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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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.

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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 4.44.51 PMGood news! One of my poems has been included in the recent anthology Wisconsin’s Best Emerging Poets by Z PublishingIf you’d like to read about which words Wisconsin has to offer you can purchase an e-book here or purchase a physical copy 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.

I just got back from a trip of camping on and fishing in the Wisconsin River.

If you’ve never been, it’s pretty remarkable. The Wisconsin River current is rather slow, not a river filled with rapids. We took a canoe loaded with firewood, camping gear, food, and of course beer down the river for about 35 miles total over three nights. The water was warm and comfortable and when you’re looking to camp, just find a secure looking sandbar and set up. There is no fee for camping on the river.

On this night pictured above, we caught a few walleye, one of them big enough to grill over the fire.

Bat signal. #WisconsinRiver #FullMoon #CampFire

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This photo above is of us hanging out by the campfire taken by my friend Ryan Thompson (also the fisherman pictured above).

Short story short, it’s worth the trip. There are companies you can rent canoes or kayaks from. Our two other friends took their solo kayaks, I took the canoe I found in the Milwaukee River because I already have it and it’s free. So get that old canoe out of your parents rafters and make some use out of it!

Saturday Night Lightning

July 18, 2017

From what I’m told this is heat lightning. It was odd, seemed to emanate from nowhere in particular, and rarely did you ever see a bolt. For awhile I thought there was a kid in a backyard playing with a high intensity light. Couldn’t hear any thunder. Funky.