Celebrating 50 Years!
The spring of 2021 marked Schlitz Audubon’s 50th anniversary! Prior to becoming a nature center, our 185 acres were the Schlitz Brewery Farm and then a recreational area for the family and employees. In the 1960’s Dorothy Vallier, along with Monnie Messinger, Winnie Woodmansee, and Charlotte Zieve advocated for the land to become a center for environmental learning, and on April 26, 1971, the land was donated for that purpose to the National Audubon Society by the Schlitz Foundation.
Today, our independent nature center reaches over 159,000 people annually, including more than 20,000 students. We offer six miles of trails through prairies, wetlands, forests, and Lake Michigan shoreline, including wheelchair accessible trails and boardwalks. Naturalists provide environmental education for people of all ages and the birds of prey in our Raptor Program teach about their wild counterparts. Through conservation projects, we work continually to improve the land’s sustainability and biotic diversity.
We are committed to making nature accessible to all and to laying the groundwork for the Center to continue to flourish in the next 50 years.
Celebrate With Us
Throughout the year we are celebrating our history and our future. Join us!
TREASURING NATURE GALA
Celebrate half a century of Schlitz Audubon at our Annual Gala on Saturday, June 26. At this all-outdoor event, guests will move through three experience areas that honor our mission and those who have been so important to the Center’s growth over the decades.
Join us on Sunday, August 29 for an engaging family-friendly event! You’ll hear about the history of the land and visit our various ecosystems, where you will learn how we have improved habitat for wildlife.
Our volunteers treasure nature, and we treasure them! A volunteer celebration will be taking place in the spring of 2022. Check back for more details later in summer.
Schlitz Foundation donates Nine Mile Farm to National Audubon Society.
Schlitz Audubon officially opens to the public. Birding observations begin being recorded, starting one of the longest-running citizen science projects in the region.
40-acre Cleaver Property (on the Milwaukee River south of Brown Deer Rd.) is donated to Center.
After years of working with the Humane Society in support of birds of prey, we receive our federal permits to begin our Raptor Program.
Plans for Mystery Lake are developed after funds for the project were given in memory of Ilma Uihlein.
The Observation Tower is built and our first summer camps are offered.
Environmental education is expanded throughout this decade, offering more secondary and adult programs.
Emerson, the snapping turtle in our Great Hall, arrives at the Center.
The birds in our Raptor Program get a new home with 10 mews and indoor flight area.
Dorothy K. Vallier Environmental Learning Center, the first Gold LEED-certified building in Wisconsin, opens. It houses our new Nature Preschool, also the first of its kind in the state.
The Ozaukee Bight Lakeshore Migration Corridor, which includes the Center, is named an Important Bird Area.
Nature Preschool begins partnership with Malaika Early Learning Center, providing nature education to urban preschoolers.
We re-brand. Milwaukee’s first Bioblitz with the Milwaukee Public Museum takes place at Schlitz Audubon, recording 820 species in 24 hours, including the endangered bluestem goldenrod.
Mystery Lake boardwalk is installed, increasing the length of our wheelchair accessible trails. The Raptor Exhibit opens, allowing the public to view Sky Walker, our Red-tailed Hawk, daily.
15-year conservation plan is launched and the federally-endangered rusty patched bumblebee is found on our property.
Our SPARK! Program for people experiencing cognitive changes is launched, starting a concerted effort to increase programming for people with various specific needs. The Gateway Trail, an accessible boardwalk through a rare wet prairie, opens.
The Stormwater Wetland & Ravine Restoration Project is implemented, the most significant land project in Center history. Our Nature Preschool is named 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.
The Central Wetlands Loop opens.
We celebrate our 50th Anniversary!
Be A Part of Our Future
We are excited to achieve this great milestone. At the same time, we are committed to conserving our land’s diverse habitats and providing meaningful experiences and environmental education for all in the coming decades. Consider giving an anniversary donation or becoming a member to celebrate both our legacy and our future.