We are blessed to have an abundance of natural areas in Ozaukee County, including two incredible nature preserves: Riveredge on the northwestern end of Oz, and Mequon Nature Preserve on the southwestern end of Oz. Of the two, the Mequon Nature Preserve is the newest and, therefore, not always as familiar to residents, which makes them more in need of help. If you like the outdoors, there are plenty of opportunities to help Mequon Nature Preserve this spring and summer, as well as getting yourself outside.
For the competitive spirit, the Mequon Nature Preserve is participating in the 3rd Southeastern Wisconsin Garlic Mustard Pull-a-Thon, beginning this month and going through the end of June. For more information, contact Emily at 262-242-8055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon, MNP is looking for Restoration Rangers to participate in various land restoration activities. No experience is needed - just come dressed to work outdoors. To rsvp, contact Emily at (262) 242- 8055 or email@example.com. Meet at Mequon Nature Preserve's Pieper Power Education Center at 8200 W. County Line Road in Mequon. If weekdays are too tough, there are Weekend Workdays on April 30th from 9 a.m.-noon and May 1st from noon-3 p.m.
Throughout the spring, summer and fall, Mequon Nature Preserve is also looking for Education Volunteers. Assist staff and volunteers with field trip students who visit the Preserve for nature walks, tours, biology lessons, water quality monitoring, and learning about plant and animal species. Contact Nici at (262) 242-8055 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
While volunteers are essential, visitors are also valued. If you haven't paid Mequon Nature Center a visit, you should. There are many events and educational opportunities for all ages, including Story Time for young children with Ms. Joyce and bird counts and monitoring for the Birders among you. The trails are open from dawn to dusk, year round, and pets on leashes are welcome, so bring the whole family for a hike, and climb the observation tower for a great view of the 438 acres.
This month, view the Water Shapes WI Exhibit from April 18th to May 2nd, and Celebrate Earth Day at MNP on April 22nd from 5:30-7 p.m., where John Gurda, renowned writer and historian, will present Milwaukee: A City Based On Water; a talk in collaboration with the Water Shapes WI Exhibit.
For more information, visit the Mequon Nature Preserve website: www.mequonnaturepreserve.com.
The best cure for cabin fever is to get outdoors, and one of the best places to do it is at Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg. Riveredge has numerous outdoor (and indoor) activities for all ages. Here's a sampling of upcoming events to attend:
Night Ski & Snowshoe
Fridays 5 PM to 8 PM as trail conditions allowEnjoy the beauty and serenity of a crisp snowy evening on skis or snowshoes. Traverse our trails, lighted by the soft glow of lanterns, or those trails lit only by the light of the moon and stars. Refreshments will await you at the end of the trail. Call or check our website for current snow conditions before venturing out. There are a limited number of snowshoes available to rent. Please call 262-375-2715 ahead of time to reserve a pair.
Cross Country Skiing for Beginners
January 16, 1 to 2:30 PMBring your new or used cross-country skis to Riveredge and learn basic cross-country skiing techniques and safety tips. Beginner skiers will practice gliding, turning and even falling! Register early- space is limited. Class is snow-dependent.
Science For Everyone: Prairies Are Grasslands
January 19, 7 to 8:30 PMGiven the diversity of plants with beautiful flowers that grow in prairies, we sometimes forget that prairies are grasslands; plants in the grass family constitute most of the biomass and form the structure of the prairie. Dr. Jim Reinartz, director of the UWM Field Station, will discuss the evolution of the grass family, the origin of the North American grasslands, the internal and external structure and physiology of grasses (C3 and C4 photosynthesis explained!), and the way the ecology of grasses is tied to fire and grazing.
Wild Animal Finders: Life Beneath the Ice
January 16, 10 to 11:30 AMThe pond may be frozen but is still teeming with life! Join us as we discover the underwater critters at Farm Pond and learn how they survive the cold winter. Please dress for the weather and wear insulated boots. Children under 6 must be accompanied by an adult.
Family Nature Club: Snow Games @ Riveredge
January 19, 6 PM to 7:30 PM
Ice bowling, sledding, snow painting and more! Dress for the weather and feel free to bring a sled or tube with you. Hot cocoa will be provided to warm up. *If there is no snow, other games will be played outdoors. Everyone is welcome at this community minded, nature based club specifically sprouted for families! The Riveredge Family Nature Club invites families urban and rural, single and mixed, extended or simply friends who feel like family to join them on adventures, discoveries, and field trips in nature throughout Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Washington Counties.
Winter Adventures: Geocaching on Snowshoes
January 23, 10 to 11:30 AM
Bring the family out for a high-tech scavenger hunt on snowshoes while learning to use a hand-held GPS unit. Designed for beginners, but all skill levels are welcome. GPS units and snowshoes will be provided or bring your own. Dress for the weather and wear insulated boots. Pre-registration required. Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information, check out the Riveredge website at: http://riveredgenaturecenter.org/