Meet Al and Gloria Pyatskowit


Carol Wagner Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner Al and Gloria Pyatskowit volunteer at the Navarino Nature Center, where she counts birds and he helps with events. They are at their home in the town of Richmond, where the bird feeders attract many birds.

Al and Gloria Pyatskowit volunteer at the Navarino Nature Center.

Al was born in Keshena, graduating from Suring High School. He attended University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for a year and then finished his education at UW-Green Bay in 1972 with a degree in regional analysis with an emphasis on education. Al worked for Menominee County for two years in the Youth Core Program and then for two years on the Menominee Education Committee to establish the Menominee Indian School District. He spent two years as community education coordinator followed by teaching biology at Menominee Indian High School for 30 years. Al was at the College of Menominee Nation, where he worked with the nursing program for five years. He currently works part time with his sons in their logging business.

Gloria was born and raised in Suring, graduating from Suring High School. She went to Bellin School of Nursing and is a registered nurse. Gloria worked at Shawano Hospital, did homecare, taught home health aides, Lamaze, and was a foot clinic nurse. She is retired.

Al and Gloria have been married 49 years and have five sons, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They live in the town of Richmond where they have many bird feeders and lots of birds visit every day.

Q What do you do at the Navarino Nature Center?

A Gloria: My husband told me there’s something called the Project Bird Feeder Watch. Two days every two weeks from November to April I am one of three volunteers who go there to count birds that come to the bird feeders. All the information is gathered and sent to Cornell University Lab of Ornithology to get a feel for the bird population. Birds are an indicator of what’s happening in our environment. Pesticides and chemicals can affect the bird population along with food and climate factors. We identify the species and count how many there are of each. I also volunteer for the yearly Audubon Christmas Bird Count and Navarino gathers those results and submits them.

Al: I am a board member and am running for re-election. I work with school groups. I teach the third graders things like survival skills, compass, and building shelters in the fall. In the winter the fourth graders go snowshoeing and learn Wisconsin history. The kids like getting outside. In the spring the third graders have pond study, survival skills, compass work and go in the woods to see forest critters. I do trail cleaning and helps take care of the wildflower gardens. I volunteer for family events like Frozen and at the Navarino Runs.

Q Did you learn about birds?

A Gloria: You started watching and looking in bird books and it progresses from there. There’s great excitement to see a bird you don’t see very often. I have been a bird watcher for many years. We can be loaded with birds at my house or we go to the lake or river and watch.

Q Why do you volunteer?

A Gloria: Because I love birds. I want to see them continue. I think that Navarino Nature Center us a hidden gem that people don’t utilize.

Al: Primarily for working with the kids and the teaching aspect which is my background. Kids should be outside a lot more.

Upcoming events at NNC are the candlelight ski and snowshoe hike Jan. 19-20 and an intro to cross-country skiing class Jan. 20, The nature center is at W5646 Lindsten Rd in the town of Navarino. For information, call 715-758-6999 or go to