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Christmas Bird Count Dec. 16th

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:

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

Christmas Bird Count flyer II

Kiosks targeted by vandals

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: Be sure to select “Grant Park” for your donation to benefit our group.



Mural Project at the South Milwaukee Library!

IMG_3527 Week one

IMG_3540 Week two

IMG_2926 Week four

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


2019 Historic Grant Park Calendar

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.

It’s Trek ‘n Treat Time Again!

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!

2018-10-14 14.07.08 2018-10-14 14.56.07 2018-10-14 14.55.21 2018-10-14 14.22.352018-10-14 13.36.222018-10-14 14.07.34 2018-10-14 14.45.01

A huge Thank You to the following for their generous donations!

  •  ACE Hardware, SM
  • Blaine’s Farm and Fleet
  • Human Concerns
  • McDonald’s
  • 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


Scavenger Hunt at the Beer Garden


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.



“Our Turn” Petition Drive

Preserve Our Parks Launches “Our Turn” Petition Drive Demanding More Parks Funding
for Preservation and Enhancement

The POP petition drive will begin in June and will run throughout the summer.

By Preserve Our Parks- May 31st, 2018 09:24 am

Preserve Our Parks, a local non-profit watchdog advocacy group, announced today that it will launch a grassroots “Our Turn” petition drive to protest the loss of funding for Milwaukee County parks. The petition demands that County officials direct more funding to repair and maintain the County’s 140 parks and parkways.

“Our parks are in crisis,” said Jim Goulee, president of Preserve Our Parks. “We funded stadiums and arenas, and now it’s ‘our turn’ for parks funding. Our parks are a critical part of the quality of life in Milwaukee County. The parks and trails that make up our ‘emerald necklace’ must be preserved, enhanced and protected.”

Goulee pointed out that parks funding has drastically declined over the past three decades from about $45 million to about $34 million in the 2018 County budget. He added that while the County budget has nearly doubled since 1986, parks funding has dropped to a level where it is only 4.2 percent of the County tax levy, down from 29 percent in1986. “Elected representatives are allowing private firms to strip mine public taxes for private gain,” said Patricia Jursik, a board member of Preserve Our Parks. “This strip mining puts public parks in the ruts of devastation.”

Goulee said it was important to apply pressure to County policy-makers as the 2019 capital and operating budgets are drafted by the County Executive and reviewed by the County Board. But he added that state lawmakers have worsened the situation by cutting shared revenue to local governments, and they have also placed onerous limits on how counties can increase their tax levies. He said the state has strapped local government and is the “main cause of deterioration of County facilities.”

“We can’t let County and State officials cast a blind eye toward the continuing decay of our parks,” Goulee said. “So far the best the County Executive could do for increased parks funding was pitch a wrong-headed idea to place parking meters in the parks. That is simply unacceptable because it limits access. We must make our voices heard so that our free and public parks are thriving not only in the present but for future generations.”

The POP petition drive will begin in June and will run throughout the summer. Preserve Our Parks also announced that it will hold public “town hall” meetings to allow citizens to have their voices heard on the issue. The first meeting will be held at South Shore Park at 6:30 on June 7.

Preserve Our Parks is a non-profit citizen action and watchdog group passionately devoted to the preservation, maintenance and enhancement of Milwaukee County’s beautiful emerald necklace. Founded in 1999, Preserve Our Parks is committed to attaining dedicated funding for parks to reverse the course of decline and neglect that has taken place over several decades. Preserve Our Parks actively seeks to make our parks’ preservation a high priority for County policy-makers, and it strongly opposes the sale or any conveyance that restricts the use and enjoyment of our free public parks.

Suburban Soles Guided Nature Walks

Join the Friends of Grant Park and special guest experts on this bi monthly adventure of nature vs nurture, as we study and learn about various topics such as native plants & flowers, invasive species, water life and health and the history of the South Milwaukee and the Oak Creek area.


Connecting to the Forked Aster Trail near the old Mill Pond, we begin our 1.5 mile loop venture along the Oak Creek and winding down the dirt trails thru the valley of the Oak Creek Parkway. Once we make our way to the Grant Park Clubhouse, we continue down historic Hawthorne Avenue and back down Mill Hill to end where we began, at 6th and Milwaukee.

We start at 10 am on the corner of 6th & Milwaukee (Mill Hill) on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month. Future walks are scheduled as follows:

June 10th – “This Land is Your Land” 
Join the Friends of Grant Park and Milwaukee County Parks Natural Area Specialist, Brian Russart, to learn about invasive species that have infiltrated the park and affected the environment. As we stroll, participants will be shown how to identify some of these invasives, such as Garlic Mustard and Japanese Knotweed. We will even have the opportunity to pull out a few of the invaders, along the way.

June 24th – “Bloom Where You Are Planted” 
Milwaukee’s eastern region botanist, Sierra Dawkins will lead us on this exciting wildflower walk, consisting of identification of native plants and flowers of Wisconsin as well as identification of troublesome invasive plant species. Bring your walking shoes, curiosity and a good attitude! All backgrounds welcome!

July 8th – “Historic Escape” 
In addition to the tour route being surrounded by great natural beauty, it also encompasses some of South Milwaukee’s most significant historic sites. South Milwaukee historian Nels Monson will lead this fact-filled event where you will hear and learn about city founder John Fowle, the Mill Pond, the railroad trestle stretching over Mill Road as well as the Grant Park golf course club house, the Hawthorne House and other items of historic interest. For anyone with a genuine interest in the history of South Milwaukee, this walking tour is sure to please.

July 22nd – “Sweet Success” 
What is a pollinator? What species live in Grant Park and surroundings communities? Why are they important to us? Join Brooke Gilley, Naturalist at Wehr Nature Center, as we journey through Grant Park to find out the answers to these questions. A pair binoculars or camera is strongly suggested for this hike.

August 12th – “Healthy Water, Healthy Land” 
Explore the ecosystem of Oak Creek with Jan Marsh, EPA watershed expert and Laura Herrick, Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission Chief Environmental Engineer, as they lead a walk along the Oak Creek channel. We will talk about the watershed landscape which surrounds the creek and the impacts of human activity in the area. We will also discuss how the creek corridor handles flood events, how those have changed over time, and how the stream has adapted to those changes. We will also look at features along the main stream channel and how they impact water quality, fish, and other aquatic organisms.

August 22nd -“One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” 
Water Resources Biologist Craig Helker, with the Wisconsin DNR, will talk about how rivers work, their form, and how the critters present reflect the environments water quality. Learn how fish surveys are done using a backpack electro-shocker and study aquatic macro-invertebrates (bugs), collected in a kick-net.

September 9th – “Fun with Fungi” 
While the fungi kingdom includes several thousand species, there is less scientific knowledge (approx. 15 % classified) vs. the plant and animal kingdoms. But new research, along with historic information, show how fungi is involved with almost every aspect of our life. Alan Bunde, President of the Wisconsin Mycological Society, an amateur mushroom enthusiast club, will provide a basic overview of different local mushroom types and their interaction with our environment.

September 23rd – “Put Your Garden to Rest” 
Many of our natural areas have been damaged to the point of becoming unrecognizable from their original pre-European settlement appearance. Still much of that original vegetation remains in small parcels scattered here and there in county parks, woodlots, and field edges.On this walk, join Bryce Ruddock, co-author of “Integrated Forest Gardening: the Complete Guide to Polyculture and Plant Guilds in Permaculture systems” as we begin to look at what nature has to share with us and ways to add these natural beauties to where we live.