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Autumn colors at Joan M. Pick Nature Preserve

Autumn Colors: Joan M. Pick Nature Preserve

5:48 am  |  Topics: Places


By Eddee Daniel

Autumn is here! Or, as I ought to put it: Autumn colors are here. And the spectacle begins. With a vengeance! If you’ve been following this blog for long you may recall that I traditionally put together an autumn/October photo essay, with titles such as “October Odyssey.” And, true to form, I’ve been out every day in October so far, exploring new places and documenting the changing season with the same intent.

But I couldn’t wait!

Autumn colors at Pick Nature Preserve

Although the colors in our area have yet to peak and many places remain stubbornly green, I chanced upon a preserve so splendid and glorious that I just have to share it right away. It was my first visit to the Joan M. Pick Nature Preserve, which is a Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation (CLCF) property located west of West Bend, near Big Cedar Lake. I couldn’t have picked a better day. The sun shone brightly on the red-orange-gold foliage with a tumult of clouds cascading across the sky. (Clouds are a gift of the gods to landscape photographers. You can’t summon them when you want them!)

Prairie path and dramatic sky.

I don’t know much about the preserve, except what can be found on the CLCF website. Among other things, it reveals that the preserve “stands on a moraine formed in the last Ice Age that slopes down to wetlands on the north and west.” It is named for the philanthropic owner who donated the property to CLCF in order to “create a refuge on this land for all living things, where people could come and enjoy the beauty of nature as she had.”

Goldenrod stands against the sky.
Goldenrod stands against the sky.

I for one thoroughly enjoyed the natural beauty of this place. My images can only give you a taste of it but I hope you agree that it is a delicious taste. The preserve is not very large and so it won’t take you long to walk the looping trail around its two lobes. If you’re making a trek of it from Milwaukee or other places, there are plenty of other parks and preserves in the vicinity to round out your excursion. (Use our Find-a-Park map to locate them!) I am continually amazed at the wealth of parks and preserves in and around West Bend. Ever more to explore!

Pollinator bees on common sneezeweed.
Pollinator bees on common sneezeweed.
Panorama of prairie and sky.
Panorama of prairie and sky.
A blaze of glory!
A blaze of glory!
Goldenrod gone to seed backlit by the morning sun appears flocked.
Goldenrod gone to seed backlit by the morning sun appears flocked.
A profusion of autumn colors!
A profusion of autumn colors!
A layered landscape.
A layered landscape.
A spray of still-blooming brown-eyed Susans.
A spray of still-blooming brown-eyed Susans.
Prairie grass and sky!
Prairie grass and sky!
Twists of milkweed.
Twists of milkweed.
The sweep of land and sky!
The sweep of land and sky!

More about Joan M. Pick Nature Preserve and Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation can be found on the CLCF website.

Link to Joan M. Pick Nature Preserve trail map.

Use our Find-a-Park map to locate public parks and publicly-accessible private preserves like this one all over the six-county region of Southeastern Wisconsin.

Eddee Daniel is a board member of Preserve Our Parks and Project Director of A Wealth of Nature.