In a perfect world, Madison Parks volunteer nature experts would provide guided walks each weekend as part of the on-going, year-round Bird & Nature Outing series. Today, we must learn to adapt to these unique times, in order to stay safe and still enjoy nature.
We encourage you to continue to seek the outdoors and Madison Parks – safely. In doing so, with assistance from our volunteers, we're proving a few expert tips for your own self-guided walks at the locations typically featured in the Bird & Nature Outings.
Pro Tip: Most parks provide several access points. Seek the one with the fewest people to begin your nature walk. Always remain at least 6 feet away from anyone not in your immediate household. See Using the Outdoors While Maintaining Social Distancing and Social Distancing while using City Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathways for more information.
As we know, April showers bring budding plants and migratory birds back to our area. Be sure to bring a camera and post your photos on Facebook and Instagram, tagging Madison Parks or using #madisonparks
The Magic of Migration
Discover the magic of bird migration on a beautiful healthy spring walk along Lake Mendota, the Yahara River and Tenney Lagoon. How many different bird species to you see? Do you know how the colorful waterfowl and migrating birds in the trees find their way here? Or where are they going? Why do some stay here to nest and others continue north into Canada? Bring binoculars, if you have them.
Once group Outings resume, come back to enjoy a naturalist-led walk on the 1st Saturday every month beginning at 2:30pm. Outings at Tenney Park are co-sponsored by Madison FUN partners Madison Parks, Madison Audubon, Friends of Tenney Lapham Neighborhood and Friends of the Yahara River Parkway.
Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park – North Unit
Signs of Seasons' Creep (early spring)
Shhhh. What do you hear in Cherokee Marsh? Do you hear the frogs? As we continue to notice the effects of climate change, a frog in the cauldron is the earlier advent of spring and the delaying of autumn. Differences in the customary changes of temperature and precipitation can positively and negatively affect plants and animals in ways we're only realizing as they play out in real-time and are exposed by long term research.
When normal schedules resume, come back to enjoy naturalist-led Bird and Nature Outings at Cherokee Marsh, North 1:30pm the 1st Sunday every month co-sponsored by Madison FUN partners Madison Parks, Madison Audubon, Sierra Club and Friends of Cherokee Marsh.
Owen Conservation Park
Explore Pastures Turned to Prairies!
See if you can find examples where pasture has been restored to prairie and other evidence of Owen Park's history and how nature is being restored. Read about the history of Owen Conservation Park and learn about the City's purchase of the land, controversy about whether it would even be a conservation park, and early restoration work that laid the foundation for what is there today.
When normal schedules resume, come back to enjoy naturalist-led Bird and Nature Outings at Owen Park 2:30pm the 2nd Saturday every month co-sponsored by Madison FUN partners Madison Parks, Madison Audubon and Friends of Owen Conservation Park.
Turville Point Conservation Park
Signs of Spring!
Look for bright ephemeral flowers and other hidden signs of spring at ground level and migrating birds in the budding treetops and on the sparkling water. Look down. Ephemeral plants emerge in early spring before the trees shade sunlight. What plants are beginning to grow? Look up. What birds do you spot in the trees and flying over? Before you explore, learn more about ephemeral flowers and migrating birds with a little internet search.
When normal schedules resume, come back to enjoy naturalist-led Bird and Nature Outings at Turville Point 1:30pm the 2nd Sunday every month co-sponsored by Madison FUN partners Madison Parks, Madison Audubon and Friends of Olin-Turville.
Help our Earth
Earth Day and Arbor Day aren't the only days we want to contribute to a healthier environment. Come to Warner Park for a cheerful and vigorous walk. Bring a garbage bag and gloves and help pick up litter you see along the way! Think about the things we all do, and new things we could do, to protect our Urban Parks and our Wisconsin wildlife!
When normal schedules resume, come back to enjoy naturalist-led Bird and Nature Outings at Warner Park 1:30pm the 3rd Sunday of every month.
Edna Taylor Conservation Park
Look and Listen For Frogs!
Take a healthy nature hike to explore nature trails at Aldo Leopold Nature Center and Edna Taylor Conservation Park. Listen for Spring frogs calling in the ponds and look for signs of spring unfolding in the trees and plants and in the activities of birds and animals. Bring binoculars or a camera if you have one. Learn more about Frogs and the importance of saving wetlands on the web! Outings are free, fun, family-friendly and educational. Wear comfortable hiking shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather.
When normal schedules resume, come back to enjoy naturalist-led Bird and Nature Outings at Edna Taylor/ALNC 10:00 am the 4th Saturday every month.