I happened upon this muskrat, which promptly dove under a thin layer of ice covering the pond. These are native to Milwaukee, and even though I’ve worked at a nature center for three years, I’d never seen one. But I saw four of them today! I suppose they’re especially active, preparing for winter.

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I’m working on a documentary about beavers returning to the Milwaukee River. Here are a few preliminary sketches for the title art. Any graphic or text design opinions/suggestions/critique are welcome!

Bicycle camping is a fantastic way to get to see the areas we generally breeze by in a car.

Morning Quarry

Morning at the Lannon Quarry Lake in Menomonee Park. 

I went bicycle camping with my nine-year-old to Menomonee Park, also known as Lannon Quarry when I was growing up. The trip proved to be the perfect one day out, one day back bike camping trip from Milwaukee. Read about our experience in this article at Wisconsin Bike Federation.

The Yamaha DT175 is a rider

October 15, 2017

My friend Andy at Rustoration Cycles spent some time with me making this bike run and ride pretty nice. It still needs a chain, some side covers so I don’t rip out the wiring while kicking it, and a few other things. 35 miles an hour can feel surprisingly fast – and fun – when a bike that makes you pay attention and work for every little bit. Makes the morning commute feel like a little more of an adventure. Still not sure what to name it. Any suggestions? How about Chainsaw Symphony? Taking a brief ride around the city a song kept playing through my head:

 

The streets

are alive

with the sound

of two stroke.

Here is a little teaser footage I shot this morning for a project I’m working on. Beavers have gradually returned to the Milwaukee River and this rehabilitated animal was released in the river this morning. By all accounts, Chip seems to be doing very well in her new natural river island habitat.

 

Fall Conservation Panorama

September 21, 2017

 

Our Fall Conservation issue has arrived. This one took a lot of work, it was a bit of our elephant to deal with. How do you tell a story that is actively changing, and one which your whole organization is based upon? Read to learn about the Schlitz Audubon Conservation Plan, raptors and how humans threaten their survival, and how you can begin to teach young children aspects of conservation.

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been chosen as the recipient of a generous journalism scholarship. The details and bio for my scholarship are below, go here to see the entire list of UW-Milwaukee journalism scholarships.

Ed Makowski
Greater Milwaukee Foundation Journal Foundation
Walter Jay and Clara Charlotte Damm Scholarship

Ed Makowski is a poet and writer attending the journalism program at UW-Milwaukee. Ed took the long way in arriving at both college and journalism, and is excited to work toward his degree. Following an internship with the 89.7 WUWM Lake Effect program, Ed worked as the story gathering Pfister Hotel Narrator. He then participated in the Public Allies program and decided to pursue a degree. Ed has published two poetry books, Manifest Density and Carrying a Knife in to the Gunfight, with a few others on the horizon. On the days when he is not in school, Ed works as the Communications Specialist at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. He is ever excited to discover and distill the next story, whether through journalism, poetry, photography, or any other medium.

A Rusty Patched Victory

September 4, 2017

rusty-patched-bumble-bee-squareIt’s not too often that one is able to celebrate in the discovery of an endangered species. A couple of weeks ago, at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, we realized that there were multiple Rusty Patched Bumble Bees at the Center. The RPBB is the only Endangered Species in Milwaukee County, and discovering them onsite was very exciting for everyone in the organization. This bee faces issues with habitat loss, and for years Center staff and volunteers have been planting native habitat to support native and migratory wildlife. Finding this once common, now endangered bee onsite is quite an exciting event. It’s the very reason that we engage in the work that we do. Helping write the press release regarding this discovery was pretty exciting. Read complete details here.

Went to go swimming at the #Milwaukee county pool on 82nd and Good Hope and – what’s with this forest over here in the middle of the city? Went for a nice little hike; even startled an American Woodcock, which are great fun because they always startle back.

Here is a funny video of my intense ice skating training today. Graceful like a gazelle I am!