Blog Post #3
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center is a 185-acre habitat on Lake Michigan, with 6 miles of hiking trails and a 60-ft. observation tower. It was once a farm for the Schlitz Brewery draft horses. It is a strictly local center rooted in environmental sustainability and education. The center’s mission is to “converse [the] land’s diverse habitats on Lake Michigan and provide meaningful experiences and environmental education for all”.
While the center does not operate city-wide projects, it does deliver year-round programming to organizations interested in learning more about environmental preservation. The center also offers a wide-range of opportunities for youth, adults and long-term care communities.
With the help of community volunteers, Schlitz Audubon works to improve, restore and rejuvenate the 185 acres of land. Through a conservation plan, staff members and volunteers focus on three major strategies to revitalize the land: Native restoration, Emerald Ash borer response, and Stormwater management. The purpose is to restore the native plant communities that once existed while also maintaining the health of existing sensitive ecosystems. Restoring the land also looks like combating emerald ash borer and implementing green infrastructure and stormwater management strategies.
A great deal of my service learning experience focused on being outdoors and protecting the habitat. Whether that included combatting emerald ash borer or altering the habitat to fit the needs of a particular wildlife, the idea of protection, conservation and preservation were always in mind. That’s what makes the center so unique. Schlitz Audubon wants to conserve the land’s diverse habitats not only for the protection and restoration of wildlife populations and ecosystems, but to use these experiences to foster meaningful education amongst the community.
The experience taught me about the role habitat fragmentation plays in wildlife population and the importance of maintaining a safe habitat for many vulnerable species. Staff members and volunteers are always thinking about “How can we make this better?” From stormwater mitigation to carbon cycling, the center is always thinking about how to maximize quality and how to benefit the people and the land.
Below is a map of Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and its many trails. This map is relevant to highlight the organization’s massive area of land, 185 acres.