Sunday, August 23, 2015

Free Day at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, which is located on Lake Michigan in the northeast corner of Milwaukee County, is always a treat to visit. Yesterday was an especially good day, however, because admission was free to all thanks to the support of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

I spent a couple hours there and ended up wishing I could have stayed longer. It was a beautiful day and droves of people were taking advantage of the special event.

Activities included live animal displays, invasive species and poison ivy identification and guided tours of all parts of the diverse landscape. A master gardener was on hand to answer questions.

The day's special activities were scheduled to coincide with what's known as a "bio-blitz." This intensive inventory of all the species that can be identified in a 24-hour period had begun the day before. The BioBlitz was a joint effort between Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and the Milwaukee Public Museum.

The live trap (below) holds what I was told was a Blanding's turtle, which is endangered throughout much of its range. Score one for the nature center, the BioBlitz and the species! (Once officially counted the turtle will be released.)

Families who came for the day were invited to explore woodlands, fields and ponds - with the expert help of Audubon staff members - for their own informal inventories.

The best thing about the day, for this explorer of urban wilderness, was the beauty of nature itself.

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