Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Brief History of Shalom Wildlife Zoo

It does look good in FULL SCREEN

Beginning in 1979, thirty acres of land was purchased with the intent to preserve it from development.  Over the years additional adjacent parcels were acquired. Today the Zoo encompasses 100 acres.  Shalom's wildlife began as a deer farm with native whitetail deer that were purchased from the State of Wisconsin.  People would come to see those "Big Bucks" on guided wagon ride tours through the property.  The tours provided a great opportunity to educate visitors on animals, plants, habitat and Native American culture. In 1990 Bison and Elk were added for additional  wildlife viewing enjoyment. Soon red fox, raccoon, skunk and mink were purchased and put on exhibit. Every year more species are added. In 2002 self guided tours were made available for those that wanted to walk, and in 2006 golf carts were added for those who were unable to walk.  

Although still a working farm, in 2010 Shalom was licensed as a Zoo and is home to over four-hundred animals that are cared for daily.  Some of the animals are here for permanent placement, some have been donated and some have been purchased.

Our Mission Statement: To preserve the wilderness, while providing education, enjoyment and wildlife encounters in a natural ecosystem.

Shalom is a privately owned federally licensed zoo and receives no government assistance. We are solely funded by the admission fee to the zoo.  Your visits are important to the future of  Shalom. With your support we strive to improve Shalom Wildlife Zoo.

Needless to say, it is not really possible to find some of the animals at any one visit. Everything I saw was on about a three hour visit, and that's enough for me.

Shalom is a Hebrew word that means Peace. 

1901 Shalom Drive, West Bend WI 53090

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Paradise Springs Nature Area in Wisconsins Kettle Moraine South

I found that I've not made a Youtube slide show of The Paradise Springs, so I stand at correcting this. However, while the springs remain, paradise is now temporarily lost A structural failure underneath the more than 100-year-old dam at this historic, state-owned property has mostly drained the pond on June 19, 2015.

The YouTube video can be seen HERE.

These images were taken on October 14, 2014 and serve as a memory for the time being.

Paradise Springs has been owned by many different people. One owner was a millionaire who built a horse track, fishing hole, and an elaborate spring house over beautiful Paradise Springs. 

Paradise Springs is about 5 feet deep and maintains a temperature of about 47 degrees F. year-round. Over 30,000 gallons of water flow from this spring each hour—that’s 500 gallons each minute. Paradise Springs sits in a bowl-shaped depression where the water table reaches the surface.

Most spring houses served a purely functional purpose—to protect the springs and to allow access to the water. This spring house was beautiful as well as functional. Mr. Petit built this spring house in the early 1930s with a wooden-and-copper dome roof and colorful fieldstone walls, no doubt one of the most elaborate spring houses ever built in Wisconsin. Though the roof is gone, the beauty of this spring house remains.

In the early 1900s, Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Nichols stocked this pond with trout. They also had a menagerie of animals which included peacocks, monkeys and pheasants. This pond is still stocked with brook trout for your fishing and visual enjoyment. The wooden cribs you see below the surface provide hiding places for young trout. Brook trout are the only trout species native to the Kettle Moraine and are still found in cold spring water ponds and brooks throughout the region. In October, the trout in this pond spawn lay their eggs near the spring house on the gravel bottom. When spawning, brook trout turn a vibrant pink color and are easier to spot.

The YouTube video can be seen HERE.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, Belgium Wisconsin

See a YouTube slideshow HERE.

Located along Lake Michigan in the town of Belgium, Forest Beach Migratory Preserve is 116 acres. This preserve contains a 5-acre hardwood forest with ephemeral (seasonal) ponds, open grassland and prairie, a partially wooded ravine and 5 constructed wetland ponds. The site was previously a golf course but OWLT purchased the land because the property’s location and attributes lend itself to supporting migratory birds along the Lake Michigan Flyway. Immediately upon acquisition in 2008, the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust began stewardship activities including invasive and exotic plant control.

Today the preserve hosts a "patchwork quilt" of habitats that support all kinds of migratory birds, reptiles and mammals. An interpretive trail system invites visitors to meander through the preserve learning about the restoration efforts and the unique restored habitats. Visit this preserve to hike, bird watch, fish, hunt or cross country ski.

See a YouTube slideshow HERE.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lion's Den Gorge Nature Preserve

View the YouTube slide show HERE.

Stroll across bridges over the gorge or down the gorge stairways to walk along the Lake Michigan shoreline - Lions Den
 park offers tremendous views. This 73-acre park offers plenty of hiking trails, boardwalks through the wetlands, picnic areas, scenic views, and restrooms

Over 1/2 mile of 90- to 100-foot bluffs look out onto Lake Michigan, offering tremendous viewing opportunities for residents and visitors. Lion's Den Gorge Nature Preserve is also adjacent to a 44-acre wetland complex owned by United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for enhancing populations of migratory birds and other wildlife.

Lions Den Gorge is a pleasure to behold with easily navigated trails.

But if you want to get down to the beach, you will have to take the stairs.

The Bluff Trail is the most scenic and offers views of Lake Michigan at many points.

I particularly like this Park since it is close to my home in Milwaukee and always offers a variety of seasonal photo ops. From a health aspect, nature surely puts the mind and soul at ease. The length of the trails and the stairs down to the beach provide just the right amount of exercise one could want.

View the YouTube slide show HERE.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beulah Bog (Blog)...

Beulah Bog State Natural Area is perhaps not that popular as it is not that easy to navigate for some people. The trail is direct and ranges from easy, to moderate terrain and then to difficult toward the end. With that being said, the views at the end of the trail are an absolute delight.

HERE's the Youtube video

Beulah Bog lies in a series of four kettle holes and features an undisturbed bog with many unusual plants more typical of northern bogs. Classical stages of ecological succession are exhibited in the bog including: a shallow bog lake dominated by watershield with white and yellow water-lilies and extensive floating mud flats; an advancing, quaking sedge and sphagnum mat between 25 and 50 feet wide; northern wet forest of tamarack and bog shrubs and; a wet open moat surrounding the main bog, dominated by wild calla and cat-tails. Undisturbed bogs in this area are rare and the site supports a number of regionally rare plants with more northern affinities including dense cotton grass, large and small cranberry, and small bladderwort. The site harbors six species of insectivorous plants including pitcher plant, sundew and bladderwort. The bog lake provides habitat for bullfrog, several dragonfly species and other invertebrates. Beulah Bog is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1975.

Enjoy the views!

 Site objectives
Manage the site as a reserve for northern wet forest and open bog, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection area, as an ecological reference area, and as an exceptional education/research site. Natural processes will determine the structure of the natural communities represented here. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native northern wet forests. Note: Uplands provide a buffer for the site's primary features; restoration of lost natural communities should be considered an enhancement activity.

 Management approach
Native species are managed passively, allowing nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, and maintenance of existing facilities. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.