Monday, July 23, 2012

Milwaukee County Grounds: Island of Hope

Imagine parkland large enough to lose yourself in; a park with diverse topography, plants and animals; imagine a variety of public and private interests who collaborate on park stewardship. Now imagine that this park is in the middle of the most densely populated region in Wisconsin. Welcome to the Milwaukee County Grounds. 

My newest book, called The Milwaukee County Grounds: Island of Hope, explores the grounds and highlights ongoing issues in an effort to preserve and enhance this remarkable place. The book features a Foreword by Nancy Aten, award-winning principle of Landscapes of Place, LLC., as well as my photographs. It celebrates the land in all of its diversity and provides a vision for its future. 

The Milwaukee County Grounds: Island of Hope is meant to inspire appreciation for the importance of the grounds and to raise awareness about issues of preservation, ecological integrity, and biodiversity. Intact, this natural corridor will be an amenity and irreplaceable asset for nearby businesses, the adjacent Regional Medical Complex, and whole community. The County Grounds is a place of natural beauty that facilitates emotional, physical, and spiritual health and well-being. 

During the late twentieth century city and suburban residents alike became increasingly disconnected from the natural world. However, since the turn of the century there has been a resurgence of interest in urban parks and natural areas. Residents and city planners all over the country have turned vacant land and blighted brownfields into vibrant parklands.

Cities vie for the titles of livability and sustainability. The County Grounds is finally being recognized as this kind of irreplaceable asset. It is a uniquely accessible landscape endowed with remarkable biodiversity as well as the marvelous annual migration of butterflies.

Tune in to Lake Effect on WUWM 89.7 on Wednesday, July 25 at 10:00 a.m. I gave Susan Bence a tour of the County Grounds recently and she interviewed me while we walked around. Update: if you missed the broadcast, you can download the podcast and listen to the interview by clicking here.

The timing of the Lake Effect interview is intended to promote more than the book. There is a public forum also on July 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wauwatosa Civic Center. The topic is whether or not the historic Eschweiler buildings on the County Grounds should be preserved or torn down. I hope you’ll join me there. For more information about the forum go to Wauwatosa Patch

The Milwaukee County Grounds: Island of Hope can be previewed in its entirety – or purchased – at A selection of the photos from the book may be viewed on my website.

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