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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary

I'm finally getting around to typing my Wisconsin narrative. It's a bit out of order -- I'm sharing this one with my creative writing class for feedback and thought they might like this piece. It's from my adventures at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, WI on August 15, 2012. Enjoy! Also, attached on the questions I sent to my class; if you wouldn't mind answering. Thanks!

The Safari
Jessica Marie Cavaliere

Secluded from man
under the shade of pine tree
animals live here.

In shades of pine tree
Lake Michigan flows quiet
ducks peacefully swim.

The translucent crystals of the sun shone on the beautiful hues of blues and purples of Lake Michigan. We were finally out of a run-down shanty section of Green Bay. Apparently we were near the heart of Green Bay. It looked empty, but it might have been because it was a Wednesday and everyone was at work.  This was the bay area. Everything was shaded and the lake looked breath taking. I wanted out of the bus at that moment to explore.
“Bay Beach is awesome,” the bus driving was saying to me as she drove the #2 (Danz) Line. She knew I was from out of town; earlier that morning I was looking for Curly Lambeau’s birth house and she was the go-to person. However, she wasn’t sure either and had to call the supervisor (I did eventually get  to the house). “If you go later, which you should, Elvis’s favorite ride was the Zippin’ Pippin. You need to check that out.” Later that day I would be meeting my pen pal, I wasn’t really sure what we were going to do; the bus driver suggested a few places we could go. Bay Beach amusement park was top of the list.
“You’ll love the wildlife sanctuary,” the bus driver added. I looked at the bus driver in the surprisingly clean mirror that hung above the fare machine. I was sitting up front in the handicap section; I felt guilty about it, especially when this elderly man hopped on, but the bus driver reassured me and said, “You’re from out of town, I want to guide you.”
“Yeah, I went last year to the Sanctuary, but I didn’t stay long since I was only here for three days. I was there for an hour tops. I have three hours before I meet my friend, so I can stay a few hours.”
“I once drove this couple who spent six hours top there because there is a lot to do.” At that moment I wished I did Lambeau’s birth house tomorrow instead of today; the planning I had been doing since April did show there was a lot to do (fishing is one of them, but as I learned you have to be 12 or younger to fish. This fact made me sad because I did want to fish since I never did before in my life). I had been out since 8am.
We were finally outside the reclusive sanctuary. Trees covered the path situated on a hill and there was a chill in the fresh morning air. The sounds of waterfalls echoed throughout. All I felt was peace.
“This is not a normal stop, but a request stop. Give us a call when you’re ready. Do you have our number?”
“Yeah, I have the schedule right here,” I held up the tan booklet.
“Great. I’ll see you later.” She closed the door and was off down the hill.
10:30, my gold watch read as it was darkened by the cool, wind-blown shade. I had three hours before I had to meet Deb. I would spend two and half hours at the Wildlife Sanctuary.
A day camp was running around as I stepped inside the sanctuary. The first room is a play area that is set up like a forest. I played in it last year when I visited for an hour; I could see why the kids were having so much fun. Crawling through fake logs with different trivia/facts taped all over, kids were laughing ferociously. I walk past the playhouse (which also had facts about insects and animals living around your household) with a confused look on my face. I thought the information desk was towards the front; a mother noticed my expression and asked if she could help me.
"Do you know where the information desk is?"
"I'm not sure, but I saw a staff room right around the corner."
I smile, "thank you," and head around the corner to where a wooden door was half opened. I knocked and a woman in a green shirt (that read BAY BEACH SANCTUARY above a paw print border) greeted me and noticed my confused look. "Hi. I could have sworn the information desk was around here. I need to pay, where is it?"
"It's free. But, the information is the next building, just walk under that bridge," he pointed out the window of the door, "you'll pass some displays and the building is right there." "Thank you," as I walked toward the door.

After visiting the information desk, which admission to the sanctuary was free and bird food that was a dollar in hand, I'm ready to go and explore the sanctuary. I have my camera in my other hand and I'm excited to get some photographs that I could give for Christmas gifts. Blinding, the waterfalls reflected the crystalized rays -- I was in full sun now.  At that moment I wished I hadn't lost my sunglasses back in King of Prussia; the blinding only lasted a few minutes, however. Once it has passed, I am mesmerized by the waterfall protruding from the rocks. Ducks swam away from the violent crashes and met the other people that walked along the graveled path.

The rickety old bridge was held up by chains and ropes; it creaked as I walked across it. I had to watch the bird poop. Yet, despite the bird poop, I watched the beautiful geese swim across the lake, quacking from afar for food and attention. With the paper bag of corn in hand, I open it and throw the corn into the lake. Geese rush over, but the mallards that were swimming close to the bridge came faster than the geese. Some grayish brown (some had a tint of blue in their wings) mallards jumped up on the bridge and started waddling around me, begging for more corn. They did get some and they let me snap a picture of them before moving on to the other half of the park.

Last year I had a picture of me feeding the ducks. I wanted another one this year. Running into a little boy and his grandfather, "excuse me, sir, would you mind getting a picture of me feeding the geese?" He looked at me like I was crazy, but happily obliged. "I'll try. We'll see if geese get close enough."
The warm Wisconsin sun shined brightly on the tan sand. It felt like I was in a safari with the heat (fortunately Wisconsin doesn't really get humidity) and I wished I was back in the shade the covered the entrance. I spotted a gaggle of geese and the man with his grandson also spotted them. I handed him the camera and walk slowly toward the geese. I pull the bag closer to my hand and slowly grab a handful of corn. The bag rustles and the geese run toward me—snap—the picture is taken and the geese run off happily with corn.

I’m not happy with the picture that is taken; I walk over to the bench near the lake and see another grandfather and his grandchild feeding the geese. I sit down on the bench and in front of my eyes, I see a swan swimming. I’m excited—the last time I saw a swan was in Switzerland in 2007 during a gray, cold day. At that moment I was wishing that Bay Beach was as chilly as that April day in Innsbrook. After the few pictures taken, I ask the grandfather to get a picture of me feeding the duck (man, I must seemed oddly obsessed with these damned geese, but I always loved pictures like that; the cuteness and innocence of someone feeding animals). He made me stand up, he thought it would be a better picture. Again, I’m not too happy with it—the bright sun caused a contrast and I look black that you can hardly see me. But, I don’t want to be more of a bother; I smiled and thanked him.
The beady eyed, gray and black striped creature, the badger, is Wisconsin’s state animal. The cute little creature looks nothing like the university’s mascot where the badger is dressed in a red sweatshirt (complete with a white ‘W’) and has an intimidating look to his face like he’s ready to kick butt at any given moment. Behind glass, the badger stands on its hind legs and looks at us. He almost looks sad, but he is in want of attention. He was getting plenty, though—kids’ cheeks and noses pressed against the glass and “ooohs” and “ahhhs” floated out of their mouths, fogging the window.
Badgers have rather short, fat bodies, with short legs built for digging. They have elongated weasel-like heads with small ears. They have black faces with distinctive white markings, gray bodies with a light-coloured stripe from head to tail, and dark legs with light coloured stomachs. Behavior of badgers differs by family, but all shelter underground, living in burrows called setts, which may be very extensive. Some are solitary, moving from home to home, while others are known to form clans called cetes. I am lost in the white sign that hung next to the badger’s habitat. I had learned something new—the second animal fact I had learned on my trip; I look towards the badger again and I continued on down the wood chipped path.
Yellow moons peer out of the white face and look me directly in the eye as I stop in my tracks on the wood chipped path. Her white, gray and black body sits comfortably on a tree branch. The Snowy Owl is a large owl of the typical owl family Strigidae. This yellow-eyed, black-beaked white bird is easily recognizable. It is 20–28 inches long, with a 49–59 inch wingspan. The Snowy Owl is typically found in the northern circumpolar region, where it makes its summer home north of latitude 60 degrees north. However, it is a particularly nomadic bird.
I always loved Snowy Owls. I have always thought that Snowy Owls were the prettiest in the owl species and according to the sign, I had a few things in common with the owl: we both love to travel and can’t stay still for very long, except they didn’t have to worry about money. I stare in awe as my camera snaps a few pictures. She closes her eyes and the moons disappear into blackness.
The gold of my watch shined again in the hot sun. Noon. I had been here for a few hours and it was time to get back before the Danz line went on lunch break and I had to meet Deb at 1:30. Walking across the bridge, I see more ducks and a mother with her pre-school aged children sitting on a recycled plastic bench feeding the ducks. This would be my final chance for a duck feeding picture; “excuse me, this might sound crazy, but I keep a travel blog and want a picture of me feeding the ducks. Would you mind getting one for me, please?” She smiled and obliged.
I took a seat on the brown plastic bench and opened up my brown paper sack and threw the corn gently in the water. Sploosh, the corn landed on the water and quickly ducks rushed. I probably had two dozen ducks fighting for the corn. I threw more, creating more waves and more fights. Snap, I hear the lenses focus and take the hopefully good image. It’s too bright to see a flash, but even if I could, my attention was on the beautiful ducks fighting and eating the corn.
“Let me know what you think,” the mother grabbed my attention as she handed over my camera. I press the play button, green with an arrow, and see the picture. I smiled. This had to be my favorite picture of the day. “Thank you so much. I hope you have a great day.” Her children continued laughing and throwing corn ferociously into the water (typical for toddlers to do), I’m surprised it doesn’t frighten the ducks; but, I suppose they could take any food they could get.

The gift shop is closed; pity, I wanted postcards and remembering how inexpensive it was last year; I knew that was my best bet to get souvenirs. It wouldn’t open until twelve though. Checking my phone—the bus would be here in another five minutes according to the book of schedules—I take my phone out of my purple pleather handbag and I have a text message waiting for me from Larry’s sister who is married to the special teams manager for the Packers. “I can meet you tomorrow night. Remember, if I do bring you into the locker room to meet the players, they’re very strict.” I’m a little disappointed by that rule—no pictures—because I wanted to make whatever pictures I would get my Facebook profile. I replied, “Okay. I’m at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary waiting for the bus. I’m going to meet my pen pal today.” “Bay Beach is beautiful, it’s nice up there. I hope you have fun.” I close my phone, the bus is here and I’m on my way back to the hotel to get ready before I’m ready to meet Deb.

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
Price                                  Free
Bir d Food                           $1
Charity                            $1 for pin
“ “            At your own discretion
Fishing (12 and under)              $10


1.       I’m always bad with titles, would “The Safari” work for my piece about the Wildlife Sanctuary or would “Safari Through Bay Beach” sound? Or what title would you suggest?

2.       What do you think about the rhetoric? Does it persuade you that you should go and check it out if you’re visiting Green Bay?

3.       Is the notepad after the article listing prices and different activities helpful?

4.       Are there too many pictures? Would it be better if I made a scrapbook pages toward the end of the story?

5.       I included half of another story in this to show the journal format I am thinking about putting in. Does it work?

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