Mirror Lake + Read to Lead

Mirror Lake State Park
Mirror Lake State Park is located in Baraboo, Wisconsin and is named for its centerpiece, a lake which often is so calm that not a ripple marks its surface. The lake reflects a wooded shoreline with cliffs up to 50 feet high, a swimming beach, and wetlands that are home to a variety of wildlife. Just three miles from Wisconsin Dells, Mirror Lake is also close to Devil's Lake, Rocky Arbor and Buckhorn state parks.

The park's 2,200 acres has three picnic areas (one with a shelter and all with grills); wooded campsites; bike, boat, canoe, and kayak rentals; a cabin for people with disabilities; and the Seth Peterson Cottage designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Only slow, no-wake boating is allowed.  A new amphitheather is being built this spring that will seat 200 people.

Mirror Lake is surrounded by pine and oak woods, and beyond there are sandy prairies and former farm fields that are now rich natural wild flowers, shrubs, and trees. Many kinds of wildlife are abundant and easily observed. Others are scarce or quite shy and require careful observation techniques to be seen. The most often seen mammals are deer, raccoons, squirrels, bats, chipmunks, and muskrats. Less often seen are beavers, mink, red foxes, cottontail rabbits, and coyotes. The marshes, fields, open woodlands, lakeshore, and steep valleys are home for different types of bird life. Walking quietly, stopping often, listening, and watching carefully are the best ways to view wildlife. Be sure to bring your binoculars!

What in the Wild
The Read to Lead book for the first week in May is What in the Wild? by David Schwartz   and Yael Schy.
Lumpy MoundsThese lumpy mounds upon the ground, you may not recognize.They're left behind once we have dined—that's how we fertilize!We're long and lithe, we wriggle and writhe; of dead things we dispose.We daily toil to plow the soil, and help stuff decompose!
What is the Wild is a K-Gr 4 reading level book. It is a nifty combo of poetry, super color photos, scientific information, and a guessing game. For example, a verse printed in wavy lines reads: "We're long and lithe, we wiggle and writhe. Of dead things we dispose./We daily toil to plow the soil, and help stuff decompose!" Lift the flap to reveal a photo of an earthworm depositing another cast on the pile and several paragraphs of information on the vital work done by these beneficial creatures. The punch line of "Cliff Dweller" says, "My home is warm, but kind of smelly/From scraps of fish once in my belly!" The flap showing a hole in a riverbank reveals a belted kingfisher feeding its young in its burrow and a description with a lot of data including the reason for the stinky aroma.

Read To Lead
Read to Lead
The Wisconsin State Park System is teaming up with the Read to Lead program to encourage kids and families to read everywhere—including in the outdoors! Kids, if you are 5 to 9 years old and read 20 or more books, you can enter your name in a drawing for a Kindle Fire and other prizes.Here's what you need to do.
  • Print out the Read to Lead checklist
  • Visit the state parks listed to find the books, or check them out anytime from a library. Some State Parks will have special programs to go along with their book. Visit Wisconsin State Parks to learn more about the parks and events.
  • Read (or have someone read to you) 20 or more books. Check them off on the list. 
  • Have your parent or guardian sign and send the form to the address on the checklist and you will be entered in the drawing for a Kindle Fire.