I See a Transformation

Written by Caitlin Reinartz
    Monday, 01 December 2014
I See a Transformation

It was a crisp September morning, the end of the first growing season for the Milwaukee Rotary Arboretum. I was with a group of volunteers, keeping the weeds at bay. Hunched over and intent on my work, I would have missed it if a large shadow hadn't passed over the ground in front of me. I looked up and saw the last thing I ever thought I would see in the heart of Milwaukee – a bald eagle!


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I gave a shout to the volunteers. We all watched open-mouthed and silent. The eagle was soaring above us. It was incredibly beautiful to watch him glide through the air, wings open and still. I ran through adjectives in my head ... regal, majestic, breath-taking. None seemed sufficient to match the experience.

We watched the eagle rise high above. When he was just a black speck, a much smaller bird hurtled through the sky. It was a Cooper's Hawk, still noteworthy, but a much more common sighting in Riverside Park. As he passed over, he pulled up his wings, dipped low to the grass, and caught a small sparrow in flight!

"Well," I thought, "it looks as though I've just experienced the best day ever."

To be honest, getting back to pulling weeds seemed downright mundane! But as I filled my bag with thistle and burdock, I swelled with happy pride. I get to be a part of a project that are making sightings like this more commonplace. Four years ago, if that eagle had flown over this newest piece of parkland, he would have seen an uninviting place indeed. I like to think that this September, when that eagle flew over, he thought, "Oooh, this looks nice! I'll have to stop by here again!"

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Caitlin Reinartz

Caitlin Reinartz

Caitlin Reinartz is the Forester at the Urban Ecology Center Riverside Park branch, working primarily on the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied Forest Management. Caitlin is a firm believer that Wisconsin is the best and most beautiful state in the union. She spent her childhood playing outside, and was inspired to work to preserve our region’s natural areas during camping trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness when she was in middle and high school.


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