Treasures of Oz

Celebrating the Natural Gems of Ozaukee County

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Treasures of Oz 2014 Eco-Tour

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June 14, 2014
All sites open 9 to 3
Celebration at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve noon to 6

Birding  Photography  Electro-fishing  Mountain Biking  Wildlife Conservation

Ant Hill Village  Stunningly Beautiful Natural Areas  Hidden Trails  Raffle   Auction  

Critter and Raptor Exhibits  Tasty Food  Music and much more

On Saturday, June 14th, Treasures of Oz invites visitors to explore 7 natural areas and hidden environmental treasures. Each site is hosted by top scientists, environmental stewards and experts in natural fields. Visitors can explore the site, learn about the area's significance, and converse with the docent and site team.

Download a passport (after May 1 on the website), collect stamps at each site and trade those for raffle tickets at event headquarters.

Trinity Creek Wetland Habitat - This 35-acre restored stream and wetland system was designed to provide floodwater storage, improve water quality, and provide habitat for northern pike spawning, as well as for shorebirds and waterfowl.  

 Two of Ozaukee Treasure Network’s best birders, Becca Sher and Seth Cutright, will be there to show off this birding area. 

Today it is a healthy prairie and bird area as well. Walk the loop trail for great views of species such as sandpipers, Blue-winged Teal, herons, and egrets. Milwaukee River Watershed Fish Passage director, Matt Aho, and DNR fisheries biologist, Will Wawrzyn, will be there to explain the aquatic side of this little-known nature nook.

Cedarburg Environmental Study Area– Visit this nearly-40 acre tract of ponds, wetlands, and forest located in the town of Cedarburg. It serves as a refuge for a large variety of wildlife species and is ideal for hiking, bird watching and a variety of environmental education activities. Explore the trails and count the ant hills.

Kate Redmond, naturalist and author of "The Bug Lady," will be on hand with Tom Kroeger, DNR scientist, educator and well-known lecturer, to introduce you to an incredible ant village and answer questions about the plants and critters of CESA.

OWLT stewardship manager, Mike Hoffer, and his team will show you the trails and tell you about the work and studies being done at this hidden location.  The entrance is on Granville Road north of Western Avenue.

The Trails at Mee-Kwon Park – There is much more than a golf course in this popular park just north of Thiensville. Only a few folks know about the trails and beautiful maple forest. Outdoor educator Jeff Rothstein, and an amazing treasure team with expertise in plants, birding and more, will introduce visitors to this lovely area. 

In addition to the trails, there will be a chance to observe electrofishing and see what species of fish are in the pond., area.  Luke Roffler, DNR fisheries and members of Ozaukee County Planing and Parks will be on hand.

The treasure site headquarters will be at the warming shed at the foot of Mule Hill - you will see this, and our flag, to your right on the park road as you enter from Bonniwell Road.

USFWS Belgium Waterfowl Production Area – This Town of Belgium site is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and one of several US Fish and Wildlife-owned sites in Oz - something few people are aware of. This managed habitat is home to area wildlife and is a very active breeding habitat for many species of waterfowl. It is also an Acoustic Migration Monitoring site, one of two in the county.

Jim Lutes from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Andy Holschbach, Director of Ozaukee County Land and Water Management, will be on hand to talk about waterfowl habitat, protection, production and the roles of USFWS.

The treasures site headquarters is on Alder Road, the east border of the WPA, halfway between Silver Beach Road on the south and Jay Road on the north.

Pleasant Valley Nature Trails and Mountain Bike Park – Trails for hiking and trails for mountain biking are key elements in this beautiful Town of Cedarburg park. Follow the boardwalk along Mole Creek, crossing wetlands and beech woods up to the observation platform. Bring your mountain bike, hiking shoes, or both, if you like.

The Treasures of Oz team and members of the Ozaukee County Mountain Bikers Club will be on hand to introduce you to all of Pleasant Valley's hiking trails and Ozaukee's first mountain bike trails.

Riveredge Nature Center naturalists will lead hikes at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm focusing on the little critters living in the grasses at the park.

The Natural Area Gorge and Beach at Lions' Den Gorge Nature Preserve – This is a walk worth taking! While the entire preserve is lovely, the natural area is truly spectacular. The forest floor is much as it was in pre-settlement times. The ravine is deep with cool water flowing down through it to the Lake Michigan shore. The beach is usually covered with rocks of every kind that landed here after the glaciers departed. A well-designed staircase system allows you to descend through the gorge and arrive on the beautiful beach.  From the parking lot boardwalk, it is approximately an 8/10 mile walk to the treasures site at the staircase to the beach.  

Dale Buser, one of the Wizards of Oz, will be the morning docent. He will introduce you to the Lake Michigan Clay Bluffs that edge the beach and tell you a bit about the glacial history of the area as well as the wildlife and plants that abound.  Katie Weber will be the afternoon docent.  Katie's specialty is the natural area plants.

NOTE: to get to the treasure site at Lion’s Den requires a walk from the parking lot to the north end of the preserve. This measures close to one mile and takes about twenty minutes.  It is a beautiful walk.  There will be volunteers in the parking area as well as at the site.

Forest Beach Migratory Preserve – As always, all trails lead to the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, a Five Star Bird Hotel and Celebration Headquarters. Today, this former golf course includes ten habitat areas designed as a long term stopover for the many species of migrating birds that follow the Lake Michigan coastline. Follow the network of trails and climb the observation decks to see this preserve-in-process.

Shawn Graff, Director of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, will talk about the preserve's past and future. The Purple Martin Society will be a featured presenter.

Take time to visit the many exhibits, shop the silent auction, meet Randyman Hetzel's critters (see below), watch and learn about the Raptors of Pineview with Jean Lord, listen to some down-home music with Steve & Friends and enjoy the food from Smokin' Joe's BBQ/ Chuck's of Thiensville.

Randyman Hetzel & his Collection of Critters

Randyman Hetzel and his collection of critters will be at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve on June 14th IN THE MORNING starting at 9.  For little kids and lover of unique crawling critters, this is a must-see.

If you are coming from the north, no worries.  LL (and all other southbound roads)  is open - the "road closed ahead" signs are for the construction SOUTH of Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.