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purple asters and bumblebee in Turtle Park

Photo essay: An autumn explosion!

September 27, 2021  |  Topics: Places

By Eddee Daniel

While most of the leaves on most of the trees are still green, the changing season is quite evident in the ground cover, especially fall wildflowers. Here, from the first and second days of autumn are some exuberant, if not literally explosive, images from the two places I visited on those days: Turtle Park in the Milwaukee River Greenway and Mequon Nature Preserve.

If you’ve never been, these are two very different parks. The Mequon Nature Preserve sprawls across 400 acres of southwestern Ozaukee County. Their mission, among other things, is to restore this former farmland to its pre-settlement ecology of woodlands, wetlands, and meadows full of native plants. Turtle Park, by contrast, is under five acres and nestled at the southern tip of the Milwaukee River Greenway—smack up against looming condo developments and downtown Milwaukee. But, managed by the River Revitalization Foundation, which owns it, the diminutive park packs a beautiful wallop!

Turtle Park

A tuft of tall switch grass and magenta nutlets, which hold the seeds of the obedient plant.
Hairy white oldfield asters.
Bouquet of purple New England asters.
An American plum tree with ripening fruit.
Goldenrod amid a patch of brown-eyed Susans.
Milkweed bugs on unopened milkweed pods.

Mequon Nature Preserve

The milkweed is further along here: exploding milkweed pods!
A double-decker spray of blue bottle gentian blossoms.
A multi-hued meadow of autumn asters and goldenrod.
Tall grasses and masses of white asters.
More milkweed bugs on more exploding seed pods!
A pastiche of autumn wildflowers.
An enormous pheasant tail mushroom.
A teeny-tiny bejeweled agaricomycetes fungus hidden under the bark of a rotting log.

Related stories:

The Milwaukee River Greenway: A Wealth of Nature in the Heart of the City

Monarch butterfly tagging at Mequon Nature Preserve

Autumn forays in the parks of Southeast Wisconsin

An Autumn Odyssey of Discovery

Signs of autumn in Southeast Wisconsin

Eddee Daniel is a board member of Preserve Our Parks and currently serving as Artist in Residence for River Revitalization Foundation (RRF), which is located in Turtle Park. RRF and Mequon Nature Preserve are project partners of A Wealth of Nature.