet Cabot, jbcabot@gmail.com or 608-280-1067 

PLATO is proudly supported in part by Oakwood Village.

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

for more information, contact us at:



6209 Mineral Point Road #203
Madison, WI 53705

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