Celebration Features Newly Installed “Peace Posts” at Hopkins Hollow Trailhead
April 14, 2023 | Topics: Events
By David Thomas
Photography by Eddee Daniel
It was a perfect morning! Spring was in the air as over forty community members gathered on Saturday, April 8th to celebrate a grass-roots effort to restore and revitalize an urban green space that has come to be called “Hopkins Hollow.” Nearby Nature Milwaukee has led the effort, along with about a dozen community partners. Hopkins Hollow, roughly 20 acres of wild space along Lincoln Creek, runs from 35th Street and Congress north to Hampton Avenue at the north end of the 30th Street Railroad Corridor.
Before the event even started, about half the participants arrived an hour early for a “Flash-Trash Cleanup.” Fifteen bags of litter left from wind and snow melt were collected. At the same time, several birders led by BIPOC Birders of Wisconsin were able to identify fifteen different species of birds in the area.
At 10:15 am folks were welcomed by Steven Hunter, Program Director of Nearby Nature and then treated to a blessing from Mars Patterson, Nearby Nature Land Steward and Youth Educator. Patterson led the group in an African chant and poured a libation at the base of a newly installed Community art project: a pair of “Peace Posts” led by artist Muneer Bahauddeen. The posts, which will serve as an entrance to the Hopkins Hollow trail, were funded with a stipend from Milwaukee Water Commons 2022 Water School.
Following the opening ceremony, Hunter elaborated on projects that Nearby Nature is planning in the coming year. The trail marked by the new Peace Posts currently runs only a short way into the Hopkins Hollow greenway. A plan to extend it is in the works, thanks to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), which is responsible for stewardship of the property. Several wildlife and land studies are also planned. Biologist Gary Casper explained that some of the studies will involve acoustic monitoring equipment to study birds, bats and toads. Another project will try to count snakes. Nearly twenty years ago, Casper led a project to capture and preserve snakes during the MMSD Lincoln Creek reconstruction project.
Jeff Spence of MMSD, was called upon to talk about MMSD’s efforts in neighborhood flood mitigation. The Sewerage District has a wide mandate to mitigate flooding while capturing rainfall to prevent sewerage overflows. At the same time, they have a commitment to the communities where they operate, to listen to the concerns of those communities and address them where they can. The MMSD is planning a major work project in the “West Basin” area south of Hopkins Hollow which is to become a community green space in addition to a flood retention basin.
Before the end of the ceremony, a Nearby Nature board member shared information about the Lincoln Creek Greenway Workgroup, which is trying to recruit volunteers for the 2023 Riverkeeper Spring Cleanup on April 22. They are trying to boost volunteer numbers at sites along Lincoln Creek. Interested volunteers should go to http://bit.ly/LincolnClean23 to sign up.
And then came the cake. Two delicious cakes brought by Marie Garnhart of Church Women United were carved and shared among participants. Following the celebration, which lasted about half an hour, many of the participants stayed to hike the trail, enjoy the waterfall, visit Nearby Nature’s prairie restoration site in the heart of the greenway, and continue the cleanup that had begun earlier.
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Nearby Nature Milwaukee Recognizes “Harriet Tubman Day” with a Water Trail Hike
Trailblazers aim to bring nature back to Milwaukee’s 30th Street Corridor neighborhood
Lincoln Creek Greenway: Pocket of Paradise
David Thomas is Project Coordinator for Nearby Nature MKE. Eddee Daniel is a board member of Preserve Our Parks.