Calendar

Apr
7
Tue
CANCELLED “Riding The Rails” film screening | Time Traveler Series @ Nature at the Confluence
Apr 7 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

The Confluence area was once home to a “hobo jungle”, a gathering place and encampment of men (and sometimes women) who rode the rails.  We present the PBS documentary Riding the Rails to tell the poignant and little-known story of teen hobos during the Depression in the 1930s, a time of desperation and bitter hardship.This documentary is a winner of 18 major awards including the Peabody Award and Best Documentary.  Riding the Rails is that rare film that will inform, dazzle and profoundly move its audience. This is not a ride you want to miss!

Nature At The Confluence is now bringing new life to the beautiful land along the Rock River, creating hiking trails where people once camped. But the memories of the “hobo jungle” still linger and we feel the history of that era is an important thread in the fabric of our American story and our community’s story that needs to be told and preserved.

  • After the viewing of the 70 min. documentary, audience members are encouraged share their own recollections.
  • This program is free, but donations are welcome to support our restoration work.
  • Samples of Mulligan Stew, said to have originated in hobo camps, will be available.
  • This is a program Of Our “Time Traveler Series” which is supported by a grant from the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors.

About The Film

Ever since track was first laid for the great locomotives, hobos have listened to the call of the rails, lured by the possibility of free transportation to another place—if they could make their way unnoticed and unharmed. They rode the rails for various reasons—to escape economic hardship, satisfy an urge for adventure, or simply to feed their wanderlust. Along the way, they developed their own culture…the hobo culture.

The Great Depression forced 4,000,000 Americans away from their homes and onto the tracks in search of food and lodging. Riding the Rails is the story of the youth that either ran away or were forced to leave home during the depression. This documentary interviews people from different backgrounds who hoboed in the 1930’s while they were still in their teens. It tells of the tough times families were enduring, often causing young people to try to provide for themselves. It seemed as if the elusive jobs were always someplace else and the rails were an accessible means of travel.   

The documentary captured interviews of people that actually road the rails as teens. “Some hadn’t spoken of their experiences in sixty years. They poured their hearts out to us,” says director Michael Uys. “They were just kids then and when they look back, it’s with a blend of nostalgia and pain.” Riding the Rails vividly combines the clear-eyed memories of witnesses with archival footage of teens riding atop speeding trains and newsreel interviews with lean-bodied kids full of bravado.

The film features a rich soundtrack of American folk tunes of the time, including songs by Woody Guthrie, Elizabeth Cotten, Doc Watson, and Jimmie Rodgers. Do you love music from that era? Don’t miss “Goin’ Down The Road” : Songs of the Confluence featuring railroad and labor folk music by Bucky Halker. Held Sunday, July 12, 1pm. Learn more.

Would you like to be informed of new programs about the history of the confluence? Sign up below.



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Apr
18
Sat
Free Oak Sapling Giveaway with Rock River Trail @ Nature at the Confluence
Apr 18 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Nature At The Confluence and the Rock River Trail celebrate Earth Day with a Free Oak Sapling distribution.

Saturday, April 18 – 9am-1pm  – Free Oak Sapling Distribution – Take home a free bare-root oak sapling to plant as part of Rock River Trail’s efforts to restore habitat along this 320-mile National Water Trail. (available while supplies last). 

For more information you can email info@natureattheconfluence.com.

Capturing The Moments of VetsRoll with Michael Cullen | Cameras At The Confluence @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Apr 18 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

As the VetsRoll coordinator of still photography, Michael Cullen has been capturing the poignant images of the last 6 VetsRolls trips to Washington D.C. Come learn about his experiences on these trips as he shares his memories and images from those last 6 trips. He’ll soon be packing up his equipment for the 11th VetsRoll Trip, departing May 17. (learn more below about VetsRoll)

  • This is a “Cameras At The Confluence” program, which in 2020 will highlight the talents of local photographers. The public is invited to attend!
  • Registration is required as space is limited. Please register below. 
  • The event is free to attend, but is also a fundraiser for VetsRoll, so we ask you to consider donating at the door. 

Michael Cullen Bio: This May will be my 6th trip on VetsRoll and 4th as coordinator of still photography for the trip. Prior to going on the trip I covered the send-off and homecoming for the organization.

I have been interested in photography since my grandfather started teaching me cameras in England in the early 1980’s, and I have been shooting professionally since 1997. I specialize in ‘people shots’, families, seniors, weddings and, of course, VetsRoll.  I have lived in Beloit since 1996 and am a career firefighter/paramedic for the City of Beloit.

I have been published in the Beloit Daily News and the Beloit College Magazine and had photos picked up for the Associated Press and published nationwide. I also won 1st place in the 2014 Media Awards Contest for the International Association of Fire Fighters.

VetsRoll’s mission is to thank and pay tribute to WWII and most senior Veterans and ‘Rosie-the-Riveters’ – by transporting them to Washington, D.C. over four days of honor and remembrance, at no cost to our heroes. Each year, 200 WWII and Korean Era Veterans and ‘Rosies-the-Riveters’ are treated to this trip! Learn more about VetsRoll at this link.

Register Below



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Apr
19
Sun
Pressed Plant Art presented by Welty Environmental Center @ Nature at the Confluence
Apr 19 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Looking for a fun Spring project to do? Expand your plant identification skills while making pressed plant art! We will go outside on a short hike to gather specimens and then learn how to press them and turn them into art. All ages are welcome.

Supplies to bring:

  • Specimen bag or basket

  • Several sheets of unlined acid free paper (If you are not concerned about LONG TERM preservation, unlined copy/printer paper will work just fine.)

  • 2 pieces of cardboard cut to size of paper

  • Optional: Pencil & Small notebook to keep track of flower identification

Cost: $5 donation

Please let us know if you are planning to attend by registering at this link or call Welty Environmental Center at 608-362-6212

Location: Nature at the Confluence, 306 Dickop St.

Register at this link

 

 

Apr
22
Wed
Earth Day Walkabout @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
Apr 22 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

earth daySince 2014 we’ve been planning, planting, clearing trails, and cleaning up trash to transform the nearly 100 acres of derelict property that borders the Rock River, Turtle Creek and Kelly Creek into a beautiful space for the community to enjoy.

We invite you to come on Nature At The Confluence’s Earth Day Walkabout with Executive Director Therese Oldenburg to learn about what’s been done so far, what the challenges are, and what is yet to come.  You’ll be the first to hear about the next exciting projects and have opportunity to give your feedback!

In this program we’ll walk the prairie trail, Kelly Creek Trail, along Turtle Creek and along our new Rock River Birding Trail with views of the eagle nest on Boney Island. As we walk you’ll learn about each of the the bodies of water and the challenges of each.  We’ll finish up with the first fire of the season in our fireplace with S’mores!

  • This is a free program, but we also appreciate donations to support our continuing restoration work.  
  • We will leave at 6pm from the Nature Learning Center to begin our walkabout. 
  • Approximately 1 mile walk – NOTE: the new Rock River Birding Trail may be muddy, wear shoes for the conditions. 
  • Raindate: In case of rain this program will be rescheduled for Saturday, April 25, 11am-12pm

 

Apr
26
Sun
Mammoths to Mounds: 13,000 Years of Native American History | Time Traveler Series @ Nature at the Confluence
Apr 26 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

People have lived in the Rock River valley ever since the last ice age. Dr. Bill Green presents this program where you’ll learn how the latest archaeological discoveries are adding to our understanding of the area’s ancient residents.

  • Free program, donations are appreciated to support bringing programs like this to the community.
  • Please register below. 

About the presenter:  Dr. Bill Green recently retired from Beloit College where he was Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Chair, Museum Studies Program. His major professional interests include North American archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnology. Dr. Green actively conducts archaeological studies of Woodland communities occupied 1000-2000 years ago in the Mississippi River valley.

This is a program of our Time Travelers Series –  If this land could talk it would tell you about the people that cared for it, revered it, cried for it, dreamed of it, and shaped it over the millennia.  The Time Traveler Series will explore the fascinating history of this land and the people who lived or worked near the confluence of Turtle Creek and the Rock River over the centuries.
The Time Traveler Series is supported by a grant from the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors

Please register







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May
17
Sun
Tortoise And The Hare with Hoo Haven | Woods of Wonder Family Program @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
May 17 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Who is faster, the tortoise or the hare? Come find out when you meet Hoo Haven’s animal ambassadors in this fun interactive family program! Registration required!

  • Children must be accompanied by an adult. 
  • This program is offered at no cost to the community through a Hoo Haven grant from Ecolab
  • Space is limited! Registration required – register below

About Hoo Haven: We are dedicated to rehabilitating and releasing, sick, injured and orphaned, North American Wildlife, and to educating individuals to the importance of the conservation of Mother Earth, to maintain the land, clean and beautiful for all. Visit their website to learn more. 

All Hoo Haven Programs Sponsored by a Grant from Ecolab

Register below – space is limited!



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May
19
Tue
Soaring With Eagles program by photographer Kurt Van Galder | Cameras At The Confluence @ Nature at the Confluence
May 19 @ 6:30 pm – 7:45 pm


Kurt Van Galder is an accomplished wildlife photographer that has just returned from photographing penguins in Antarctica! But he doesn’t have to travel far to see his favorite subject – the American Bald Eagle. Kurt has spent hours photographing the Boney Island eagles on the Rock River on the Confluence property, as well as other eagles around the country.

Kurt’s presentation will have you soaring with the eagles! You will experience the nest cycle right up to the fledge flights and beyond. You will marvel and laugh at the mischief these young birds get into as well.

You’ll also learn about our new Rock River Birding Trail that allows you views of the Boney Island nest with a respectful 800 foot distance from the nest on Boney Island.

  • This program is part of our Cameras At The Confluence series and will be of interest to wildlife photographers and the general public.
  • Admission is free, but a free will donations are appreciated to support our birding trail work.
  • Seating is limited. Please register below to reserve your spot.

Presenter: Kurt Van Galder of Janesville, WI – Kurt is a retired educator. He taught American History at Janesville Craig High School for twenty-eight years. Since his retirement in 2001, Kurt has enjoyed and combined his twin hobbies of hiking the Appalachian Trail with wildlife photography.

Please register







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  • While this is a free program, we would be most grateful for any donation to support our new Rock River Birding Trail. We also welcome donations at the door the night of the event.
    If you care to donate, please enter your donation amount below and you will have the opportunity to donate via Paypal.
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May
27
Wed
Fire Masters | Woods of Wonder for Ages 7-11 @ Nature At The Confluence Campus
May 27 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Become A Fire Master! Learn how to survive in the Woods Of Wonder by making a fire! In this hands on program, you’ll learn fire safety, how to start a fire & different types of fires. You’ll learn how people used fire for many different uses over the centuries. After making our fire, we’ll roast S’mores to enjoy! For Ages 7-11

  • Fire Masters is offered on two dates: Wed, May 27, 6pm and Thu July 30, 6pm – Only register for one!
  • Cost is $5 per family – Registration is required – please register below. 
  • This is part of “Woods Of Wonder” program series. Click here to see more programs.

Register Below







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  • Offered on two dates, choose only one date. $5 Registration per Family
  • Offered on two dates, choose only one date. $5 Registration per Family
  • Offered on two dates, choose only one date. $5 Registration per Family
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    You can pay using credit card via PayPal.

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Jun
6
Sat
Ixonia’s Excellent Rock River Race | Ixonia, Wisconsin @ Harnischfeger County Park
Jun 6 all-day

Ix Ex is back! Ixonia’s Excellent Rock River Race will be held on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

Classes available for canoe, kayak and SUP. There will be classes for both racing boats (10 miles) and recreational/rookie boats (4 miles). There will also be a 1 mile race for juniors. Prizes will be home brew beer and chocolate chip cookies….depending on your age.

Races will be held both morning and afternoon. Morning events begin at 10:00 a.m. afternoon events start at 1:30 p.m. We will hold a potluck between morning and afternoon divisions. Race entry fee covers both morning and afternoon races – $20/paddler.

Two racing class types: Expert and Rookie/Recreational race classes.

Race Info

Morning:
C2 (tandem canoe) Men, Women, and Mixed,
C2 Expert class: requires Pro Boats (aka 3x27s) or USCA 4x32s
K2 (tandem kayak) All genders
K2 Racing class: all tandem kayaks (unlimited)
Junior classes, age 10-16: SUP, K1 (Solo Kayak) Boys, Girls.

Afternoon:
C1 (solo canoe) Man, Woman:
C1 Racing class: USCA spec (4×32) solo canoes
K1 (solo kayak) Man, Woman
K1 Racing class: all solo kayaks, incl surfskis (unlimited)

SUP (stand up paddleboard) Man, Woman:
SUP Racing class: all paddleboard designs, single blade paddles

 

Boat Definitions:

C2 (tandem canoe), K2 (tandem kayak) All genders
C2 Rookie/Rec class: all non racing design tandem canoes e.g. most aluminum, royalex and similar wider, heavier canoes
K2 Rookie class: all non racing design tandem kayaks e.g. most wider, heavier plastic kayaks, most sea kayaks
C1 (solo canoe) Man, Woman:
C1 Rookie/Rec class: all non racing design solo canoes – e.g. most wider, heavier canoes
K1 (solo kayak) Man, Woman:
K1 Rookie/Rec class: all non racing design solo kayaks – e.g. most heavier, wider plastic kayaks, most sea kayaks
SUP (stand up paddleboard) Man, Woman:
SUP Rookie/Rec: any board design, rookie/recreational racer