Greetings From Friends 

As you walk around Lakeshore State Park you may notice the park is in a time of transition. While some plants are vibrantly in bloom, others are fading. Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and Common Milkweed (Asclepias syrianca) are beginning to drop their flowers and go to seed. False White Indigo (Baptisia lacteal), seen primarily in the north Demonstration Gardens, are dropping their flowers, and creating pods. As tempting as it may be to pop these pods, please resist as they help create the seed bank necessary for next year’s growth!

While we have many beautiful, native plants to enjoy, this is also the time of growth for some invasive plants. The DNR staff is currently tackling Queen Anne’s Lace or Wild Carrot (Daucus carota), first introduced from Europe. With its tall, flat topped white flowers, this plant may be visually appealing, but has a large tap root that makes it hardy in many environments, crowding out native plants. To help maintain and create better biodiversity for native plant species, DNR staff pull the Queen Anne’s Lace from the tap root or dead head the flowers to keep them from going to seed. If you’d like to join our removal efforts, we are offering Stewardship Thursdays every Thursday in the month of August from 1:00pm-3:00pm! We will meet at the south entrance park sign and tools will be provided—we hope to see you there!

On July 9th, over 400 people visited the park during our second annual Brunch By the Beach. Many thanks to David HB Drake, Tots on the Street, Sweetly Baked, Plastic Free MKE, volunteers and everyone who helped make for a family-fun event. Below is a collage of some photos from that beautiful day – we’ll be hosting more events like this, please look for more info in our newsletter.

August Park Events

  • Stewardship Thursdays from 1:00pm-3:00pm (South Entrance), Aug 3rd, Aug 10th Aug 17th Aug 24th Aug 31st
  • Friday, August 4th: Sunrise Hike, 5:30AM-6:30AM (North Entrance)
  • Sunday, August 6th: Track Tales, 11:00AM-12:00PM (North Entrance)
  • Wednesday, August 9th: Pollinator Hike, 2:00PM-3:00PM (North Entrance)
  • Thursday, August 10th / Jueves, 10 de agosto: Medicinal & Edibles Hike/Caminata de Plantas Medicinales y Comestibles (Bilingual), 6:30PM-7:30PM (North Entrance/Entrada Norte)
  • Friday, August 11th: Prairie Hike, 6:00PM-7:00PM (North Entrance)
  • Saturday, August 12th: Edibles Drop In, 9:00AM-10:00AM (North Entrance)
  • Sunday, August 13th: Fishing Clinic, 9:00AM-12:00PM (Fishing Pier along western path)
  • Wednesday, August 16th: Dragonfly Hike, 6:00PM-7:00PM (North Entrance)
  • Thursday, August 17th / Jueves, 17 de agosto: Sunset Hike/Caminata al Puesto del Sol (Bilingual), 7:00PM-8:30PM (North Entrance/Entrada Norte)
  • Friday, August 18th: Mammal Hike, 2:00PM-3:00PM (North Entrance)
  • Saturday, August 19th: Story Time: Grouchy Lady Bug, 2:00PM-3:00PM (North Entrance)
  • Sunday, August 20th / Domingo, 20 de agosto: Pollinator Hike / Caminata de polinizadores (Bilingual), 6:30PM-7:30PM (North Entrance/Entrada Norte)
  • Friday, August 25th: Urban Critters: Rabbits, 1:00PM-3:00PM (North Entrance)
  • Saturday, August 26th / Sábado, 26 de agosto : International Bat Night Hike/Noche Internacional del Murcielago (Bilingual), 7:30PM-9:00PM (North Entrance/Entrada Norte)

Our park educators offer a wide variety of programs for both kids and adults, such as fishing clinics (no license required for children 15 and under) and events that focus on nature education and exploration, all designed to be hands-on and family-friendly.

For details on events, please visit the FLSP Events Page
Want to help with events and programs? Please complete a volunteer interest form

Pro tips for taking photos

Photographer Eddee Daniel is a talented and knowledgeable advocate for our natural surroundings. When he explores a park, his camera is just as essential as a water bottle and good hiking boots. Eddee shared some tips about snapping photos at Lakeshore State Park, a setting that offers uniquely dramatic and varied views.

Rule number one: Enjoy yourself. You don’t need to be a pro or think about making art, says Eddee. Just think of your camera as another way to enjoy nature and notice things you might otherwise miss. “It slows you down,” says Eddee. “It’s an exercise in trying to look around you and find the small things, too. And the in-between things. Not just the big things.” 

Any kind of camera is OK. Fancy cameras and lenses are great, but if you don’t have those things, don’t worry. Phone cameras can produce wonderful images, and Eddee uses one often. “You always have it on you, so it’s there when you need it.” A camera phone isn’t great for photographing motion, but on the other hand it makes panoramic photos much easier. And with its broad vistas and big skies, Lakeshore State Park is a great place for panoramas, says Eddee. 

Start by deciding what your subject is. “You need something to point the camera at, right? It sounds obvious, but it’s important.” When you frame an image, look for a focal point — an animal, a butterfly, a flower, the city skyline.  

Consider different angles and distances. Once you’ve picked your subject, try moving around and finding different angles. You can move closer in or farther away, hold the camera higher or lower, center your subject or offset it. “Not only is this going to change your perspective, but it will change the way the light falls on your subject. That’s always important.” 

Think about people, too. “Lakeshore State Park is a very popular park, people are constantly going through it,” says Eddee. “If you’re going take a picture of the landscape why not have somebody riding a bike through it? It enlivens the scene and gives you something to relate to.” It offers a sense of scale, too — if the bicyclist looks tiny peddling past Lake Michigan, you get a better sense of where you are. 

Watch for moments. A bird diving for fish in the water. A boat sailing by. A dad pushing a stroller. A child collecting stones. Finding a moment makes each photo unique and makes photography even more rewarding.

  Eddee in the Park (photo by Diane Bacha)

Greetings from Friends

Summer is underway at Lakeshore State Park and flowers are in bloom! As you walk through the park, you’ll see an explosion of color. The bright orange of Butterfly Weed, the stark white of Wild Indigo, and the vibrant blue of Spiderwort are present in the park, especially in the northern demonstration gardens. These and many more plants are vital to the survival of native pollinators. Consider planting any of these pollinator “helpers” in your own garden to help increase insect populations, such as the monarch butterfly. 

July Park Events

  • Monday, July 3rd: Fireworks Drop In, 5:00PM-8:00PM
  • Saturday, July 8th: Animal Tracks Hike, 2:00PM-3:00PM
  • Sunday, July 9th: Brunch By the Beach, 10:00AM-2:00PM
  • Tuesday, July 11th: Fossil Hike, 6:30PM-7:30PM
  • Saturday, July 15th: Prairie Hike, 10:00AM-11:00AM
  • Sunday, July 16th: Fishing Clinic, 1:00PM-3:00PM
  • Wednesday, July 19th: Beach Bonfire, 4:00PM-8:30PM
  • Thursday, July 20th: Migration Drop in, 1:00PM-4:00PM
  • Friday, July 21st: Edible Plants Hike, 10:00AM-11:00AM and 2:00PM-3:00PM
  • Friday, July 21st: Bird Hike, 6:00PM-7:00PM
  • Saturday, July 22nd: Bumble Bee Hike, 10:00AM-11:00am
  • Tuesday, July 25th:  Tales for Tot’s, 3:00PM-4:00PM
  • Friday, July 28th: Urban Critter Drop In: Squirrels, 12:00PM-3:00PM

The park educators offer a wide variety of programs for kids and adults, such as fishing clinics (no license required for children 15 and under) and events that focus on nature education and exploration, all designed to be hands-on and family-friendly.

For details on events, please visit the FLSP Events Page
Want to help with events and programs? Please complete a volunteer interest form

Nature’s Classroom

How children can learn at Lakeshore State Park

Nature is an amazing classroom for children of all ages, and Lakeshore State Park is especially amazing because of its unique combination of prairie and shoreline environments, not to mention its close proximity to three museums and a bike trail.

There’s plenty of evidence that interacting with nature helps promote academic learning, personal development, and environmental stewardship. Studies have shown that time in nature also helps with attention levels, relieves stress, teaches self-discipline and promotes creativity among children, to name just some of the benefits. 

At Lakeshore we aim to spark interest in all things outdoors, and we try to make activities as fun as possible. If a child, or adult, leaves with a better understanding of and appreciation for the outdoors, then we have done our job.

Park Manager Elaine Zautke

Here are some ways to use Lakeshore State Park’s natural resources to help kids learn while they’re having fun.

Take a trail walk. In addition to promoting motor skills and exercise, trails walks are a great, unstructured way to explore. Lakeshore State Park has both paved and unpaved trails, both of which offer chances to observe prairie and shoreline wildlife. Try using a guide book or an app to identify plants, birds and animals — or just let your little one follow their curiosity, whether watching from a stroller or wandering with you.

Try a nature-based art project. This can be done in a variety of ways: taking photos, finding leaves and flowers for a collage, sketching shapes and pictures, even writing a poem or story about what you see.

Try a scavenger hunt. Create a list of items to spot while exploring Lakeshore State Park. Depending on the child’s age, it can be very simple (a bird, a stick, a bug, a fish, a flower, a rock) or more advanced (specific species of birds, for instance). Some of the items can be collected, but if not you can record them together with photos or in a journal. It’s a great way to encourage observational skills while learning about  different types of plants and animals. You can incorporate things like counting, spelling, color and word skills into the activity, too. 

Attend an event at Lakeshore State Park. The park’s educators offer a wide variety of programs for kids, such as fishing clinics (no license required for children 15 and under) and events that focus on different urban critters. They’re all designed to be hands-on and family-friendly. For a current list of activities, check out the FLSP Events Page.

Your support is essential to the continued success of the Park.

Please consider making a membership donation below today!

Park Pal Membership Level

Individual: $25
Family: $50

Prairie Patron Membership Levels

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

Greetings From Friends

Summer is approaching, the birds of Lakeshore are becoming active, and many Canada Geese and their goslings can be seen in the park. Beware! These babies are cute, but parenting birds can be aggressive, chasing and hissing at anyone who gets too close.

We replaced the storm-damaged Purple Martin Pole this spring. Two pairs of Purple Martins were recently seen at the bird “condo” located in the northeast corner of the park, near the marina. Tree Swallows have been showing interest in that housing too. 

Stop by and see if you can spot the Purple Martins which are noticeably larger than their swallow cousins. Both have a dark back and wings, but the tree swallows will have a bright white underside

The prairies have been slow to bloom but will grow quickly in a few short weeks. In the Demo Prairies at the north end of the park, we’ll soon see Penstemon blooming large, white flowers, as well as Blue False Indigo. The bluish-purple flowers of this native only last a few short weeks so check them out while they last!

More prairie improvements are on the way! We’ll be hosting public planting days on June 8th-9th and June 13th-17th. If you want to help out, please let us know by completing a volunteer interest form.                   

June Events

  • Friday, June 2nd: Rainbow Hike 2:30PM-3:30PM
  • Sunday, June 4th: Free Fishing Clinic 1:00PM-3:00PM
  • Friday, June 9th: Bike Week Commuter Station 7:00AM-10:00AM
  • Saturday, June 10th: Prairie Plant Hike  10:00AM-11:00AM
  • Thursday, June 15th: Kayak Rentals & Kite Demo 4:00PM-8:00PM
  • Friday, June 16th: Bird Hike  6:00PM-7:00PM
  • Sunday, June 18th: Father’s Day Fishing Clinic  1:00PM-3:00PM
  • Tuesday, June 20th: Tales for Tot’s  3:00PM-4:00PM
  • Wednesday, June 21st: Crafts&Games with an Educator  6:00PM-7:00PM
  • Wednesday, June 21st: Beach Bonfire  7:00PM-8:30PM
  • Thursday, June 22nd: Invasive Species Hike  2:00PM-3:00PM
  • Friday, June 23rd: Urban Critter: RACOON  1:00PM-3:00PM
  • Saturday, June 24th: Summer Scavenger Hunt/Geocache  10AM-2:00PM
  • Sunday, June 25th: Pollinator Hike 1:00PM-2:00PM

Event details are available here: FLSP Events Page

May Flowers in the Park 

Spring at Lakeshore State Park provides plenty of life to be seen!

From early spring ephemerals to flowers which attract busy pollinators, here are three of many species to look for this May at the park:

Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)

Prairie Smoke

(Geum triflorum) or Old Man’s Whiskers, is a part of the rose family. Found in prairies all across Wisconsin, the flower is known for its “smoky” seeds that reflect the way an old man’s beard would look. These early-blooming flowers can be seen from April to May and are essential to bees rejuvenating after the winter. Bees use a method known as “buzz pollination” to shake the pollen into their abdomen.

Ohio Spiderwort

(Tradescantia ohiensis) is an interesting species because its blooms will perk up in the morning but wilt after noon. These flowers are also important to bees in the spring and will help a hive gather important nutrients before the summer begins. When spiderwort is exposed to poor air conditions, its color will turn from blue to purple.

Ohio Spiderwort
(Tradescantia ohiensis)
Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)

Purple Prairie Clover

(Dalea purpurea)  is perfect for attracting a wide variety of pollinators including butterflies and bees. These flowers have the ability to fix nitrogen into the soil by absorbing it from the air. Purple Prairie Clovers are also host plants to the Dog Face Butterfly, among other species of blue butterfly caterpillars. These flowers begin blooming in May and last until late summer.

A listing of plants at the park is available here: 
(hard copies available at park kiosks) 

This time of year the Lakeshore State Park starts to come alive with activity. It’s also when we kick off the Friends’ Annual Membership Drive.

As many of you know, Lakeshore State Park has become a destination for over 480,000 annual visitors. And, as Wisconsin’s only urban state park with stunning views of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee skyline and over two miles of trails, a boat marina, and an ADA accessible fishing pier — Lakeshore State Park offers something for everyone!

Lakeshore State Park is more than just a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the wonderful prairies though; it’s also a vital part of our community. Hosting a variety of educational programs and events, it provides a safe and welcoming space for people of all backgrounds to come together.

The Friends of Lakeshore State Park have supported the park’s programs and maintenance in many ways including:

Free educational programs for children and adults
Maintaining trails, prairies, and infrastructure such as the fishing pier
Hosting community events such as Brunch By the Beach, Monthly Paddles

Your support is essential to the continued success of Lakeshore State Park. Please consider making a membership donation below today!

Park Pal Membership Level

Individual: $25
Family: $50

Prairie Patron Membership Levels

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