In a past life, Ledge View Nature Center staff member Stephanie Radandt was probably a witch, she said—or a squirrel, but that’s another story.

She delights in Halloween; not only autumn, and ghouls, goblins, and thrilling chills, but the decorations of the holiday as well. And this is why there is a witch’s hat workshop on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. If you are similarly spellbound by Halloween, join Stephanie to play with orange, black, purple, or yellow-green tulle and ribbon to create a witch’s hat door decoration that is an explosion of color. The workshop is limited to 20 people, and prepayment ($20, all materials provided) is required. 

Are your apple trees having a fruitful year? If you would like to make juice, you are welcome to use Ledge View’s fruit press on Sunday, Oct. 6 or 13, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Bring a friend to lend a hand, along with one bushel of washed fruit and two or three empty gallon jugs, and for $3 people can crush the apples and catch the run-off the old-fashioned way. Use of the press is first-come, first-served.

The Tuesday, Oct. 15 noon adult lunch program takes a look at animals that might require a second look because they imitate other animals or plant parts, giving new meaning to “camouflage.” The $5 program features homemade soup and sandwich with coffee along with the program. To attend, please call the nature center three or four days in advance—this helps give staff a head count for the meal. The adult lunch program is a monthly event, generally taking place on third Tuesdays.

Halloween may be the greatest excuse to dress up, and volunteers will be in costume to present the annual fundraiser, Halloween Candlelight Cave Tours, over two nights at Ledge View this month. The family oriented event is put on by the 501(c)3 nonprofit Friends of Ledge View Nature Center, with the goal of educating, not of scaring. A tour leaves every half hour between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18; and between 4:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19. The tour is approximately an hour and a half in length. Tickets are available online at Eventbrite starting Sept. 27. A limited number of tickets also will be available at the door. Funds raised by the event help support Ledge View Nature Center’s live animals and exhibits, among other things. There will be no regular cave tours on the event weekend. Regular cave tours resume Oct. 26 and 27, by reservation.

Consider starting a native-plant garden this fall, for the color, ease of care, and boost for native pollinators, other insects, and insect-eating birds. Native plants are typically adapted to local environments, so once they are established, they pretty much take care of themselves. Most are perennials, with extensive root systems that help them get through periods of drought. They bloom beautifully in a variety of yellows, pinks, and purples through the year. Even native grasses, like Indiangrass and big bluestem, though not turf grasses, make attractive ornamentals. Seeds will be available at the annual prairie wildflower workshop on Sunday, Oct. 20. Learn how to prepare the seeds for planting this fall, and collect as many seeds as you like. The workshop begins at 1 p.m. and is $5 per person.

Ledge View Nature Center, W2348 Short Rd., Chilton, is a Calumet County park. Trails are open from dawn to dusk. The building is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily (closed holidays). For more information or to make reservations, please call 849-1471.

(Please see the September 26 issue of the Tri-County News for more on this story.)

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