Three words for 1,200: Let’s work together

trailsParks, bike paths, sidewalks and other things that encourage us to interact more with our neighbors and the natural world are, simply put, some of the best things communities can do.

Here are a few pictures from a couple of great little neighborhood nature preserves over in Marshfield, a community where good health is a way of life.  As the home of the renowned Marshfield Clinic, the community also knows how good health is good for the economy and business.

I headed out to these parks early last week primarily just to get away from our toxic political environement for a few hours.  Being in these neighborhood jewels — one next to a retirement home, the other in a sleeply suburban neighborhood — gave me plenty of impetus to think over who uses parks and why they’re irreplaceable in community life.

I discuss some of these issues in last week’s Portage County Gazette column (available in full-text form).

(Note: It seems I mistakenly put 7 p.m. instead of 6:30 as the start time for the Nov. 3 Revisioning Point meeting in my original column.  Please pardon my error, which I regret.)

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A few pictures of a Wisconsin jewel

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The Ice Age Trail is one of our state’s finest assets, and to support it, I took part in the annual Hike-a-Thon presented by the Portage and Waupaca County chapters the Ice Age Trail Association.

I also wrote about it for the Portage County Gazette, an article that the paper chose to put behind a paywall as it moves toward its internet pay model.  Because of what may have been a boneheaded error on my part, my original version got corrupted and I had to reconstruct the entire piece from memory — and in a hurry.   I think it still came out well, but before too long I may publish the text of the two pieces side by side as a means of analyzing, for my students, the writing process a little more.

In any event, I’ve posted some extra pictures of my Saturday walk right here.  I hope they inspire you to visit and support the trail either in Central Wisconsin or in some other part of our great state.


Rain may fall, but Mead keeps rising above

I recently made my second trip over to the George Mead Wildlife Area, choosing to visit parts of this place I already know a little bit over exploring a new outdoor site.  It worked out well.  Here’s my Portage County Gazette column about my walk, with a few extra pictures thrown in below.

Spring arrives in all its noisy glory


This week’s Portage County Gazette column, with notes on a rude gal, a playground, a dead fish, and how to describe the beautiful noise of sandhill cranes.

Here’s how it sounded.  The cranes come in around the 30-second mark:

And, of course, a few extra pictures.

Blue Mountains: Australia’s “most accessible” national park

Here’s a link to my Portage County Gazette column of Jan. 13, with some extra photos in the gallery below.