Category Archives: Uncategorized

Protections for Natural Areas: Milwaukee County Ordinance 47.08

The following is an excerpt from a blog post by Eddee Daniel entitled “Milwaukee County Strengthens Protections for Natural Areas” from the website, posted on July 29, 2022.

Here, in abbreviated form, are the new provisions:

(A) No person shall harvest, collect, deface, or disturb, in any manner, any portion of a native plant or native fungi within the Park System.

(B) Invasive species can be removed within the Park System only by Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Culture (DPRC) staff or those authorized through written permission from the DPRC. Planting of any vegetative material within the Park System without the written permission of the DPRC is prohibited.

(C) The harassment, capture, injury, or killing of native wildlife within the Park System is prohibited. Introduction or release of any animal, wild or domestic, within the Park System without the written permission of the DPRC is prohibited.

(D) Natural areas designated by the Southeastern WI Regional Planning Commission as “Natural Areas of Local, Regional, or State-wide Significance” or designated as “Critical Species Habitat Areas,” will receive a heightened level of protection. Only hiking, biking, running, bird watching and similar passive recreation activities are allowed and only on designated trails.

According to Natural Areas Supervisor Brian Russart “the County Board did want Parks to be lenient on individuals walking along designated trails in the park system eating the occasional handful of wild raspberries as they are walking, because the impact would be minor and the plants are typically found along trails.” This does not allow people to bring a basket along to pick and remove more berries from the park for later use.

Russart would like you to know this: “Citizens that observe illegal foraging in the park system are encouraged to call the Parks Ranger Hot-line (414-257-7777) as they are observing these activities. This way Parks can respond immediately, and appropriately address the situation.

Friends of Grant Park Art Fair, July 23rd

Coming this summer to our favorite county park, the premiere of the Friends of Grant Park Art Fair will be held on Sunday, July 23rd from 10am to 2pm. Located in Area 5A brown picnic shelter, we will host artists from a variety of mediums displaying and selling their works. The July fair will be mentioned with Heritage Days publicity since it coincides with the start of Heritage Week in South Milwaukee.

The open air picnic shelter will also feature sales of food and refreshment. Our mission statement is to preserve natural areas of the park, enhance unique features of the park, encourage use of the park, and to provide a mechanism for private contributions to supplement public funding of Grant Park.

Seeking Artists!

Artists wishing to participate should contact FOGP at

The application for artist vendors is below. Complete the application and send by June 11th to reserve your table now!


Invasive plant update

Friends of Grant Park received a competitive grant in March of 2022 to support girdling/and or removal of some of the larger flowering and seeding Japanese Tree Lilacs. This year, we worked with Milwaukee County Parks Natural Areas personnel and cleared approximately an acre of woodland of JTL. We also provided invasive species in-person education to 160 youth volunteers. These photos depict but a small portion of the trees removed. Thank you to the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium for their support. To learn more about invasive plants visit –

Invasive Plants | Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc (

Grant supported tree Lilac removal of larger caliper and flowering trees shown here.

Green Bay Packers Foundation Grant

We were simply delighted to receive notification that Friends of Grant Park would be recipients of a $4,000 grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation. Awarded on Dec. 8th, you can read about the foundation and the other recipients in this article from their website:

Our intent is to utilize the funds to offset costs for our various programs, such as WeedOut, Suburban Soles, tree planting and Trek ‘n Treat. We hope to continue these programs to benefit Grant Park, and these funds will support their continued success.

Thank you to the Green Bay Packers Foundation.

Fowle History in Grant Park

Be sure to join us to hear local historian Nels Monson as he shares the origins of the Golf Course Clubhouse. We welcome everyone to the clubhouse on Thursday, Dec. 8th for a holiday gathering. Our monthly meeting starts earlier, at 5:30; the party starts after our meeting, at 7 pm. We promise to warm the room with a fire in the fireplace! This event will conclude at 8 pm.

Honors to our members!

We are fortunate to have Rick Kaiser and Betsy Abert advocating for Grant Park.

Betsy Abert is a founding member of Friends of Grant Park and has been on the board of directors most of the time as a member-at-large. An avid “bird nerd”, she is Grant Park’s personal Avian Ambassador, leading bird watching hikes in the spring; almost daily monitoring of the bird seed supply in the bird feeder station; and fielding questions about their identification, migration patterns, and natural habitat. She has also shared her skills as a conscientious conservator and landscape designer when suggesting improvements to address erosion in the park. Betsy also volunteers as a WeedOut coordinator and is certified to safely apply herbicide when needed for eradication of certain invasive plants that persist despite continued removal by volunteers. If only we could clone Betsy!

The Friends of Grant Park honored Betsy with an Honorary Lifetime Membership. Thank you for your years of service!

Betsy Abert (on right) receives
Honorary Lifetime Membership
from Jody Johnson

WeedOut volunteers from YouthWorks program,
Rick Kaiser on right, back row, red shirt

Rick Kaiser has been an active member for the last 10 years or more, and his efforts are noted in this letter from the Friends of Grant Park Board of Directors. Thank you so much, Rick!

Stairs Project Underway

The Friends of Grant Park undertook planning and fundraising several years ago to improve egress in a ravine area near the Wil-o-way complex on the north end.  Following two consecutive 100+ year storms in 2010-11 that had destroyed most of the bridges in the park’s historic ravine trail system, a 2012 FEMA-funded footbridge was erected to restore the connection between the north and southern portions of the park all while protecting water quality.  Subsequent trail use commenced, with the result that an increasingly denuded trail on one side of the bridge eroded, causing potentially damaging siltation and mud distribution to the bridge deck and beyond to the creek below.  With preserving water quality, bridge infrastructure and safe egress as our goals, we proceeded with planning. 

Mud eroding onto the bridge deck.

History:  Following a survey of the site by RA Smith Engineers, and combining design proposals and details by former Parks Landscape architect, Jim Ciha and local landscape designers, Betsy Abert and Patrick Devereux, we submitted architectural drawings for the proposed steps to Parks’ Planning Dept. during the height of COVID.  Parks had just undertaken a splendid larger restoration in the northern sector of the park with improved parking, paving, and water quality goals; thus, we were delayed in pursuing  our own project. Grants acquired from the Bucyrus Foundation, Eaton Corporation, and many many FoGP donors allowed this project to move forward with the requisite funds as required by Milwaukee County Parks.  Upon request, our park supervisor Sean Kelly delivered fencing material from the main yard to the job site. Cost increases, supply chain and transportation issues combined with employee shortage related to Covid certainly played a part in delays.  Contracting with an experienced nearby landscape firm, Stone Oak Landscapes, the steps and rail are now being installed with great precision.  We plan to restore/revegetate any areas disturbed during construction with native plant species. It is our hope that restoration efforts in the central/main ravine will be supported. With a start-up grant from Eaton Corporation, steps and walls there, installed in the 1930’s, need to be replaced and the slopes protected and revegetated. 

Many thanks to our own Betsy Abert for her expertise and perseverance in pursuing this goal. Photos courtesy of Betsy Abert.

Construction of stairs project in process. Oct. 2022
Completed stairs!
In our opinion, it was worth the wait…

Trek ‘n Treat Event Sold Out!

On Sunday, Oct. 9th, from 1 to 4 pm, Trek ‘n Treat took advantage of a fabulous fall day as costumed ghouls, goblins, Spidermen and princesses (moms and dads, too) wandered through the Seven Bridges Ravine. They learned about the natural plants, animals, birds and insects that live in the park, and then got a treat. Families hiked the ravine trail and then relaxed in the area 5A brown pavilion where there were other activities and snacks.

Although we planned for 250 participants, we sold out by 2 pm. We are grateful for the energetic volunteers who came from all walks of life… Students from Oak Creek HS, South Milwaukee HS, Thomas More HS; FOGP members, SM Historical Society, members of Friends of the Mill Pond, and photographer Marie Goodman. We had grant funding from Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors Youth Foundation. Additional support came from Ace Hardware, SM; Blaine’s Farm & Fleet; Guardian Credit Union; MJ Media, LLC; Pick ‘n Save, SM; Piggly Wiggly, Oak Creek; Project Concern, Tri-City Bank and Walmart.

Thank you to all for a Happy Trek ‘n Treat event. See you next year!

Open Doors South Milwaukee, Sept. 17 | Wulff Lodge

Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of South Milwaukee, historic sites throughout the city were open for inspection on Saturday, Sept. 17th from 10 am to 3 pm. Friends of Grant Park members opened Wulff Lodge to the public and welcomed about 85 visitors. It was home to Milwaukee County’s first horticulturist, Frederick Wulff and his family. Other participating locations appear on the attached flyer below.

This is the first year for this Open Doors event in South Milwaukee. Perhaps it will become an annual event…

Your group can Rent Wulff Lodge! Available exclusively to civic, church or youth groups. To book a stay, call (414) 257-8005, M-F 8am to 4pm.

Meet James Toth: Artist-in-Residence

James Toth chose Grant Park and we couldn’t be happier.

2022 Artist in Residence 

Jim Toth was an art teacher in South Milwaukee from 1975 to 1995, then as Director of Exhibits for the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. Now retired, Jim was accepted as an Artist-in-Residence as part of the ARTservancy program at Gallery 224 in Port Washington. This program pairs artists with land trusts, nature conservancies and parks to create a body of work inspired by the properties. He chose Grant Park for his 2022 residency.

On Sunday, Aug. 21st, Jim led a nature walk through the Seven Bridges Ravine informing participants how to look to nature for principles and elements of design that may improve their own artistic expressions, be it painting, drawing or photography. 20 some participants were given small rectangles of mat board suitable for framing art to use as a tool to visualize how to frame the object(s) of a composition. We ended our walk at the beach, where participants created their own grouping of elements using those principles.

James Toth (2nd from left) describing 7 principles of design
Participants view natural elements through a mat board frame
Natural elements of design
A combination of rough texture, smooth, light and dark, positive and negative space