Monthly Archives: March 2013

March 11, 2013

Art in the Outdoors: Two Wisconsin Sculpture Parks

When the snow melts from the Wisconsin landscape, the hills and valleys quickly grow green with the sunny spring days. It’s a magical time to be out walking: birds are returning, the trees are budding and there is a strong sense that winter is behind us.

Two of Wisconsin’s most interesting spring walks put a new twist on taking a stroll. The West Bend Sculpture Walk and the Stevens Point Sculpture Park present excellent walking trails with wonderful outdoor sculptures.

West Bend Sculpture Walk by Jacob Ciszny

The West Bend Sculpture Walk is made up of more than 25 works of modern sculpture placed along West Bend’s scenic Riverwalk. The sculptures have been created by internationally known artists as well as sculptures from throughout the U.S. and the local community. The inventive and sometimes puzzling sculptures help the viewer see the landscape in a whole new way. In the spring, these sculptures are particularly powerful. Visitors to West Bend should also be sure to stop by the new Museum of Wisconsin Art, which houses a huge collection of art by Wisconsin artists.

Stevens Point Sculpture Garden

The Stevens Point Sculpture Park is another great place for a spring walk. Set on 20 acres, the park features art from artists from around the Stevens Point area and the nation. The landscape varies from pine forests to wetlands. Unlike the West Bend Sculpture Walk, where the art tends to contrast with the landscape, most of the works in the Stevens Point Sculpture Park find harmony with the natural surroundings. It’s a peaceful place to enjoy a warm spring day.


March 11, 2013

Two Local History Museums You Don’t Want to Miss

This spring, take a trip back in time at two of Wisconsin’s best local history museums.

Oshkosh Public Museum

Located on Fox River and the western shore of Lake Winnebago, Oshkosh was once an important center of the lumber industry. Logs floated downriver from the forests of the north were cut into boards in Oshkosh’s huge mills. The Oshkosh Public Museum tells the story of that era through a series of interesting exhibits that includes a massive model of one of Oshkosh’s lumberyards in the 1800s. The museum also features exhibits about the region’s lakes, rivers and wetlands. Some sections of the museum are devoted to children, making the Oshkosh Public Museum an ideal destination for families.

Old Courthouse Museum

The Old Courthouse Museum in West Bend tells the story of the community, from the Ice Age to its earliest European settlers. The building that houses the museum is a towering, red-brick, Romanesque Revival style courthouse. The museum is packed with photographs and artifacts from West Bend’s past. History buffs will also want to check out the Old Jailhouse Museum, located next door. And while you’re in West Bend, don’t miss the new Museum of Wisconsin Art, housing an extensive collection of works by Wisconsin artists—the grand opening is April 6.


March 11, 2013

Planning Your Spring Birdwatching: Season Preview

Egret Souring in Middleton

Even as the last snow clings to Wisconsin’s fields, forests and hills, birds across the continent are preparing to make their migration back to the Badger State. For birdwatchers, spring is an exciting time of the year. Here’s a preview of what to expect.

With snow still on the ground, large numbers of Canada geese begin to make their way to southern Wisconsin’s fields and waterways. On areas of open water, you’ll see flocks of coots and small groups of ducks. Backwater sloughs and small rivers attract many types of waterfowl.

By March, red-winged blackbirds and grackles can be seen in increasing numbers in southern Wisconsin, followed by sparrows and robins by the middle of March. The same sequence happens in northern Wisconsin two to three weeks later.

In April, bald eagles, osprey, falcons and other raptors can be seen passing through the state. Sandhill cranes will be heard trumpeting all across the land. In the southern part of the state, the calls of songbirds will be heard by mid-April. Songbirds arrive in the Northwoods by early- to mid-May.

These waves of songbirds include many species of warblers, which have traveled thousands of miles from Mexico, Central America and South America. April and May are prime time for seeing these neotropical beauties.

By mid-May, birders across Wisconsin are presented with a cornucopia of bird species. Birdwatchers can see everything from brilliantly colored orioles to common loons.

During the spring migration, every single day brings new birds. Grab your binoculars and head out into the field. The spring migration only happens once a year. Don’t miss it!

Some good spring birding spots: