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Wild, wild campus: A visual sampling of the creatures among us

June 16, 2015

Photo: Owlets

Family time: A great horned owl and a pair of owlets bask in the April sun between the Gymnasium-Natatorium and the Howard Temin Lakeshore Path.

A campus wouldn’t be a campus without bricks and mortar, without indoor spaces to teach and learn and conduct research — especially when winter hits hard across the Midwest. But at UW–Madison, we also place great value on outdoor spaces, those spots where nature has dibs. One-third of our main campus, in fact, is dedicated to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, acres protected and preserved for green space and the natural order of things. Other parts of the main campus and university property also host spots where creatures of all kinds can make themselves at home. Jeff Miller, senior photographer in University Communications, has captured just some of them in this collection of photos.

The university intends to keep this important balance of humankind and nature. The 2015 Campus Master Plan Update is committed to “protecting and enhancing important open spaces as well as historic and cultural landscapes.”

Ready for something wild? Get outside when you can – and discover who is living among us.

Text by Cindy Foss | Photos by Jeff Miller

Photo: Goose and goslings

In another family gathering, a goose and its goslings swim in Lake Mendota during a May day near the Lakeshore Path.

Photo: Fox

Likely part of a family of foxes spotted near the Observatory Hill area, a kit ventures out to explore the grounds near the Soils Building.

Photo: Hawk eating squirrel

Apparently forgetting to pack a lunch, a red-tailed hawk makes do with the carcass of a captured squirrel on a window ledge at Science Hall on a January day.

Photo: Turkeys on golf course

Hoping for an early tee time as spring arrives at last, wild turkeys make their way across University Ridge Golf Course at dawn.

Photo: Turtles on limb

Just hanging out, painted turtles balance on the limb of a fallen tree in Willow Creek near the Gymnasium-Natatorium and Howard Temin Lakeshore Path.

Photo: Muskrat swimming

With gentle ripples forming behind, a muskrat swims in the still water of Lake Mendota near the tip of Picnic Point, part of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

Photo: Red-winged blackbird

Sporting Badger love, a red-winged blackbird comes in for a landing on a cattail at the Class of 1918 Marsh near University Bay on a May morning.

Photo: Sparrows in Botany Gardens

The seeds of a blooming globe amaranth flower provide a tasty snack for sparrows at the Botany Gardens on a warm August day.

Photo: Monarch butterfly

Along Observatory Drive on the main campus, a monarch butterfly samples the nectar from Mexican sunflowers during early fall.

Photo: Deer in pond

A deer strolls into a stormwater-detention pond one August morning at Curtis Prairie at the UW–Madison Arboretum.

Photo: Duck with head in water

This is the life: A duck takes a dip into the still water of Lake Mendota near the Memorial Union Terrace as autumn takes hold.