Protecting land, cleaning up a river, or designing a restoration are all critical and key wizard tasks. One that really transforms is public education. That is the key to increasing the environmental community. Helping people find their own personal connection to nature that begins the process can be a daunting task and certainly not something any one person can do alone - so it goes hand-in-hand with organizing and directing an entire force of education, outreach and enrichment. That is exactly what Patrick Boyle does every single day and this is why Treasures of Oz is pleased to name him Wizard of Oz for July, 2012.
As the Executive Director of Riveredge Nature Center, Patrick oversees a continual venue of programs and special events. In June alone there were 27 Riveredge events ranging from the annual bike ride to yoga classes. There are 7 ongoing adult programs including the legendary Riveredge Bird Club, Food for Thought (where cooking happens) and Fly Fishing. Children's offerings include Nature Journeys, a day camp experience, individually designed Scout and group opportunities, a truly wonderful Nature Library and a myriad of school outreach programs for all grade levels. . Seven special events occur throughout the year, including Sturgeonfest, a Murder Mystery Dinner and Knee Deep in Prairies. Appealing to a wide range of interests, Riveredge, under Patrick's direction, reaches an extended and diverse audience.
For those who have only an hour or two to get in touch with nature, Patrick keeps Science for Everyone, a lecture series, in motion. Formerly known as Riveredge Speaks this is a collaborative effort of Riveredge Nature Center, Lac Lawrann Conservancy and the UWM Field Station to engage, educate and increase public awareness regarding a wide variety of science, history and environment related topics. Topics are fascinating, speakers more than engaging and locations vary to encourage people to come listen.
Patrick, along with the Riveredge Board of Directors, makes sure ongoing environmental research runs full tilt as well. Besides the sturgeon research and rearing, Riveredge is significant in Avian and other scientific research topics that relate not only to its 389 acre nature preserve, but are shared with the environmental community at large. Riveredge research provides a vibrant venue for scientists and emerging scientists.
Most recently, Patrick has initiated Woodland Harvest, an exciting new collaboration between Riveredge and Wellspring Farms Inc. The project is expected to be a regional model for sensible and sustainable land use at any scale. Permaculture is a holistic approach to landscape design that integrates several disciplines, including farming, biology, ecology, agriculture, architecture, gardening and community building.
Patrick came to Riveredge in October, 2006, with a background in municipal management as the City Administrator at Cedarburg and the Management Assistant at the Village of Whitefish Bay before that. In the almost five years he has been at Riveredge, he has worked diligently to expand and improve their programming and has been a major player in networking with other area organizations to improve the environmental impact of Ozaukee County as well. Patrick has connected Riveredge to Treasures of Oz and has hosted one of the treasure sites for 2 of the past 3 years. Most recently he has been working on creating the Ozaukee Treasures Network to increase the coordination of energies and projects throughout the county to maximize efficiency and cooperation. Patrick not only has wonderful ideas, but he makes them happen - a true wizard of Oz!