Walk the Indian Mounds of Pheasant Branch with Amy Rosebrough

  • August 21, 2019
  • 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
  • Parking lot at Orchid Heights Park, 3960 Valley Ridge Road, Middleton.
  • 0


  • The member may register a guest.

Driving and Parking instructions will be emailed to you the week of the event.
Registration is closed

Free to PLATO members and guests.

Registration is recommended.

Amy Rosebrough will lead us through portions of the Conservancy to Native American Effigy Mounds and talk about what they reveal about the early cultures that lived in the area thousands of years ago. She will explain the significance of their shapes, what these mounds meant to the people who built them, and the importance of maintaining these structures. According to Ms. Rosebrough, Wisconsin is home to more Native American earthworks than any other place in the world.  Dane County has more Effigy Mounds than any other location in the world.  During our walk, Amy will present an overview of the monumental earthen creations of Wisconsin and the Midwest, from burial mounds to ceremonial geometric earthen enclosures.

Dr. Amy Rosebrough is a Middleton resident, a staff archaeologist with the State Archaeology and Maritime Preservation Program of Wisconsin Historical Society, and an alumna of UW-Madison. She is a specialist in Wisconsin's effigy mounds, and assists Wisconsin citizens with issues of archaeological and burial site preservation.

The Walk

Pheasant Branch Conservancy is a regionally significant natural area located on the north side of Middleton, Wisconsin. It contains a marsh with open water, springs, prairies, meadows, lowland forest, and wooded hills. 

The diverse topography of the 160 acre site provides panoramic as well as close up views of prairies, wooded hillsides, the Pheasant Branch Creek wetlands and several predominant springs that provide fresh water for Lake Mendota. 

A relatively flat walkway with some stretches of slight elevation will lead us around a portion of the perimeter of the conservancy. However, we will need to climb Fredricks Hill to view the effigy mounds of the Conservancy. 

Driving and Parking Information

We will meet in the parking lot at Orchid Heights Park, 3960 Valley Ridge Road, Middleton.  DIRECTIONS

Additional Information:

Several maps of the conservancy are available at the Friends of Pheasant Branch website:  http://www.pheasantbranch.org/

  • A three mile walk along a graded path makes this walk one of the more accessible we'll offer this year.  However the route we will follow will involve climbing Fredrick's Hill to view the effigy mounds.


Our leader will have a microphone along to assist in delivering her message clearly as possible.

Driving and Parking Information.

  • will be emailed the week of the walk.

Additional Information:

The Watershed

Pheasant Branch Watershed* drains into Lake Mendota. It covers approximately 24 square miles in an area that includes portions of the Towns of Middleton and Springfield and the Cities of Madison and Middleton. (See map on page 5.)

As the last glaciers began to melt about 13,000 years ago, much of the land west of present-day Highway 12 drained into the bed of Glacial Lake Middleton, the wetland flat along Airport Road in Middleton.

Today, Pheasant Branch originates out of a glacial moraine in the Towns of Middleton and Springfield, and flows through the City of Middleton before entering Lake Mendota. The seven-mile long creek has four distinct parts: the South and North Forks upstream from and west of Highway 12, and the upper and lower portions of the main channel.


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