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Bird-Shaped Viewing Platform Rising at Patrick Marsh

Improvements provide better accessibility and outdoor classroom space

There will soon be another reason to visit the Patrick Marsh Wildlife Area in Sun Prairie, WI (map): a unique wildlife viewing platform in the shape of a bird in flight is currently being constructed on the west shore of the marsh by crews from Operation Fresh Start, a job-training program for at-risk youth. The official unveiling of the viewing platform is scheduled for 1 pm on Sunday, October 4, 2015.

The new viewing platform and other improvements at the Patrick Marsh Wildlife Area are made possible under a partnership that includes Natural Heritage Land Trust, Patrick Marsh Conservancy, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Operation Fresh Start. The viewing platform was designed by Shane Bernau of Ken Saiki Design, based on a plan Shane developed in 2006 while a student in landscape architecture at UW-Madison.

The platform will provide easily accessible wildlife viewing, just a short walk from the Patrick Marsh parking lot on Stone Quarry Road. The bird shape will make it possible for an entire class of students from nearby Patrick Marsh Middle School to get a front-row view of the marsh during outdoor classroom activities. In addition, a new distinctive metal entrance gate (also in the shape of a bird) will soon welcome visitors at the parking lot, along with an updated information kiosk orienting visitors to Patrick Marsh. Students in the Discovery Club at Patrick Marsh Middle School are designing new interpretive signs for the trails that will explain the history of the marsh from pre-settlement times until now. A new trail will connect neighborhoods on the south side of the marsh with the wildlife viewing platform

Funding for the improvements to Patrick Marsh has been provided by the Sun Prairie Rotary Club, Evjue Foundation, Rotary Foundation District 6250, Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, Courtier Foundation, Natural Resources Foundation, Dane County Environmental Council, members of Natural Heritage Land Trust, and many community members. Fund-raising efforts are on-going.

For more information about the wildlife viewing platform or the unveiling event, or to make a tax-deductible contribution to support this work, please contact Jim Welsh, Executive Director, Natural Heritage Land Trust, at jim@nhlt.org or (608) 258-9797. Click here for photos of the ongoing construction.


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