state natural area poems #100: ward/schwartz decatur woods

a century of state natural area poems! i’ll admit: it felt good to hit this number. and i find it somewhat hard to believe—that’s a lot of visits in a year and a half, even for my determined self.

thanks to everyone who has hiked with me so far—family and friends—to all the creatures i’ve met on these jaunts, and to the all the private and public owners of these lands for tending them and making them available to the public.

oh, also, it recently came to my attention that a wisconsin high school newspaper article about the sna poems did come out a few months ago. it was fun to talk with a very local paper (in stoughton) about the vision and process of what i’m doing here, and i think emma did a fine job writing the piece up. you can check it out here.

the ward/schwartz decatur woods is another site along the sugar river, this a remnant southern dry-mesic wood with large red and white oaks. the understory has many spring ephemerals and is rich in other plants. the woods was one of the sites where baseline data for the burgeoning field of ecology was established in wisconsin by john curtis in the 40s and 50s.

a hard climb up the ridge after four other sites visited that morning, but satisfying to come out onto the edge of the wood at the crest and pause for a moment before a more leisurely walk back down.

first id-in-the-field of bittersweet nightshade—it volunteers in my backyard, but it’s different somehow seeing it out there. credit for a couple of these photos go to my dad who climbed the ridge with me.


logs crumble with footfall

upslope and downslope

movement over land


a hooved pair graze

on the sun-soaked ridge

crow overhead

if you made it this far: thanks for reading/looking. this project was not intended to go on this long, but i’ve learned enough about the natural history of wisconsin and enough folks have liked and responded to this project that it feels worth continuing. my gratitude goes out to you for stopping by.

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