From the beginning, the Riveredge ‘experiment’ has been about engaging people with the natural world – and doing so in a way that is personally transformational, cultivates a meaningful connection to nature, and instills an environmental sensibility. It is the sanctuary that is the cornerstone of all that is accomplished at Riveredge. It is this restored farmland with a diversity of eco-systems found throughout the state, that grounds the visitor in both time and space and is a reminder that place is important. It is attention to this land that has produced 40+ years of research on native Wisconsin flora and fauna. Here, at Riveredge Nature Center, are 379 acres of wild Wisconsin with river frontage, mature forests, native Wisconsin prairie, and vernal ponds. This land is made possible by legions of volunteers who cut buckthorn and pull garlic mustard and dames
rocket. It is thanks to these ‘Habitat Healers’ that the forest ground cover, come spring, is not overrun with invasives, but rather dappled with May Apple, Trillium, and Wild Geranium. Thanks to them, legions of children from schools throughout Southeastern Wisconsin know the diversity of ecosystems in the state and know what it means to live in a healthy world.
Riveredge includes the 47-acre Riveredge Creek and Ephemeral Pond State Natural Area, over 1.5 miles of frontage along the Milwaukee River, 37 acres of prairie establishment, beech-maple forest, and pond, swamp and fen communities. Prized by educators, naturalists and biologists for its exceptional biotic diversity, Riveredge is a regional resource for scientific research, hosting more than 40 studies, projects, inventories, monitoring programs, surveys, and other types of
scientific investigations to date. It is protected habitat for endangered and threatened species such as the Swamp Metalmark Butterfly, Forked Aster, Goldenseal and the Red-shouldered Hawk
A jewel in the landscape of Ozaukee County, Riveredge adds to the vitality of the community by providing ongoing recreational opportunities for adults, families and children, as well as opportunities for citizen scientists to expand their horizons with ongoing scientific research projects such as: the successful rearing of and releasing of lake sturgeon into the Milwaukee River, an effort to return a breeding population of sturgeon to the River in the next 20-25 years; providing a site for the pilot Swamp Metalmark Recovery Project in partnership with Milwaukee Public Museum; and evaluating a number of Emerald Ash Borer management strategies. These are just a few of the important projects that Riveredge is involved with all year long.
Specifically, the Riveredge sanctuary includes:
- 10 miles of trails
- A vernal pond and creek, both designated as state natural areas
- One and one-half miles of riparian habitat
- Seven deciduous forest types
- Conifer forest
- Several wet meadows
- 28 acres of planted prairie
- 1 Fen
- Six ponds
- 186 species of birds
- 580+ species of plants
- 26 species of mammals
- 7 species of anurans
- 23 soil types
We utilize TRAFx trail counters to assess visitor usage on our trail system. For more information on TRAFx products click HERE.