Treasures of Oz

Celebrating the Natural Gems of Ozaukee County


Conservation Hero to be Honored

Lake Michigan Conservation Heroes to be Honored during Lake Michigan Day Event on August 13th.

The Lake Michigan Stakeholders (LMS) has announced the individuals, organizations, businesses, and first nations it will celebrate for outstanding efforts to protect and enhance the lands and waters of the Lake Michigan basin. To honor and recognize their achievements and impacts, LMS will honor these Lake Michigan “Champions of Conservation” during the virtual Lake Michigan Day event on Friday, August 13th.

This year, the following nominees were selected as our Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation:

Marjie Tomter

In 2010, Marjie launched “Treasures of Oz,” an Ozaukee County‐wide celebration of special places, open spaces, and natural areas, accessible to the public, which represent critical collaborative restoration, protection, and preservation efforts. Over the course of the past 11 years, Marjie has been instrumental in driving significant new levels of engagement among community residents. Each year, Treasures consistently generates a high degree of awareness and energy and strong turnout from Ozaukee County communities. People eagerly await the unveiling of the sites that will be showcased each year, and on the day of the event, excitedly visit each of them and have their “Passport” stamped. Volunteer “docents” proudly staff the designated sites and share with visitors important information about land and water conservation efforts. This results in a more educated, more engaged, more empowered resident base!

In one of Wisconsin’s most conservative Counties, Marjie has established herself as a trusted, well-respected, and highly‐reputed environmental leader. She has a demonstrated ability to build authentic, meaningful relationships across political lines. She advocates for bipartisan action in advancing smart land and water conservation policy – and she models that philosophy. Her selfless service extends beyond the Treasures of Oz event; Marjie has assumed leadership roles with the Ozaukee Treasures Network; Ozaukee Washington Land Trust; Gathering Waters; Ulao Creek Partnership; and Ozaukee County Watershed Coalition. In short, Marjie is an unbelievable Champion of Conservation!

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Written by Ephrat Livni

Forest Bathing

The Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ is scientifically proven to improve your health

The tonic of the wilderness was Henry David Thoreau’s classic prescription for civilization and its discontents, offered in the 1854 essay Walden: Or, Life in the Woods. Now there’s scientific evidence supporting eco-therapy. The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.

Forest bathing—basically just being in the presence of trees—became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982 when the forestry ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoku and promoted topiary as therapy. Nature appreciation—picnicking en masse under the cherry blossoms, for example—is a national pastime in Japan, so forest bathing quickly took. The environment’s wisdom has long been evident to the culture: Japan’s Zen masters asked: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound?

To discover the answer, masters do nothing, and gain illumination. Forest bathing works similarly: Just be with trees. No hiking, no counting steps on a Fitbit. You can sit or meander, but the point is to relax rather than accomplish anything.

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We Are Ten!!!!

Hard to believe it but Treasures of Oz 2019 marks the tenth year of our event. Even more amazing is that Ozaukee has even more places to discover than than we did ten years ago.

Ten years ago OWLT had 12nature preserves in Ozaukee and Washington counties.  At the end of 2018, that number had risen to 32.  IN 2018 the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust has created two new preserves in Ozaukee County - so new they are not even up on their website, nor ours as of yet - but they will be.  They are in the project area near Cedarburg Bog and are just beautiful.  They will need volunteers to help with trail creation, so don’t hesitate to sign up for the STEW NEWS on the OWLT website.  Right now you will need to call in to do that...ask for Josh.  262 338-1794.  My opinion is that both sites will be really rewarding projects.  Trail building is cool because you can see what you have done right away and then bring family and friends and show off the cool trail you just helped build.  We are hoping one of these sites will be on the 2019 Eco-Tour.

Ozaukee County has added 2 more parcels of land to their newest park. River Oaks County Park along the river in the Town of Grafton.  The creation has come about through buying and restoring the land through a state flood grant and federal hazard mitigation programs.  June 15th is going to be too early to showcase this little treasure, but when it is, we will get it on the website.  

As for our 2019 Eco-Tour - June 15th is the magic date - as always, the Saturday before Father’s Day.

Besides cool treasure sites, there will be opportunity again to learn how to raise a Monarch from egg to adult butterfly at the Observatory's Monarch Workshop. Attendees who have a good supply of milkweed, the only plant Monarch caterpillars can eat, will be able to adopt Monarch caterpillars.  Monarch experts will be on hand.

Have you heard about the ArtServancy Project?  This forward thinking project places area artists in a selected OWLT preserve with a mission to create a work that reflects the preserve.  This is not just about painting but includes photography, sculpture and other media.  Some of those artists well be present at our 2019 treasure sites on June 15th!  You may discover them off and on during the year working away in their preserves.  Maybe this will give you an idea because there is nothing like extended time in a natural place to change the way you look at the world and to stir your imagination.

Speaking of art, there is another really BIG piece of artistic creation in another of our treasure sites for 2019.  Can you guess? You may have seen it - it would be really hard to miss.  Perhaps you or one of your children worked on it.It will be featured in June.

The downside of being 10 is that we have sort of run out of newness in terms of getting grants for "new" things.  A few of you were so kind as to send us a donation at the end of the year, and for that we are really thankful.  We expect some of our sponsors will continue their support as well.  Our largest expense for the event is advertising - but then, when we do the survey at the end of the event, most people report they heard about this through friends and family.  So, you all have a mission this year - to keep spreading the word.

The easiest way to get the word around is through social media - sharing our posts.  That can make al the difference.  Talk to your kids scout and 4-H groups as well.  (4-H will be joining us at our treasure sites this year although the details are still in the works.)  Remember to include your church groups and places where you work.

We will be seeking volunteers again to greet and stamp at our treasure sites and help out with the auction. You will be able to sign up right here on the webpage.  We have not yet finalized our sites, so wait a month or so and remember to check back.  If you follow us on social media, you will get informations about signing up.

While June comes up so quickly, sort of sneaks up on us like Christmas does each year, there are still good chunks of time to discover and enjoy other outdoor activities in Ozaukee.  Keep a watch on our social media - we will try to get as many up there as possible - and watch our calendar on the website.

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Treasures of Oz 2018

You don’t want to miss

“Ozaukee’s Other Coast - The Milwaukee River”


Time: Things begins at 9:00 when all of the sites open. Sites stay open until 3:00 pm. Forest Beach Migratory Preserve stays open until 4:30 so you have time to turn in your passports for free raffle tickets and time to bid on our silent auction, listen to a little music, and have a bite to eat after all that touring.

One little request: Please share this with 10 friends. Hearing about this event from friends and family has been the most common reason people have given for coming to the event. We would sure like to connect with even more people and you can really help. Thank you so much (in advance.)

Visit the event page here.

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Mequon-Thiensville Fishway Camera

The seasonal feed of the underwater fish cam in Thienville in the Milwaukee River is live.

Citizen-based monitoring of the video feed is an integral component of ongoing fish and wildlife monitoring efforts in Ozaukee County. Volunteer monitoring helps assess diversity of the local fish community, timing and duration of fish spawning runs, and presence of invasive species. This unique monitoring opportunity is also available to individuals who may not be able to volunteer in the field.

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Walk to Sustain Our Great Lakes

Aug 26 - Sept 22, 2017

Join us on our 300+ mile journey as we walk this summer from the vibrant shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee to the coast of the largest (by surface area) freshwater resource on the planet, Lake Superior.

The objective of the “Walk to Sustain Our Great Lakes” is to raise awareness for the Great Lakes and freshwater conservation. In spite of their majesty, the Great Lakes are a fragile ecosystem and face serious threats from pollution, invasive species, climate change, and degradation and loss of wetlands. The need for regulation, research, restoration and education on local, statewide and national levels is imperative now more than ever. We all have a stake in what happens to our natural resources; a stake in the future of these streams, rivers, lakes and Great Lakes.

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