|Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area|
2017 was a very active year in the urban wilderness of Milwaukee and beyond. As is my custom, I bring you a recap of the year, although it was harder than usual to narrow down the selections. In part, this was because I made a decision early in the year to limit my blogging activities to this, my Urban Wilderness blog, and to discontinue Arts Without Borders. In a very real sense I am sorry to see it go, as I continue to value the arts and find great pleasure in my outings. However, the more singular focus has enabled me to expand on the themes of this blog.
|Lobster Claw, Mitchell Park Domes|
Another reason for the growth of this blog is the project I began in 2017 with Preserve Our Parks, of which I am a board member. We’re calling it A Wealth of Nature. The intent is to celebrate and promote parks and wild places in Milwaukee and vicinity. Yeah, I know: it sounds a lot like what I’ve been doing for years. And it is! But the project has given me new enthusiasm and gotten me out intentionally to discover many places I had yet to explore for myself. Stay tuned. The project is just beginning. A new website is under construction.
And so, the (edited) year in review. Follow the links in each blurb to read the whole story and see the photo essays. (Note: I am including columns written for Milwaukee Magazine as well as my own blog.)
|Autumn in Noyes Park, Milwaukee|
Or just check out the year in pictures as you scroll down.
|Sanctuary Woods and Medical Complex from Co Grounds Pk|
2017 began with a bang as the City of Wauwatosa, where I live, unveiled a master plan that included roads and dense, high-rise developments in the last remaining parcel of green space on the Milwaukee County Grounds. “Sanctuary Woods” became a rallying cry for both sides in a contentious (and on-going) debate that I revisited many times over the course of the year:
|Candle-light hike at Three Bridges Park|
February brought out the best in people as Three Bridges Park held its first ever candle light hike and winter celebration. It was a smashing success, despite frigid temperatures.
March found me revisiting a favorite spot. My largely monochromatic photo essay:
April brought spring and another, more colorful seasonal photo essay:
In May I took a tour of oak savannas, a rare and endangered ecosystem:
Things got real busy in June.
I visited four Milwaukee County parks and one Ozaukee County park to highlight “hidden gems:”
|Showy lady slippers at Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area|
I returned to Ozaukee County for a tour of the “Treasures of OZ:”
|Beulah Bog State Natural Area|
Then out to Walworth County for a first look at:
In July I revisited the Rotary Centennial Arboretum in Riverside Park for a special tour highlighting edible and medicinal herbs:
In August I reported on what I learned and experienced at my first ever City Parks Alliance national conference, in Saint Paul, Minnesota:
|Kayak tour of Milwaukee's inner harbor|
I served as Artist in Residence for the Harbor District, Inc. from January to September. In August I took one of two kayak tours of the inner harbor and filed this photo essay in September:
Another seasonal photo essay:
September found me learning even more about edible plants, this time at Theresa Marsh in Dodge County:
|Prairie clover, Lakeshore State Park|
Did you catch Milwaukee’s first ever boat parade and decorating contest? Here’s a photo essay:
|Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio|
In October I went to Kenosha County for a photo essay of two parks:
In November I filed my final seasonal photo essay from five parks in Southeastern Wisconsin:
I also took advantage of a road trip to a family Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh to stop off at Cuyahoga National Park near Cleveland, OH:
|Kratzsch Conservancy, Washington County|
December took me to Washington County where I joined in another tour:
|Kenosha County Sustainable Living Educational Park|