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Notes from the Field (Trips)

Editor’s note: The field trip. A time to get out, learn and explore. The tradition of the outdoor “classroom” is a great way for children and adults to get closer to nature.

This special “field trip” installment features photos and observations from Michael Warwick, ATC senior environmental project manager and a volunteer nature guide specializing in the creepy, crawly, hopping and soaring creatures of the Upper Midwest.

When Michael isn’t busy leaving no log unturned (literally) in his search for snakes and such, he works with our contractors to ensure that we demonstrate our environmental commitment.

I led two Searching for Salamanders field trips this April, one hosted by the Natural Resources Foundation and one for ATC’s employee Green Team. While short on salamanders, there was plenty still to see, including turtles, frogs and snakes.

Finding salamanders is greatly weather-dependent. The land-dwelling species found locally typically migrate from their overwintering habitat in the woods to the closest pond to lay their eggs during the first warm rain of the season.

Central newts in their aquatic adult phase were plentiful and just getting ready to lay their eggs.

Due to early spring weather this year, most adult salamanders were likely already in their summer burrows, not to be seen again until next spring. A few blue-spotted sallies were still hanging around in low numbers. Central newts in their aquatic adult phase were plentiful and just getting ready to lay their eggs.

Trip-goers were lucky to observe numerous Blanding’s turtles, a species of special concern in Wisconsin. The Blanding’s turtle’s bright yellow throat makes it unmistakable amongst Wisconsin’s native turtle species.

Kids in the group loved getting hands-on with the critters we came across.

Trip-goers were lucky to observe numerous Blanding’s turtles, a species of special concern in Wisconsin. The Blanding’s turtle’s bright yellow throat makes it unmistakable amongst Wisconsin’s native turtle species.

Michael Warwick is a senior environmental project manager at ATC. Prior to joining ATC he worked as an environmental consultant conducting tree and plant surveys, wetland delineation, GIS, project planning, community planning and permitting. He previously worked at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with a focus on waterway monitoring and studies, and wetland and waterway permit reviews.

Michael earned a Bachelor of Science degree in conservation and environmental sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is certified by Wisconsin DNR as an Endangered Resources Reviewer and is a member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) Outreach Committee. He volunteers his time guiding annual natural resources-based educational field trips for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.