The Friends of Grant Park have identified the issue of off-trail foot traffic causing erosion as one of our top priorities to tackle in Grant Park. We are in the process of installing new interpretive signs at the entrances to the Seven Bridges trail; they remind visitors to stay on the steps and established paths to prevent damage to the fragile sloped ecosystem in our ravines. Some visitors choose to go “off trail”, hiking or biking, but doing so damages grasses, wildflowers and tree roots. Ultimately, slopes denuded of vegetation become rutted and eroded, as exposed soils wash down to the lower trails, then the creek, and finally Lake Michigan during rain events. This siltation of our waterways is clearly evident over at the Mill Pond, for instance. We can help reduce this effect by staying on the trails provided, using the stairs to access the beach, and treating the vegetated slopes with respect while visiting.
Frequently our fundraising events highlight erosion-prevention projects such as that of 2012 where we installed compost, trees, shrubs and understory seedlings to a scoured part of our ravine slope following the washout of the main bridge to the beach in 2010’s storms. We have “armored” volunteer trails with cut branches acquired during Buckthorn WeedOut events in the last two years, accomplishing a two-in-one task. Matching grant moneys have made both of these projects feasible with the purchase of tools and materials needed to stabilize slopes. As well, sometimes we need to hire professionals to undertake projects.
Friends of Grant Park encouraged the installation of fencing as a means of discouraging off-trail use. It may be that this is a reasonable tactic in slopes now under siege. And, we know that a set of stairs is necessary in proximity to one of the newer bridges. We will take this into consideration with Parks planning. Larger projects demand larger amounts of capital, a fact currently impossible with County budget deficits. We encourage you to consider inquiring about long term support of our park, as well as more affordable, smaller donations. In this age of dwindling county budgets, we may lose the beauty of the ravine if we do not practice good stewardship now.
Photos courtesy of Rebecca Wheeler
L to R: Pam Uhrig and Debbie Wilhelm, members of the Garlic Mustard Pickers; Jody Johnson; and Jerry Connor, treasurer of the GMP.
We were very surprised at our January monthly meeting when we were given a generous donation from the Garlic Mustard Pickers. Jerry Connor, treasurer for the band, presented Jody Johnson, consensus chair and secretary for the Friends of Grant Park, with a check for $500 “to help support the preservation of the beautiful treasure we call Grant Park.”
Three of the Garlic Mustard Pickers’ members met in 2003 while picking garlic mustard during WeedOut in Grant Park, and decided to get together to play music. A few more players were added and they have played numerous times at fundraising events sponsored by the Friends of Grant Park, and many other events in the Milwaukee area featuring traditional acoustic music from the Gaelic-Irish countries. After meeting their expenses, they donate most of their earnings to local non-profit and community groups.
The Friends of Grant Park cannot stop singing their praises!
We have received reports over the past few years of coyotes seen and heard howling at night in the area. People are concerned about the safety of their pets while outdoors in their yards, or in the park.
The WI-DNR has information about coyotes on its website, https://dnr.wi.gov/files/PDF/pubs/wm/wm0567.pdf and another good article was printed in the Jan./Feb. 2019 issue of All Animals from the Humane Society, https://www.humanesociety.org/news/misunderstood-coyote.
Milwaukee County has a program to monitor coyote sightings. If you observe a coyote, log on to report your sighting. This data-base helps track of populations of coyotes and helps monitor their behaviors. This is the link for Coyote Watch: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/milwaukee-county-coyote-watch
The best advice is to keep your pets on a short leash at all times in the park, which is the park’s rule anyway. A coyote should be no more of a threat than someone else’s dog off leash attacking your dog off leash. And it bears repeating, only one (human) fatality has ever been recorded in the U.S.
Wehr Nature Center, along with the Friends of Grant Park and the Friends of the Mill Pond, is hosting the 2018 Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, Dec. 16th, from 10 am – 4 pm. This census held annually by members of the Audubon Society, is the nation’s longest running community science bird project. Held in the festively decorated Golf Course Clubhouse, the Christmas Bird Count is open to the public, and participation is encouraged, however pre-registration is required. To participate, contact Wehr Nature Center at (414) 425-8550, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Warm soups and beverages will be available for all participants. Other activities include a photo gallery and an owl prowl at 4 pm.
To participate in the bird count along the lakeshore, contact
Betsy Abert at email@example.com.
Christmas Bird Count flyer II
One of our members found this brief video about trees produced by BBC. We think it may change your attitude about what’s underfoot in the woods. You don’t have to have a facebook account to view it.
Four wooden kiosks were built in the park in recent years by candidates for Eagle Scout recognition, and those kiosks now seem to be favored by vandals for their graffiti tagging and target practice on plexiglass doors with pellet guns (or whatever). We support the Scouts for their workmanship and community engagement. The photo attached here is of a repaired kiosk across the street from the Seven Bridges main entrance. The Friends of Grant Park supplied the materials for repair, but we have Keith Sobczak to thank for doing the work. Keith still volunteers with the scout troop whose Eagle Scout candidates built the kiosks. Vandalism is costly and recurrent; any donations to offset the materials needed would be appreciated. Donations can be made online through the Park People website: parkpeoplemke.org. Be sure to select “Grant Park” for your donation to benefit our group.
The artist Sarah Henry, pictured with gold scarf, at an event commemorating the mural’s completion. Also in the picture are Friends of Grant Park members from left to right: Debbie Pizur, Rick Kaiser, artist Sarah Henry, Jan Marsh, Jody Johnson, Betsy Abert, Pam Uhrig, and Jackie Benka. In addition to the screech owl and robin seen in the mural above, Sarah painted a doe and fawn, a red fox, two squirrels, a bunny, and a monarch butterfly. You’ve got to come see it!
Be sure to stop by the South Milwaukee Library over the next few weeks as the children’s room upstairs is transformed into the entrance to the Seven Bridges Trail. “Enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature” is the familiar phrase welcoming visitors to Grant Park’s most iconic feature, and soon to the children’s library as well. Artist Sarah Henry will be painting the mural, working over several Sundays to avoid having children bump into her scaffolding! Let us know if you like it!
Sponsored by the Friends of Grant Park
We thought we’d do a different take on a calendar this year. Our Historic Grant Park Calendar for 2019 was the result. With vintage photos of Grant Park and historical information, you can peek into the past. Send a copy to friends and family. Funds raised through calendar sales will benefit maintenance and improvement of Grant Park. The Friends of Grant Park are a 501(c)(3) organization. Available for sale at:
- Avenue Coffeehouse – 911 Milwaukee Ave.
- Parkway Floral – 1001 Milwaukee Ave.
- Serendipitous Designs & Gifts – 907 Milwaukee Ave.
You can get a look at the calendar here: 2019 Calendar Flyer
Cash or check only. $10 each. Calendars can be ordered by mail; add $2 per calendar for shipping & handling. Checks are made to FoGP and send to 421 Hawthorne Ave, South Milwaukee, WI 53172.
Sunday, October 14th from 1 – 4 pm
The Friends of Grant Park sponsored an educational/fundraiser event called Trek ‘n Treat. Participants followed the trails through the 7 Bridges area to approximately 15 stations in the park, and answered nature-related questions. They received treats along the way! The long route meandered through the ravine; the short route was an accessible option. In Shelter 5A, refreshments were for sale, pumpkin painting, birding information and other activities related to the park and its unique habitat. Costumes were optional, but check out the costumes of some of the kids! See you next year!
A huge Thank You to the following for their generous donations!
- ACE Hardware, SM
- Blaine’s Farm and Fleet
- Human Concerns
- MJ Media, LLC
- Piggly Wiggly, Oak Creek
- Project Concern
- Target, Oak Creek
- Tiprint Inc.
- Tri City National Bank
- Walgreens, SM
- Walmart, SM
- SM Historical Society
- Wehr Nature Center
- SM High School National Honor Society
- SM High School Link Crew
- Milwaukee County Parks Natural Areas Team
- Wisconsin DNR
Shown above: Aubrey and Hailey McCune
The Friends of Grant Park held a scavenger hunt for families visiting the traveling beer garden on Thursday evenings. Participants were given a number of clues to find near the beer garden and told to “capture” images with a cell phone camera. Participants completing the hunt were awarded with an honorary membership with the Friends of Grant Park!
Another game offered at the beer garden was Invasive Species Jeopardy! quiz show. Contestants were given 6 chances to guess the “question” to 6 answers chosen from the jeopardy game board. Contestants had a wide variety of knowledge about the wicked weeds we whack in the park. Some contestants were as young as 7 years old! We hope everyone had a good time. Thanks to Justine Bellamy for designing the scavenger hunt, and to Jody Johnson for designing the Jeopardy game.