Discover Why 'The Fantasticks' is Off-Broadway's Longest Running Show with In Tandem Theatre
By Mary Boyle
Hucklebee and Bellamy are fathers, gardeners, neighbors—and enemies. The high wall between their properties is a sure sign of their feud, but it won't keep their children, Matt and Luisa, apart! How like Romeo and his Juliet they are, whispering sweet nothings to each other over the wall; knowing all along that their fathers would be so angry if they knew what they were up to...or would they? Perhaps there is no feud at all. Perhaps the wall is only there to create a sense of drama. Perhaps these two fathers have learned that the quickest way to get children to do something you want them to do is to tell them "No!" This is the premise behind Off-Broadway's longest running musical, The Fantasticks, and you'll understand why it's been so popular when you see the fantastic production of it by In Tandem Theatre Company in Milwaukee.
The Fantasticks was the first musical written and composed by the American songwriting duo of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, but this Off-Broadway production outshone their two Broadway shows that followed: 110 in the Shade, which won the duo a Tony Award nomination for Best Composer and Lyricist, and I Do! I Do!, which gave them another nomination for Best Composer and Lyricist, as well as a nomination for Best Musical. Despite its small cast, simple staging, and positively tiny orchestra, the Off-Broadway production ran from 1960 to 2002, charming audiences over 17,000 times.
Directed by Jane Flieller, Co-Founder of In Tandem, and with Music Direction by Josh Robinson, In Tandem's production of The Fantasticks is excellently cast, and features some of Milwaukee's best talent. Andrew Varela (who was seen earlier this season in The Rep's Guys & Dolls, and last season in Skylight's Sweeny Todd) makes his In Tandem debut as El Gallo, the narrator and suave, debonair actor the two fathers hire to help stage a dramatic ending to the feud that will bring their two children together, at last. Matt Daniels (who was also seen in Guys & Dolls, as well as in A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at First Stage this season) is Hucklebee, the father of Matt, played by Keegan Siebken (seen in Twelfth Night (Drunk) at Bard & Bourbon earlier this season). Chris Flieller (who was seen in Scrooge in Rouge with In Tandem this past season) is Bellamy, the father of Luisa, played by Susan Wiedmeyer (who was a hit in Carnival with In Tandem last season). Robert Spencer, who played Matt in the Off-Broadway production for two years, comes full circle as Henry, an aged actor who, along with his assistant, Mortimer, played by Austin Dorman, are hired by El Gallo to assist in the staging. Finally, although she says nothing at all, Mary C. McLellen is the Mute, an on-stage stage manager who helps move the production along.
Although The Fantasticks could be considered vintage, the story is timeless, and the music is compelling, though it is accompanied only by Mary E. Keppeler on the harp and Josh Robinson on piano at the side of the stage. Ranging from outrageously funny to poignantly beautiful, the songs are truly a reflection of the musical, itself. Daniels and Flieller, as Hucklebee and Bellamy, work wonderfully together, and their duet, "Never Say No," is a laugh-out-loud anthem every parent can relate to. Varela is the perfect El Gallo: comedic, yet appropriately somber when needed, and so very smooth in both voice and attitude. Wiedmeyer's voice is angelic, and pairs beautifully with Siebken's, but her ability to play the engenue and to be both thoughtless and thoughtful is what makes her shine in this production. Robert Spencer's Henry is priceless, and he utterly steals the show when he takes the stage, while still managing to allow Dorman's Mortimer to stand out in his In Tandem debut.
"Popular" is a bit of an understatement when describing The Fantasticks: this Off-Broadway hit had a successful Off-Broadway revival in 2006—only four years after its first, record-breaking run—that only just ended last year. See it for yourself, and you'll understand why: like all great stories, this story has a simple truth hidden underneath—though it really sneaks up on you unexpectedly, in this one. Everything is fun and funny and then, quite suddenly, $#!+ gets real, so to speak. Just as in life, The Fantasticks teaches us a hard lesson, but we come back all the wiser and, while we see the world more clearly, it still manages to be as beautiful as we only imagined it to be before.
The Fantasticks runs through May 20th at the Tenth Street Theater, located at 628 N. 10th Street in Milwaukee. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at (414) 271-1371, or online at www.intandemtheatre.org.
About In Tandem Theatre
In Tandem Theatre, a 501(c)3 nonprofit theatre located in Milwaukee, was founded in 1998 by Chris and Jane Flieller with the commitment to produce exciting, innovative and professional live theatre by presenting creative and eclectic programming that enlightens, inspires, provokes, and entertains a diverse audience in an intimate atmosphere. Its name, In Tandem Theatre, reflects the connection between audience and actor, the audience and the written word – an intimate experience obtained when live audiences are engaged in strong storytelling. In Tandem Theatre is committed to creating innovative, exciting live theatre designed to inspire, enlighten, provoke and entertain a diverse audience through comedy, drama, musicals, classics and new works.
A Rare Shakespearean Treat: 'Pericles, Prince of Tyre' at the Marquette University Helfaer Theater
By Mary Boyle
When you're a really big fan of Shakespeare, a fun thing to do is to go see a play attributed to him that scholars have argued about for centuries. Did the Bard actually write it at all? If he co-wrote it, who wrote it with him? Is this play actually good, or do we just think so because it's associated with the Bard? Luckily, the students at Marquette University are offering that very opportunity with their production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
Directed by Jamie Cheatham, Pericles feels like a mashup between Comedy of Errors (there's the shipwreck, Ephesus, and an infant separated from their father) and The Odyssey (it seems as though the Gods are definitely messing with our heroic Prince), but cobbled together by a far lesser writer than Shakespeare or Homer. The cobbled parts are the chorus; transitional pieces that are clearly different from the main dialogue of the play. In between those cobbled parts, though, there can be found some clearly recognizable comedy and tragedy, mixed in with a liberal dose of lewdness that exceeds the normal bounds of Shakespeare (I'm all for culture, but this play is not for young audiences).
Pericles (Michael Nicholas), the aforementioned Prince of 'Tyre, sets off to solve a riddle that could either win him the beautiful daughter of King Antiochus (A.J. Magoon), or cost him his life. When Pericles realizes the answer to the riddle is that the King and his daughter are having an incestous relationship, he's not willing to die for that. Leaving his advisor, Helicanus (Margaret Tomasiewicz) in charge of Tyre, Pericles flees to Tarsus to avoid the wrath of the King. After saving the famine-ridden kingdom with grain from his ship, Pericles is on his way again when his ship is destroyed in a storm, and he is washed up in Pentapolis, where he hears of a tournament to win the daughter of King Simonides (Dan O'Keefe) and tries his luck again. This time, fortune seems to smile on him, because he not only wins the tournament, but he and the King's daughter, Thaisa (Rene Leech), fall like rocks for each other, and are expecting a child when Pericles is called back to Tyre by his nobles. Alas, another tempest finds our hero who, along with his wife and his daughter, Marina (Lindsay Webster), seem doomed to suffer loss after horrible loss.
Thankfully, despite the series of tragic events, this play is not a tragedy, and nor is the production of it. A.J. Magoon (a founding member of the Summit Players), who plays multiple parts, is always fun to watch, and Michael Nicholas (who has also been seen on the Summit stage) is excellent as Pericles. Though Shakespeare cannot be credited with all of it, this rarely-performed work is a special treat to see, and truly has something for everyone, veering from exceptionally funny to sweetly romantic to crushingly sad. Throw in a gang of unruly pirates and an epic, slo-mo fight scene, and you've got yourself a crowd-pleasing play!
Pericles, Prince of Tyre runs through Sunday, april 22nd at the Helfaer Theatre, located at 525 N. 13th Street in Milwaukee. Tickets are $20, and may be purchased by calling (414) 288-7504, online at https://www.showclix.com/events/marquettetheatre, or by email at email@example.com.
By Mary Boyle
Written in 1938 by Wisconsin native Thornton Wilder, Our Town won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and has been a mandatory part of middle and high school literary curriculums, as well as a mainstay of stages everywhere, ever since. Though the play takes place at the turn of the century—a time nobody alive today has actually seen—the mythical town in New Hampshire called Grover's Corners, and the characters who live in it, continue to be examined, discussed, reimagined, and loved. The Milwaukee Repertory Theater, like most theatre companies, is no stranger to this play; this will be their fourth production of this American classic, which will serve as a worthy finale to The Rep's 64th Season.
Directed by Brent Hazelton, The Rep's Our Town boasts a cast of 31 actors, with many of Milwaukee's finest among them, including Laura Gordon, who takes her turn as the Stage Manager. Traditionally played by a man, Gordon brings a depth of emotion to this role that pulls even harder on the heartstrings of the audience than this character typically achieves. Other Milwaukee favorites, such as Carrie Hitchcock (recently seen as Miss Hannigan in Annie at Skylight) Jonathan Smoots (often seen in A Christmas Carol at The Rep), Jonathan Wainwright (who was brilliant in The Rep's Of Mice and Men), James Ridge of APT fame, and James Pickering (who was recently seen in The Outgoing Tide at In Tandem) seem underutilized in the production, which is a testament to how important the play is; they play Professor Willard, Joe Stoddard, Farmer McCarty, Simon Stinson, and Constable Warren, respectively.
The Webb and Gibb families, of course, are the main focus of the play. Rána Roman (who we saw earlier this season as Yum-Yum in Hot Mikado at Skylight Music Theatre) is Mrs. Webb, mother to Emily (Cher Desiree Alvarez) and Wally (Zachary Church, who was Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas at First Stage earlier this season), and the wife of Mr. Webb (Matt Zambrano, who was hysterical in The Foreigner at The Rep last season). Elizabeth Ledo is Mrs. Gibbs, mother to George (DiMonte Henning) and Rebecca (Selma Rivera), and wife of Dr. Gibbs (Chiké Johnson, who was also in Of Mice and Men at The Rep). Aside from the Stage Manager, Emily and George are the main characters of the play, and Alvarez and Henning both give outstanding performances—they are as precious and heartbreaking as young love can be.
Our Town is unusual, especially for its time, in that it doesn't pretend that it isn't a play. The stage is clearly a stage, and a sparsely filled one, at that. The Stage Manager is right there on the stage, stopping scenes and moving the play forward and backward in time, addressing the audience directly. Actors drink from imaginary cups and open imaginary doors, and yet...there is, perhaps, never a play more real than this one. At its surface, Our Town is nostalgic; a slice of Americana and a simpler time we all long for, though most have never experienced it. Without taking it too seriously, the play could be summed up by a number of proverbs proclaiming that life is short and to enjoy every minute of it. Below the surface, though, there is something more; something that calls theatres everywhere to try and find. Yes, life is short, and it is beautiful, and we all take it for granted constantly; but, this play forgives you for it, because the Stage Manager understands something most of us do not: if we really did stop to think about, and appreciate, just how beautiful and short life is, we would not be able to go on living—it would be too heartbreaking to try. Our Town is absolution, and The Rep delivers it beautifully.
Our Town runs through May 13th at the Quadracci Theater, located within the Patty & Jay Baker Theater Complex at 108 E. Wells St. in Milwaukee. Tickets can be purchased by calling (414) 224-9490, in-person at the Box Office, or online at www.MilwaukeeRep.com.
The Milwaukee Rep recently announced its 65th Season, which will be the largest season in over a decade, featuring 15 productions across four venues with nearly 700 performances, including expanded programming in the Stiemke Studio. The lineup includes Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony-winning musical, In the Heights; the World Premier ofMark Twain's River of Song and, back by popular demand, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, at the Stackner Cabaret; August Wilson's Two Trains Running; and, Milwaukee's favorite holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol. Subscription packages are on sale now!
About The Rep
In its 64th Season, Milwaukee Repertory Theater is dedicated to providing the highest level of professional theater to Milwaukee and Wisconsin, in addition to offering a wide range of educational and community programs. Under the leadership of Artistic Director, Mark Clements, and Managing Director, Chad Bauman, Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee's rich diversity.
By Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman
Although its been twelve long years, most people in Ozaukee County remember the Crossroads Rendezvous. Every third weekend in May for fifteen years, from 1991 to 2006, Peninsula Park in Saukville filled with canvas tents and the sounds of cannon and musket fire. Fry bread was eaten, birch bark canoes floated along the Milwaukee River, and people experienced a little bit of Wisconsin's past at this historic juncture of two ancient Native American trails: the old Decorah Road (now Highway 33) and the old Green Bay Road (now Highways O and W). Finally, on that same third weekend of May, in that very same park, the tents will rise again as the Crossroads Rendezvous makes its triumphant return to Saukville, and to the crossroads for which it was named.
Event Organizers Sara Dahmen and Mary Boyle have a lot in common: they're both from Port Washington, they're both mothers, they're both writers, and they're both historical reenactors.
Boyle and her husband, Brendan, have been members of La Compagnie Franche de la Marine du Fort la Joquiere, a unit of French Marines based in Wisconsin in the mid-eighteenth century, for over 20 years, and have traveled as far as New York in the name of reenacting the French & Indian War. Their two children, Molly and Eamon, ages 15 and 12, were born into the hobby; in fact, Molly's first event was the Crossroads Rendezvous in 2003, just as it was her parents' first event back in 1996.
Dahmen, on the other hand, is relatively new to the hobby. While doing research for a novel she was writing, she became interested in historic cookware and wanted to find out how it was made. She met Bob Bartelme, a tinsmith and reenactor from West Bend, about two years ago, and he brought Dahmen, her husband John, and their three young children to an event; the rest, as they say, is history.
This past October, the two women met up to discuss the lack of local reenactments and how they could start one but, instead of starting one, Boyle wondered if it might be easier just to bring one back.
"I sent the Saukville Area Historical Society an email to see if they might entertain the idea and, the next thing I knew, I was making a presentation about bringing back the event to their members. They were so supportive and excited, we decided we might be able to actually pull the event off in May, and we have," Boyle said, "...by the skin of our teeth!"
"Luckily, [former organizers] Anne [Kertscher] and Donna [D'Angelo] saved everything, and they were happy to share it and take an advisory role," Dahmen explained. "We just joined the Historical Society and jumped right into putting it together. If it hadn't been for the $5,000.00 Tourism Grant from the Saukville Chamber of Commerce, we wouldn't have been able to do it. We're going with just the necessities, but it's all coming together nicely for a first-year event."
Boyle noted that the event will not be exactly as it was: "Not only will it be smaller, because of the short time-frame and small budget we had to pull it together, but there will be a far greater emphasis on education. We specifically reached out to reenactors who are passionate about living history and who wanted to participate in the School Day on Friday; they also had to fit into our theme, which is the Fur Trade in Wisconsin from 1750 to 1840 – which makes it particularly well-suited for 4th graders, who've been studying Wisconsin history all year long. We'll have military groups from the French & Indian War, Revolutionary War, and possibly the War of 1812, as well as Tradesmen, such as tinsmiths, blacksmiths and weavers, and there will be voyageurs and Native American representatives, too."
While the Friday is a short day designed for students, the public is also welcome between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.; however, there is no parking at Peninsula Park, and close street parking is very limited. On Saturday and Sunday, visitors are encouraged to park at U-Haul Moving & Storage, located at 835 E. Green Bay Ave. in the former Piggly Wiggly store, and take the free shuttle to and from the park. The hours are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday. No pets are allowed at the event. Adult are $5; Armed Forces, Veterans, and Seniors are $4, Children under 17 are $2, and Under 2 are Free.
Donations are still being accepted; local businesses who make a donation before May 1st will receive recognition in the event programs, as well as on the Crossroads Rendezvous Facebook page and website. For more information, contact Sara or Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website: www.crossroadsrendezvous.org.
The organizers would like to thank the great local businesses that have already supported the event; particularly: the Riverview Inn, Port Washington State Bank, Schmit Bros. Auto, and FPZ, Inc.
About the Author
Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman, like the organizers of the Crossroads Rendezvous,, is also a writer and a mother from Port Washington; and, with a toddler in the house, she spends plenty of time pretending and playing dress up (but with an infant to contend with, she won't be running off to a reenactment anytime soon!). You can read more from Colleen on the Milwaukee Moms Blog and other fine, local publications.
By Mary Boyle
Malkia Stampley grew up in Milwaukee in the 53206 zip code—a community that has the highest incarceration rate in the world, in a city that is repeatedly ranked as the most segregated city in the nation, and one of the worst American cities for African-Americans to live and raise a family. The daughter of a pastor, and born into a large family of singers, musicians, and speakers, Stampley received her formal education at Marquette University, and her career as an actress, singer, and voiceover artist took her to Chicago, New York, and even to Japan and Taiwan. Though she could live anywhere in the world, Stampley realized that Milwaukee is her foundation, her city, and her home, and she returned to raise her own family here, co-founding the Bronzeville Arts Ensemble, where she is able to offer opportunities to other actors of color. There is, perhaps, no better person in the city of Milwaukee to direct the World Premiere of Antarctica, WI at First Stage; a play that addresses some of Milwaukee's toughest issues by utilizing the power of live theatre.
Written by award-winning Austrailian playwright, Finegan Kruckemeyer, with input from the citizens of Milwaukee, Antarctica, WI is similar to Kruckemeyer's The Snow, which made its World Premier at First Stage two years ago, in that it examines the themes of community and what makes a hero; that being said, this play, because of the very personal connection to our community, and in light of the recent events it addresses, such as the unrest in Sherman Park in 2016 and the rise of the Parkland students—and students all over the country—against gun violence, speaks to audience members in a unique and powerful way. This play was, quite literally, made for Milwaukee.
Lenny (double cast as Jeffrey-Thomas Snow/Collin Woldt) is our protagonist; a teenager from Milwaukee who has a special ability to see things in a way others can't. As troubles break out in the city, Lenny and his friends lose the one place they can all go: an empty lot they've been playing baseball in for years that is now scheduled for new development. Lenny can see his friends' problems and the city's problems; like icebergs in Antarctica, they seem normal on the surface but, below the water, everyone is carrying much more than it appears, and the icebergs are breaking apart as the temperature rises. Lenny sees that if they keep breaking apart—keep dividing—they will forget that they were once a part of a whole; so, Lenny sets out to solve the problems. The trouble is, a protagonist needs an antagonist but, in real life, there is no, one bad guy who, when defeated, goes away and everyone lives happily ever after. Lenny may be able to help his friends, but can he help his city?
The adult cast of Antarctica, WI features Allen D. Edge as Dan, Marques Causey as Terry, Justin Lee as Matty, and Tasha McCoy as Eleanor, as well as Robert Torres as the understudy. Youth performers are double cast: the Ice Cast is Michael Black as Dewayne, Emily Harris as Captain, Kai Liebenstein as Michelle, Isaiah Martin as Marvin, Chantae Miller as Janelle, Nikolai Morrow as Awon, and Jeffrey-Thomas Snow as Lenny; the Berg Cast is Jonathan Edwards as Dewayne, Vicente Gunderson as Awon, Ashley Nord as Janelle, Nahjee Robinson as Marvin, Elisheva Scheuer as Michelle, Collin Woldt as Lenny, and Claire Zempel as Captain.
Jeff Frank, Artistic Director of First Stage, hopes that the play will ignite conversation, fuel insight, and remind people in the community that we're all in it together. "When we step away from our handheld devices and take time as a family, as a class, and as a community to come together to witness a well-told story, we rediscover our shared humanity."
Stampley recognizes that teens—especially teens of color—not having a place to go in the city is a problem that needs to be addressed, but also sees that they may not wait for the city to address it: "The adults of our city have solutions, policies, ideas to implement for most situations, but I am increasingly in awe of the teens in our city and around the country who have decided to speak for theselves and invoke a fearless warrior spirit when they have had enough and can no longer wait for adults to figure it out."
For those who love Milwaukee, or call it home, this play strikes right to the heart; it acknowledges that there is much to love about this city, but gives hope that there can be something better. More importantly, that we have the power—even the youngest among us—to make it happen.
Antarctica, WI runs through April 22nd at the Todd Wehr Theater, in the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, located at 929 N. Water St. in Milwaukee. Tickets start at $15, and can be purchased by calling (414) 273-7206 or online at www.firststage.org Following select performances, learn more about the behind-the-scenes magic at Tech Talks, a 20-minute extended talkback with the creative team:
Saturday, April 14, following the 3:30pm performance, Artistic Director Jeff Frank shares the story of how and why a playwright from the other side of the world wound up crafting this play inspired by the citizens of Milwaukee.
Saturday, April 21, following the 3:30 pm performance, learn behind the scenes information with Technical Director Emily Adams and Design Supervisor Brandon Kirkham as they share the story of the scenic design and creation for Antarctica, WI and the magic of bringing it to life.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund, First Stage embarked upon three initiatives to connect with young people and Milwaukee theater audiences in a new and dynamic way.
First Stage and renowned local photographer Paul Calhoun created the Portraits & Stories Project, for which 33 students from Maryland Montessori School, Parkside Middle School, Milwaukee High School for the Arts, Ronald Reagan High School, and University School of Milwaukee were photographed. These portraits are accompanied by the students’ personal stories, developed through theater workshops led by Artistic Associate Sheri Williams Pannell. The Portraits & Stories Project is on display in the upper lobby of the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater throughout Antarctica, WI performances.
Local artist and muralist James Tomasello and First Stage collaborated to work with eight students from Milwaukee’s TRUE Skool on the Coming Together mural, inspired by Antarctica, WI. After reading the most compelling parts of the script, the group discussed different concepts and each created a draft of the mural. The final product brings together all of the students’ concepts and visual creations. The Coming Together mural will be displayed at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center April 5 – 9, at the City Hall Rotunda April 9 – 13 and back at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center until April 23.
The Diving Down Below booklet, funded in part by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund grant, will encourage youth to engage in the fascinating journey of getting to know who they are and what matters to them, and to recognize how they can bring healing to their communities. The booklet will be distributed to all young people attending both public and school performances of Antarctica, WI.
New plays like Antarctica, WI are part of The Foundry, First Stage’s new play development initiative, forging the next generation of plays, programming, artists and audiences, while fostering community and empathy. To learn more about First Stage’s new play development initiative, visit www.firststage.org/foundry.
About First Stage
First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves over 2,100 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building, and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education, and the arts for its Next Steps program for students with autism (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
Treasures of Oz Returns June 16th to Celebrate Ozaukee's Other Coast: The Milwaukee River
By Marjie Tomter
Treasures of Oz is one fun-filed day that may change your life! Discover things that enrich your life, learn to destress in nature, find opportunities for recreation and meaningful volunteering, have a memorable adventure, and connect with others who love the outdoors and natural places. This event is free and family-friendly.
Treasures of Oz is again celebrating the surprising treasures sites of Ozaukee County on June 16th. The day is focused on Ozaukee’s Other Coast, our great Milwaukee River that runs from the top to the bottom of the county. There are 7 sites this year. You may want to take them all in or just pick the ones that pique your interest. Download a passport after May 1st from treasuresofoz.org. Collect stamps and trading cards at each site. Passport stamps can be exchanged at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve for free raffle tickets.
The Milwaukee River Watershed Fish Passage Program. Location: At the dam in Thiensville Village Park at 250 Elm Street in Thiensville. Ozaukee has an internationally recognized model program in reconnecting the streams and waterways that were separated as communities grew and lands were farmed. Ozaukee lost many of its fish and acquatic species because of this. To date, the Program and its partners have removed or remediated 286 impediments to fish and aquatic life passage, restoring access to over 132 miles of in-stream habitat and thousands of acres of wetland habitat. Come see the fish passage engineered around the dam, discover the underwater camera that let’s you “fish” from home and more. Matt Aho and staff from the MRWFPP will be on hand to tell you about this landmark program.
Bike Path Island. Location: Just east of Green Bay Road and under the Ozaukee Interurban Trail Bridge. Park at the Grafton Aquatic Center and walk on the trail (just north of the parking lot) east across Green Bay Road. Did you know that Ozaukee has federally owned islands in the Milwaukee River? Visit this one, Bike Path Island, with staff from the Bureau of Land Management.
Bratt Woods. Location: Just northeast of Bike Path Island and the Interurban Trail. Follow the directions for Bike Path Island and just walk a little further east. Bratt Woods Nature Preserve is owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. Land Trust staff will explain how OWLT is protecting thousands of acres and creating some (32 to date) public preserves in this area. Learn about Shinrin-yoku, a way of de-stressing in nature that has become part of basic medical practice in Japan and is only recently becoming known in this country. You can easily spend time doing this incredibly simple activity in Bratt Woods and make it part of your lifestyle.
The Ozaukee Interurban Trail. Location: Right above Bike Path Island and next to Bratt Woods. It runs the entire length of Ozaukee County and connects to the Oak Leaf Trail in Milwaukee County on the south and the Sheboygan Interurban Trail on the north. This trail is a great biking trail and is popular for both running and walking year round. Parts are good for cross-country skiing in snow season.
Celebrate Riveredge Nature Center’s 50 years of serving Ozaukee! Location: 4458 County Hwy. Y, Saukville, 53080. Riveredge’s Mary Hollebeck and Naturalist Kate Redmond will be on hand at Riveredge to show you their new river’s edge educational structure, a newer floating dock, the famed sturgeon-rearing facility and tell you about their stretch of this beautiful river.
Hawthorne Hills HH Peters Camp and Shady Lane State Natural Area. Who knew this park had so much to offer besides it classy golf course? Location: 4880 County Rd I, 53080, Saukville. Shady Lane Natural Area, on the banks of the river, offers trails through a pristine woods which remains very much as it was in pre-settlement times. Andrew Struck and Ozaukee Park staff will be on hand to talk about birding and tree identification. Milwaukee Riverkeeper will be there to share their expertise on the river and water trails. Down the trail is the HH Peters Youth Camp, a little know Ozaukee facility that can be rented for youth group camping. Milwaukee Riverkeeper will have more information there and park staff will acquaint you with this beautiful facility. You can visit HH Peters, Shady Lane or both.
Forest Beach Migratory Preserve. Location: 4970 Country Club Rd, Port Washington, WI 53074. While this 116 acre preserve borders our Lake Michigan Coast, it has much to offer on this day. Jeanne Lord will introduce visitors to the raptors of Pineview Wildlife Rehabilitation at 9:00 am. Randy Hetzel and his critters will be around all day. The new Monarch Project will demonstrate how of raise monarch butterflies and offer low cost kits to do just that. There will be lots of exhibits from other environmental organizations, music by Steve & Friends, the beloved Silent Auction that supports this event, and tasty food & beverages. Free raffle tickets are given here in exchange for passport stamps collected on the tour. BIcycle riding visitors get double stamps.
Sites are open from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. The celebration at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve runs from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. To learn more about the Treasures of Oz Eco Tour, visit: https://treasuresofoz.org/2018-eco-tour