Why You Should Explore Nature

Why You Should Explore Nature

There's more to campus than just State Street and Bascom.

This article is a guest piece by Charlie Daley, a Junior at UW. For comments, you may contact him at bcdaley@wisc.edu.

One of the best features of our University is that while it is in an urban environment, there is still nature to be found. Beyond the proximity to lakes and the trees in the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery, there are miles of woods and paths running through them. These pockets of nature are not an accident, and they owe their existence to Wisconsin’s long history of conservationism.

Perhaps the most famous conservationists in American history is John Muir, known for his writings and love of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. While he is not from Wisconsin, it was here in Wisconsin, where he spent his childhood and college years, that Muir took his first Botany class which he credits for fostering his love for the outdoors. This is why the woods that surround the lakeshore path past College Library are named after him and why one of his quotes decorates the walls of Union South.

Another famous conservationist with strong ties to this campus is Aldo Leopold, best known for his book: A Sand County Almanac. Like Muir, Leopold was not from Wisconsin but came for the University. His best-selling book was based on what happened when he bought an 80-acre farm in a sand county: a farm that had been logged, swept by fires, over-grazed and then abandoned when it was no longer profitable. Over the course of 12 years he restored the farm to its natural state, full of flora and fauna.

Through conservationists like Leopold and Muir, there is a surprising amount of natural beauty left in Madison for a city of its size. For most students, campus only goes as far south and west and Camp Randall, as far east as the Capital and as far north as Langdon. But there is much more the city of Madison than that little area even when only talking about the areas closest to nature. The Lakeshore Path may be the most well-known area for its natural beauty but there are plenty of others. The Southwest Commuter Path leads to a loop of Lake Monona that follows right along the shoreline. If the loop around all of Lake Monona is too long, there is a path that runs next to John Nolen Dr. providing a chance to see firsthand the image featured in all those back-to-school snapchats. Farther away from campus there is the UW-Arboretum which has over 1,200 acres of varying forest, prairies and wetlands that show what Wisconsin was like before it was settled.

This is not a plea for conservationism, it is a reminder to explore all that Madison, the university and the city, has to offer. This far into the spring, everyone has been to the farmer’s market, a tailgate and pulled an all-nighter, both studying and partying, but have you taken the time to see what people like Muir and Leopold have fought to preserve? As the weather continues to warm up, take a Saturday and go see a little bit of wilderness left in Madison. You came to college to expand your horizons, didn’t you? So go explore.

Cover Image Credit: Jeff Miller

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To the guy that shot my brother...


To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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23 Things That ~Barely~ Run Through A Girl's Mind During Her First Workout In, Like, Forever

Why did I do this to myself?


It's the beginning of the semester and that means half of the students on campus have decided that we are going to go back to the gym after their workout routine fell through last semester. It's been months since we've stepped foot in the gym, but we are ready to attack it and get fit. That is until we get there and start going.

1. How did I get to the gym? Didn't I walk here? That should count as exercise

2. Why am I here?

3. Are these clothes tighter than they were last time?

4. Why is every single machine full? What am I supposed to do?

5. Is everyone looking at me?

6. I can't remember where anything is here

7. Okay, I am going to set this at the easiest level

8. Can I go home yet?

9. Is 3 minutes long enough? No, darn it.

10. How many calories have I burned? Only 10 are you kidding me!

11. Why is everyone else here going so hard? I look like a slacker

12. I am so sweaty right now

13. Maybe I should get a smoothie as a reward for working out

14. I am literally dying right now. I am about to drop dead

15. Only 5 more minutes to go. I've got this!

16. I don't got this

17. Why do people come here every day?

18. Last minute I'm going to go so hard right now

19. Just kidding that two seconds was good enough. I'm going to cool down for the last 58

20. Hallelujah, praise Jesus, I am done!

21. I am so tired

22. My body is so sore

23. I can't believe I have to walk home now. I've already done my exercising for the day

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