Armin O. Schwengel WPA - at 278 acres, the Schwengel WPA is the best grassland habitat in Ozaukee County. Located at the junction of Six Mile and Jay roads, the property is named for local conservationist Armin Schwengel, who was instrumental in the construction of the grassland and wetland restorations on the property and numerous private lands throughout Ozaukee County. As a result, bobolinks and meadowlarks fill the spring air with song, and shorebirds, marsh birds, and ducks can be found on the ponds and wetlands. Short-eared owls are frequent winter visitors.
Armin graduated from Port Washington High School in 1935 and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University. While at the UW, Armin had the privilege of studying under Aldo Leopold, another Wisconsin hero, who is considered the founder of the environmental movement in the United States..
The following information is adapted from an article by Don Behm, in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, October 2003
Armin Schwengel's living legacy to the future generations is more than 10,400 acres of wetlands and grass-covered hills in southeastern Wisconsin that now provide rest stops for migrating waterfowl, and summer nesting sites for ducks, meadowlarks and pheasants.
Schwengel was hired by the former Wisconsin Conservation Corps in 1941. After becoming game manager for southeastern WI in 1948, he gradually persuaded farmers to sell thousands of acres of wetlands and floodplain forests to create the Theresa, Allenton and Jackson State Wildlife Areas in Washington and Dodge counties.
He helped US Fish & Wildlife buy more than 500 acres of former farm fields in Ozaukee County and worked with private landowners to reclaim more than 600 acres of previously drained wetlands in the region.
He retired in October, 2003 for the second and final time. In 1982, after 41 years of service, he stepped down from the DNR. He was rehired in 1989 to work on wetland restoration in Ozaukee County, where he resided. When asked what motivated him to work for 55 years, he replied that "I wanted to leave some of this here before I leave, you know. It's all here for future generations."
No other state or federal employee in the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes regions has a comparable record of single-handedly negotiating public land purchases and helping restore wetlands.
To honor his achievements, the US Fish & Wildlife Service put his name on this 280-acre federally owned wildlife area. (end Don Behm article information.)
Wisdom begins in wonder. -- Socrates