Milwaukee County Parks-Natural Areas Program

Milwaukee County Parks-Natural Areas Program The Natural Areas Program is a creative use of partnerships that engages Wisconsin’s largest community through the science and beauty of restoration ecology while managing approximately 10,000 acres within the Milwaukee County Parks System.

The Natural Areas Program is a creative use of partnerships that engages Wisconsin’s largest community through the science and beauty of restoration ecology. In just five short years this newly reborn Natural Areas Program has developed over 80 community partnerships and has trained 8,000 volunteers. These volunteers, who have donated nearly 60,000 hours, consist of university students, elementary

The Natural Areas Program is a creative use of partnerships that engages Wisconsin’s largest community through the science and beauty of restoration ecology. In just five short years this newly reborn Natural Areas Program has developed over 80 community partnerships and has trained 8,000 volunteers. These volunteers, who have donated nearly 60,000 hours, consist of university students, elementary

Operating as usual

Goldenrod flowers are a vitally important food source for many pollinator species in fall. Plenty of migrating species r...
10/01/2021

Goldenrod flowers are a vitally important food source for many pollinator species in fall.

Plenty of migrating species rely on this pollen and nectar to fuel their journey, as do many residents who need to fatten up before they enter their overwintering period. 🦋🐝

This past June the Natural Areas team partnered with the Fresh Start crew to install "pollinator pocket" plantings at Wa...
09/22/2021

This past June the Natural Areas team partnered with the Fresh Start crew to install "pollinator pocket" plantings at Warnimont Park to boost floral resources for our bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.

All species planted are natives! Flowers such as culver's root, wild bergamot, and golden Alexanders will attract and sustain pollinating insects to help support a healthy ecosystem.

The plants will be blooming in all their splendor next summer. You can look for them just south of the Oak Leaf Trail between Ramsey Ave and Iona Terrace.

Moths have the habit of being far showier in their larval stage than their adult one. And the Canadian owlet is no excep...
09/12/2021

Moths have the habit of being far showier in their larval stage than their adult one. And the Canadian owlet is no exception.

Although they may be easily overlooked, sedges are an important food source for wildlife including caterpillars, birds, ...
08/22/2021

Although they may be easily overlooked, sedges are an important food source for wildlife including caterpillars, birds, and small mammals. 🐛🦆🐿

Our Natural Areas team has been working hard to identify the sedge species in our Park system this season. Here is a lineup of some of the sedges we have encountered so far.

Did you know wood ducks have been known to nest above sedges, so that the fledglings have a soft landing pad when they are learning to fly?

Timeline Photos
08/13/2021

Timeline Photos

SOMETHING WILD IS COMING...

Learn how Milwaukee County Parks and the Waterway Restoration Partnership are revitalizing wild places along the Little Menomonee River. Join us via Zoom, Wednesday, August 18, 2021, @ 5:30-7:30 pm for the first in a series of meetings about exciting projects that are helping restore habitat for fish wildlife across the county!

Register at: https://buff.ly/37vL3Pm
Waterway Restoration Partnership

The most common lady beetle you are likely to find is the nonnative Asian lady beetle. But North America is home to many...
08/12/2021

The most common lady beetle you are likely to find is the nonnative Asian lady beetle. But North America is home to many other native species (almost 500!). 🐞

Take the convergent lady beetle. You can tell this species from its nonnative counterpart by the distinct white edging on the pronotum (the spot just behind the head and in front of the reddish abdomen). The Asian lady beetle has much more white on the pronotum.

How you feel once you've made it to the end of the week. 😉😂This turtle was photographed basking at Jacobus Park.
08/06/2021

How you feel once you've made it to the end of the week. 😉😂

This turtle was photographed basking at Jacobus Park.

How you feel once you've made it to the end of the week. 😉😂

This turtle was photographed basking at Jacobus Park.

It's wild bergamot season! Also known as bee balm and monarda, this member of the mint family is a superfood for pollina...
07/26/2021

It's wild bergamot season! Also known as bee balm and monarda, this member of the mint family is a superfood for pollinators. Research shows it even has immune boosting properties!

This long-blooming species is a magnet for bees, butterflies, moths, and more, providing vital pollen and nectar for these insects. 🦋🐝❤️

Wow this fly sure knows how to pull off a disguise! Not only is it masquerading as a bumble bee, it's also got the musta...
07/15/2021

Wow this fly sure knows how to pull off a disguise! Not only is it masquerading as a bumble bee, it's also got the mustache and shades to go completely incognito. 😆🐝🕶

Wow this fly sure knows how to pull off a disguise! Not only is it masquerading as a bumble bee, it's also got the mustache and shades to go completely incognito. 😆🐝🕶

Thank you MKE Lifestyle for highlighting the importance of Urban Natural Areas and the conservation efforts of partner o...
07/12/2021
Preserve and Protect

Thank you MKE Lifestyle for highlighting the importance of Urban Natural Areas and the conservation efforts of partner organizations! 🌳🐦🦋🐝🐍🌻

Conservation efforts in the MKE area are beginning to pay off as some threatened or endangered wildlife makes a comeback.

Their black and yellow warning coloration isn’t always enough to protect bumble bees from predation. From giant mantids ...
07/06/2021

Their black and yellow warning coloration isn’t always enough to protect bumble bees from predation. From giant mantids to ambush bugs a fraction of their size, to birds and microscopic parasites, bumbles can fall prey to a surprising array of creatures.

Their black and yellow warning coloration isn’t always enough to protect bumble bees from predation. From giant mantids to ambush bugs a fraction of their size, to birds and microscopic parasites, bumbles can fall prey to a surprising array of creatures.

Moths are well-known for being nocturnal and their tendency to be drawn to lights. But not the snowberry clearwing. This...
07/01/2021

Moths are well-known for being nocturnal and their tendency to be drawn to lights. But not the snowberry clearwing. This moth is a daytime visitor to flowers in natural areas and gardens.

Moths are well-known for being nocturnal and their tendency to be drawn to lights. But not the snowberry clearwing. This moth is a daytime visitor to flowers in natural areas and gardens.

You hear parasitic plant and you might think pitcher plant. But did you know Wisconsin is home to other parasitic specie...
06/27/2021

You hear parasitic plant and you might think pitcher plant. But did you know Wisconsin is home to other parasitic species as well? Take wood betony. This colorful plant found in Milwaukee County doesn’t parasitize insects but rather other plants, siphoning off water and nutrients.

Don't worry too much about the host plants though. It's been shown that wood betony can help increase plant diversity by parasitizing more common and aggressive species. This helps out other less aggressive plants that don't compete as readily.

🐝Federally Endangered Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee Nest discovered in a Milwaukee County Park.🐝Check out this amazing articl...
06/22/2021
Small Nest Creates Big BUZZ | Wisconsin DNR

🐝Federally Endangered Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee Nest discovered in a Milwaukee County Park.🐝

Check out this amazing article from the Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine!

Happy Pollinator Week! 🦋🐝🦇🦎

Small Nest Creates Big BUZZ Discovery generates excitement and optimism for rare rusty patched bumble bee HALLEY MINSERThe sound of a single rusty patched bumble bee led to the discovery of a nest in this small hole last summer in Milwaukee County. Eva Lewandowski It’s easy to overlook a hole an i...

Do you want to learn how you can help monitor bumble bees in Milwaukee County Parks? Come see how our Natural Areas staf...
06/22/2021

Do you want to learn how you can help monitor bumble bees in Milwaukee County Parks? Come see how our Natural Areas staff documents different bumble bee species, and join in on the fun yourself!

If you're interested in participating in our second walk at County Grounds Park this Saturday, please email [email protected] before the event. 🐝🖤💛

Do you want to learn how you can help monitor bumble bees in Milwaukee County Parks? Come see how our Natural Areas staff documents different bumble bee species, and join in on the fun yourself!

If you're interested in participating in our second walk at County Grounds Park this Saturday, please email [email protected] before the event. 🐝🖤💛

Meet the pale green assassin bug. It may be diminutive in size, but that doesn’t comfort its prey any. A true ambush pre...
06/16/2021

Meet the pale green assassin bug. It may be diminutive in size, but that doesn’t comfort its prey any. A true ambush predator, it lies in wait camouflaged on a leaf or tucked away in a flower. It then uses the sticky hairs on its front legs to ensnare unsuspecting insect victims.

Can you tell any of these 5 species of Milwaukee County Park trees by their bark? 🌱🌿🍂 (See individual photos for the ans...
06/09/2021

Can you tell any of these 5 species of Milwaukee County Park trees by their bark? 🌱🌿🍂 (See individual photos for the answers,)

Surprised? Grumpy? Famished? Here are some odonate expressions to brighten your day.
06/01/2021

Surprised? Grumpy? Famished? Here are some odonate expressions to brighten your day.

Have you ever wondered why you see butterflies feeding on wet soil? This behavior is known as puddling, as this Eastern ...
05/27/2021

Have you ever wondered why you see butterflies feeding on wet soil? This behavior is known as puddling, as this Eastern tiger swallowtail demonstrates. Nectar doesn’t provide a balanced diet, so butterflies often supplement their nectar intake with salt and minerals slurped up from the moist earth.

Have you ever wondered why you see butterflies feeding on wet soil? This behavior is known as puddling, as this Eastern tiger swallowtail demonstrates. Nectar doesn’t provide a balanced diet, so butterflies often supplement their nectar intake with salt and minerals slurped up from the moist earth.

Happy Endangered Species Day! The rusty-patched bumble bee, a once widespread species, has disappeared from nearly 90% o...
05/21/2021

Happy Endangered Species Day! The rusty-patched bumble bee, a once widespread species, has disappeared from nearly 90% of its former range. Milwaukee County is looking to be a stronghold for this species with sightings across the county in the last several years.

Last year our Natural Areas staff discovered a rusty-patched bumble bee nest - a find that hasn't been documented in the state for almost a century.

Here is a photo of twin queens peeking out from the nest entrance in 2020.

If you want to help this species and other pollinators, you can plant a variety of native wildflower species in your garden with overlapping bloom times throughout the season. You can also choose to limit or eliminate pesticides in your lawn and garden.

Happy Endangered Species Day! The rusty-patched bumble bee, a once widespread species, has disappeared from nearly 90% of its former range. Milwaukee County is looking to be a stronghold for this species with sightings across the county in the last several years.

Last year our Natural Areas staff discovered a rusty-patched bumble bee nest - a find that hasn't been documented in the state for almost a century.

Here is a photo of twin queens peeking out from the nest entrance in 2020.

If you want to help this species and other pollinators, you can plant a variety of native wildflower species in your garden with overlapping bloom times throughout the season. You can also choose to limit or eliminate pesticides in your lawn and garden.

A reminder that coyotes are more territorial in the months of May and June as they have recently reared their pups.If yo...
05/18/2021

A reminder that coyotes are more territorial in the months of May and June as they have recently reared their pups.

If you know of areas where coyotes are active, it is best to avoid these areas for now- especially during dawn and dusk.

If you encounter a coyote, you can use hazing techniques such as yelling loudly and waving your arms as you face the coyote and back away slowly.

Lastly, PLEASE remember to keep your pets on leash per County Ordinance. Leashing your pets keeps them safe, other dogs safe, wildlife safe, and people safe.

You can report your coyote sightings to:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/milwaukee-county-coyote-watch

A reminder that coyotes are more territorial in the months of May and June as they have recently reared their pups.

If you know of areas where coyotes are active, it is best to avoid these areas for now- especially during dawn and dusk.

If you encounter a coyote, you can use hazing techniques such as yelling loudly and waving your arms as you face the coyote and back away slowly.

Lastly, PLEASE remember to keep your pets on leash per County Ordinance. Leashing your pets keeps them safe, other dogs safe, wildlife safe, and people safe.

You can report your coyote sightings to:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/milwaukee-county-coyote-watch

Do you want to learn how you can help monitor bumble bees in Milwaukee County Parks? Come see how our Natural Areas staf...
05/17/2021

Do you want to learn how you can help monitor bumble bees in Milwaukee County Parks? Come see how our Natural Areas staff documents different bumble bee species, and join in on the fun yourself! If you're interested in participating in our first walk at Wehr Nature Center on May 26, please email [email protected] before the event. 🐝🖤💛

Do you want to learn how you can help monitor bumble bees in Milwaukee County Parks? Come see how our Natural Areas staff documents different bumble bee species, and join in on the fun yourself! If you're interested in participating in our first walk at Wehr Nature Center on May 26, please email [email protected]ntywi.gov before the event. 🐝🖤💛

Why shouldn't you build a teepee in Parks natural areas?-Building teepees is harmful to native plant species and damages...
05/10/2021

Why shouldn't you build a teepee in Parks natural areas?

-Building teepees is harmful to native plant species and damages important wildlife habitat. Venturing off designated trails harms native pollinator plants and spreads invasive species. It destroys critical wildlife habitat, compacts soil, and causes erosion into area waterways.

-You can see in these photos that underneath the teepee only a few plants remain. Surrounding this structure is a lush carpet of native spring ephemerals that had once extended into the space where the teepee now is.

-Please remain on designated trails and help protect our natural areas, plants, and wildlife. Thank you!

We’re not sure what's fuzzier, the plant or this long-horned bee. Many species of long-horned bees are specialist pollin...
05/08/2021

We’re not sure what's fuzzier, the plant or this long-horned bee. Many species of long-horned bees are specialist pollinators, meaning they only visit one type of plant. Oftentimes these plants and pollinators are completely dependent on one another for their survival.

See a monarch? Look again. This monarch mimic is, in fact, a viceroy. Note the horizontal stripes on the back wings. Unl...
05/04/2021

See a monarch? Look again. This monarch mimic is, in fact, a viceroy. Note the horizontal stripes on the back wings. Unlike their doppelgangers, viceroys don’t migrate. Instead, they overwinter as caterpillars, wrapping themselves in the leaves of their host plants: willows, aspens, and cottonwoods. Come spring these hungry, hungry caterpillars emerge and are perfectly positioned to fatten up on the fresh, new foliage. 🐛🐛

See a monarch? Look again. This monarch mimic is, in fact, a viceroy. Note the horizontal stripes on the back wings. Unlike their doppelgangers, viceroys don’t migrate. Instead, they overwinter as caterpillars, wrapping themselves in the leaves of their host plants: willows, aspens, and cottonwoods. Come spring these hungry, hungry caterpillars emerge and are perfectly positioned to fatten up on the fresh, new foliage. 🐛🐛

Spending time in nature is linked to improvements in mood, mental health and emotional well-being🌳😊🐦.We were fortunate e...
04/26/2021
For the birds: Medical College of Wisconsin graduate students take time for birdhouse project

Spending time in nature is linked to improvements in mood, mental health and emotional well-being🌳😊🐦.

We were fortunate enough to collaborate with the Medical College of WI and the Friends of County Grounds Park to install songbird nest boxes which will be monitored by grad students this year.

Thank you to CBS 58 Sunday Morning for highlighting this project!

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Birdwatching has taken off during the pandemic. In fact, the online database eBird says there's been a 37% increase in its usage.This month, a group of medical students jumped on

If you've ever found a large monarch caterpillar far from a milkweed plant, there's probably no need for concern. Monarc...
04/17/2021

If you've ever found a large monarch caterpillar far from a milkweed plant, there's probably no need for concern. Monarchs prefer to pupate away from their host plant in a better camouflaged and less predictable spot to keep them safe from predators.

If you've ever found a large monarch caterpillar far from a milkweed plant, there's probably no need for concern. Monarchs prefer to pupate away from their host plant in a better camouflaged and less predictable spot to keep them safe from predators.

Did you know that wild leeks or "ramps" are very slow growing and can take 7-10 years to reach maturity from seed? Remov...
04/12/2021

Did you know that wild leeks or "ramps" are very slow growing and can take 7-10 years to reach maturity from seed? Removal of such plants can devastate a natural community.

Did you know that wild leeks or "ramps" are very slow growing and can take 7-10 years to reach maturity from seed? Removal of such plants can devastate a natural community.

Say hello to this clever little lady found at a local Milwaukee County Park last year. This federally endangered rusty-p...
04/11/2021

Say hello to this clever little lady found at a local Milwaukee County Park last year. This federally endangered rusty-patched bumble bee is nectar robbing a jewelweed flower. She's managed to access the sugary nectar reward trapped deep in the flower that normally only longer tongued species can reach.

Say hello to this clever little lady found at a local Milwaukee County Park last year. This federally endangered rusty-patched bumble bee is nectar robbing a jewelweed flower. She's managed to access the sugary nectar reward trapped deep in the flower that normally only longer tongued species can reach.

With its name and coloring the great spangled fritillary is one of the most charismatic butterfly species found in our p...
04/07/2021

With its name and coloring the great spangled fritillary is one of the most charismatic butterfly species found in our park system. Fritillary species depend on violets as their host plants, such as our state flower, the blue wood violet.

Address

1150 N 68th Street
Wauwatosa, WI
53213

Opening Hours

Monday 7am - 3:30pm
Tuesday 7am - 3:30pm
Wednesday 7am - 3:30pm
Thursday 7am - 3:30pm
Friday 7am - 3:30pm

Telephone

(414) 257-6521

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The Natural Areas Program is a creative use of partnerships that engages Wisconsin’s largest community through the science and beauty of restoration ecology. The Program has developed over 80 community partnerships and has trained over 10,000 volunteers. These volunteers, who have donated nearly 80,000 hours, consist of university students, elementary school students, community groups, government agencies, NGO’s, religious institutions, and private corporations. The assistance these partnerships provide is integral to the management of the Milwaukee County Park’s 10,000+ acres of natural areas. These resources include upland and lowland forest, fens, oak savanna, remnant wet-mesic prairie, shrub-carrs, open marsh, lagoons, pollinator gardens, and surrogate grasslands. These are natural resources that have been historically molded by the influences of a great lake, Wisconsin’s ecological tension zone, and over 150 years of Euro-American settlement. Many unique challenges present themselves in a county where the human element cannot be separated from the natural element, nor should it. The overriding goal is restoration and management of these natural resources, but another, which is of equal importance, is binding the citizens of Milwaukee County to their natural areas. In the process we are creating stewards, advocates, donors, and in effect a corps of restoration ecologists.

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Free pizza and information tables showing the events and ambitions of the newly formed Friends of County Grounds Park. Free registration is appreciated for planning purposes, but not required. Link below!! https://www.facebook.com/events/2516631525258681
Author Michelle Madden has just released her book, "111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss" which includes Wauwatosa's own Sanctuary Woods and portions of County Grounds Park. In helping launch her book, I am proudly providing my first tour of 2019 - complemented by the interactive map launched this past December. The registration is through Eventbrite for planning purposes, but the event is free. Sign up and reserve your calendar for a fun time outside, with a historical tour, and meet the author! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exclusive-tour-of-sanctuary-woods-the-milwaukee-county-grounds-tickets-64827693376 https://tosahistory13.wixsite.com/tosa
Is lake Michigan safe to swim in right now in the Veterans Park area? If not, where is the closest outdoor watering hole. I know the Milwaukee River is not safe.
Rarely seen Sora (Porzana carolina) is spotted in Milwaukee River Parkway.
Just wanted to share my experience today as I monitored my wetland in Wauwatosa. A solid reminder that anyone going out to do this should let someone else know that they are there. Fortunately this tree limb did not land on me while I was in the pond checking my traps, I was standing right there about 30 seconds before it fell!
Spotted a coyote at lakefront near Yacht Club 12/24/17 ~0830
The stats are out and the third season of the Atlas is officially a wrap, with special thanks going out to all of the Milwaukee birders and County Parks team members who helped out! Find out how many blocks are totally complete, which new species we confirmed, and how many million birds we've documented by heading to http://bit.ly/2ykgH30.
Is this a blue bunting bird? lol I need to be able to sleep tonight knowing what kind of bird this is!!! #grantpark Sorry...the squirrel came along for the ride!