In a few days, I begin the Wisconsin series of writes and I like to prep people for what my focus will be during that course of posts. On this trip, we had a lot of great fun but we also discovered that Wetland talk would be of major importance throughout our journey. I'll be showing you cranes and talking about 2 different wetland areas in the Two Rivers/Manitowoc area which make for great birding/wildlife observations. But I am going to go smaller and talk about something that I remember clearly from my childhood.....running and playing around Riverside park in my old neighborhood. Today the park still remains, but you may be surprised by the transformations it has gone through over the years. Inspired by Ragged Robin's Nature Notes work from her historical walks following in the footsteps of author Edith Holden from the last century , I take you on a tour of the wetlands and park area. But my story is less epic:) And today I try my hand at vintage photography....
I did see people in the park(now known as a Skate Park for skateboarders, etc), but there was something else going on.......restoration!!! The city is restoring the wetlands area around the park again and this time there were birds to be seen. Now it's not like it used to be, but it's an attempt to restore habitat lost.
|Former prairie area then baseball field....and now a water holding area.|
Habitat loss is one of the greatest threats to many wildlife species on this planet. And while I believe that bird populations will return as will frogs(if we continue to monitor habitat, water pollution, etc).....I do worry about the Monarch butterfly. The populations are still in my hometown....just not in the numbers they once were. And this is just an observation, but milkweed is the key here. It grows wild all over but if it's removed, it rarely grows back again as seen in this park and surrounding area.
While at the park I searched high and low for the milkweed plant that used to number in the thousands around this riparian sector. I remember blowing the seeds from the pods as a kid. Areas that once had this plant everywhere now have some to no milkweed growing in them. Certain extinction is possible if we cannot preserve habitat from development. The good news is that there are people who recognize this and are doing something about it. I can report that I have found high areas of milkweed around the state. I just wish my hometown would do a little more to protect this very important plant. Maybe they are.....I just don't see it. If "A" is the original form of pristine land and "B" is the altered human area converted back to "A" again, then they've only done half the work because it looked nothing like this as a kid. Maybe this is phase 1 and if so, it a good start. But they need to restore the grasses and "weeds" that used to grow in this area for the wildlife.
It would be great to see the Monarchs come back and visit this place again as they once did several decades ago. More tomorrow....
|Pic taken last year at Point Beach State Forest Park along Lake Michigan|