Wisconsin’s Niagara Escarpment

Wisconsin’s landscape looks drastically different throughout the state. As you wander towards Lake Michigan, you may find some steep stone drops and cliffs, a stark contrast to the rolling hills of central Wisconsin. Well, you may have just stumbled upon an ancient geological formation, the Niagara Escarpment. What is the Niagara Escarpment? The Niagara Escarpment […]

Bats: Your Secret Neighbor

If you’re like me, you probably don’t give much mind to bats unless it’s Halloween or you’re talking about a certain superhero. Well, what if I told you bats are our neighbors all winter long? That’s right, Wisconsin has one of the largest populations of cave-hibernating bats in all of the Midwest! A Winter Hideaway […]

Wisconsin’s Native Oaks

PC: Trailer and oak tree by Oliver Dixon, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Especially in summer, it’s clear that our state is covered in forests. No matter where you look, there seems to be green! Oaks are nearly the most abundant type of tree in Wisconsin, second only to maples.1 Yet, oak ecosystems have been disappearing and are of high concern in conservation efforts. How could this possibly […]

The Berry Buff: Cedar Waxwings

In the Midwest, summer berry season is always long awaited, and far too short. In just a few months, we savor fresh strawberry shortcakes, raspberry pies, and a whole assortment of other goodies. So, what if I told you the cedar waxwing spends all winter almost exclusively eating berries? The Fruit Fanatic Cedar waxwings (Bombycilla […]

The Wetland Oddballs: Bogs & Fens

One’s devastatingly acidic and the other is incredibly alkaline. Bogs and fens seem like they couldn’t be any more different, yet they often come part and parcel in the wetland world. So, what mysteries lay under the moss? Are bogs and fens actually more similar than they seem? A Briefing on Bogs Bogs are a […]

What’s the Deal with Algae?

They aren’t a plant and they aren’t an animal, so what are algae? Algae are primary producers, which means that they’re at the very bottom of the food chain. They create their own food through photosynthesis like plants do, but they’re actually considered protists.3 They serve as food for small aquatic critters like insects and […]

Friend or Foe? Lily Pads in Wisconsin

With gorgeous blooms and vibrant foliage, lilies are a gorgeous addition to an ornamental pond, but can become quite a nuisance in a recreational body of water. Imagine trying to reel in a fish through a densely knotted mess of stems and pads or, worse yet, detangling the mass from your boat’s propeller. What a […]

Soaking up the Sun: The Western Painted Turtle

During rural Wisconsin summers, turtles are hard to miss. Whether they’re sitting out on a log in a lake or accidentally finding their way into your backyard, they have their few months of glory and then disappear. So, who are these mysterious critters anyway? Well, I’m glad you asked. Being Wisconsin’s most common subspecies, you’ve […]

Sounds of Summer: The Northern Leopard Frog

When I was a kid, my family didn’t have a cabin to vacation in during the summer. No pontoon boat, no sandy beaches, and definitely no air conditioning. What we did have was a trailer with rotted out floor boards from the ’70s, and what it lacked in amenities it made up for in smell. […]

4 Critical Types of Wisconsin Wetlands

Wisconsin has a wealth of wetlands, and we’re better for it! Wetlands play an important role in our local landscapes and biodiversity. They prevent flooding by capturing excess water, purify water by filtering out pollutants, and serve as nurseries for many of our young fish and wildlife.2 Wetland is a general term for a whole […]

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