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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Top wildflower sites in Southeastern Wisconsin


Late April and early May bring a colorful show of wildflowers throughout the southeastern portion of the state, according to Don Quintenz, Director of Education at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center. The variety of habitats in this region of the state brings both common and rare species.

Here are the best places in the region to see Wisconsin's stunning wildflowers, according to Quintez.

  1. Chiwaukee Prairie, located at the Illinois border along Lake Michigan, is a wet prairie habitat with a carpet full of colorful, showy prairie wildflowers, especially in the year of the burn. The time of year to see these wildflowers is the third week of May.
  2. Cedarburg Bog and Beech Woods. Yellow ladyslippers, showy ladyslippers and many others can be seen throughout the bog, cedar swamp and maple-beech woods habitats. The best time to visit the bog habitat is late May to early June and the woods habitat in early May. Only groups are given access to the site. To make an appointment, call (262) 675-6844.
  3. Renak-Polak Woods, located five miles northwest of Racine, is a maple-beech habitat known for its spectacular displays of spring wildflowers which bloom in early May.
  4. Illinois Beach State Park, just on the other side of the Wisconsin state line along Lake Michigan, is a lake dune habitat offering a great assortment of showy, sand-loving wildflowers which are in bloom from late spring through fall.
  5. Scuppernon Wet Praire, has a great diversity of wet prairie wildflowers that will first bloom in lake May and successively continue to bloom into fall. The area is located in the Southern Kettle Moraine and can be found on published maps of the area.
  6. North Prairie Cedar Glade & Oak Opening. A proliferation of Pasque and prairie smoke flowers usually peaks from late April to early May, depending on the spring, in this cedar glade and oak opening habitat. The area is located in the Southern Kettle Moraine and can be found on published maps of the area.
  7. Bald Bluff, is a superb area to see a variety of rare and showy dry prairie wildflowers in a dry prairie habitat complete with a scenic overlook. Wildflowers can be observed anytime. The area is located in the Southern Kettle Moraine and can be found on published maps of the area. Visitors must stay on the designated trail.
  8. Spruce Lake Bog. Orchids and other rare wildflowers can be seen in this bog and northern swamp habitat from late May to early June. The area is located in the Northern Kettle Moraine and can be found on published maps of the area.
  9. Petrifying Spring Woods, located in the Kenosha County Park, is a maple and oak woods habitat with a good number and variety of woodland wildflowers that bloom in early May.
  10. Sanders Park Hardwoods, is an oak-basswood forest in Racine County Park with a rich and diverse ground flora that shows its colors in early May.
  11. Waubadonia Park. A good number and variety of maple woods spring wildflowers can be viewed in early May. This maple woods habitat can be found in the park located at the western side of Fredonia.
  12. Mayville Ledge Beech-Maple Woods, a Dodge County Park, is another great spot for viewing a good variety of maple woods spring wildflowers that bloom in early May.
  13. Kohler-Andrae State Park. North of Milwaukee in Sheboygan County, this beach and lake dune habitat begins to bloom in late spring with rare and showy sand-loving wildflowers.

The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, 1111 E. Brown Deer Rd., is a 225-acre environmental education center and nature preserve located on the shore of Lake Michigan. The center educates more children than any other nature center in the state and is about 15 miles north of downtown Milwaukee. It offers seven miles of hiking trails and six ecological areas. The Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is a non-profit, locally-supported organization and does not receive funding from state or local taxes.

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