jefferson tamarack swamp holds the largest forested wetland in jefferson county. tamarack stands, sedge meadow, areas covered with sphagnum (not the spots i visited on my briefer walk), some uplands that are drier (where i walked). the dnr page for this sna notes that there is a large effigy mound on an oak island, but i was not able to search it out this time—one of the best reasons to come back!
got to share my visit with deer and cranes, as well as “weed” species underfoot that i had a particular affection for all of a sudden. they’re just creatures trying to survive too. 🙂
crooked lake is a seepage lake surrounded by a diverse wetland complex all about (including open bogs, my favorite aside from fens…), forest, cedar lake, and other unnamed lakes—all settled amidst the interlobate morainal hills of the northern kettle moraine. crooked lake’s outlet forms a tributary of the east branch of the milwaukee river, which flows right down the hill from my place in milwaukee on its way out to lake michigan.
fantastic walk with perfect spring weather under glorious skies, and many spring ephemerals—some emerging, some at full tilt, and others already on their way out for the year. saw our first stand of bellwort, which i’ve been looking for since last march, so it was a sheer delight to lay in the soil and spend some time with them.
this was the last state natural area to explore in sheboygan county. good to have another county covered, but, as we say in wisconsin: forward!
liverwort dying back
on each and every hillside
the lake only from afar
streakt & frilling threeness
skirts trunk & frogcall
mayapple waiting to bloom
legging it past kettle bog
and eureka! you’ve found me—bellwort
riding above the muck
since i haven’t stated this here in a while: this “state natural area poems” project began last year when lockdown happened in wisconsin, in order to have something to do with my kids as well as to keep us grounded in our local and regional habitats.
it started with the idea of visiting a state natural area (the preserves with the highest protections in wisconsin), going for a walk, taking a picture, and writing a three-liner about whatever we encountered there. and the original area was milwaukee county and adjacent counties. it’s now mushroomed into the main series and two sub-series, way more counties, and usually many more than one photo and one poem per site. the natural world just gives too much for such meager making!
i’ll keep going until we run out of sites to visit (not likely) or breath leaves the body.
sanders park state natural area is set within a park and ringed ’round by exculpating road(!). two different kinds of forest grow on swells and swale, an ancient terrace of lake michigan. an intermittent stream flows thru the whole; lots of wildflower and fern species.
thanks to racine county parks for keeping this patch of earth.
Muskego Park Hardwoods is an old-growth southern dry-mesic forest in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Some past grazing has brought in new species of wildflowers, and a healthy blend of different hardwoods stand strong. Thanks to Waukesha County for preserving this old-growth community!
(Some evening primrose and field bindweed growing in the prairie and its edge.)
Rock River Prairie SNA is a dry prairie above the Rock River b/t Janesville and Beloit. Lots of grasses and flowers, though woody species are encroaching. Still great for a walk, and several first IDs on flowers. Thanks to the Wisconsin DNR for tending this plot of earth.