Our facility will be closed Wednesday through Friday, June 7th, 8th, and 9th,
for staff training and professional development.
As always, you’re invited to hike our trails, which are open daily from dawn until dusk.
Welcome! Our facility is open on weekdays from 9am to 4pm and on weekends from 10am to 2pm.
Wearing a face mask indoors is optional. Because we are a childcare facility and follow public health protocols, we have limited access to some public offerings and areas of our facility. We appreciate your patience as we work to find a healthy balance of access and safety for our community.
As always, our grounds and trails featuring self-guided tours are free and open daily from dawn until dusk.
A creepy, gooey flower is blooming in the prairie!Spiderwort is a native perennial and difficult to miss. Its cluster of blue-violet flowers with bright yellow stamens stands tall over its grass-like leaves, arranged in a way that suggests a squatting spider. It is also noted that if you tear a leaf, the mucilaginous sap looks like a spider’s web. It is unclear how exactly this plant got its common name but it does carry it well!This unusual plant has many surprising characteristics. The flowers are short-lived but new blossoms appear daily throughout the blooming period. The flowers open in the morning and wilt at the end of the day, turning into a jelly-like substance.But that’s not all...these flowers can also detect air pollution and low levels of radiation! The color of the petals changes from blue to purple when exposed to air pollution. Some species of spiderwort have blue filament hairs on the stamen that turn pink when exposed to low levels of radiation. What is even more amazing, all plant parts are edible and have medicinal properties. Spiderwort has been used by Indigenous Nations for centuries. The seeds can be roasted and ground into a powder. The flowers and leaves can be tossed on top of a salad or cooked in soups. The stems can be steamed or sauteed like asparagus and the roots can be collected all year round. Externally, the fresh leaves and stems can be used as a poultice to help heal wounds, relieve insect bites, and inflamed skin. A poultice made from the mashed roots, can help treat cancer. Internally, spiderwort tea can help with stomach aches and constipation. Used with other ingredients, this plant can aid kidney trouble and female regenerative system issues.What signs of spring do you see? Visit us for a hike or take a walk around your neighborhood looking for cyclical events influenced by seasonal changes.Photo: Stephanie Briand, Aldo Leopold Nature Center#PhenologyFriday #Spiderwort #NatureAsMedicine #WIEnviroEd #NatureIsEverywhere #NatureIsForEveryone #EveryBodyOutside ...