Treasures of Oz

Celebrating the Natural Gems of Ozaukee County


2023 Eco-Tour

October 7th!

Time: 9:30 to 2:30.

Headquarters: Virmond County Park!

We have some great sites for 2023!

Ozaukee County Parks is hosting two main sites.

1. Virmond County Park

10606 North Lake Shore Drive, 53092, Mequon

Virmond has spectacular views from the top of the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, trails through woods and prairie, and many recreational amenities. There is water, and there are restrooms.

Our National Marine Sanctuary will be represented at Virmond with a table headed by manager Russ Green. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear the latest on our Shipwreck Sanctuary, ask questions, and more.

  1. Tours of the new floating staircase - one of the first of its kind. Watch Video
  2. Guided walking tours of the ecological work in the Park, including invasive species management, prairie restoration, wetland restoration,
  3. Guided walks of the forest/woodland restoration

Other partners at Virmond include

  1. Sweetwater Watersheds Trust
  2. Ozaukee Land and Water Management
  3. Gathering Waters Conservancy - Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts and others

2. Mee-Kwon County Park

6333 W Bonniwell Rd, 53097, Mequon

  1. Active fisheries demonstration at the pond and Mee-Kwon Creek near the large parking lot.
  2. From there, visitors can walk the newest trail up the hill to the natural area of woods and then follow the trail out of the woods to the east.
  3. Visit the new stormwater wetlands just constructed along the trail. The county will have staff there to talk about the stormwater wetlands and other work Ozaukee County has planned in the park, including for the trail system, prairie restoration, and extensive invasive species management.

Visitors can walk to all three areas. There is a parking lot near the pond and parking near the stormwater wetlands (a large lot by the clubhouse.)

There will be trail guides at The Big Sit at Forest Beach and at MeeKwon.

The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust

1. Spirit Lake Nature Preserve - Protect & Preserve - Acknowledgement Ceremony

Location: 4513 W Bonniwell Rd, Mequon, WI 53097

Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

As a special event for the Treasures of OZ, OWLT will host the acknowledgment of the earliest inhabitants of what is now Ozaukee County, the Mound Builders.

2. Forest Beach Migratory Preserve - The Big Sit

4970 Country Club Rd., Port Washington.

Time: 10:00 a.m. - noon.

Docents Carl Schwartz and Kate Redmond

This preserve will give you an up-close feel of the Lake Michigan Flyway.

The Noel J. Cutright Bird Club, in cooperation with the Lake Michigan Bird Observatory, is hosting its 15th annual "Big Sit!.” The count begins at 6:30 a.m. – join any time before noon-- on the Bill Cowart Memorial Hawk Watch Platform at the northeast corner of the preserve. (“Big Sit!" events are held at scores of locations as part of an annual, international, noncompetitive birding event held during the second weekend in October. The "Big Sit!" is like a "Big Day" or a birdathon in that the object is to tally as many species as can be seen or heard within 24 hours. The difference lies in the area limitation from which you may observe. Our Sit's 17-foot circle is on the hawk watch platform at Forest Beach, where birders have recorded 262 species since 2007. The 116-acre site and its unique location, geography, and multiple habitats along Lake Michigan make it a great place to stage a Big Sit.)

Check-in at the information table in the parking lot of the former golf club.

Pets are not allowed at this preserve at any time.

3. Donges Bay Gorge - Restoration Walk - Our Health and Our Environment

10370 N Wildwood Ct, Mequon, WI 53092

Donges Bay Gorge has some of Lake Michigan's most pristine and spectacular gorges and cliffs.

Guided Walk 11:00 to 12:00

See and walk the new bridges up top over the rolling hills to the deep ravine

Talk with Dr. MacKinnon on “our health and the environment”

Docent: Dr. Jennfer MacKinnon and OWLT staff

Walk on your own from 9:30 to 2:30.

Presentations have times, but the preserves are open all day for self-guided walks. If there is no one to stamp or sign your passport, take a photo by the preserve sign.

Passports- download and get them stamped or signed at each site. Directions for returning them are on the passports.

Pets? This event is free and family-friendly. Dogs/pets are not allowed at the migratory preserve. Other sites require they be on a leash and that you come with equipment to clean up any poop.