Interested in helping out?

We’d love to hear from you!

When you think about helping out Lakeshore State Park, what do you picture? Do you want to work inside at your desk or outside in nature? Parts of the year or year-round? Using your experience or learning new skills?

Whatever your answer, you’re in luck. When you volunteer with the Friends of Lakeshore State Park, all those options are all available.

Just ask Matt Baudhuin, a volunteer with the Friends who has discovered firsthand how many opportunities there are. What started out as an interest in the environment has become a valuable learning experience for Matt, one he hopes to turn into a career.

Matt, 25, had been working an assistant land steward at the Urban Ecology Center, a seasonal job that nurtured his interest in the natural world. When he became acquainted with the Friends through his activities at local environmental organizations, he mentioned he wanted to learn about grant-writing. A few months later, the phone rang.

Today, Matt is on the Friends’ grant-writing committee, helping collect the data and details that are essential for applications that, if successful, will fund environmental efforts at LSP, among other activities. He works side-by-side with people who have lots of experience to share, and he’s learning the ropes as he goes.

Lakeshore State Park is the premier location for ecology downtown. The amount of programs that we’re offering is growing, the amount of park areas that we’re rehabilitating is growing, and the number of people that we’re reaching is growing.

Matt Baudhuin

“I really enjoy writing grants, and it’s a great way to impact the environment in a different way than being out in the field,” says Matt.

Matt also pitches in with other volunteer efforts, such as clean-up days and food truck events. He encourages people to think about how they’d like to help or what they’d like to learn, then indicate those interests on the Friends’ volunteer interest form. Current needs include park greeters, caretakers to tend the restored prairies, citizen scientists, special events helpers and more. Help is needed with board membership and on committees as well.

You’ll be supporting a precious community asset as you work. “Lakeshore State Park is the premier location for ecology downtown,” says Matt. “The amount of programs that we’re offering is growing, the amount of park areas that we’re rehabilitating is growing, and the number of people that we’re reaching is growing.”

The people make it rewarding, too, says Matt. “I love working with the Friends of Lakeshore State Park. I’ve learned a lot and the people are amazing.” 

Learn more about volunteering at the only urban state park in Wisconsin by contacting the Friends of Lakeshore State Park at or sign up below.

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Greetings From Friends

It was a brisk, sunny Groundhog Day at Lakeshore State Park, but that didn’t keep some adventurous hikers away. DNR Park Educator Leah Anderson led the way along with nature photographer Eddee Daniel. To see more and read more about that beautiful day at the park, please go to Eddee’s blog: A Wealth of Nature.

Lately though, the weather has been warming which means Lakeshore State Park animals are beginning to stir! The elusive Lakeshore fox was spotted on a warmer February day so be sure to look for signs of life at the rocky area in the northern half of the park. While spotting a fox is a combination of luck and persistence, early morning sightings are most typical.

The waterfowl which have stayed in the park all winter are becoming more active as well. Male Common Golden Eye will soon be bobbing in the water and calling for a mate. The Red Breasted Merganser also participates in a flashy mating ritual. Males will race each other around the lagoon to impress a female with their speed, hoping to draw a potential mate’s attention. Stop for a short while at the lagoon and see what a spectacle these birds make!

                                                   (Fossil hunting on Groundhog Day – photo by Eddee Daniel)

Nature Puts on a Show Even When It’s Cold

At this time of year, you might think there’s not much to see at Lakeshore State Park. You won’t find the abundance of greenery and the flurry of bird activity that are typical during warmer months. But look more closely, and you might be surprised. We talked to Park Manager Elaine Zautke, who clued us in about the wildlife you can observe during the next three chilly months.


Waterfowl and ice

The Great Lakes rarely freeze, so the abundance of open water creates a food supply for birds that feed on aquatic life. Winter waterfowl like to hang around where there’s less ice coverage, such as the marina area and along the shoreline. They might also be looking for seeds that still remain on the plant life. Some species you night spot include Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Red-breasted Mergansers, among others. It’s entertaining to watch waterfowl dive into the water and emerge in another spot. The lagoon is the place to spot many species of diving ducks, especially Long-tailed Ducks and scoter species.

Unless it’s frozen over, the lagoon is also a great place to watch for fish – bluegills, pumpkinseed sunfish, brown trout, bass, northern pike and more. And depending on the conditions, this is a great time to spot interesting ice shapes. Freezing conditions can create fascinating frozen formations on the lake and the shoreline, and when they break off they can be fun to watch. Elaine says early mornings are especially good times to check.


Migration activity and more

Even though spring technically arrives this month, we all know that it can still feel like winter. Waterfowl and fish will still be around, of course, and as the temperatures gradually creep up other natural inhabitants will become active. Watch for animals as they start to come out of hibernation. Foxes often hunt or nest in dens along the shore, and a coyote or two has been spotted in the area. March through June is also the peak of spring migration season, when you can spot bird species that are passing through. Watch for unique shorebird species like the American Avocet and Hudsonian and Marbled Godwits in addition to the more common Willets.


The prairie starts to wake up

Bird lovers can continue enjoying the spring migration season during this time, animals will become more active (watch for woodchucks nibbling grass along the shoreline), and the fish will still be fun to watch. This is also when you can start spotting one of Elaine’s favorite plants: Prairie Smoke, one of the earliest bloomers on the prairie. It develops pink, feather-like seed heads that give the delicate impression of smoke. It has a short blooming period, so don’t wait too long to catch it.

Tips for nature observers

The quiet early-morning hours can be a great time to see animal activity, Elaine suggests. Binoculars are always a good idea, as well as a book or app that helps you identify plants, birds, and other wildlife. So don’t rush your cold-weather visits to Lakeshore State Park. By slowing down and watching, there’s a lot of wildlife to see. “Nature is doing something interesting every month of the year,” says Elaine.

(photo by Jim Edluhber)

President’s Message

Hello – I’m not a fan of extreme cold but I like winter, and am happy to finally see snow once again blanketing the beautiful prairies in Lakeshore State Park!  I hope you enjoy the winter wonderland as much as I do.

You may have noticed that we don’t send a newsletter in January. Our volunteer board and committee members have been busy during that time doing outreach, putting together plans for projects and events for the rest of the year. I’m happy to report that for events we are planning an increased number and variety of activities coming to the park in 2023, all at no charge. 

Looking ahead to warmer weather, we’re excited to be partnering with Milwaukee Kayak Company on monthly sunset paddles in June, July and August. As dates are set for all the upcoming events, we’ll list them here in our newsletter, and post information on our social media (links at bottom of the page), and on our website calendar:

Finally, we got notice that the Amazon Smiles program is shutting down. While we didn’t receive much income from that source, every bit helps to support the many programs we offer at the park. So please consider donating below. And if you want to get involved, we always could use help at the park or on committees – if interested please contact us here:


Support Your Park with a Year End Contribution

As we roll into the new year, the Friends of Lakeshore State Park thank all who have joined in our efforts to support this special place on the lake.

Through the generosity of many, we helped support 125 educational programs for over 3,000 youth and adults at the Park. And we’ve started planning for even more programs in 2023, all at no fee. 

There’s still time to support the Park before the end of 2022 – please consider giving today.

We’re looking for help…

Apply for our Digital Communication Internship

Position Summary

Friends of Lakeshore State Park (FLSP) is seeking a Digital Communication Intern to create engaging content for the organization’s social media profiles and web presence. The intern will work closely with President David Wenstrup and park staff. The unpaid position starts the week of January 23, 2023 and ends in May. Part time hours of 20 hours or less a week are expected for the duration of the position. Work may be performed remotely. The intern will also have access to FLSP offices in the Third Ward Association Office. Some work during evenings and weekends are expected for coverage of programming and events.

This internship is available for students at a local university seeking credits as part of course requirements in Marketing, Communication, Environmental Studies, Non-Profit Management, or other applicable degrees. Ideal candidates are passionate about environmental stewardship and community engagement. The internship provides the opportunity to network and learn from parks managers, board members, and community partners.

How to Apply:

Send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to by January 20, 2023.

Essential Functions

  • Assist in creating dynamic content for various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Engage the community around fundraising, events, and programming for the park.
  • Interact with the public through direct messages, mentions, and comments on multiple social media channels.
  • Design graphics for social media and distribution using Canva Pro or preferred software.
  • Responsible for maintaining website content, including park events calendar.
  • Assist with audio and video production for social media content.
  • Capture original content of the park and the people who use it.
  • Grow engagement, build relationships, and increase presence in the community.
  • Other related duties may be required and assigned.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience producing creative, engaging content for social media and websites through copywriting, photography, videography, and editing.
  • Knowledge of trends on social media platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram/Stories.
  • Familiarity with Canva Pro or other similar graphic design software.
  • Knowledge of analytics and metrics for progress reporting.
  • Experience scheduling social media posts for maximum engagement and reach.
  • Strong communication, graphic design, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work non-traditional hours that could include nights and weekends.
  • Self-starter who can think critically, follow direction, and work remotely with minimal supervision.
  • Photography experience and photo editing a plus.

Who Are We?

Friends of Lakeshore State Park (FLSP) is a non-profit dedicated to supporting Lakeshore State Park and its partners. FLSP partners with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the community to support Lakeshore State Park as Milwaukee’s premier urban lakefront destination for environmental and freshwater education, conservation, recreation, and outdoor enjoyment. The Friends raise funds for and participate in educational programming, events, infrastructure, and marketing and build memberships and strategic alliances to succeed in these efforts.