Riveredge Nature Center
Andy Larsen, Riveredge's first Executive Director and naturalist, passed away on Friday, September 22, after a lengthy battle with Parkinson's Disease. It is no stretch to say that Riveredge, as we know it today, would not exist without the immense sacrifice, passion, and devotion of Andy and his family.
Beginning his time at Riveredge just one year after it was founded by daring dreamers from the Whitefish Bay Garden Club in 1968, everything you see at Riveredge today can be traced directly to the work of Andy and the dedicated group of volunteers he inspired and led.
From time spent walking along railroad tracks throughout southern Wisconsin in order to collect remanent prairie seed used to establish the prairies at Riveredge, to pioneering the inquiry-based education style that still is used today at Riveredge, to engaging the curiosity of children and adult learners alike, his legacy will forever continue in every living thing on this land, and in every person that comes to be awed, renewed, and inspired by those living things. Andy's motivating drive was inspiring a deeper understanding and appreciation for our planet in those around him. He succeeded mightily; hundreds of thousands of people have developed a closer relationship to the natural world because of his life and his work.
A public celebration of life will occur on Saturday, November 18th from 1 – 5 p.m. at Mequon Nature Preserve. All memorial gifts received by Riveredge for Andy will be placed in a designated fund to financially support full and partial school field trip scholarships. This will allow countless classes of children the opportunity to engage their curiosity about the natural world on the Riveredge land Andy so loved. Many of the schools most in need of this financial assistance come from urban locations, yet the funds will also be available to schools from any geographic region.
If you would like to donate in memory of Andy, please contact Riveredge Nature Center at (262) 375-2715.