March 2024 Newsletter

Greetings Friends!

Spring is in the air and so are migrating birds! Lakeshore State Park has experienced a mild winter and as temperatures grow ever warmer, animal activity in the park increases. Watch for signs of the resident foxes and birds on their migration journey. Wisconsin is part of the Mississippi Flyway and many ducks, geese, shorebirds, and waterfowl take advantage of the park’s riparian habitat on their journey back north. Frisky birds are looking for a mate. Male Common Golden Eye bob their heads while verbally calling for a female’s attention and resident male Red Breasted Mergansers will race around the lagoon, showing their speed and prowess to any onlooking females. Take part in a bird hike this month and see these amazing displays yourself! 

Upcoming Events

Saturday March 2: 8am to 9am Bird Walk (North Entrance) Hosted by FLSP Volunteers

Join birding enthusiasts from Milwaukee Birders as we take a slow stroll around the park while looking and listening for birds. Bring binoculars and smart phone. All ages and abilities welcome. Meet at the north end of the park just south of Discovery World. 

Sunday March 3: Astronomy and Math in Nature/Discovery World’s Girls and STEM Day,
9am-4pm (Discovery World Lobby) 

Italian mathematician, Leonardo Bonacci, discovered the Fibonacci sequence in 1202. This fascinating pattern is often found nature and in plants we see every day! Join Lakeshore State Park staff in observing this “golden rule” and see if you can spot the logarithmic spirals for yourself! Come learn about the upcoming total solar eclipse, occurring April 8th, 2024. The next total solar eclipse won’t occur until August 23rd, 2044. DNR staff will discuss the science of this spectacular phenomena, where the best viewing spots are located and how to safely observe the sun during the event.  

Saturday March 16: Spring Equinox Hike, 11:00am-12:00pm (North Entrance) 

The Spring Equinox represents new life & new beginnings and encourages new ideas. As the time of equal day & night, it also represents balance & contrast.  Join us for a walk through LSP to observe the signs of winter trying to hold on & look for signs of Spring trying to break through. Embrace this joyful change of seasons and allow the energy of Spring to reawaken your senses. Meet at the Park’s north entrance, just west of Discovery World. All ages and abilities welcome!  

Sunday March 17: Alternative St. Patrick’s Day Hike, 12:00pm-1:00pm (North Entrance)  

Buck the trend and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a relaxing nature hike at Lakeshore State Park! Learn about the history and construction of Lakeshore and observe waterfowl taking advantage of the warming weather. Wear green and don’t forget your binoculars and bird identifying book or app! Meet at the Park’s north entrance, just west of Discovery World. All ages and abilities welcome! 

Saturday March 23: Spring Migration Hike—9:30-10:30am  

Did you know there are over 100 species of birds that call the park home? Walk through Lakeshore State Park with Master Naturalist, Anne Duffy, and learn the basics of urban bird watching and watch for the over 70 species of migratory birds that reside annually! Hike with us multiple times throughout the season to see how populations change over time. All ages and abilities welcome. Bring your own binoculars if desired, as there are a limited number to check out. Meet at the North Entrance, just in front of Discovery World.

Save the Dates

Sat April 20 time TBA. Milwaukee Riverkeeper Cleanup

Sat, April 20 time TBA. Rock the Green at Harley Davidson Museum

Wed, May 15 6pm-8:30pm. Evening bonfire with smore’s

Wed, June 19 6pm-8:30pm. Evening bonfire with smore’s

Sun, July 7 time TBA. Brunch By the Beach with food trucks

Wed, July 23 6pm-8:30pm. Evening bonfire with smore’s

Wed, August 21 6pm-8:30pm. Evening bonfire with smore’s

Sat, September 7 time TBD. Music, Food and Art

Wed, September 18 5:30pm-7:30pm. Evening bonfire with smore’s

Do you want to help plan or volunteer with events?
Please complete a volunteer interest form   

Volunteer Spotlight, Nick Abresch

Nick is a Commercial Banker at Johnson Financial Group who focuses on new business development and relationship management of commercial banking clients, primarily in the Greater Milwaukee area. Through Johnson Financial Group, Nick works with businesses in a variety of industries with solutions ranging from working capital, machinery and equipment, real estate, and management buyouts and acquisitions.

Nick has been involved with the Friends of Lakeshore State Park for about a year. His volunteer work here has mainly been promoting and creating awareness of the Friends group’s mission, helping raise funds for the group, and serving on the Finance Committee for the organization. In addition to volunteering on our Board, Nick is a Board member of Arts @ Large, an organization that works with K-12 Milwaukee Public School students to provide education in the arts.

Thank you for your volunteering, Nick!

Interview of Cheryl Nenn, the Riverkeeper

We sat down with Cheryl Nenn of Milwaukee Riverkeeper to talk with her about the state of our rivers, the best and worst parts of her job, and how our members can get more involved with Milwaukee Riverkeeper. A full (edited) transcript of our conversation can be found on our website later this month, below is an excerpt.   

Allison D.  ~ So what are some ways that our members can get involved? A lot of our members crosspollinate with different organizations, like our president, Dave, who was your volunteer feature in the 2022 report card. Are there any ways that people can get involved besides coming to the Riverkeeper cleanup? I know a lot of our members already do that, but there’s always going to be plastic in the water and there’s always going to be other things to do. What are some of your favorite things that we can point our members toward?  

Cheryl Nenn  ~ So we’d definitely like help at the spring cleanup on Saturday April 20th!! We also have an adopt-a-river program that requires more regular cleanups, 2 minimum per year. We also do regular water monitoring. We have over 100 folks that go out and test water quality monthly, which Dave does, at over 110 locations right now. So we definitely always need water monitoring folks. Our training is the first Saturday in May at Riveredge Nature Center from 9:00 to 3:00. If people are interested, they can contact us about that. We also have native mussel ID trainings that will probably happen this summer. We do road salt training in early winter, and road salt monitoring from December through March.  We have a lot of different monitoring opportunities and are always looking for more people to help.   

If people wanted to get involved in Plastic-free MKE, there’s a lot of different groups working on policy, education, providing water for refillable bottles at community events, and reaching out to businesses to join the Lake Friendly business program. The Community Advisory Committee’s Area of Concern Network is another option. The goal of that group is to educate people about all the work that’s coming to clean up historic pollution and restore habitat in the Milwaukee Estuary, and making sure that we’re hearing from the community.  We can then use that community feedback to inform the projects that are going to be implemented. So we definitely want to make sure that people know about the different public input opportunities that exist.  

We’re also really focused on environmental justice and making sure that people that haven’t historically been consulted about these types of projects have their voice heard. And we’re working to ensure their recommendations are acted upon, as part of this work going forward. To the extent possible, we are going to try to get the governments to pay for work that is important to the community. And we are also invested in trying to fundraise if needed so that we can to put in more community amenities. The goal is to improve water quality, but also to improve the quality of wildlife habitat and the fish we eat, and to improve the quality of recreational experiences that we have. There’s beach restoration projects happening as well. There’s going to be several smaller management projects on the North Shore beaches, but a fairly large project to move South Shore Beach a little bit south where there’s an opening in the breakwater and where water quality is significantly better. South Shore is one of the worst beaches in the country, statistically. So we’re going to be moving it someplace where we know the water quality is exponentially better. We also have fishing clinics coming up this summer again, and we have a bunch of paddle events coming up that people can join in on.  

And what is the most rewarding part of your job?  

I’m proud that we’re a group that gets things done for the rivers. We do water monitoring, we do cleanups, we do restoration projects, we advocate for a lot of dam removals and other beneficial projects and policies, and we fundraise to make that work happen. So when things get frustrating on the state and federal policy level, I think we still have been very effective moving good projects and policies forward on the local level. I guess one of my other favorite things about my job is working with people like Dave – our volunteers are amazing and inspiring. We have a fairly small staff at Riverkeeper, and I think we punch well above our weight. And I think part of that is because of people like Dave and our volunteers.  

And we get, hundreds of people that call us or e-mail us every year with concerns like something doesn’t smell right, something doesn’t look great, these fish look like they’re struggling, these fish are dead, there is oily sheen on the river. We respond to these community concerns, and work with a lot of different partners to find solutions to problems affecting the rivers. That’s a big part of my job.   

We’re averaging around 4,500 people at our spring cleanup, which is incredible. And I think we have over 95 sites this spring already scheduled – I think more than we’ve ever had. It’s really fun to work with the good people of our community. That’s what gives me energy – the amazing people that are spending their nights, evenings, and weekends trying to clean the water up and make it a better place. There are many others that serve by just keeping their eyes and ears open when they’re walking along the riverwalk, walking their dogs, running, and hiking. We get a lot of our tips from people who are just out there loving the river. We couldn’t do this work without the community and without our volunteers. So big kudos to them! I also get to drive our patrol boat, and that’s fun! 

Riverkeeper Cheryle Nenn at Lakeshore State Park

Membership Matters 

Membership with the Friends of Lakeshore State Park helps ensure the continued growth and protection of the Park in many ways including maintaining trails, enhancing habitat for our resident foxes and other wildlife, and promoting environmental education programs that inspire visitors of all ages. 

As a member, you will contribute directly to vital conservation initiatives and ongoing improvement projects. Your support is essential to the continues success of the Park. 

Please consider making a donation below today!

Park Pal Memberships
Individual: $25
Family: $50

Prairie Patron Memberships
Rock Prairie: $100
Fox Prairie: $250
Kid’s Prairie: $500
Big Prairie: $1,000

Thank you! to the following members who recently joined or renewed:

Elizabeth Johnson
Donna Kleczka
Tina Jones
Andrew Wiegman
Peter Campbell