Riveredge Nature Center improves trails and conserves orchids with National Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Quiet Trails Fund Grant

New, water permeable accessible trail now winds from both the prairie and the parking lot to meet the existing stair network (seen on the right).

Riveredge Nature Center is pleased to have received the National Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Quiet Trails Fund Grant to both improve trails to welcome a wider range of people to explore the trails, and to protect sensitive floral habitat from deer over-browsing. Through a partnership with Access Ability Wisconsin, Riveredge has become the host site for an all terrain wheelchair that can be used both at Riveredge and anywhere offsite.

This trail now winds through Riveredge’s oldest restored prairie.

With this greater consideration, Riveredge has been re-imagining trails to better accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, and people who might be experiencing limited mobility or other sensory challenges. The National Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Quiet Trails Grant empowered Riveredge to recreate a trail through our oldest restored prairie with a gradual slope to accommodate more trail users.

Fencing now protecting vulnerable orchid habitat from White-tailed Deer.

Additionally, as a nature center housing The Riveredge School, the first nature-based public charter elementary school in the region, Riveredge flora has seen issues with deer over-browsing sensitive habitats due to a lack of predation (human or otherwise). This includes a population of rare and sensitive native orchids, which are a favorite to White-tailed Deer.

Lesser Yellow Lady’s slipper orchids successfully conserved and blooming at Riveredge.

Riveredge has partnered to bolster native orchid habitat throughout the region, however, locally, deer remain a challenge. Through the Quiet Trails Grant, Riveredge was able to establish fencing around these sensitive habitats, minimizing browse by deer in these areas and protecting populations of Lesser Yellow Lady’s-slipper, a Wisconsin Species of Special Concern.
Thank you to National Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and to all of our volunteers, partners, members and friends dedicated to conserving and improving the experience for all at Riveredge!

Accessible trails at Riveredge, and elsewhere, benefit everyone.