White image of AMW trail logo

In Fall 2016, the Outdoor Lab Fund received a generous gift from Dr. Susan Cable, a CNHS alumnus and local Dentist, to support the rehabilitation and improvement of the Anna Maria Williams Nature Trail. The original vision of the trail was to provide living examples of all the tree species that are native to Wisconsin. These trees were labeled with their scientific name and have played a central in the ecological education of generations of UW Parkside students. Over the last 25 years, the AMW Nature Trail has slowly lost some its original value, due to disease, development and the general ravages of time.

Fortunately, Dr. Cable's gift was able to support three Independent Study students dedicated to reversing that trend. These students, Joshua Carlson, Anna Larsen and Belynda Alberte, made a physical inventory of all trees that have been part of the AMW tree walk since its inception, including a list of trees and signs that needed to be replaced.

These data were also used to develop a website for the tree trail that contains an interactive map to the individual trees as well as detailed ecological & cultural information about each species and about the five geological features included in the original trail. Finally, the students created a vision for the future improvement of the AMW Nature trail, including a new trailhead/marker, additional trees and routes, new information about the major habitats on campus (forest, prairies, wetlands, river), new information about our outlying properties (Chiwaukee Prairie, Renak Polak Woods, The Harris Tract & Ranger Mac's Fen). In spring 2017, the students' hard work paid off when their presentation to the donor was rewarded with a heartful appreciation from the donor as well as an additional generous gift to support the implementation of the project. On August 28, 2017, the College of Natural and Health Sciences officially unveiled the redesigned trail, the interactive website, and future opportunities for building upon the Anna Maria Williams Nature Trails Legacy.

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