MILWAUKEE — Photographs and memories, just some of what 45-year-old Ignacio Catral shares with the world.
He captures the splendor of Bay View's Humboldt Park through images past and present. They go on social media reminding us of the emerald jewels, the Milwaukee County Park System.
"To have all these open spaces in a densely populated area, I think our city leaders really thought about preserving areas where people can enjoy nature. That's a great amenity that Milwaukee has," said Catral.
As president of Humboldt Park Friends, Ignacio is part of a team that helps maintain the beautify of the grounds. He walks the park almost every day documenting its beauty.
"I think one of our main missions at Humboldt Park Friends is to connect the park system and the community together and represent what an incredible amenity this is and create an emotional connection to the park," Catral says.
A graduate of Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, he's a partner in Catral-Doyle Creative in the Third Ward.
He hails from Spain but fell in love with Milwaukee when he first came as a foreign exchange student.
"I think the culture. I love the friendliness of the people. I think it's a great place to live. Neighbors know each other and take care of each other. We have things to work on, but I think promoting Milwaukee in a positive way and highlighting the important work that nonprofit organizations are doing is important," said Catral.
Catral adds, "It takes civil action to fill that gap and make sure the quality of our parks remain at a higher level."
Humboldt Park Friends sponsors several efforts to keep the public playground pristine. That includes raising money to replant trees, restoring the lagoon, and removing invasive plants.
"We've been able to raise awareness of the park through the community. Hopefully, that encourages people to get involved...a little pro-bono work goes a long way," said Catral.
Through Catral we see a canvas only nature can paint.
"I think my brain is wired that way. Everything I look at I think composition-wise. There are so many beautiful areas in the park," said Catral.
Ignacio and his wife Susan believe strongly in giving back.
"Donating time, spending time in organizations or board representation is an important way to improve our community."
He tries to instill those values in his 2 adult children.
"I want them to be proud of what Milwaukee is and where life and to be aware of how lucky they are to have all these amenities around them."
Ignacio Catral reminds us of the grassy jewels beneath our feet, unveiling a picture of Milwaukee pride.
"I think Milwaukee is a great place to live, a great place to grow family," said Catral.