Interview with Tom Kroeger

Interview with Tom Kroeger, Original Park Manager

Tom Kroeger, Lakeshore State Park’s first park manager, has a wealth of insight and information about the park origin, growth and future. He credits strong stakeholder partnerships for the park’s development and success. With his background as a hydrologist and wetlands biologist specializing in Brownfield remediation, along with his passion for restoring urban wetlands, he was an ideal person to help take part in transforming Harbor Island into beautiful Lakeshore State Park.

To understand the park’s potential, Tom felt one needed to be surrounded by beauty, so he prioritized planting beautiful prairies at the north and south entrances of the park. And as he worked with community partners and created a calendar of educational programs, more people soon discovered the park 

Tom teaching in the Park (stock photo, circa 2018)
Tom teaching in the Park (stock photo, circa 2018)

Tom particularly enjoyed creating programs for children through partnerships with the school districts. He often found that here students had their first experience with green space, wildlife and Lake Michigan. One of his favorite memories involved partnering with UW-Milwaukee art students as they created working “insect hotels.” The project received national attention, highlighting the students’ beautiful art and educating the public on the worldwide decline in insect populations.

Tom is happy to see that the partnerships and educational programs he helped develop continue to flourish and grow. He would love to see the originally planned Visitor and Education Center built and feels a sheltered gathering place with washroom facilities would enhance educational programming and add to the overall enjoyment of the park.  

Tom is excited to see new plantings, birds, and wildlife every time he visits the park. 
Busy working on his own garden and other commitments, he says he’s overdue for a visit and will have to ride his bike down to say ‘hi.”

Historic Boat Visit

Historic Boat To Visit Milwaukee to Promote Peace

The Golden Rule, a storied sailboat that helped bring about an end to atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons 50 years ago, will visit Milwaukee September 1 through 4 as part of a 13-month, 11,000-mile voyage to inform and educate the public about the dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation.

The 35-foot wooden sailboat will be docked at at Discovery World on Friday, Sept. 1 then in a slip at Lakeshore State Park Sept. 2 to 4. Free boat tours and visits with the crew will be offered every afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. A celebration in the park with folk musicians is planned from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2.  On Labor Day Monday, Sept, 4th , the Milwaukee Area Labor Council is encouraging people who attend Labor Fest to visit the nearby boat.

The Golden Rule began its trip on the Great Loop route in September 2022 on the Mississippi River in Minnesota, sailing to the Gulf, and circling the south and east coasts before reaching the Great Lakes this summer, making over 100 stops along the way.

In 1958 a crew of Quakers sailed the Golden Rule from Hawaii towards the Marshall Islands with the intent to protest and interfere with atmospheric nuclear weapons tests, although that voyage was halted by the government and the crew was arrested. As a result of this highly publicized mission and public outcry about the radiation blowing around the world, President Kennedy signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963. The Golden Rule action inspired many peace makers and peace ships that followed, including Greenpeace.

historic boat

Golden Rule was in private hands and sunk, but  was rescued from a watery grave in 2010 and restored to her former beauty by Veterans For Peace and others who support her new mission: to promote a nuclear free future, to educate about the dangers of radiation to humanity and the environment, and to support peaceful alternatives to war. The current voyage is a project of Veterans For Peace, with its local visit sponsored by Milwaukee Veterans For Peace and a dozen other peace and justice organizations.   

More information: Bill Christofferson, Milwaukee Veterans For Peace Chapter 102 Vfpchapter102@gmail.com, 414-587-6577.    Helen Jaccard, national Veterans For Peace Golden Rule Project Manager, (206) 992-6364VFP Golden Rule Project, P. O. Box 87, Samoa, CA 95564. web: www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org

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

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

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

Greetings From Friends 

April showers bring May flowers as the saying goes, and on Earth Day, plenty of showers along with some solid precipitation came to the park. Volunteers didn’t let the weather dampen their spirit though as they gathered loads of trash, beautifying the park and preventing litter from entering Lake Michigan. Thanks to volunteers and Milwaukee Riverkeeper  for helping make Milwaukee beautiful!

In anticipation of warmer weather and May flowers, our park DNR staff have been cutting down old vegetation to help identify and remove invasive plants which may otherwise crowd out native ones. Restoration work will continue on the second largest of the park prairies, and we’ll be hosting public planting days June 13-17th. If interested, please let us know by completing our volunteer interest form                   

May Park Events

  • Sat. May 13: Origami Swallows 9:00am-12:00pm
  • Sun. May 14: Mother’s Day Prairie Flower Hike 2:00-3:00pm
  • Wed. May 17: Bubble Hike- 6:00-7:00pm
  • Wed. May 17: Beach Bonfire 7:00-8:30pm
  • Sat. May 20: Bird Hike- 9:30-10:30am
  • Sun. May 21: Lakeshore State Park History Hike 10:00-11:00am
  • Fri. May 26: Urban Critters: The Fox 1:00-3:00pm
  • Sat. May 27: Fishing Clinic 12:00-2:00pm